The Boston Skyline

BostonSkyline_MicrosoftICE

I find that the Rose Wharf view from the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse very picturesque. I have attempted this photograph several times. My past attempts were with a Nikon D2x using the 12 – 24mm f/4 lens (which was barely wide enough to capture this skyline).

An issue with my past attempts was that I was not paying close attention to the buildings and their orientation. I was too focused on Rose Wharf. In past photos the Custom House Tower, an important Boston landmark, was hidden behind the foreground buildings. As it turns out, there are only two spots along the waterway where the Custom House Tower is not blocked.

The key to a good night skyline shot is choosing a week day evening where the sun sets early enough so that people at still working after sunset. Around winter solstice would be best, but I was not due to be back in Boston until Christmas/New Year. I was planning on taking this shot on Thursday, but the weather was not cooperating which forced me to take this shot on Friday evening. Sunset was at 4:19pm.

Finding the light for this photo took patience. I only had 4 sheets of film with me (and I left my digital camera home). At sunset the sky is way too light for a night skyline shot. And if you wait too long the red glow would be gone. I waited so long that most of the other photographers there were gone. This shot was taken about two hours after sunset; after I pack up and started started to leave, I was thinking that I took the shot too early.

For this shot I used a 4×5 camera with the Rodenstock 90mm f/6.8 Grandagon-N Lens. The final image is actually two images stitched together. I almost gave up on this photo using Adobe Photoshop CC, but for some reason, I stumbled upon Microsoft’s ICE software while looking for alternative stitching software; it was free so I thought I’d give it a try. To my surprise it is very fast and does a remarkable job.

Time: December 27, 2013 @ 7:00pm
Camera: Toyo 45AII
Lens:  Rodenstock 90mm f/6.8 Grandagon-N
Film: Kodak Professional Ektar 100 4×5 sheet film
Exposure: IOS 100; f/22 @ 16s

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