Shooting the Blue Lights, Part 5

(This has been sitting as a draft for a month now, just waiting for me to plug the pictures in. I give up. Let me just post the rest of the story. I have other things I need to talk about in the days ahead…)

The big issue with shooting two and three second exposures is having items moving in the scene. You’d think I’d be safe in shooting cityscapes, but no. For starters, there were still boats out on the river at night, including one large booze cruise ship that noticeably blurred across a shot or two. And the planes streaked across the sky, with long white trails at inopportune times. With all the airports around the area, they’re impossible to miss.

At one point, I tried a longer lens to take a few shots, and that caused me to miss a picture that I’m still not sure if I’m ticked off or happy to have missed. One particularly low-flying commercial plan flew between my camera and the blue beams, crossing over it at a fairly eerie angle. The plane looked huge. In reality, I never could have frozen the plane in place and still get anything with enough light on it in the picture. But for a moment, I was disappointed.

In any case, I went back to the wide angle lens and played around with my composition. Unfortunately, at 9:55 p.m., a golf cart came by, telling everyone that the park was closing in five minutes. I didn’t want my car locked in the parking lot, so I called it a night.


Remembering what the bicycling photographer said, I drove north after leaving the park, instead of the southern direction I’d take on that road to get back home. About a mile up, I found a small side street lined with businesses and restaurants and free street parking. At the end was a nice brick-pavement circle, some dramatic lighting, and an awful lot of fencing along the Hudson. There were some people there, but none of them blinked at the site of me and my tripod looking for a good angle. The angle was straight down the Hudson and right at the lights. Being further away from the lights meant a tiny bit longer of an exposure was needed, but the lights turned out to be the bigger problem.

The walkway was lined with lights, and every one of them flared up across my camera’s lens. I tried standing between the camera and the light to the left. That helped shade the camera, but then the lens flare would come from the right side of the camera. There was no winning. Still managed to squeeze in a couple decent shots, though they look a lot like my others.

I tried to get a clean pic of the brick circle, complete with water feature and surrounding circle of lights, but there was too much foot traffic to ever get a clean shot. Oh, well.