Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Scrutinizing the Brooklyn Bridge through Nikon Glass

For me, the point of this photo tour was to learn more about how my Nikon can take photographs in low-light. I have a pretty good sense of what buttons and dials to mess with for sunlit and bright interior shots, but those low-light experiences, both interior and exterior, have evaded me so far. That the tour took place in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, some geography I've been wanting to explore, was a bonus.

That's Dave checking out a student's gear.
The deal-maker was that the tour was offered by a friend who I know is a really good photographer and teacher. Dave Simchock has an interesting story. He's originally from the Central New Jersey area, worked as an engineer in New York City and London, and then put that career aside to explore a life filled with travel and photography. In a relatively short period of time he grew a thriving career as a photographer and teacher in the Central New Jersey area. Unfortunately for me, he moved to Asheville, North Carolina, a couple of years ago. Fortunately for me, he offers photo tours in the Northeast a couple times a year, and, I overheard him this weekend talking about plans to move some of his courses online! Check out Dave's breathtaking photographs at his website,

Now, back to Brooklyn. We started in the morning and took advantage of the morning light on the Brooklyn Bridge and the skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan. Dave gave us some tips on shooting the bridge and skyscrapers, and some ideas for creating collections of photos based on colors, shapes, and themes. There was a lot to think about. I was thrilled to finally be on the Brooklyn Bridge, partly because of the David McCullough book

and partly because the designers of the bridge, the Roeblings, were from Trenton, New Jersey. This bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was completed in 1883. It is a fascinating story, so if you're at all interested get your hands on David McCullough's The Great Bridge.   

It's easy to get some cool photos from the bridge in daylight: the famous bridge towers, the cables, the skyscrapers, the ships in the water, the other bridges, and the people on the bridge.
People watching on the Bridge
After some shooting in Lower Manhattan including a lesson in low-light interiors in a church, Dave brought us back to the Brooklyn side to pick up our tripods and head to Brooklyn Bridge Park for the highlight of the tour. This is what I was waiting for: the twilight Brooklyn Bridge shoot. Dave worked with each of us, but most importantly showed ME exactly which dials and buttons to manipulate on the Nikon to get the best shots of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. (ISO up to about 800, set the timer to two seconds, VR off, NR on, and TRIPOD) I'm thrilled with my photographs, and yes, I wrote down all those settings!  
Check these out (I took them!):
The Brooklyn Bridge at night
The Manhattan Bridge at twilight
 I even put together some shots from the day in a little movie:


WolfieWolfgang (Colin Bell) said...

Interesting Margaret, I'm always meaning to actually learn my camera rather than just chancing it. I think you did some great things in Brooklyn.

Margaret said...

Thanks, Wolfie!

David Simchock said...

Great write-up, Margie. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the day so much, and that you got a lot out of it. I'll certainly keep you posted of what's going on with Vagabond Vistas. If any of your friends and blog followers are interested in getting on my mailing list, they can sign up here:

(Thanks for allowing me to shamelessly self-promote myself on your blog!)

Margaret said...

Well, thanks back at ya, Dave, for Tweeting the blog! I did have a great time and learned (and retained lots). I focused just on the Bridge here but there was so much more!