Ari Friedman, also known as Lord Nikon 12 is a member of Get Pushed who has participated in several previous rounds. However, a shot that really stood out to me from the photos submitted for Round 25 was the following image of New York Taxicabs. I asked Ari to tell us about how he accomplished this shot and what techniques he used in processing it.
SP: First of all, let me say that this is a really nice shot! The colors and the interest combined with the yellow of the cabs is fascinating. What kind of post processing was involved as far as combining shots to get the final image?
Ari: Thanks for the compliments on my colors and overall “pop” on the photo. I tried to take this shot as a “single frame” the week before, but could not get detail in the sky, road, and buildings no mater how I adjusted my camera. To capture this shot I took 3 exposures in “bracket mode” at -2ev, 0ev, and +1ev. Once I got home I loaded them all into GIMP and made the +2 and -1 images layers over the 0ev image. I immediately set to work trying to get everything to line up correctly as I shot this handheld… After that I added layer masks to the +2 and -1 layers and painted in the layer masks where there should be more or less exposure to bring out detail or rescue blown-out areas. There were some flaws in my shooting technique (the layers STILL dont line up right) but I do really like how the taxis pop and the detail that is maintained in the buildings.
SP: Another thing that is really interesting here is the level from which it was shot. Were you standing in front of the cabs, or did you have some other setup going?
Ari: I shot this from a kneeling/crouched position to get the elongated hood/in your face look on the taxis. I spent a lot of time crossing the street back and forth getting everything set up and waiting for three taxis to line up like that – about 20min on the one street corner. Despite being in the middle of times square there is more than enough time between traffic lights for everyone to get through the crosswalk and for you to get a shot like this with no people in it. If I was smart I would have packed a tripod for the day, but I was not really planning to shoot this when I did – I just happened to be in Times square when the light looked good.
SP: The fact that the middle cab has its lights on is pretty neat! Did you do any photoshopping to make it appear that way, or was that how it really was?
Ari: The middle cab had its lights on. I am happy that it turned out this way – if one of the cabs on the edge had its lights on instead I would have had to paint all of the lights to balance it out. Part of what I was looking for when shooting this was to do it in the “golden hour” before sunset when the light just works so well. I did paint different layers into the lights and grill to get some extra detail there, but the main details are exactly what you would have seen if you were standing next to me. Its hard to call this minimally manipulated with all the layers coming together like this, but I didn’t really do much but bring things out that the camera could not catch in 1 shot.
SP: In your experience with Get Pushed, how do you think the group helps you to loosen up some in photography and get out of your comfort zone into new things?
Ari: Playing in Get pushed has been a great experience. I have met quite a few people through it who I would not have met otherwise and we still comment on each others photos quite regularly. For my photography specifically it has been quite educational to use techniques or seek subjects I would not have otherwise shot. I have really gained a new appreciation for a great many things after “walking a mile in their shoes” as the saying goes.
Thanks for allowing us to use your shot in this month’s article and agreeing to answer our questions, Ari!