Tag Archives: night photography

Fashion Night Out

Ok, another post that’s taken me a while to get around to…four months or so, but who’s counting. 😉  Had a great shoot in and around the High Line and the Meat Packing District.  It’s one of the few areas in New York that still have the old cobblestone streets.  Only a few years ago, meat packing was a rough place and stank to high hell with all of the meat packing plants there.  Now, most of the plants are closed, and the district has become the next big shopping mecca, but it still has the look that I wanted…

So we started hair and makeup around 4pm at my studio…thinking we’d leave for the 1st look around 6:30pm.  Well, I think we got in the location van about 7:30…a little behind as I wanted to get more of the twilight, but you roll with the changes.  We got everyone in the location van and took off.  We started off on the High Line, which was surprisingly fine with a crew of people setting up shop and shooting.  I was concerned that the people working for the High Line would take issue with people shooting there.  As I thought, however, it goes back to the principle of, “If you aren’t preventing people from moving through an area and your crew is fluid and can move where it needs to, you’re ok”.  The rules of, can you shoot in New York with or without a permit, only really apply if you want to stop traffic or block a street from pedestrians from coming through your set.  If you’re fluid, you’re generally good.

We shot this while we had a guard coming over to us and saying, nicely, “10 minutes to closing”…which was nice of them.  They didn’t have any issue with us shooting there, they just wanted us out on time.

So we headed out on the street, I believe this is Gansevoort St…with the Gansevoort Hotel in the background.  I’m a huge fan of mixing strobe and ambient light, be it outside in full daylight or, as in this shot, using the city lights at night as the ambient.  Time exposure, around 1-2 seconds + Beauty dish strobe.

Here we are taking a break at our location van/changing station…

Onto the next shot…

This one was difficult.  I was walking back with the model, still at about 1 sec exposure, and had my assistant James walking back as well with the strobe, trying to keep the distance the same so the exposure is good.  We did this eight or nine times and I ended up liking two images.  So this is two of the individual images put together in post.  Other than that, there’s not much done to them.  All of the blurring and colors were done in camera.

Loved the storefront from Christian Louboutin and the colors it gave off on the model.

I liked the way the red dress and stockings were set off from the blue/silver background.  Also another image put together in post from two single vertical shots.  This wasn’t an easy thing to do.  La Boutique Creative Retouching did a great job making it look seamless.

Now onto our last and most traumatic look.   It was 2am and we were all tired.  Maria’s ponytail was so tight it was becoming painful.  We were all happy that David and Moani had packed up the car and moved it down the street to the end of 27th and the west side highway.  We were ready to go once the look was done.  They then came to join us while we finished up the last look.  The look itself was easy and done in 20 minutes.

We were maybe a 5 minute walk from the location van.   We finished up and started walking back.  We got back to where we had parked the location van….

and it was gone…

So there we were, staring at each other…mildly freaking out.  We were only gone 15 minutes, which means someone was watching and waiting for us to leave.  The only question is…stolen, or towed??  I looked at a sign on the wall and it looks like we were in a tow-zone at night.  Moani, the clear headed thinker that she is, knew about the Tow Yard around 30th and the West Side Highway.  We took off in a cab to the tow yard…

So while I’m in line checking to see if the tow yard had it, Moani took a little video to capture the moment…did they have it or was it stolen???

So, yes, they had it and it took another hour and a half, plus tickets and fees to get our lives back…clothes, camera equipment, etc…which was about 3:30am.  It ended well, but not without a dramatic flair. 🙂  Thanks again to my wonderful crew who put up with a late start and even LATER finish…

THE Crew:

Photography by James Weber, www.jamesweberstudio.com
Styled by David Widjaja, www.introartists.com
Makeup by Moani Lee, www.moanilee.com
Hair by Nelson Vercher, www.utopianyc.com
Model:  Maria Beljanina, www.majormodel.com
Photographic Assistance:  James Sullivan, www.1prophoto.com
Retouching:  La Boutique Creative Retouching, www.laboutiqueny.com

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Dark City, Top of the Rock – Christmas night 2008

My girlfriend, Maria and I decided to take in the sights of the city Christmas night in search of some new material for Dark City. We started out going uptown to see the tree at Rockefeller Center. We got off the bus one stop later than we had planned and ran into the two scenes below, including Radio City Music Hall. It’s such a NYC landmark that I had to shoot it.

Right after this shot, we saw the sign for the “Top of the Rock”, 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Maria and I have never been, so we decided to up. My big tripod created quite the scene there as they have this tripod rule where you can’t extend it outward(like normal) to use it for time exposures. It would have to be used only like a monopod(or just extending the legs downward). This makes sense in a way as when it is busy, you don’t want a bunch of photographers to be hogging the space up on the top…but that made it harder for me to get these shots that would normally be so easy to set up.

This shot, below was on the 68th floor. You can see the viewers on the 67th floor viewing area below and the wonderful expanse of city beyond.

If you’re wondering what that blurry part is on the right hand side, it’s the gap between the glass(2″ thick). The glass has about a 2.5″ gap in 4′ sections, so you can actually stick your camera lens out of it, but for this shot, I liked the composition of it even with the glass distortion.

This is shot through the glass showing the city below and the reflection of the people behind us, which happens to be this dancing light show(which is multi-color and feeds off of people moving near to it).

This is truly one of the best places to view Manhattan if you’re visiting New York. I’ve been up the Empire State Building so many times with other friends and family, but I’ve never seen such an amazing view of New York. Unlike the Empire State Building, which has these nasty metal grates that separate you from the incredible view…the Top of the Rock has completely unobstructed views of NYC. Floors 67 and 68 have glass between you and the view, and 69 has nothing, only air and the view of the city. It’s truly amazing. Even though there was that nasty tripod rule in effect, once we were on the 69th floor, there was this older security guard that saw I was trying to shoot some of the scenes with my tripod and said, “It’s Christmas, go ahead and use it”. I thought that was so nice(and needed).

So we were fairly frozen, especially my fingers, being out using the camera and tripod, so we had enough and went back down to the bottom. Maria and I had thoroughly enjoyed our experience at the Rock. So it was off to see the tree and the Saks 5th Ave windows…

Finally, what we had gone to see that night…with a little interlude…

Trying to get an interesting shot of the tree, I didn’t shoot it with the building behind it…I wanted a more raw aproach with some atomosphere behind it. So, here you have it. The tree did seem smaller this year. I don’t know if it’s the economy or not, but the trees of past years have been much taller. Swarofski Crystal is responsible for the star and led lights on the tree.

So we moved onto Saks Fifth Avenue, which is a stone’s throw from the tree. Beautiful as always, it has a wonderful snowflake light display.

Maria wanted to see the displays at Saks 5th Avenue, so this was just a nice scene I captured when she was looking at the windows…

Lastly, this is an interesting scene that I saw when we were waiting for the bus to head back home. There is this old woman in her fur coat with a pile of garbage next to her. It just seemed interesting that here is this old woman, here with her fur coat, alone on Christmas trying to catch a cab home. Sad in a way…but a New York story none the less…

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Dark City continues…

“Dark City” continues with a few new additions due to my friend and frequent stylist, David Widjaja. These were shot from his rooftop. It’s quite an amazing scene, as there are not any buildings right next to his so it gives a nice panoramic view of the city from within the city. I plan on doing more of the building, “looking down” images in the future(like shot 2). My hope is to get a shot of the empire state building(sticking the tripod/camera out of the grate and looking down the building). It’s a scene not easy to get…we’ll see if I can pull it off without the guards at the top giving me trouble…

Thank you again, David for showing me your wonderful rooftop. 🙂

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Darkness Reigns

I’ve got a thing for darkness. There’s something different that happens when the sun goes down and the lights turn on. No matter what night you go out, the lights will be different. It’s an ever changing landscape that’s just so rich. Take a look up when you’re walking in the city at night. Look to see the lights in the windows. Each window has it’s own story. I’ll be exploring the city high and low over the next few months for this project. Here’s a few from day 1.One of the problems I thought I would run into going out alone at night is getting approached, or even robbed of my camera. When I was taking this shot, ipod buds in ear, music playing, I hear this, “hello!”. I turn to my right and there’s this older homeless man watching me. He started telling me about when he had a camera, and can he see what I was shooting, etc. It was a mostly harmless encounter which ended well, as I talked to him for a little while, but it could have been much different. You have to keep an eye out, and maybe only use one earbud. 🙂

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