Metered Time in Times Square

By: Gustav Hoiland

Mar 08 2010

Category: new york, street

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Focal Length:24mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Stretch Taxi

So I haven’t posted the last couple days – been Manhattan-ing and otherwise living it up.  While I make it to the Big City about once a month, I had never really photographed in Times Square.  It’s about as over-shot as can be already, but I wanted to get in there at least once to see if I could make something interesting.


The wonders of a wide angle lens (24mm on a full frame camera) brings you this elongated automobile.  The ever present NYC Taxi, which must be the majority of cars on the road on the island. The front was perhaps just ten feet away, but the lens makes everything look smaller than life, kind of like looking through binoculars backwards.  I think the tail end of the car was about parallel with where I was standing.

So clearly the weird optical trick of the bulbous car is the most obvious thing here, but trust me, there’s more!  I was reading about vanishing points the other day and while they’re most easily created with buildings or railroad tracks, it just so happens I’ve created one out of a car. The eye is attracted to the infinity spot/the distance, which in this photo brings us to a bunch of crazy tourists on a crosswalk. Further down (or rather up) there’s the scoop of blown-out sky that doesn’t make for a very impressive horizon

Next, the reflections in the car make it quite interesting.  There’s the Phantom of the Opera mask in the back window and distorted strings of lights in the other windows.  The yellow paint also reflects light, creating the contours that our eyes see.  It’s not as clear as window reflections, but there’s still some nuggets of interest in there.

Other details of note include the filthy street, dent in the cab, visual overload from the Times-Squares-ness of it all, and heck, the word “renaissance” in the top right.

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