Just What The Doctor Ordered

My name is Kevin Adams and I’m having withdrawal. There, I admit it. It happens to me every year on April 2, which is the day after one of my favorite days of the year. Not that I need the excuse of April Fool’s Day to pull pranks, but it’s just a lot more fun to pull one off on the day everyone is watching out for it.

Asheville cityscape

Asheville cityscape at twilight. Nikon D800, Nikon 14-24mm lens, f/16, 8 seconds.

I figured a god way to get out of the doldrums would be to show a photo from my favorite small city. Thomas Wolfe’s Altamont stole my heart many years ago and I feel blessed to live only 25 minutes from its eclectic atmosphere and unrivaled brew pubs. (Now you know where MY priorities lie!)

I shot the accompanying image at one of the most famous locations in Asheville, directly in front of the historic Flat Iron Building on Wall Street. Possibly the world’s largest flat iron adorns the sidewalk here, and like the Wall Street Bull of New York City, it plays host to countless tourist photos.

While making a shot like this is pretty straightforward—be there at twilight with a wide-angle lens and just shoot—it took two trips to get the shot I had envisioned. On the first trip, a white SUV was parked in the nearest parking space on Wall Street, directly under the first street lamp. I don’t mind a few cars in a citryscape, but I’m not about to let a honking white SUV steel the show. So I returned a week later to make the shot you see here.

I shot this at f/16, which is rare for me. Typically, my lenses don’t get past f/11. Depth of field wasn’t an issue because I was shooting at a focal length of 14mm, and even though I’m very close to the iron, there is plenty of DOF at this focal length. I chose f/16 because it gave me the starburst effect in the street lamps. You get this effect with small apertures like f/16 and f/22. No special filters needed—just stop the lens down and you get a star.

The choice of when to shoot was a no-brainer. No way would I shoot a scene like this at any time other than twilight. Bluer hour, magic hour, dusk, dawn—whatever you want to call it, the period of twilight is when the illumination of the sky most closely equals that of the cityscape, so you can capture the shot in a single exposure. No need for HDR or blending multiple exposures. And you get that beautiful deep blue sky to boot.

Yes, I know the “Wall Street Bull” isn’t actually on Wall Street. But that’s what everybody calls it. And besides, I’m having severe withdrawal, so give me a break!

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One Response to “Just What The Doctor Ordered”

  1. rjeltrich Says:

    Great shot Kevin, nice foreground object and leading lines. What was your ISO set to and did you do anything special for white balance?



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