Film Photography: The Financial District, NYC

We live in the Financial District and I think it's one of the most stunning neighborhoods of NYC. It always reminds me of Batman's Gotham. In many ways it's a photographer's dream, but even I don't shoot much here. Lately, I've tried to finish off rolls of film as I'm coming home, and of course it's tricky to get good shots if you include the street and the sky. Even on sunny days, you can find yourself in shadow on a narrow, curving street between walls of stone, glass, and granite. If you expose correctly for the street, the sky will be too bright and washed out. If you expose according to the sky, then the street will be in dark shadow. It's all about timing and selection. Lately, I've enjoyed shooting at night with very little light and then during the day I've tried using a medium yellow filter to diminish the brightness of the sky. By day the Financial District is packed with Wall Streeters and tourists, but at night our neighborhood is a different place. Instead of hordes of camera snapping tourists and financial types, lone figures lit up by streetlights or storefront windows walk the street. Normally the people you see are in a hurry to get someplace else.

Darkened figure walking on Broadway, just north of Wall Street

Late Commuter with Umbrella walking between Water and Pearl Street in the Financial District

Here's a pedestrian version of looking up at the Twenty Exchange Place building. This building has become one of my favorite buildings in NYC. At 741 ft. tall, it was the 4th tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1931. Now it barely registers among the tallest buildings in Manhattan. But I see it every day, several times a day in every kind of light. I think it's gorgeous.

And just tweaking your viewpoint just a little makes a MUCH better image with lines leading the viewer's eyes properly. Same building, almost the exact same spot.

All images are shot with the Nikon FM2n and Nikkor 28mm f2.8 Ai-S MF lens on Kodak Tri-X 400 film exposed and developed at box speed in Kodak Tmax Developer (1+4) for 6 minutes.