The Making of "Mirror City"

How the winning photo of the "Urban Landscape" contest was made

By miklog in Photo Contests on Jun 3, 2022

"Mirror City"

I am honored that “Mirror City” won the Pentaxforums “Urban Landscape” contest in April 2022. Thank You very much for the votes and congratulations to all finalists!

The picture was taken on June 22, 2016 during one of my many photo walks through New York City. On the sidewalk next to the intersection of East 47th Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan I walked along a greenbelt lined with medium-sized trees bordered by a stone wall. I spotted the words JPMorgan Chase & Co on the wall and paused to look at Google Maps on my phone. So, the building next to me was the New York headquarters of the largest bank in the US?! As far as I could see other tall towers of steel, glass, and concrete lined along Park Avenue.The wall's polished stone surface, made of black granite, struck me as an elegantly matching vanishing line.

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The time was almost 7pm and a few people wearing jackets and ties walked in my direction. I thought that these must be the office workers who previously worked in the towers. Observing how the dark stone surface reflected the afternoon light I placed my Ricoh GR camera in portrait orientation flat on the black granite and adjusted the angle so that the tree leaves were included in half of the frame. As a counterpoint, the stoic lines of the buildings projected upwards and sidewards. Appropriately, elongated shadows appeared in their midst, casting from the buildings across the street. I remembered seeing something visually similar before in the form of an audio equalizer level meter (aka when K.I.T.T speaks). The camera settings were my preferred ones for making street photography. Av-mode with AUTO-ISO 100-3200 and a minimum shutter speed of 1/250 sec. I set the aperture to f/4.0, looked at the screen and waited until the passers-by got nearer to the middle of the picture. After making this picture I continued making more pictures with other passers-by.

According to Google Maps Street View the place no longer exists in this form. The soothing green belt of trees has given way to a construction site with green painted privacy barriers.

I don't want to waste a lot of words about the basic editing procedure. I boosted the exposure, adjusted the colors, set a slight S shaped tone curve and added a bit of sharpness. You can see the changes in the below before and after picture (click the image to enlarge). In addition I attached screenshots of the settings made in the Lightroom development modules.

Once again thank You for selecting “Mirror City” as the winner of the April 2022 contest at Pentaxforums! Please let me know if you have any more questions, critiques or suggestions about the image or anything related.

- miklog

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