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Bill Cotter

Night time on the New York State Pavilion observation deck

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The moon looks extraordinarily bright for a overcast night such as this.

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For a full moon to be in that location, the picture would have to be taken just before sunrise, so it must be the sun; but wow, it seems a lot dimmer than you would expect compared to the pavilions.

Calculation of the field of view based on the diameter of the sun's image says this is a telephoto shot with a 35mm camera lens equivalent of about 93 mm, so about a 2x normal zoom.

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Well the photographer is looking due west (you can see the Port Authority roof in the background, in addition to the US Rubber giant tire), but is this a sunset or a moonrise?  It looks like a sunset, with a awful lot of smog in the background.  Thing is, I don't remember NY being that smoggy.  

But it certainly is dark at ground level.

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40 minutes ago, sunguar said:

 ...the photographer is looking due west...but is this a sunset or a moonrise? 

If you can find a place where the moon rises in the west, let us know!  ;)

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1 hour ago, waynebretl said:

If you can find a place where the moon rises in the west, let us know!  ;)

Good point.  (I assume you're talking about planet Earth.)

But that is an awful lot of smog to have the lights on with the sun still up in the sky.

(Reminds me of my Drivers Ed class in school.  The police instructor asked the class: "Do you turn your headlights on a half hour before or after or sunset?  One girl in the class answered:"Before".  He mercilessly taunted her: "You mean you turn your headlights on while the sun is still up there bright in the sky?"

Some minor things you never forget.)

But the lights are definitely on in this picture.

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With the sun at that height, it was maybe 10 or 15 minutes before sunset, everything was lit at about 2.4 degrees, so there would be very little light directly on the ground (4% of mid-day, even if it was clear). Plus, most areas would be completely shaded by the buildings. It's still surprizing how dark it is.

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3 hours ago, waynebretl said:

With the sun at that height, it was maybe 10 or 15 minutes before sunset, everything was lit at about 2.4 degrees, so there would be very little light directly on the ground (4% of mid-day, even if it was clear). Plus, most areas would be completely shaded by the buildings. It's still surprizing how dark it is.

Possible exposure issue? The majority of the slide was very dark except for the Sun - perhaps he metered on that?

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3 hours ago, Bill Cotter said:

Possible exposure issue? The majority of the slide was very dark except for the Sun - perhaps he metered on that?

Bill, how much did you brighten the dark areas? The thing that's surprising is that the US Royal lights and Port Authority lights are as bright as they are compared to the sun and the surrounding grounds/buildings. Is the original much darker everywhere else (including the lighted signs) besides the sun, compared to what we see on the posted image? Maybe that's the confusion, you've just done a good job of bringing up the shadow detail. :blush:

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OK, it makes more sense then. Yes, must have been metered for the sun (but no way to say if done intentionally). Slides have very little overexposure latitude, just like digital cameras. Unfortunately, at the time, there was no process for recovering the deep shadows in a slide if you exposed for the sun, as we can with digital scanning today.

A professional deliberately trying to capture this scene on slide film would probably take several bracketed exposures, then choose the one that showed acceptible detail in the fairgrounds and let the sun blow out however much it had to.

[Actually, careful hand printing with heavy dodging and burning could do something, but doing that with slides rather than negatives would have been rare, and the original slide would still be very dark and contrasty.]

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