Architecture Photographer Explains How He Captured That Remarkable New York Magazine Cover Shot

Shooting in the dark, with a handheld camera, in a vibrating helicopter, 5,000 feet above land sounds like a photographer’s nightmare. But Iwan Baan made it look easy. The Dutch photographer’s image of a half-illuminated, half-powerless New York City in the wake of Hurricane Sandy captured the nation’s attention on the cover of New York magazine.

  “It was the only way to show that New York was two cities, almost. One was almost like a third world country where everything was becoming scarce. Everything was complicated. And then another was a completely vibrant, alive New York.”

 Baan made the image Wednesday night after the storm, using the new Canon 1D X with the new 24-70mm/2.8L II lens on full open aperture. The camera was set at 25,000 ISO, with a 1/40th of a second shutter speed. “[It was] the kind of shot which was impossible to take before this camera was there,” Baan said.

 It was more difficult to rent a car than a helicopter in New York the day after Sandy, Baan said. And because there was such limited air traffic so soon after the storm, air traffic control allowed Baan and the helicopter to hover very high above the city, a powerful advantage for the photo. “With these aerials you shoot a lot, bursts of images, to finally pick one out there which is sharp,” Baan said. “It’s difficult if it’s freezing outside, you don’t have a door, helicopter is moving and vibrating, etc., but you really work towards an idea, visualization of that image which you have in mind.” “In a way, it all worked out perfectly,” Baan said. “You never know when something like this happens. If one thing would have changed, the picture wouldn’t exist.” [via poynter]
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