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Edition #124, April 15, 2010

Panorama, 9/11

Photographer: Mike Sullivan

                                                   Photo by Mike Sullivan

Panorama, 9/11

On a rainy September 11th, 2009, I went to the top of the Terminal Tower in Hoboken, NJ with the intent of reshooting a panoramic image of the World Trade Center Memorial Towers of Light. I was working that night and I had a quick turn around time in the station so I didnít have much time to waste.

As soon as my train arrived in the terminal, I gathered up my gear and headed for the tower. This is when the mist started to become a steady drizzle. I knew I didnít have much longer until a full downpour was washing down on the whole area.

When I got up to the top of the building I quickly set up my tripod right at the edge and lined it up with the middle of the platform between tracks 7 and 8. Mounted the camera, powered up and attached my 17mm wide lens. I was particularly excited to shoot this because I had shot this same scene the year before on a camera with an APC-C sensor. This time I was going to capture it with a 35mm sensor.

I put my eye up to the view and started to take a few test photos to make sure my exposure was correct when the steady drizzle started to get a little heavier. I was worried about raindrops getting on the lens as a nice wind was blowing through from time to time. I did my best to cover the lens with my hand and some paperwork I had in my pocket.

Without any further delay I started shooting my scene from North to South. The only train in the terminal was on Track 14 and was not scheduled to leave any time soon. This was good, as I would not have to worry about it moving in the middle of shooting. Of course though, you canít always get what you want. During the 4th photo, a train approached the terminal on Track 5. Thanks to the width of my 17mm lens, I captured to motion of the train rolling towards the block.  Was not to happy about this as now I had to wait to reshoot that image when the train fully disappeared below the sheds in weather that was getting worse by the minute.

As soon as the marker lights vanished I swept the camera south for the remaining 4 images. I quickly browsed over them and started thinking about doing a second sweep just to have another set to work with when the sky opened up on me. I packed my gear away in record time and came back into the tower. The rain showed no signs of letting up before my train left so I decided to stick to my guns and use what I had.

I setup my next westbound for Suffern, NY and we took off. On the ride home from Suffern, the rain had stopped and the cloud cover rose incredibly high. The Towers of Light could be seen for miles. Just an hour before, they didnít reach any higher than the surrounding buildings and disappeared into the heavy cloud cover.

Despite the horrible weather, I put the image together later that night and what you see above is the final result. This is my tribute to all who where killed, wounded and effected in any way by the September 11th, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The photo is composed of 7 slightly overlapped images at 2 second, f/2.8, ISO 400 on a Sony Alpha α900 and was composed in Adobe Photoshop CS4.

Mike Sullivan

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