Here’s a concept that will take some explaining: I got this photo around noon. I shot this photo about six hours later.
It all comes down to visualization.
This December 2008 photo shows tourists in New York City standing on the glowing ruby red staircase at the north end of Times Square with a video billboard across the street in the background. Around noon, when I was walking through Times Square on the way to a business lunch, this would be a rather boring photo.
But I noticed the video billboard, showing a Pontiac commercial, looped through various scenes of the car. One scene started with flames before dissolving into an image of the car. I made a mental note of that and decided to come back after dark to get a photo with people silhouetted against the flames.
Six hours later I cut through Times Square on the way to dinner and shot a few frames of what I had visualized at midday. I underexposed by two-thirds of a stop to be sure I captured the detail of the flames on the billboard while turning the people into silhouettes.
A quick check of the camera’s display told me the shot I visualized at noon was now stored on the memory card.
The ruby red stairs rise above the TKTS booth in Times Square. The TKTS booth, which sells discount same-day tickets to Broadway plays, faces north toward 47th Street. The glowing stairs face south, rising 27 steps – or more than 16 feet – above street level to provide an excellent view of Times Square.
About the photographer
I’m a photo hobbyist who lives in Hilliard, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. I typically spend several mornings each week in the woods of local parks, photographing birds and other wildlife. I also enjoy shooting sporting events and photographing different cities when I travel around the country.
I began doing photography in the pre-digital, pre-autofocus, pre-Internet 1970s. I had a color darkroom in the basement of our house in our hometown, Ashland, Ky., and on occasion would shoot for the newspaper where I worked first as a sports writer, then as city editor. But I put the camera away in the 1980s after burning out from too many of those "hey can you" photo jobs – “hey can you shoot my son's Little League team," or "hey can you shoot my daughter's wedding." I reached the point where I dreaded picking up the camera.
After taking a vacation from photography for more than 20 years, I was using my daughter’s point-and-shoot digital camera to get some photos of her first college tennis match in fall 2004 (she played four years at the University of Akron) and realized how much I missed photography. After doing the “Nikon or Canon” research, I bought a Canon digital SLR , started adding lenses – that’s my Canon 600 f/4L, the lens I use for wildlife and some sports photography, in the photo above – and have been shooting ever since.