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(New York Magazine)   Iwan Baan tells how he got the iconic shot of a darkened Manhattan on the cover of New York magazine--it involved luckily being in town, a $2000 rental car, a drive halfway across Long Island, a brand-new camera, and 2500 shots to get a sharp image   (nymag.com) divider line 30
    More: Followup, Long Island, Manhattan, New York, rental car, modern architecture, rescue missions  
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6764 clicks; posted to Geek » on 09 Nov 2012 at 4:26 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-09 04:26:31 PM  
80 percent of the shots are a blur, 10 percent are maybe useable, and 1 percent were really sharp.

And the other 9% were... with the lens cap on?
 
2012-11-09 04:28:56 PM  
So, you're saying it was easy then?
 
2012-11-09 04:30:54 PM  
Still pretty lit the fark up...


INb4 BUT THIS I NU' ORK!!
 
2012-11-09 04:48:49 PM  
The amount of noise in the 'sharp' pictures is something to notice. You'd have to be a frickin' brain surgeon to nail that image.
 
2012-11-09 04:50:43 PM  

Gig103: 80 percent of the shots are a blur, 10 percent are maybe useable, and 1 percent were really sharp.

And the other 9% were... with the lens cap on?


Come on, he's a photographer, not a numerologist.
 
2012-11-09 04:53:12 PM  
I like #4, guess who has a backup generator biatches?
 
2012-11-09 04:56:12 PM  

Jedekai: The amount of noise in the 'sharp' pictures is something to notice. You'd have to be a frickin' brain surgeon to nail that image.


What's that noise? (NSFW)
 
2012-11-09 04:56:38 PM  

Gig103: 80 percent of the shots are a blur, 10 percent are maybe useable, and 1 percent were really sharp.

And the other 9% were... with the lens cap on?


Decent but not spectacular?
 
2012-11-09 05:00:22 PM  
"Iconic"?
 
2012-11-09 05:00:56 PM  
just take the photo, we'll fix it in post.
 
2012-11-09 05:51:24 PM  
Part of me says "Why were resources diverted to this guy? It's only a photograph, and people were dying out there"

On the other hand, these photographs are immensely important records, and beautifully executed.

Oh well... Who said it was easy.
 
2012-11-09 05:53:48 PM  
Great photos!
 
2012-11-09 06:13:59 PM  
Iwan is a great photographer. His speciality is actually architecture and most of the top-architects in the world hire him to document their work, so he flies all around the world to photograph buildings.

I worked with him on a project many years before he was famous, and I've been following his progress ever since.
 
2012-11-09 06:38:32 PM  

Tillmaster: Part of me says "Why were resources diverted to this guy? It's only a photograph, and people were dying out there"

On the other hand, these photographs are immensely important records, and beautifully executed.

Oh well... Who said it was easy.


Because resources were not "diverted" to this guy. He paid for the rental car himself, and then paid for the helicopter himself. Which of course, makes me wonder how much he sold the photo for.
 
2012-11-09 07:21:50 PM  

Jedekai: The amount of noise in the 'sharp' pictures is something to notice. You'd have to be a frickin' brain surgeon to nail that image.


It's not so much a matter of holding the camera steady in his hands while trying for a long exposure as that he's in a helicopter that's moving and vibrating while trying for a long exposure shot. That he got anything remotely sharp is a wonder. Looking at the noise and knowing the camera model, then checking review sample shots, I'd guess he had to bump the ISO up to 25600 and avoid using much noise reduction to avoid blurring out the windows. Real good shots considering the situation.

miniflea: Because resources were not "diverted" to this guy. He paid for the rental car himself, and then paid for the helicopter himself. Which of course, makes me wonder how much he sold the photo for.


The helicopter he hired could've been used to help those in need instead of being hired out to a photographer. The car and the fuel it was using, much the same. Doesn't matter if he paid for them or not; they were limited resources in a disaster zone that could only serve one function at a time: to render immediate aid or to document and possibly help more in the long run or not. It's a big gray area in terms of photographic ethics. Should he use his resources to help those in distress or to record said distress for the history books? The question will probably remained unanswered, but remains one that hounds professional photographers. They remember the example of Kevin Carter.
 
2012-11-09 08:30:20 PM  
TFA: "So as a precaution I had already booked a rental car for the day after, just in case." But when he got to Hertz in Manhattan, they had run out of vehicles. "I made kind of a scene," Baan admitted, "and in the end they said, 'We have a car for you but it's at JFK Airport and instead of $300, it's now $2,000 for the week.'

Sounds about right for rental car companies. Stay classy, Hertz.
 
2012-11-09 08:41:28 PM  
Im familiar with his work and with what happened to him. My own opinion is that documentation within reason is important. There is an unfortunate tendency for people to disbelieve the horrific. Being able to point to photos and say 'this happened. You cannot pretend it did not' is very important.
 
2012-11-09 08:44:13 PM  

Tom-Servo: Jedekai: The amount of noise in the 'sharp' pictures is something to notice. You'd have to be a frickin' brain surgeon to nail that image.

What's that noise? (NSFW)


Gosh, you've listened to that crap?
 
2012-11-09 08:45:51 PM  
2500 shots?

Under those circumstances?

I'm surprised but not that surprised.

Heck, I thought it was a photoshop/CG pic, anyway.
 
2012-11-09 09:13:08 PM  

Diogenes Teufelsdrockh: The helicopter he hired could've been used to help those in need instead of being hired out to a photographer. The car and the fuel it was using, much the same. Doesn't matter if he paid for them or not; they were limited resources in a disaster zone that could only serve one function at a time: to render immediate aid or to document and possibly help more in the long run or not. It's a big gray area in terms of photographic ethics. Should he use his resources to help those in distress or to record said distress for the history books? The question will probably remained unanswered, but remains one that hounds professional photographers. They remember the example of Kevin Carter.


As a photographer I can tell you it's not quite so simple as that. Sometimes you just become part of the process. Yes, it means you become detached. But it's not like you make that decision consciously. It just happens, and at that point it hardly matters whether you're filming someone else's tragedy or your own. If I were on a shore when a Hollywood-style 100' tidal wave was arriving, I would probably just stand there and shoot it if I knew the footage would probably survive. Now, I am no war correspondent or anything, so the worst I have to put up with is a bunch of images of things that I have barely any memory of experiencing. It might as well have been someone else taking the pictures. I become secondary to the result.

/2 cents
 
2012-11-09 09:56:40 PM  

Zombalupagus: As a photographer I can tell you it's not quite so simple as that. Sometimes you just become part of the process. Yes, it means you become detached. But it's not like you make that decision consciously. It just happens, and at that point it hardly matters whether you're filming someone else's tragedy or your own. If I were on a shore when a Hollywood-style 100' tidal wave was arriving, I would probably just stand there and shoot it if I knew the footage would probably survive. Now, I am no war correspondent or anything, so the worst I have to put up with is a bunch of images of things that I have barely any memory of experiencing. It might as well have been someone else taking the pictures. I become secondary to the result.

/2 cents



I went through this last night when I watched video of the Station Fire.

Wiki -- Fire broke out during a concert in a Rhode Island nightclub. Six minutes later, the fire had killed 100 of the 463 people in attendance.

The cameraman who recorded it, Brian Butler from WPRI-TV of Providence, was an absolute boss.

Mostly he recorded the fire. But at 5:00, he went to the club's back exit to offer help, but the exit was abandoned. Then he returned to the club's front entrance where people are logjammed, trampled and burning alive. Creepy.

Part of me wanted him to save those dying people. But he did what he was supposed to do -- offer help where it matters and otherwise document the events.
 
2012-11-09 10:02:43 PM  
Also, Brian Butler of WPRI-TV in Providence didn't ruin his video by chanting "oh shiat" or "World Star Hip Hop." More videographers should take his lead.
 
2012-11-09 10:09:55 PM  
Pretty sure there was a helicopter involved as well.
 
2012-11-10 12:20:30 AM  

Zombalupagus:
As a photographer I can tell you it's not quite so simple as that. ...


Never thought that "gray area" and "question that will remain unanswered" was ever "simple as that". My point was to address what the previous poster may have considered the resources squandered and a brief touch on the ethics of it.

thenateman: The cameraman who recorded it, Brian Butler from WPRI-TV of Providence, was an absolute boss.
...
Part of me wanted him to save those dying people. But he did what he was supposed to do -- offer help where it matters and otherwise document the events.


Seeing those people wedged in the door screaming is nightmare fuel.

Since I seem to have been tapped

The thing is, Butler didn't hire a firetruck and use its ladder to take overhead shots of the crowds and fire rather than let it be used by emergency crews. He didn't use a resource that could been used very effectively to directly render aid to those who needed it and put it to use to take shots. That seems to be the problem with the ethics of the situation some in this thread have had, not that Baan didn't go out and help on the ground, but that he used a specialized, limited resource in high demand that could've had significant impact on helping others shortly after a significant disaster event.

Who is right if anyone? That remains the question.

/Not a professional photographer, just a hobbyist who was wondered about these ethics and "what would/should/could I do?"
 
2012-11-10 01:21:01 AM  

Diogenes Teufelsdrockh: Jedekai: The amount of noise in the 'sharp' pictures is something to notice. You'd have to be a frickin' brain surgeon to nail that image.

It's not so much a matter of holding the camera steady in his hands while trying for a long exposure as that he's in a helicopter that's moving and vibrating while trying for a long exposure shot. That he got anything remotely sharp is a wonder. Looking at the noise and knowing the camera model, then checking review sample shots, I'd guess he had to bump the ISO up to 25600 and avoid using much noise reduction to avoid blurring out the windows. Real good shots considering the situation.

miniflea: Because resources were not "diverted" to this guy. He paid for the rental car himself, and then paid for the helicopter himself. Which of course, makes me wonder how much he sold the photo for.

The helicopter he hired could've been used to help those in need instead of being hired out to a photographer. The car and the fuel it was using, much the same. Doesn't matter if he paid for them or not; they were limited resources in a disaster zone that could only serve one function at a time: to render immediate aid or to document and possibly help more in the long run or not. It's a big gray area in terms of photographic ethics. Should he use his resources to help those in distress or to record said distress for the history books? The question will probably remained unanswered, but remains one that hounds professional photographers. They remember the example of Kevin Carter.


To your response to me:

I shoot spiders, most notably black widow spiders in dark places with macro lenses, I'm a fan of Pentax glass and Canon bodies, but if I have the ability, Pentax all the way through (I learned on it, know it's limits, etc...) and still find that every time I look at the hard-resolution images of this shot, almost a full day later, I still get that shudder of, "Fark. That's a Pulitzer."

He deserves it. A shot no one will get, capturing a moment in human/American (make your own judgment) history that no one else could, with the equipment few people have... THIS, folks, THIS is why print will end. You don't just see a pretty image, you see what he did, and all the pages of papyrus in Ancient Egypt aren't worth that one in twenty-five hundred shot.

Farking beautifully frightening, as news photography should be.
 
2012-11-10 01:25:36 AM  

Diogenes Teufelsdrockh: The helicopter he hired could've been used to help those in need instead of being hired out to a photographer. The car and the fuel it was using, much the same. Doesn't matter if he paid for them or not; they were limited resources in a disaster zone that could only serve one function at a time: to render immediate aid or to document and possibly help more in the long run or not. It's a big gray area in terms of photographic ethics. Should he use his resources to help those in distress or to record said distress for the history books? The question will probably remained unanswered, but remains one that hounds professional photographers. They remember the example of Kevin Carter.


Unless the helicopter was a EMS/Police/Military helicopter, it probably wouldn't be much use in rescue operations. TFA doesn't say what kind it was, but if he was able to get enough cash from an ATM for it, it was probably a Robinson R22 or R44 which are very small two or four seat 'cheap' helicopters. As for the car and fuel, the gas lines weren't until the next day, so no issue there.
 
2012-11-10 04:27:19 AM  
I just wanted to point out that "reserving a rental car" before a disaster is as much of a disaster plan as putting a generator on layaway and buying a gas card. It still ain't gonna be there AFTER the disaster hits
 
2012-11-10 04:58:58 AM  
Pretty impressive angle from a car. Was it formerly owned by M.A.S.K.?
 
2012-11-10 07:11:16 AM  
We have a car for you but it's at JFK Airport and instead of $300, it's now $2,000 for the week.

Isn't that gouging, and illegal?
 
2012-11-10 12:03:37 PM  

Diogenes Teufelsdrockh: That seems to be the problem with the ethics of the situation some in this thread have had, not that Baan didn't go out and help on the ground, but that he used a specialized, limited resource in high demand that could've had significant impact on helping others shortly after a significant disaster event.


IMO he shouldn't have spent at least some of his time, or had a second person in the helicopter, in order to assist. They could have spent some of their time, at the very least, to get an aerial view to relay information to people on the ground. Perhaps, like Carter, this decision will come back to haunt him.

At any rate I'm not saying I agree with what he did, I'm just saying that I understand it.

/lots of thought-provoking comments in this thread
 
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