Recently I made my annual trip to attend Photo Plus Expo in New York City. The event is all consuming and I often do not have time to get away from the convention to visit sites within the city. This years event was dampened by rain for the better part of the morning but a good friend suggested we have lunch at Blue Smoke down on Vesey Street, at Battery Park. Since I am a Southerner, I will never pass up the opportunity to score some Barbecue and a good IPA. What I did not realize having arrived by taxi in the pouring rain was how close we were to The World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial. As lunched progressed the rain began to move out and I could see the light changing through the big windows of the restaurant.
I had left my Fuji X-T2, my 14mm f1.4, and my 23mm f1.4 back at the Expo with Fuji for cleaning and a basic check-up, so all I had with me was my trusty Fuji X-Pro 2 and the Fujinon XF14mm R f2.8. I emerged from the Blue Smoke and looking to the left saw the soaring sky scraper, it's upper reaches enveloped in misty clouds. Without thinking about my settings I quickly grabbed a few shots. Only later did I realize that during the X-Pro 2's cleaning at the Expo, Fuji had reset my defaults so my first few captures were all Fine JPEG's. Not to worry though as the Fuji JPEG's are beautifully rendered and in this instance the Acros NeoPan Film Emulation gave me a wonderful, mysterious rendering. The image capture below was the first I made in my hour long walk around the Trade Center.
From there I moved across the street and took the underground PATH walkway to the Oculus. This is simply an amazing space. Giant rib-like structures rise upward and support an arching transom of glass panels. Glass between the ribs allow views of the city on the outside. The whole thing is like being inside the belly of a giant creature and looking up through its ribs. It is a beautiful and uplifting space, full of light and energy. The image below will give you a sense of scale as it is over three stories from the floor to the exit, and I can only guess at how high it is at the apex of the vault. Entering from the underground walkway it is hard to fathom that you are actually well below street grade.
Exiting from the Oculus at Street Level, at the 9/11 Memorial Plaza provides you with a view of the soaring, faceted, glazed skin of The World Trade Center Tower. But looking behind, you discover the external structure of the Oculus where the structural fins sweep upward and the full extent of the skeleton-like architecture is revealed. It stands in stark contrast to the buildings around the site and like a great rift in the fabric rises up in a great exaltant celebration.
Moving out from the Oculus the view opens up and reveals the faceted, glass-skinned tower of The World Trade Center Tower. Rising in the shadow of the foot prints of the original Twin Towers, it towers above the Memorial Plaza. It is so tall it almost loses any sense of scale when viewed from below. The glass reflects everything like a mirror and on this day it seemingly merged into the clouds. I had only a little time to walk about and everywhere I looked there were images to make. One poignant shot was the image below, where I captured an airplane passing between The World Trade Center and a companion tower. I did not notice this until I looked at the files on the computer. I know many planes now pass overhead but it still is an eerie image to me.
This was an amazing hour of time. The last time I visited this area the tower was still under construction and had only reached half of its total height. Now the Memorial Plaza is complete, the Oculus is open, and the Trade Center Tower soars into the sky. Though I would have liked to have had a few of my other lenses it was a nice change of pace to shoot with the X-Pro 2 and one lens. In the short time I had I quickly searched out vantage points to capture the tower and the simple controls on the Fuji allowed me to concentrate on making images. Once I discovered my settings had been changed during the cameras cleaning I reset everything and shot in RAW+F JPEG, and set my Picture Control to the Acros NeoPan +R Film Emulation. I shoot a great deal of the time in Black and White mode so I can readily look at the compositional shapes without the distraction of color. With the RAW +F Settings I gain the benefit of a color version and a B+W JPEG. All the files were imported into Adobe LR for cataloging and keyboarding but the RAW work was performed in Adobe ACR. I have discovered that ACR actually performs much better on fine, high-frequency detail resident in the X-Trans III files. I cannot explain this but there seems to be a difference between the two processing engines. I definitely want to spend more time here on my next visit. But on this day I had the benefit of some great weather and fantastic camera in my hands. And I almost forgot, we had some great Barbecue at the Blue Smoke. Thanks for stopping by! RHC