Newsletter Issue 5 (Tribute in Light; Milky Way Photography)
This issue is dedicated to the recent ‘Tribute in Light’ display, which is an incredible annual tribute commemorating September 11th. Additionally, you can find a guide on Milky Way photography!
Michael Silverstone is a photographer based in New York City. He specializes in train, landscape, and city photography. Michael currently shoots with a Sony Alpha A7RII, alternating between four lenses. On any given day or night, you can find him capturing one of NYC’s iconic landmarks, or shooting from a subway platform deep in Brooklyn.
A hiking trip to the Canadian Rockies in June 2017 (specifically a starry night over Pyramid and Patricia Lakes in Jasper, Alberta) was the inspiration for Michael’s photography journey. Upon returning to NYC, he purchased his first camera the very next day.
Michael’s work has been shared by the marketing organization NYC & Company, and has been featured on multiple local cable news outlets, including Spectrum News NY1, FOX 5 New York, and ABC7 Eyewitness News. He also serves as a mod for the popular Instagram photography hubs @NYCPrimeshot and @USAPrimeshot. These hubs feature the work of local and national creators, and organize and run photography meet-ups/networking events around NYC in collaboration with other hubs, and with the participation of sponsors.
Michael enjoys playing guitar, attending concerts, and studying New York City’s bizarre and captivating history.
Sony Alpha A7RII
Tamron 17–28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD
Tamron 28–75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD
Sony FE 85mm f/1.8
Sony FE 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6 G OSS
Leading up to September 11th, the organizers behind the annual ‘Tribute in Light’ commemoration perform sporadic tests of the lights after sunset. These tests can range from 10 minutes to 4 hours. On Friday September 4th, we were lucky because the testing of the lights lasted all night. Here are shots from my Lower Manhattan adventure on that night.
Pictured below is the Trinity Church Cemetery at Wall Street and Broadway. Did you know that Alexander Hamilton is buried here?
The ‘Fearless Girl’ statue, originally installed in 2017 directly across from the famous Wall Street Bull, has found a permanent home across from the New York Stock Exchange. Even my 17–28mm lens couldn’t catch this full scene, so I had to rely on the far wider angle capabilities of my iPhone 11.
Sometimes, you gotta do crazy things for THE shot. By doing this…
…I was able to capture this!
Taken from the staircase of the Cortlandt Street R/W station, with @quentinmui.photos in frame.
Another shot of the tower lights over the NYSE.
Besides a busy evening shooting the tower lights, I’m still editing helicopter shots from my FlyNYON flight in August. Can you identify this neighborhood?
Milky Way Photography
This past weekend, I went camping with friends in the Catskill Mountains, which presented a rare opportunity to capture the Milky Way. In case you were curious, here are some of the many components and factors of Milky Way Photography:
- A wide lens (in both focal length and aperture*) — when it comes to the proper equipment, you need a lens that is capable of capturing the vastness of the Milky Way galaxy, in addition to a TON of light. Remember, the Milky Way is rarely (if ever) visible to the naked eye, and you’d be hard-pressed to ever see its vibrant colors and details without the assistance of technology. My go-to Milky Way lens is the Tamron 17–28mm/f2.8.
*For all you non-photographers, aperture refers to the hole in your lens through which light travels. The lower the number = the wider the aperture = the more light you can let in. The average kit lens or digital camera lens has a maximum wide aperture of f/4.5–5.6, so f/2.8 can bring in a TON of light.
- Milky Way season— the Milky Way is only visible in the Northern Hemisphere from March through October!
- Clear skies — this is a given. To see the Milky Way (or stars in general), we don’t want any clouds.
- Little to no light pollution — Light pollution is the presence of natural or artificial light. We most associate it with populous cities and areas. The presence of light pollution will drastically hinder the conditions required for Milky Way viewing, and often stargazing. Remember, the cosmos are always there, but it’s often light pollution that blocks it from our sight. Therefore, especially if you live in a city, go far far away, and find a place tucked away into the mountains.
- New Moon Phase — without a doubt, a full moon is a beautiful site. On the flip side, it’s a Milky Way photographer’s worst enemy. Remember, light pollution can also be caused by the presence of natural light, and a full moon will dramatically brighten the sky to the point of hiding the Milky Way. During the New Moon phase, the visibility of the moon is in the form of a very thin crescent.
I’m sure there are many other scientific and photographic components that I’m missing, but these are the main ones! Here are the result of my shoot:
Williamsburg at Night
In conclusion, here’s a shot I took of some iconic Williamsburg and Manhattan landmarks!
To see all prints for sale (including many of the images above), check out my shop site!
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!