The annual “Tribute in Light” memorial honoring victims and in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks lit up the sky again in lower Manhattan on Wednesday, the 12th anniversary of 9/11. I had about an hour to photograph the lights from Hoboken before my train left, so I took my tripod along to work and gave it a shot.Shooting the lights with a tripod and a remote cable release is actually pretty easy. I put the camera in bulb mode and just opened the shutter for random amounts of time to see what worked and looked cool. Some were a little too bright, some looked perfect. As usual, I adjusted the white balance in my camera as I went, changing the colors of the sky and lights and reflections to wonderful hues of yellow, blue, purple and orange.I started off at Frank Sinatra Park in Hoboken, which is about a five minute walk from the train station. It’s a huge pier out into the Hudson and at the every end, you get an unobstructed view of Manhattan.
I only brought one lens with me, my 16-35mm f/2.8 Canon. Admittedly, Hoboken isn’t the most ideal angle for shooting the lights as you can’t see both distinct beams of light, and there’s really nothing else dramatic to work into the composition (Google the memorial and you’ll see wicked images that include the Statue of Liberty or bridges or the Empire State Building. I worked until 11:30 and then took a PATH train to Hoboken, so I had literally no such options). However, that didn’t stop me from going wide and working in some other stuff. Above you can see the tip of Jersey City and the [insanely overpriced] Verrazano Bridge connecting Staten Island in the distance.
Below, I framed in the old clock tower from the Hoboken train station, an iconic part of the waterfront town but also a nice touch to the image. It’s unusual and something I haven’t seen done before (although I’m sure it has). Again, changing the camera’s white balance provided different coloring. I further enhanced that with the “variations” and “photo filter” options in Photoshop to bring out some more of the colors. These two images above and below were taken from the train station’s southern-most walkway. For more than a year now, they’ve had this disgusting barge with a crane parked right in this spot, obstructing the view of the city. I can’t imagine it’s actually done any work or construction since there’s literally nothing there but water and the old dock sticking out of the water. For whatever reason, they boats and cranes were gone and I had a nice clear look at the WTC lights.
Unfortunately, from this angle, you’re stuck with that ugly rectangular-looking building on the right. It’s a ventilation structure, part of the Holland Tunnel. There is really nothing good you can say about it being in the image, but whatever.Here, I cropped that sucker out. Adios! You can see the edge of the walkway on the right in this shot — it’s right near the Hoboken light rail station. For reasons that I’m sure no one — not even NJ Transit — could ever explain, this entire area has been fenced off since Hurricane Sandy last October. Zero damage, nothing dangerous or sketchy about it. You just can’t walk on most of it anymore. So, this position was the furthest I could go toward the water (it was taken right against the railing). The longer exposures tend to smooth out the water surface and reflect the light a little more. I loved this look but the crop is a little weird I guess. More color but less skyline: