Shooting Iconic Images

Today’s Post by Mildred Alpern

Freedom Tower’s rise

Unfurled from a wind-blown flag

Strengthens nation’s ties

Suppose the subject we shoot is a familiar one, a highly recognizable iconic image. Then why another? For example, Freedom Tower, the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, New York, has been photographed a zillion times. There are so many gorgeous images of this building. Can one more be fresh and captivating? Something to ponder.

Living in New York gives me the opportunity, from a car’s passenger seat or from the street, to make images of the Freedom Tower. But recently, I had the chance to shoot from a wooden boat sailing up-and-down the Hudson River past this tallest skyscraper in New York City. In case of spray, I had my mirrorless weather-sealed camera and lens.

One shot of Freedom Tower, set back from other buildings along the riverbank with bordering yachts resembling miniature toys, exhibited its soaring height and dominance of the sky. The yellow NY water taxi passing by added a splash of vibrant color. Another image, serving as an out-of-focus background to a puffed-out American flag, conflated the nation’s response to the 9/11 tragedy. The flag on the boat’s stern rippled by summery breezes was a lucky happenstance that enabled me to get that image after numerous tries.



Beyond the obvious, I see the images as metaphors for resurgent indomitable power (photo 1) and as patriotic national unity (photo 2). A haiku (5-7-5 three-line pattern of seventeen syllables) above expresses my intent.

And so, a couple more shots are added to the zillions. Why not?

Both images were shot with the Olympus E-M5 and the Olympus Zuiko 12-40 f/2.8 Pro lens. The first at 15mm, with an exposure of 1/2500 sec at f/5.6 and an ISO of 400; the second at 40mm, with an exposure of 1/2500 at f/5.6, an ISO of 400 and +2/3 EV.