NYC Experience – Times Square

Times Square
1/8 sec @ f/8 and ISO 200

A great way to start a New York City experience is to visit the ever-bustling Times Square.  We started our evening with a great dinner at Tony’s Di Napoli just off Times Square, then headed to the New Amsterdam Theater at 42nd Street to see a splendid performance of Disney’s musical “Aladdin” (a present from the kids for The Signifcant Other). I was a bit concerned bringing my camera into the theater, but it turned out to be no problem whatsoever, as long as the cam stayed in the bag during the show, where photography was obviously not allowed. I needed to have it with me, as after the show we wanted to have our Times Square experience with a chance for me for some night photography. For the images continue after the jump…

Times Square
1/60 sec @ f/4 and ISO 1600

My gear for our week in the Big Apple was my Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the mZuiko 12-100mm F/4 Pro Zoom. The 12-100 (24-200 in full frame due to the m43 crop factor of 2) turned out to be the perfect lens for shooting the streets of New York. Sporting a constant aperture of F/4 across the whole zoom range, plus having a lens-internal image stabilization, that allows me to shoot at a slow shutter speed of 1/5 sec hand held and still get pin sharp images. Perfect for night photography in the city. Although Times Square is lit up like a Christmas tree, and wide angle shots can easily be done with the lowest native ISO, in my case 200. Only when zooming in (and having less light on the sensor) I needed to increase my ISO. For your reference I included image specs below each photo.

Times Square
1/160 sec @ f/4 and ISO 250

Famous on Times Square is the US Armed Forces recruiting center, doubling as the perfect background for some reflection shots of the passing cars.

Times Square
1/160 sec @ f/5 and ISO 200
Times Square
1/125 sec @ f/4 and ISO 1600

Obviously, Times Square has its share of dressed up street artists, posing with the visitors for a few dollars. There were various exemplars of the Statue of Liberty, as well as a few transformers. What was fun to watch were some comedians pulling a show for the onlooking crowd, as you can see in the photo below.

Times Square
1/80 sec @ f/4 and ISO 200

The crowd os amazing, a Street Photographers’s dream, everywhere you see people posing, kissing, hugging, there is lots of gesture to be captured to add interest to the street images.



1/60 sec @ f/4 and ISO 3200

Then I experimented with some long exposure photography, using slow shutter speeds between 1/3 sec and 1/8 sec in combination with turning the zoom or panning while pressing the shutter. I’m always a big fan of some creative experimenting, also because it helps you to avoid the “usual” shots everyone takes of well known places and attractions.

Times Square
1/8 sec @ f/8 and ISO 200
Times Square
1/8 sec @ f/7.1 and ISO 200
Times Square
1/3 sec @ f/22 and ISO 1600
Times Square
1/125 sec @ f/5.6 and ISO 1600

RAW conversion and post processing of my photos was done in Lightroom Classic CC.

From Times Square we continued to Rockefeller Center for a late night trip up “Top of the Rocks”, but this is for another post. Stay tuned for more impressions of our NYC experience.

The included links to places we visited are for reference only, there was no collaboration of any sorts and we did not receive any benefits for mentioning it here in this post.

I wish you all a great start into the weekend! If you look for some inspirations what to do with your camera, check out my free Learning Center for all my tips and inspirations around photography.


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38 thoughts on “NYC Experience – Times Square

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  1. The city looks so vibrant! These are great shots Marcus. I still haven’t done much nighttime shooting, but I’m hoping to remedy that when I travel to the UK in a few weeks. It will definitely all be “experimentation” 😉

  2. You are an EXTRAORDINARY photographer, Marcus! You’ve captured a wonderful set of images.

  3. Wow! These photos are so full of colour, it’s like you are reading a very unique comic book! You’ve really captured how time moves faster in NYC! Good job. God bless! 🙂

  4. I love these photos! Especially the first one. It represents the fast pace of the city. I will stay tuned for more photos. NYC is one of the best cities to have fun with the camera. Enjoy it! 🙂

  5. Omg, so much life in one city! So many lights and movement, I get this from your photos, so how must it be in real life? :))
    I just have to ask my question: how do you feel about taking photos of people? I feel very conscious when taking, and then I wonder if I should share. Here in Norway we are very aware of privacy rules, and I didn’t find a solution for me yet. Would love to hear your opinion on that.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Marina, much appreciated!

      Regarding your question, I’m always very conscious when taking photos of people. My principal rule is, I would never take a photo of a person in a situation where I myself would not wanted to be photographed. When photographing people I normally try to have at least eye contact, to check if they are uncomfortable. If anyone doesn’t want to be photographed, I back off. If someone asks me to delete a picture I took, I oblige.

      Most times I actually talk to the people I shoot, sometimes before (when asking permission), sometimes I walk up to them after taking the photo. You wouldn’t believe the great conversations that come out of these talks.

      The guy with the cigar (Chris) wanted to see the photo he noticed me taking of him, and he asked me to email it to him as he loved it and wanted to use it as profile image on social media.

      Regarding privacy laws, this is very country specific. In the US, on public grounds, you can shoot and post rather freely. Germany, as Norway, is much more strict. You need permission of people to post their images, especially when they are alone in the frame. Pictures of people in a crowd is less problematic.

      Also, I don’t to anything commercial with the photos I take. This is a private blog about photography. When you want to commercially exploit any images, you need model releases from your subjects. This is much to complicated for me when shooting in the streets, so I don’t bother asking, but also will not sell any photos.

      Hope this helps a bit to clarify.

      Have a great weekend!


      1. Hello Marcus and thank you for such a profound answer!
        Wow, I didn’t know that you can chat up the people (before or after)! I became so Nordic after many years here, that I would feel uncomfortable talking to people on the subject of me taking their photo. But it is true, if the images present people in a good way (and you take beautiful pictures of people) what is there to be ashamed of? I would love a nice portrait of me, and if someone takes it and is willing to talk about it – I would also ask for it :))
        Interesting that you talk about an eye contact. I have read the opposite advice: no eye contact and pretend you are shooting above, behind the people. I like your approach, so honest. And I also wonder if people don’t get more tense if they are aware you are shooting them. But eye contact with the one you are taking picture of – so courageous and so honest, I like it a lot!
        Thank you for clarifying this subject. I hope to be more fearless about taking people pics – especially in the chat-thing, hehe.
        Have a lovely Sunday!

  6. With this post, you managed to capture the city atmosphere so well. The photos are telling a lot but your words made it complete.
    And now I want to visit New York even more than before 😀
    Thank you for sharing.

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