Photographing The 72nd Street Subway Station In NYC

The 72nd Street Subway station is one of my favorite buildings to photograph in NYC. Weird, right? The original station opened in 1904 and was part of the original subway with lines running from Brooklyn bridge to 145th Street (Wikipedia). The subway building in the background of the building above resembles the original while the one I photographed above was built in 2002. I like the way it contrasts from the tall square buildings all around it and the orange/yellow glow the lights give off. To get this shot took approximately two hours waiting for the light to be just right. I shot this in the evening but would recommend before sunrise, to reduce the amount of people, if you attempt it yourself.

The majority of the time it took to create this image was spent waiting for the perfect lighting.  Too early and the image looked grey and washed out.  Too late and the sky was too dark and the light looked white/blue rather than the warm glow it had right after the sun had set (the image above).  I couldn’t shake the church group who was singing near the door, or the woman handing out literature on a public figure running for some type of office so I simply embraced them and immortalized them in my image.

In reality, I contemplated coming back before the sun came up at the butt crack of dawn but decided that I wanted the human element in the photograph to give perspective to the size of the building in relation to its surroundings.  The human elements also adds a soft contrast to the hard lines and materials all through the frame.

With all of the amazing architecture in New York City, who would have guessed a humble subway station would look so cool?  Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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