Roosevelt Island: An Ode to Weather-Sealing. (Warning: Lots of big pictures!)

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by napilopez, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. napilopez

    napilopez Contributing Editor

    Feb 21, 2012
    NYC Area
    Napier Lopez
    I've written before about why I think virtually every electronic product should be weather sealed, particularly our cameras (you can check out my blog post on the matter here). Still, sometimes I think I take the issue too seriously and imagine an umbrella, rainsleeve, and a little foresight would suffice for most. But then days like today happen.

    I had planned to hang out with a good friend of mine at Roosevelt Island, a small territory in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. The weather forecast was uncertain: partly cloudy with chance of isolated storms (hint, hint). We left her house with a relatively clear sky above us.

    When we emerged from the subway station, however, the picture was quite different.

    25mm - f/1.4 - 1/1600

    It was absolutely pouring, so we figured we'd try and wait it out for a bit. Ten minutes passed and no change came, so grabbed our umbrellas and committed to braving out the storm. A little water wouldn't hurt us, after all.

    My camera though? That's a bit of a different story. Partially, anyway: even if I'd have to relegate my best lenses to storage (the Pany 25mm and Oly 45mm), I was very much excited to get another chance to try out the OM-D's weather sealing with the 12-50. The kit lens usually just stays in my camera bag unless I need something wider than 25mm, the occasional macro shot, or of course, something to withstand the rain.

    Well, this rain was no joke.

    50mm - f/6.3 - 1/125

    50mm - f/6.3 - 1/1250

    I was standing under a decent-sized umbrella; that clearly wouldn't have been enough to protect my other lenses.

    12mm - f/7.1 - 1/250

    Even standing under the mighty Queensboro bridge, I wasn't completely safe.

    12mm - f/6.3 - 1/400

    28mm - f/6.3 - 1/80

    And then... sunlight. As we arrived at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park at the southernmost tip of the island, the sky cleared up. You might have never thought it rained were it not for the wet ground.

    12mm - f/4.5 - 1/1000

    I could even pull out the PanaLeica again.

    25mm - f/1.4 - 1/4000

    25mm - f/4.5 - 1/1000

    25mm - f/4.5 - 1/1000

    Of course, my portrait lens wouldn't be left behind.

    45mm - f/4.5 - 1/1000

    45mm - f/1.8 - 1/3200

    After this we left the park, and explored the rest of the island. As afternoon turned to evening, however, I realized I'd never taken a photo of the great sculpture of FDR at the park because I was so shocked by the change in weather. We decided to walk back to the park so I could get that shot; how could I not when Roosevelt was perhaps my favorite president?

    As my luck would have it, as soon as we entered the park a small sunshower began, which would quickly evolve into legitimate rain by the time we arrived at the monument. I switched back to my 12-50 from the 45 as soon as I felt the water, but I wasn't satisfied with the images I was getting this time. The lens just wasn't bringing out the details of the sculpture. The way the intricate, quietly determined expression of the piece was rendered somber by the surrounding rain felt extremely powerful to me, and I wanted to capture that scene as best I could.

    Thus, I risked lens and sensor damage by carefully switching to my 45mm in the pouring rain under my umbrella, and got what was my favorite shot of the day.

    45mm - f/4.5 - 1/125

    There were a few drops of rain on the lens regardless of my carefulness; thankfully nothing was damaged as far as I can tell. But wouldn't it be nice if I wouldn't have to worry about it? Of course I risked my sensor by switching lenses in the rain, but that is easier to cover up, and I'd rather have one failure point than two. How amazing it would be if I could have used any or all of my lenses without having to worry about a little water. There's so much beauty to be found on rainy days like these, and I wish more camera manufacturers would appreciate that. While preparation is ideal, sometimes your greatest memories are crafted in a bit of spontaneity. I'll skip the rain check.

    P.S. I apologize for reposting these images I've featured in other threads I've posted in, but I figured they deserved to be collected together for their common theme. All photos with OM-D E-M5 at base ISO, processed through LR5. Most from jpeg, a few from RAW.
  2. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Nice set of photos that capture the changing weather well, that looked like some pretty heavy rain and it works well against the gritty background of the tall buildings.

    I must agree with you about the Roosevelt photo, the rain has turned it into a very powerful capture.

    Nice job and glad the OMD held up!
  3. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    Top set Napier...I really like the way you focused #1 with the glass being in focus and the people either side of it blurred. Good job mate.
  4. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 26, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    number 1 is my favorite as well!. also i love the heavy rain acting as "grain" on the other photos. nice mood!.
  5. woody112704

    woody112704 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 13, 2012
    Number 5 is my favorite. There are so many great aspects to that that picture. I love seeing the arch of the bridge and then the bridge going back, then you have the skyline and the dark foreboding clouds and then you have her in the middle with the purple umbrella surrounded by the green grass that really makes it pop.
  6. Colorbright

    Colorbright Mu-43 Regular

    Thanks for this posting! It's a great review/story/photo combination that just melds together all these elements into one enjoyable read (and some really nice photos - especially that 'under the bridge' shot). You did an excellent job of putting together an interesting story that also helps suport the main point ("An Ode to Weather-sealing"). THIS is the kind of info/material that camera equipment manufacturers should be putting together for us, real-world demos of how their products can be used to add value to our lives. I know you did not put this together explicitly for that purpose, but it still helped me better understand how these lens, etc. could be used while I enjoyed reading the storyline and looking at your beautiful shots. Thanks!!
  7. napilopez

    napilopez Contributing Editor

    Feb 21, 2012
    NYC Area
    Napier Lopez
    My pleasure! I figured it would be more interesting to collect all my photos with a common narrative than posting them all in disparate lens threads.
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