Oracle Nasdaq Times Square Manhattan New York City

This is another photos I shot in 2002, on 35-mm film, using a Canon A2 SLR, in Manhattan in New York city, in Times Square. The giant eight-storey high NASDAQ screen has a logo of Oracle on it. This giant screen was launched in 2000 I think, and apart from displaying stock and market-related information, the giant screen is utilized for displaying  the logos of companies listed on the NASDAQ exchange. Even amongst the crowded digital screen madness in Times Square, the NASDAQ screen stands out.

When taking this photo I had two challenges. The first was that this display would display the Oracle logo for a few seconds, and then move on to an animation that lasted for a few more seconds, and then return to the Oracle logo, and so on. I knew it was going to move to some other company's logo after a few rounds of showing the Oracle logo. So I had to make sure that whatever I wanted to shoot I shot quickly, before the logo changed to another company, and also, at the same time, make sure that I did not end up capturing some meaningless-looking animation in transition. Basically I had a two-three second window of opportunity, that would present two or three more times, in which to take this photo, or wait an hour, or more, for the Oracle logo to cycle back.
The second challenge was the lighting. This was not a digital camera, so I could neither peek on the camera's LCD screen and get a preview to make sure I had the exposure right, nor could I switch the ISO value to something higher, like ISO 800, and be guaranteed a sharp shot, and not one that was blurred due to hand movement and a slow shutter speed. The trick was to do spot metering, and then adjust the aperture till I got at least a 1/30 or 1/45 sec shutter speed. Spot metering was essential because I was interested in only the digital screen being properly exposed. If I tried to include the surroundings and try and have them also exposed properly, the screen was going to turn out totally white, and useless. HDR - high dynamic range - photography probably did not exist at that time either. Careful hand-holding of the camera when taking the shot would ensure that the photo would not be a complete wash - I did not have a tripod with me.

As it turns out, not bad. I was reasonably happy with the results, which I saw after moving back to India a few days later. That, I think, is another story.

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2000/01/33533

© 2012, Abhinav Agarwal. All rights reserved.