The Gates, New York

On a whim, M & I took the early saturday morning bus to New York City to experience “The Gates” exhibit by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The sky was partly cloudy and the sun played hide and seek. With snow from Friday's storm covering the ground, it was the perfect way to see The Gates. The snow highlighted the saffron fabric fluttering in the mild breeze. With trees devoid of leaves, the bleak landscape appeared punctuated with bonfires blazing the trails; or an artist slashing the grey backdrop with dashes of saffron. A day to remember!

Depending on the sun, the pleats, and angle of view, the fabric appeared any of a spectrum of colors from a washed yellow to a deeper orange. Notice that on the different images and also on different gates in the same image. Of the 7,503 gates, we must have walked under, or along 3000 of them – at least. What a fantastic and festive way to spend a day. For the first time, walking through Times Square seemed so dull, I did not even bother pulling out my cameras.

Everything in this diary, including photographs, is protected by copyright, (© 2005 Arun Shanbhag)

Caution – Technical Camera/lens Comments: First outing with the brand new Nikon D70 mounted with my older 50mm f/1.8 lens. The 50mm is one of my favorite lens and my camera eye knows what to expect. What a shock to use it with the D70. Film cameras have an image size of 36×24 mm. The sensor on the digital SLR is about 33% smaller at 23.7 x 15.6 mm. Thus the same focal length and distance, yields a smaller (cropped) image, resulting in a 1.5 x magnification. Thus a 50mm lens acts like a 75mm lens. While I had known this before I bought the camera, what a shock to actually see it in the field.

This would be excellent for folks who like 'high zoom;' a 300 mm lens will now act like a 450mm lens, WoW!. But for wide-angle shooters like me, there is a penalty. My general purpose 50mm acts more like a portrait lens of 75 mm. Thus you will notice that my images above appear closely cropped. And I had to move further back to capture the field. With the twisting paths, most times, I could not move back. Thus the mild disappointment.

I do have a superb 24 mm wide angle lens which was mounted on my all manual Nikon FM3 film camera. I am yet to get those slides developed. The 24 mm lens on the D70, will yield a pretty good 36 mm. But I may have to buy a 35mm lens to yield the near 50mm on the D70. Or perhaps Nikon's 18-70mm lens yielding a respectable 27-105mm. Any suggestions?

Note, other than this 'relearning,' the camera and lens performed flawlessly and are highly recommended.

O, see this pic of The Gates from space

2 thoughts on “The Gates, New York

Add yours

  1. Thanks Jai –
    I have since purchased a 17-55mm f/2.8 for my D70 and it is superb! Yeah, the crop factor is a bummer, but I think those are here to stay! there are several 10mm (!) lenses made specifically for digital.
    Oh yes, I dream of a 50/1.2! Would be great for portraits!
    Toys, toys and more toys

  2. i use a 18mm f3.5 on my canon which is a decent 27 – i agree this crop factor is a mild shock when you move from film. i had all but forgotten till you reminded me here 🙂

    at some point in the future i will make a decision on a full frame 1x crop camera. in the meantime i will dream of a f1.2 or f1.4 at a wideangle. i think that is the biggest penalty with the crop factor – the lower focal lengths are more expensive at a wider aperture. will stop my rant now 🙂

    great pix of the exhibit. used to live in ny but moved out 7 years ago – missed central park.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: