New York has been hit by a biblical snowstorm over the last few days that dumped up to 13 inches of the white stuff across the city. But as many headed indoors to search for a hot coffee, one photographer saw an opportunity to make some great images…
Italian photographer Alessio Andreani is more used to shooting landscapes amid the warm climate of the Mediterranean, but when the professional shooter found himself at the centre of the worst snowstorm to hit New York city in years, he grabbed his camera and headed out into record low temperature and extreme wind. We caught up with Alessio to ask him about this amazing experience….
DigitalRev: How did you come to be in New York during one of the city’s heaviest snowstorms?
Alessio: “I was in NYC for New Year holiday, but a photographer is never really on vacation, and of course I had my camera with me.”
DigitalRev: Exactly how cold did it get and why did you venture out with your camera?
Alessio: “The cold was quite extreme for NYC during the whole week I was there (29th Dec to 6th Jan), with temperatures between -15 C° and -5 C°, with a windchill that brought the ‘feel-like’ temperature down to -20 C°. Since my hotel was in midtown Manhattan I managed to walk out without taking a car or bus, keeping it simple and, of course, safer! It was a great opportunity to document Manhattan in such peculiar conditions.”
DigitalRev: Did you feel in danger at any point – were you advised to stay indoors?
Alessio: “I never felt in danger, I was walking carefully and didn’t take a car or ventured in unsafe position. They advised to not travel by car, and I was really careful to do so!”
DigitalRev: What were the challenges in trying to take photos in such extreme conditions?
Alessio: “The cold badly affected the battery life of the camera, which was a Fuji X-A1. I estimate that I used double the battery necessary to take the same amount of photos in normal conditions. Also the camera was getting wet really often and the lens covered with moisture. The best thing I could do was to keep the lens hood on and avoid big changes of temperature like going from outdoor to inside a building, as this created a lot of fog and moisture inside the lens.”
DigitalRev: How did you adapt your picture-taking to capture your amazing images?
Alessio: “I kept the camera in aperture priority mode, and also auto ISO to avoid having the shutter speed drop too low. The light, even during the middle of the day, was pretty low. Also I kept the f-stop lowered down to about f/8 to help keep the shutter speed where I wanted it while maintaining a decent zone of focus. This way I was shooting most of the time around 1/30sec to 1/100sec and this relatively slow shutter speed works really well with the snow because you can capture a short trail of the snow falling, showing the storm in a more natural way.”
DigitalRev: What was your favourite image from the snowstorm?
Alessio: “One of my favorites is the frame showing a guy struggling with an umbrella. It looks like I’m somewhere remote, like in the woods during a snowstorm, but the image was actually captured on Fifth Avenue! Also the umbrella, inverted and nearly snapped in half by the gusts, helps tell the story of the windy conditions. I also really like the image of a Metro station with the ad board saying “something is in the air” as it adds a little humour to the situation. Something was really in the air, and was a huge snowstorm!”
More of Alessio’s amazing images can be seen here.