Photographing in Times Square on Coming Out Day

Photographing portraits in Times Square.

Times Square Photo Shoot with Author Hans M. Hirschi on Coming Out Day 2019

I spent this year’s Coming Out Day (October 11) in Times Square with my friend, author Hans M. Hirschi. I’ve been a fan of Hirschi’s books ever since I read The Fallen Angels of Karnataka and not long after that, Last Winter’s Snow. Other remarkable and memorable reads include Jonathan’s Hope, Spanish Bay, Returning to the Land of Morning Calm, Disease, as well as a collection of insightful, enlightening and inspiring short stories – Shorts. His latest is a trilogy, The Golden One, which introduced me to a new genre–fantasy. Exquisitely written, as Hirschi’s books always are, the memorable story of The Golden One speaks about the realities of our everyday life–for instance, our humanity, Mother Nature, and the climate crisis.

Times Square in black and white. Photo by Alina Oswald.
Times Square, NYC, in black and white. Photo by Alina Oswald.

I met Hans M. Hirschi in person several years ago, while attending a book event at The Center, in NYC. Over the years we’d get together, whenever possible, to chat, catch up, talk about his latest books, and also snap a few pictures, whenever possible.

This past weekend marked the 10th anniversary of the Rainbow Book Fair. As he was in town for the event, we decided to get together. We ended up meeting in Times Square, on Coming Out Day.

I had my camera with me, hoping to be able to snap a few pictures. The day was nice, pretty warm (which I always love), and overcast. And it was early afternoon. Plus, there was only time for a quick photo shoot.

Also, photographing in Times Square often means having to include people (who are not meant to be in the shot) in the background. After all, that’s what Times Square is about–people roaming around, everywhere and every each way; crowds; and lots of flashing lights. Right? Therefore, when photographing in Times Square, you might want to include some of that…that Times Square feel, look, vibe, in your images. Or maybe not….

As I might have mentioned in a previous post, shooting with the bokehmaster at f/1.4 does melt away the background (and in a beautiful way, I might say), but does not eliminate possibly distracting colors or highlights/shadows from that busy background. First I photographed Hans Hirschi on the red stairs in Times Square. Needless to say, most of the time he would be surrounded by people who would either block his face or insert distracting colors in the background. Even after converting the images to black-and-white, the shadow/highlight contrast was still pretty harsh.

Author Hans M. Hirschi photographed by Alina Oswald.
Author Hans M. Hirschi in Times Square on Coming Out Day 2019.

Hence, I decided to look for a less busy background, and found it in the pedestal of a statue standing in the middle of Times Square, by the red stairs. The result is the image posted above.

When photographing in Times Square, we often seek the evening hours, when the lights are the brightest and when shooting at a wide aperture (say, f/2.8 or f/1.4) works even more in our favor. But that’s not always the case.

I had a great time taking in Times Square from the top of the red stairs, snapping a few pictures, and catching up with one of my favorite authors. A great and much needed break in the day! Thank you for that!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Alina Oswald

  1. That’s a great portrait and yes, I know what you mean about the backgrounds.

    I don’t do street photography any more as I live too far from the city for a regular commute, but I do remember how some of my images, once I downloaded them on the large screen, captured annoying shadows or distracting brightly coloured clothing of a passerby despite trying to crop them out at the time of the shot or waiting until the background person had walked on.

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    1. Hi Vicki, Appreciate your note and kind words. I don’t usually do street photography, myself, but sometimes I have to shoot on location or, in this case, I could only meet my friend in Times Square, and time was very limited. So, you gotta do what you gotta do, lol! I like test shoots, though, experimenting and trying out new things.

      Thank you again. Appreciate it!

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      Reply

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