A Trip to Architecture New York

Martijn Hermans

Photographer from Netherlands

A Trip to Architecture New York

My love for photography started when I bought my first own DSLR for my travels while I was in university. Over the past years, I have gotten more and more serious about my photography. I love the tranquility of photography, to freeze moments in time to be re-lived at any moment afterwards. Besides this, I enjoy the whole technical part of photography, exploring new techniques and methods of taking pictures and the continuous learning curve that doesn’t seem to have a ceiling. I try to get the shot technically perfect, which triggers me to continue learning. 


I love photographing places and subjects that when people see the shot, they get sucked into that moment and want to go there. I’ve been using Samyang lenses for quite a few years already. My first Samyang lens was the 14mm f2.8, which I mainly used for astrophotography together with my trusty Canon 6D. Most of my astrophotography work has been made with that lens. What I always found somewhat disappointing about that lens was the distortion it caused. I love lines in photography and I always found it quite a challenge to correct the mustache distortion of the 14mm f2.8, that is why I only really used it for astrophotography. This is one of the reasons why I was very excited to try out the newer Samyang 14mm f2.4 XP lens. What better way to test the lens than with some architectural photography, with lines, and lots of them. 


I just moved to New York City, a city that happens to have a lot of interesting architecture. Most of which is very large, and perfect to capture with an ultra-wide-angle lens. I would like to share some of the interesting architecture I have come across. They are in three sets of three, focusing on vertical, circular and horizontal lines. Before I went out in the field with the lens, I was already impressed with the feel of the lens. It feels nicely built, a very nice and solid first impression. With a perfect resistance of the focus ring, where infinity is also infinity, that previously wasn’t always the case with the f/2.8 models I’ve had. The f/2.4 isn’t all that much heavier than the f/2.8, at 550g vs 791g, respectively. Lastly, it’s great to be able to set the aperture within your camera and also have that included in the EXIF data.



The Oculus, Samyang 14mm f/2.4 XP, Canon 6D f/4.0, 1/13s, ISO 100

The Oculus only opened recently in 2016 and was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. I just really love the lines and curves of this building. One evening just after sunset I was walking around doing some street photography nearby the Oculus. I had my 14mm on my camera as I wanted to take some shots of the ceiling, when I saw one man at one of the overhanging platforms. What I like about this shot is the way it shows loneliness in what is

such a busy place – without any interaction between the people there. The wide-angle perfectly captures the vastness of the structure and draws you into the shot. It also creates a different perspective, in a way that you have to look twice to see from what angle you’re looking at something. I was surprised by how little distortion the new XP lens has. It is also super sharp at f/4.0, which I needed in this particular shot to be able to keep my ISO low.


One World Trade Center, Samyang 14mm f/2.4 XP, Canon 6D f/5.6, 1/20s, ISO 100


Another magnificent piece of architecture that reminds New Yorkers every day of the terrible history at the site, but also proudly reaches towards the sky, commemorating all the lives that were lost.The wide-angle lens gives it an interesting perspective,making it truly reach into infinity. When you notice the reflections, you can see how the Freedom Tower dwarfs the surrounding buildings. This was a perfect day with great clouds to show one of the most iconic skyscrapers of New York, reaching high into the clouds.



Rockefeller Center, Samyang 14mm f/2.4 XP, Canon 6D f/7.1, 1/80s, ISO 100


The Atlas statue in front of Rockefeller Center really reminds me of my home town of Amsterdam, where Atlas stands firm on top of the palace at Dam Square. My goal with this picture was to visualize the concrete jungle of Manhattan, capturing the iconic buildings of the Rockefeller Plaza. Although it is not one of my more exciting pictures, it does show how little distortion this lens has, creating straight lines up into the sky.



 Fulton Center, Samyang 14mm f/2.4 XP, Canon 6D f/7.1, 1/80s, ISO 100

I love ceilings and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw this one, that of a metro transit center in downtown Manhattan. You can’t really go wide enough here. The lens perfectly captures the different circles and dynamics of the building. Shooting into the light, with a lot of contrast, you could say it is quite a challenging shot for any lens. I expected chromatic aberration to be present, but to my pleasant surprise I could not spot any, even on my big screen.

Bloomberg Building, Samyang 14mm f/2.4 XP, Canon 6D f/7.1, 1/320s, ISO 100

I was looking on Google Maps to find interesting shapes of buildings, when I found this interesting looking u-shape. I just had to go and look. The building ended up being a very interesting design that lends itself perfectly for another wide-angle shot.



Winter Garden Atrium, Samyang 14mm f/2.4 XP, Canon 6D f/8, 1/10s, ISO 100

Whilst taking pictures the other day at the Oculus I saw this interesting shape in the distance. As it was facing west, I figured it might be a nice sunset location for a photo. It turned out to be another great opportunity to take out the 14mm lens. The lens renders this very high detailed scene beautifully and I’m very pleased with the sharpness of the result. Also shooting into the light I couldn’t spot any flaring from the setting sun or spot lights right above me.

Grand Central Terminal, Samyang 14mm f/2.4 XP, Canon 6D f/13, 4s, ISO 100

A true photography classic, one that I couldn’t miss in my series. With this shot I wanted to freeze time in the buzzing business of what is a regular weekend day in New York City. To be able to really freeze time and still be able to tell the story I wanted to tell, I wanted to show motion. The 14mm balances nicely with my 6D so I didn’t need a big tripod, all I had with me for the day was a little table top tripod that I placed on the balustrade. The 4 second exposure showed a nice motion blur but still kept enough people in full detail to not become a ghost image.


Rose Main Reading Room (NY Public Library), Samyang 14mm f/2.4 XP, Canon 6D f/5.6, 1/50s, ISO 100


Another great place to test the capabilities of a wide angle lens is the Rose Main Reading Room in the New York Public Library. Compared with the 2.8 the corners of this lens are just fantastic. I’m really happy with the overall capabilities of the lens.


The Oculus, Samyang 14mm f/2.4 XP, Canon 6D f/11, 0.4s, ISO 100

I had to start as well as finish this series with what I believe to be my favorite structure in New York City so far, The Oculus. People walked a lot faster here, so I used a faster shutter speed to still show some detail of the people. Again there is barely any distortion to see.

In conclusion I can say that I really love this lens and in this short amount of time it has earned a permanent spot in my bag.

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Samyang’s Guide to Achieving the Optimal Angle of View

The perfect spacing and distance are always necessary when shooting all kinds of subjects, including people, to give them a proper relationship with the beautiful space around them. So, what’s the exact distance that helps you best appreciate a work of art, or a photo?

The correct answer is the diagonal length of the full frame of a subject.

표준화각 자료 이미지
표준화각 자료 이미지

The best standpoint from which to appreciate the full view of a subject is the distance of the diagonal length of the subject frame. This wider angle is superior to standing closer at a 50 degree angle to get a more detailed view. This notion of an ideal distance or view point is also applicable in the world of photography.

For still images, keeping a distance equal to the diagonal length of the full image surface is recommended. The full frame sensor of a digital camera is 36 x 24mm and the diagonal length is 43.26mm so any distance close to this number is nearer to the ideal than the currently accepted industry standard of 50mm.

Back when film cameras were common, 45mm was the industry standard and this continued as reflex cameras needed extra space to fit a mirror. However, as mirrorless cameras become more popular again, there has been a need to return to this industry standard…which is the impetus for the Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE. With less distortion than a 35mm lens and wider angles than a 55mm lens, the Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE is a perfect lens for portraits, landscapes, architecture photography, and pictures of pets.

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