Opening A Fern

March 03, 2016  •  1 Comment

Blog 04 March 2016Blog 04 March 2016Copyrighted Digital Photograph


Yesterday New Zealand started its referendum process to keep or change its national flag. The new proposal, which I like, highlights a silver fern. Also yesterday, the new transport hub at World Trade Center opened in New York, spreading its enormous “wings”, the subject of this architectural study.


As I pondered these two events, I was drawn to the images I captured during a trip to New York last September. I circled the building site and framed the incomplete rib-like structure in different ways. The architect Santiago Calatrava had a mandate to produce a structure with a spiritual dimension to it and I felt its power as I tried to project its impact with a respectful photograph.


The building has been criticised by the New York Times as “a kitsch stegosaurus” and, indeed, other images of mine emphasise its “Jurassic appearance”. I am looking forward to seeing the completed building on another visit, but so far, I am a big fan of the design.




Had I not explained the source, the image itself gives little clue as to the gargantuan scale of the original. It could be a gate, or the top of a fence, but it is the abstraction from a size reference, which allows the mind to wander into other meanings, such as a plant, or a wing, or ribs. The human mind’s eye is wonderfully subtle and I think that artificial intelligence will only become a reality, when machines can decipher visual hints and spin them in to the kind of aesthetic adventures of which we are capable.




As the settings show, the light was wonderful that day. Exposure speed, aperture and film speed were all optimised and the quality of the light gave a soft glow to the cream-coloured sections of the structure.


A little tweaking by way of a crop was required to align the central spar in a pleasing way and a lot of annoying dust on the camera’s sensor had to be “healed”.    




Camera: Nikon D800

Lens: VR 70-200mm zoom f/2.8G,

Focal Length: 125mm


Focus Mode: AF-S

Aperture: f/18

Shutter Speed: 1/250s

Auto Focus-Area Mode: Single

Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority

Exposure Compensation: 0 EV

Metering: Matrix

ISO Sensitivity: 160

Mounted on a monopod


I think this is a daring construction in a sensitive place. I hope that it will prove to be a building that New Yorkers will enjoy seeing and using. I look forward myself to using it one day.


Copyright Paul Grayson 2016 All Rights Reserved


Belle image graphique ! Tu en tires toute la quintessence. Bravo. Elle me fait plus penser à une feuille. Chacun peut y trouver ce qu'il veut.
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