City Hall Ghost Station

Subway Ghost Stations
City Hall Ghost Station Panorama

There are a bunch of subway stations in New York that haven’t been in use for years, but are still “somewhat” maintained.  I first learned about them from the photographer Matt Weber.  I knew in a vague way these now unused stations were around, but not that they were still visible.

The City Hall Ghost Station is possibly the easiest one to either tour, or just see for a few instants as the number six train turns at the end of it’s route and starts back uptown.  The conductor announces that this is the last stop – Brooklyn Bridge – which it is, but if you stay on the train, assuming the conductor doesn’t kick you off (which at least yesterday they didn’t bother doing) – the train will make what I’d call a U-turn.

First time through the station, I totally screwed up because the camera was on auto-focus and it refused to lock in on anything. On top of that I thought I’d set the ISO pretty high because the train is moving as it goes through the City Hall Station, and it was pretty dark down there.

Anyway, I went back with Matt to 14th street.  We crossed over and went DOWNTOWN again.  In what was now the first car.  This time, I decided to set the ISO to 6400.  I ended up shooting at 1/250th and f2.8; but my guess as to the distance was slightly off – so this is a little soft.

But when I got home, just for fun, I took three consecutive shots, grainy and soft, and using APG software, joined them together into this pano which is 7,000 pixels wide.

I had that idea on the train – that you could do a good pano from these.  I also should have had the camera on continuous fire, and held it vertically against the window glass – I would’ve gotten better material for a pano that way.

I’ll go back in the next few days and do it again.  I’ve got a faster f1.4 lens for one of my Canon DSLRs, also it’s easier to deal with manual focus (at least for me) with a DSLR.  As opposed to the Lumix I was shooting with.

2 thoughts on “City Hall Ghost Station

  1. Once I move I might make a move back to film, depending if there’s enough space for a darkroom. I see you go back to film every now and then.

  2. Actually, if I were younger and could afford to have someone develop and scan the film, I’d go back to the 4×5 view camera world.

    It was a much more abstract experience – i.e. shooting with the image flipped and upside down – and then imagining how it would all come out – and developing each sheet, one at a time…

    I don’t miss working in the darkroom tho. I don’t miss the smell of Dektol in the morning. But I do miss shooting with the 4 x 5. Ansel used to say he’d take the heaviest camera he could carry. I totally get that.

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