Mind The Third Rail

Without a doubt, one of my favorite things to photograph when visiting my family in New York City is the subway system. Each station offers its own character and has its own soul. They’re also so target rich and have such bold colors and textures. This shot was taken at the 59th & 5th Ave station, by Central Park and the 5th Ave Apple Store. It was kind of late on that Sunday evening and the station itself was fairly empty. It was easy to get my tripod set up and ready to bracket. I waited for a subway to come through on the opposing track to help break up the scene. I love the pattern that is made with subway cars in motion. Man, it’s good to visit home.

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure tone-mapped HDR image using Photomatix Pro.

Stylization was achieved by combining custom Tone and Color Enhancers along with masking Cyperpunk onto the subway cars using Perfect Effects 4 by onOne Software.

Next, I sent the image to FocalPoint 2 to render the vanishing point slightly out of focus.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.3

  • Amy Heiden

    I like it. The fish eye works really well here. That curved line of the platform is awesome.

  • Adam Hoke

    This proves it, along with +Nicole S. Young's recent shot from the Empire State Building.  I need a fisheye lens!

  • Brian Matiash

    +Adam Hoke You can't go wrong with The Funk Buster

  • Miroslaw Gliwa

    very nice, I guess I need to learn the one one software suit 7 I have but did not play with it yet :)

  • Jeff Hirsch

    Totally agree! Can't get enough of shooting the NYC subways. Was there earlier in the month to see my daughter and shot every station I passed through. Would love to do a long term project of shooting at every station in the system. (Including the abandoned ones!) Something different at every stop.

  • Ness Flores

    Beautiful, this is awesome.

  • Lesley Unwin

    briliant photo brian

  • Tai Mi

    really like what you did here! that curve is really cool and i love the colours!

  • Ricardo Lagos

    Pretty sick Matiash

  • Bradlee Poohl-Jensen

    I love the depth and color.

  • Fatna RACHEDI

    very nice picture baye

  • Adam Hoke

    I had to Google The Funk Buster and low and behold Google delivered one of your past posts describing your love of the 15mm. I have a 1.5 crop factor NEX camera, so I guess a 10mm would be comparable for me…

  • Brian Matiash

    +Ricardo Lagos Burro.

  • Ricardo Lagos

    +Brian Matiash .. i swear if you do that enough when someone google's burro they are going to get a hit on all your posts.

  • Brian Matiash

    +Ricardo Lagos Then my plan is working…

  • Mark Gvazdinskas

    Rad shot +Brian Matiash ! The texture in that foreground plays well with the fisheye.

  • onnie hull

    love it! i almost hear the screeching roar of the train as it goes through the station!!

  • Paul Murphy

    +Brain Matiash at 7 exposures, would it be safe to assume that you masked the subway trains back into the image?

  • Brian Matiash

    +Paul Murphy Great question – and actually, no! I was fully intending on having to do that but I always give Photomatix a shot to see how well it renders that sort of static motion. In this case, it rendered the train quite beautifully. There were a few small spots that I had to heal because of gaps in the light but it was so negligible and took a few seconds.

  • Bob Lussier

    This is a classic +Brian Matiash shot. Nice job, my friend.

  • Jim Denham

    Pretty darn cool +Brian Matiash!

  • William Z.

    I love urban shots.  The city just never seems to be still.

  • Simos Xenakis


  • Rich Williams

    Subways and fisheye: two things I love in one photo.

  • Susan LaDuke

    Love this perspective! And the NYC subway is just ideal to use for this shot! Also find the expressions seen on faces of subway riders, can be so delightful and inspirational.