Mike Kobal

April 2, 2009

The L train: Nikon D90

Nikon D90 on the L train from Mike Kobal on Vimeo.

I have been taking the L train for a couple of years now. Of all trains in NYC, it is my favorite, and definitely has its own vibe. A mix of stills and video from my ongoing subway project, which started a couple years ago. The idea behind this project is to document subway life in NYC, Paris and London. Enjoy! Nikon D90, 17-35mm 2.8 wide open with soft filter. Music: Ceremony by Daniel Lauter & Suru Ekeh

Filed under: City Life,Uncategorized — mike.kobal @ 7:05 pm


  1. Nice Video.

    Comment by NiKO Novak — April 4, 2009 @ 3:17 pm

  2. Kinda curious. Do you take your pictures without people knowing? Do you ask people? A lot of your pictures are really well framed and I’m curious because I can’t imagine framing those without looking through the lens, and then surely people would get all “don’t take my picture”.

    Great vid!


    Comment by bace — April 21, 2009 @ 3:41 am

  3. Paul, I am trying to be as discreet as possible when taking pictures on the street and in the subway. Some are shot from the hip. I am also waiting for distractions, sounds, announcements, getting in and out of the train etc. And lots of practice :O)

    Comment by mike.kobal — April 21, 2009 @ 8:05 am

  4. hey Mike i’ve just stumbled across your site, just like to say this piece is really stunning. congratulations and thank you,

    Comment by Hugh — April 21, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

  5. Thanks Hugh!

    Comment by mike.kobal — April 21, 2009 @ 10:36 pm

  6. I came across your site by accident and am glad I did. Your work is fantastic and I find your reviews of the hardware very useful. I am particulary interested to see your opinion on editing software and what you use for your videos. Will you be posting any reviews on editing software any time soon?

    Comment by Jerry — May 1, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

  7. Fascinating approach – very nice. Accurate depiction of the melange of emotions and attitudes found daily on the NYC subway, When do you expect to have all three cities completed?

    I liked your piece comparing the D90 to the D5000. The pixel difference is fairly large, no?


    Comment by Frank — May 19, 2009 @ 8:37 am

  8. thanks guys!

    Comment by mike.kobal — June 3, 2009 @ 7:12 pm

  9. I have never have a camera other than a point and shoot. I really want to have a DSLR.. specially nikon… from some site i got some link and here I am… impressed by your work, do you do this for a living? It is really a nice work you have.. very inspirational. I would like to ask you and advice:
    My busdget is limited and I am really want to make a good decision, what do you recomend to buy between d5000 and d90?
    I will follow up your work.. nicely done… congratulations…
    PS, would be so much problem you can reply to my email?
    I really apreciate your time…

    Comment by Enrique Plumeda — July 6, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

  10. thanks Enrique. email sent.

    Comment by mike.kobal — July 6, 2009 @ 6:30 pm

  11. I liked the “L” piece and was curious about your wide-screen editing — Final Cut Pro? Windows Movie Maker? iMovie? Perhaps my last comment was deleted? I wasn’t trying to cause trouble with my music question…. You could write me off-line…

    Comment by John Freeman — July 15, 2009 @ 4:14 pm

  12. John, email sent.

    Comment by mike.kobal — July 15, 2009 @ 10:18 pm

  13. Hey Mike,

    I stumbled across your work on Vimeo and have since, watched pretty much everything you’ve posted. You have an awesome command of your camera and editing. Keep posting so I have something to drool over, please!

    On a less creepy note, I’m finding myself in the same predicament as John and Enrique. I’m torn between getting a D90 and getting a D5000. Is a D90 any better for shooting video and is it worth the extra for the D90 simply because of the lens options? Or should I just get a D5000 and spend the extra on a Lensbaby?

    Also, what software do you do most of your editing with?

    I’m sorry to bombard you with questions. You’ve just proven to be a great source.

    keep rockin.

    Comment by dan young — August 4, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

  14. Great set of pics. I always wanted to get on my local rail transit and do this and now you have inspired me to get out there and try it. Thanks!

    Comment by Loren Lloyd — September 5, 2009 @ 12:47 am

  15. Hey Mike,

    I know you’ve been asked the same question numerous times.
    Which should i purchase, the D90 OR D5000 and what is the best lens for

    Kudos to your work man, im 18
    and you have a given me
    inspiration (in addition to many others aswell)
    for me to take film production in school.


    Comment by Stephen Nano — September 10, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

  16. Hey Mike, Your work is really inspiring! I was wondering what body/lens combo was used to create that black and white still image of the woman with the infant in her lap. I really like the distortion. Thanks!


    Comment by cz — November 15, 2009 @ 11:36 pm

  17. I am a complete amateur with no desire to enter into the professional world. I just want to take great pics of my kids. I LOVE thiscamera!!!!! http://tinyurl.com/2gxv2xt I use the auto setting and the pics are unbelievable. From the moment I picked it up out of the box (literally) it has surpassed all my expectations and I’ve captured some truly amazing shots. My point-and-shoot (canon sd1100 which I still keep in my purse for snapshots) maybe, maybe would have been fast enough to catch the same look on my kids faces, but the depth of field and color from the d90 are just breathtaking.

    I’m sure if I learned to use all the settings I could do even more. And eventually I will, because it does seem pretty easy to navigate the menus and the buttons are all pretty clear. For now, I just wanted to move up to a higher image quality from the point-and-shoots, and the entry level DSLRs felt too plasticy and cheap for their price. This does not. It is still plastic, but feels solid, not like I could break it with too tight a grip.

    The only real problem I had with it was the shoulder strap was ugly and uncomfortable. I found a really nice replacement strap at a camera store for about $15.

    So if you are an amateur just looking for something better than what’s available on the point-and-shoot market, this is a very useable, non-intimidating camera that will suit you needs.

    Comment by collins — May 15, 2010 @ 6:27 am

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