Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New York City at Night (Top Of The Rock / Statue of Liberty fireworks for her 125th)

This past week I made my annual trek to New York to present at the Photo Plus trade show. As I always try to do, I made the most of my free time, getting in some time to shoot images of the city. I was even lucky enough to be there just in time for the 125th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty.

On my last trip to NYC, I made my first trip to the top of the Rockefeller Center (Top of The Rock) to check out the view. At that time, the weather was hazy and not worth shooting any images, but I took a lot of mental notes as I knew that I would be back 6 weeks later. I was hoping to come back and capture images of Central Park with the fall colors on a clear day. As you can see from the image above, I did not hit the peak of colors, but the weather was spectacular and the view was still really beautiful.

Shooting images from the Top of The Rock can be really impressive, but trying to get a unique shot is a challenge. I decided to get low to the fence and shoot this shot of the George Washington Bridge through the arch of the fence, framing the scene. (Photographer's note: I shot this image at f11 to give a little more detail to the fence, even though I was focused in the distance.)

Then, at 5:51pm, the sun was about to drop below the horizon and the last of the day's sunlight kissed the side of the Empire State Building.

Since tripods are not allowed at this location (like so many other places), I found a ledge with a good vantage point and basically stood there, guarding the spot, for an hour or more.

Again, striving for something different, I leaned over the ledge on the upper level of "The Rock" and shot this image. I like this image, because it tells more of a story than then the straight cityscape shot. The photo combines the well-lit cityscape with the crowd of people trying to shoot images (behind glass - ughh - they really should have come up another level to get an open view!)

After waiting in "my spot" for an hour, I was rewarded with an amazing sunset!

New York really does look amazing at night.

I was at the trade show on Friday and some people from California sent me text messages about the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. Funny thing is...nobody seemed to know about this in NY. But once I found out that they were shooting off fireworks that evening, I rearranged my schedule and headed to Battery Park. Since I did not bring a big lens with me, I first had to ask some favors from my friends at Canon, who were at the show, to borrow the right lens. As always, they came through for me. Thanks Dave!

The image above was taken before the fireworks show. I was testing different exposure settings and saw this boat coming through the frame. I shot just one image and was lucky enough to have the string of blue lights, that were on the back of the boat, perfectly highlight the Statue of Liberty. Some times you just have to get lucky, right?

And then at 7:47pm, it was show time!

Since I mentioned luck, let me tell you how lucky I was for all of this to fall into place. In the entire week, I had two evenings with some time to shoot the images. On Tuesday night, when I shot from the Top of The Rock, the weather was perfect. It then rained until Friday, when it cleared up just in time for me to shoot the Statue of Liberty shots, followed by New York's early snow storm, which lasted until I flew out on Sunday, when it was blue skies again. Nice. Thank you mother nature!


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