Another reason I like to come back here is the sense of quiet reverence that surrounds it. Just a few steps away are the sounds of the city, but in this particular spot, the noise is muffled, and people talk in hushed tones. In any case, this is a popular spot to take photos, so once I get the shot, I move along to make way for the next person.
Here is a cityscape of Manhattan that I took from One World Observatory. High-resolution cityscapes are a way for me to explore the details in the quiet of my own home. There is no way to take it all in when you are there taking the photo.
This frame is only a small section of the city and having so much crammed together is one thing that makes New York so compelling. You could live your whole life in one part and never see it all. But maybe that’s true for most places, we never really see everything. Perhaps a cab driver does, but most of us limit our movements.
Whenever I’m up high like this, I like to take photos of the expanse. It’s a natural desire because scenes like this are so foreign to our earth-bound eyes. I make these photos with the knowledge that I’ll look more closely during post-processing. Post-processing can take an hour or more, and during that time I am emersed in the details, as though I was right back at the scene. It’s like Deja-vu all over again.
So often when travelling we find ourselves in places where there are a lot of tourists. There’s nothing wrong with that and quite often I am one of them. However from a photography perspective it presents a challenge. For me the challenge is either how to incorporate crowds into an image or avoid them altogether. In this case I sat on a bench watching the people at One World Observatory and noticed the reflections creating this scene. I took several photos and this is my favorite.
This is also a good example of post processing. Because right out of camera the people looked more like silhouettes, you couldn’t see too much detail. I was able to bring that out in post processing, and primarily because I used a Sony camera with a great sensor. That sensor captures much more shadow detail something like an iPhone. So this is closer to what the scene actually looked like because of course our eyes are able to capture a wider range of light. I used post processing to bring the detail back from the shadows.
Getting back to the challenge of crowds, the other approach would be to avoid them altogether. To do that you need to get to places early or stay late. I don’t know about you but for me that’s easier said than done. Sometimes it can be difficult to get up and out early. I still try and sometimes I make it and I’m usually rewarded with softer light and scenes without a lot of people.
But these are just common sense tips. What makes an interesting photo is entirely in your head. With photography we can take the most common and mundane of scenes and express something transformative. That’s true for any art form, so whether you decide to include crowds or avoid them is just a technique, the thing that’s really important is what you see.
This is a view of two bridges to Brooklyn I took from the One World Observatory. I thought it was called the Freedom Tower but I guess the name was changed a while back. Nevertheless it’s a great place to visit when you’re in town. And if you’re a photographer, the sky is the limit, literally. It probably took me an hour and a half to walk around the main observation deck. I stopped every few feet to take photos of some different angle on the city. I can’t help it; I get carried away.
I used a lens skirt to block the reflections you normally get when taking pictures through windows. I mentioned this a few days ago on another post. It takes a little extra time to get it all setup but it’s worth the effort.
I’ve been on the other side of those bridges shooting back at the tower, but this was my first experience shooting towards Brooklyn.
With shots like this there is so much detail packed into the image. When I’m there I’m concentrating on focus and composition. Only later when processing the image do I really get a chance to take it all in. Thanks to the high resolution of the Sony sensor I can zoom in and examine all kinds of interesting details.
I was shooting in the middle of the day so I had no need for a tripod. However I’d like to come back in the evening for images with city lights. Hopefully I’ll be allowed to bring a tripod then. My fingers are definitely crossed on that one.