Before I visit any city, I’ll do my research to find out what and where I’ll want to photograph. Even if I’ve been there before, I’ll look for new opportunities I might have missed in the past due to a variety of factors, of which time is usually the major hurdle. On a recent trip to New York City, I was able to spread my photographic journey over a few days, allowing me to cover the city the way I wanted to, and still squeeze in some much needed cafe time. When you visit the Big Apple, the city’s skyline is undoubtedly a main focal point and one that is worthy of an Instagram post, if you photograph it in the right way. And whether you’re snapping on your phone or with a professional camera, these will deserve a double tap on your Instagram feed. With that said, here are three of my favourite spots to capture the iconic skyline of NYC:
Brooklyn Heights Promenade
For one of the best views of the Manhattan skyline, cross the Brooklyn Bridge to New York City’s biggest borough. The Brooklyn Heights Promenade, which sits on the immediate other side of the bridge, has only the East River between it and Lower Manhattan’s majestic skyline, which includes One World Trade Center, 40 Wall Street, and the Woolworth Building. If you’re looking to explore your creative side, set up your tripod and get some long exposures as the sun sets and even after it has set.
Make sure you go on foot at least one way between Manhattan and Brooklyn. While walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, look up and start clicking – you can get some wonderful photos of the 19th century bridge’s architecture from down below. And while the walk across will afford you a different view of Lower Manhattan, it also gives you shots of the sister Manhattan Bridge and the city’s Midtown, which features the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. If you cross at night, you’ll be able to take in the Empire State Building’s palette of coloured lights, which changes throughout the year.
Rockefeller Center/Top of the Rock
Want a 360-degree, unobstructed view of New York City from 70 storeys high? Then head to the Rockefeller Center Top of the Rock Observation Deck. Open from 8 a.m. until midnight 365 days a year, the view gives you Central Park, the Empire State Building and Times Square, to name just a few landmarks. My preferred time to go is as the sun is setting and the lights of the city are beginning to twinkle. You will have to pay for this view but it is well worth it. There is a variety of ticket buying options available but my preferred option is the timed ticket that gives you a specific entry time and allows you to skip the box office line. Once you’re up top, you can stay as long as you want. Be aware that they don’t allow tripods so be prepared to crank that ISO and stabilize yourself against the glass. And speaking of glass, you’re best to find a separation between two panes to allow for the best quality in your snaps.
The photo possibilities in New York City are endless (as are the cuisine distractions that will seek to pull you away from your camera). But if you give in to your edible whims at least you can work to keep that #foodporn hashtag healthy on Instagram.
Get more photography tips by visiting Justin Harrington Photography.