New York is without doubt the most photographed
city in the world and a place that I will go back to time and time again.
It's easily the most awe inspiring city that I've visited. I've been fortunate enough to have visited three times in the last ten years with my last visit in June 2017.
Each time I've visited I've managed to cram in various sites, experienced a lot of what this bustling city has to offer and each time my stay is different
but I still feel like I've just seen the tip of the iceberg.
Of the many things I love about Manhattan one of them has to be the geographical layout,
which mainly comprises of a grid system with avenues running vertical and the streets horizontal so it's surprisingly easy to find your way around and get to various places provided you have the street address or avenue that it's on. Using the subway is relatively easy also. I'd recommend downloading a couple of apps for your smartphone to help you find your way around.
It was around the time of my second visit to Manhattan that I started to get into photography back in March 2013.I hired a Samyang 8mm fisheye lens especially for my trip to use with my Sony A65. It was great fun to use to capture unique images with crazy distortions and have the ability to fit so much into each frame. One of the images that I captured during this trip (taken at the observation deck at the Rockefeller Center) is to this day one of the most viewed images on my Flickr account with over 30,000 views and even made it onto the Flickr Explore page when it was first posted. When I shot this image I didn't really know what I was doing when it came to photography. It wasn't shot in RAW, the sensor had a load of dust spots on there (Photoshopped out) and I probably shot the image using Auto settings apart from the manual focus and manual aperture settings on the lens so I think this image could have been significantly better but I'm still happy with it.
Having visited the Top of the Rock observation deck during a previous visit I knew that this would afford me the greatest vantage point over the city.
In my opinion the view from there is better than the Empire State Building as you can see Central Park and downtown Manhattan (including the Empire State Building itself which makes a great focal point in the frame). It also features a more unrestricted viewing platform to the Empire State Building and even the One World Trade Center which has glass windows obstructing your view making it difficult to shoot good images. While here I shot images with both the AF 14mm f2.8 FE and the AF 35mm F2.8 FE lenses.
Here's another shot of the New York skyline. This time at night with the busy city traffic lighting up the streets below.
This image was taken from the rooftop of hotel Ink 48.
New York is well-known for it's skyscrapers and has some of the largest and most diversely designed buildings in the world. This shot was taken near the financial district. At the top of the frame you can just about see the iconic building which houses the famous Delmonico's restaurant. At the time I shot this, the restaurant had scaffolding up so it kind of ruined the concept of an image I had in mind so instead I looked up and saw this composition
Another of New York's most famous landmarks is the Flatiron Building. Situated on 5th Avenue between E22nd and E23rd Street this building is easily one of the most iconic buildings in Manhattan. The Beaux-arts architecture also appears in the Spiderman films due to the Daily Bugle newspaper (where Peter Parker works) being based there. This is one of the most photographed buildings in the world.
When visiting New York it is essential that you walk the Brooklyn Bridge.
Spanning a distance of just over 1.8km it's possible to take in incredible views of the city and create visually stunning images using the lines of the bridge cables and supports but be careful not to get in the way of the cyclists and runners. There's a cycle lane for a reason.
If you venture over the Brooklyn Bridge then you have visit D.U.M.B.O (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).
Here you will find Washington Street and it's amazing perspective of Manhattan and the Empire State Building through one of the archways of the Manhattan Bridge. This is a pretty clichéd shot and one that you may have seen used in the film Once Upon a Time in New York but one that I had to take myself. I wanted to get low to the manhole cover so that you could also read the N.Y.C embossed in the metal. It's virtually impossible to photograph this area without any other people in the shot due to how popular it is.
Brooklyn Bridge Park piers offer truly amazing views of "The Big Apple". This area is filled with photographers looking to capture the perfect shot showing the city's skyscrapers in all their glory. This spot is a great place to take in a beautiful sunset.
Whilst on my way to the Roosevelt Island Tramway and looking for interesting things to photograph I stumbled across the Bloomberg Tower (also known as One Beacon Court) at E58th street. Here I chatted with a doorman of the building and showed him this image that I'd just captured. He told me about the building and said that he'd never seen it captured at this angle before.
The Roosevelt Island tramway runs from E60th Street, Manhattan over to Roosevelt Island.
It only costs a few dollars to take the trip over and you get to take in a different perspective of the city.
The World Trade Center Transportation hub or "Oculus" as it is also known is an incredible building with sleek lines which was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and built at a cost of $4 billion. This a most definitely a building worth visiting if you're a fan of modern architecture. I love the amazing sleek, white lines of this beautifully designed building. From the outside it looks quite small amongst the other skyscrapers around it but when you get inside the scale of it is pretty spectacular.
Another place that I recommend to shoot from (possibly a great spot to shoot a nice sunrise) is Exchange Place Waterfront over in Jersey City. This spot is accessible via a short subway ride from the Oculus transportation hub (above). Here you get an amazing panoramic view of the city and it's skyscrapers.
Tudor City Overpass is another stunning vantage point.
You get a beautiful view virtually from one side of Manhattan over to the other taking advantage of the long, straight roads and the trees make for a beautiful composition. It's also possible (if you shoot in portrait) to get the beautiful, art deco architecture of the Chrysler Building in the shot.
Tudor City Overpass is another stunning vantage point. You get a beautiful view virtually from one side of Manhattan over to the other taking advantage of the long, straight roads and the trees make for a beautiful composition. It's also possible (if you shoot in portrait) to get the beautiful, art deco architecture of the Chrysler Building in the shot.
Yet another must-do while in New York is a beautiful green park/walkway known as the High Line.
Built on a former rail line this 2.3km elevated trail offers a great viewing platform over the westside of Manhattan. During the walk you'll come across some cool architecture including the Zaha Hadid Architects' 520 West 28th building which was still in the process of being built while I was there but from what I saw it looked like a stunning building.
On my last day in New York I had a few things that I wanted to see and tick off my list.
One was the Guggenheim Museum which is situated in the Upper East-Side area of Manhattan between E88th and E89th Street, adjacent to Central Park. Of all days for me to visit, on this particular day the building was closed. I was so disappointed. I still wanted to shoot the stunning Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and wanted to have a NYC yellow cab in motion going past the building during my shot.
During my most recent visit I clocked up over 55km of walking across the space of three and half days in near 40° blazing sunshine so I think I earned the numerous pizza slices that I consumed during my trip.
I got to see different sites to my previous two visits and experienced different things this time around also but I'm still left wanting to see more that New York has to offer. I can't wait to go back with my wife again in the future and take our two boys to experience the "Big Apple" and see it once again. Next time with more of the Samyang range of lenses to capture New York from a different perspective