Friday, September 25, 2015

Location spots for photographing New York at night

Some of the best views of Manhattan can be taken from across the rivers that surround the island. On the west side is the Hudson River offering several spots along the coast of New Jersey, all of them an easy ferry ride from New York. Last night I hit two spots with good views of midtown.

My first spot was at Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken, a 6-minute ferry ride from the West 39th Street ferry terminal. It is directly across the river from midtown Manhattan. From Lincoln Harbor you can take another ferry one stop down the river to 14th Street in Hoboken for a more southerly view of both midtown and lower Manhattan, and from here it is a short ferry ride back to Manhattan.

A good view from Lincoln Harbor is from the riverside terrace of the Chart House restaurant. A nice thing about this spot is that you can enjoy a glass of beer or wine, as I did, while sitting on the terrace waiting for the right time to photograph. It is also an enjoyable place to have dinner after the shoot.

I intend the images to be used to make large prints so I used the 42mp Sony A7RII camera and stitched together a panorama. The first photo below is a combination of four images taken with the Leica 135mm APO Telyt lens with the camera in vertical position. The APO Telyt is one of the sharpest lenses out there so the image quality is exceptional, and the final print size is 4' wide. This could easily be interpolated to double that size if needed.

Four vertical images with the Leica 135mm APO Telyt combined to make an extremely large panorama. This photo was taken about 15-20 minutes after sunset, the best time for balancing the light from the sky with the lights in the buildings. In this shot the building lights maintain their details and are not blasted out as they are in the shot below. In fact, on the top floor of one of the buildings across the way you can actually see a party going on inside. 

This shot taken a little later in the evening was done as a single photo using the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 zoom mounted on the Sony A7RII.  This lens is one of the best zoom lenses available today and offered me the versatility of rapidly adjusting the focal length. Though not nearly as sharp as the first image, it is good enough for more moderate enlargements. The light streaks are from a ferry that passed by during the 20 second exposure. 

This is a more southerly view of midtown from 14th Street in Hoboken. By the time I took this shot it was getting late. To work more quickly I switched to the Sony 24-70mm f/4 Vario-Tessar zoom for this shot. It is not nearly as good as the other lenses I was using, but it was quicker to set up and compose. 

Both of my stopping points also offered this view of lower Manhattan, this one taken with the 135mm APO Telyt from Lincoln Harbor. 

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