Best time to photograph in New York/Manhattan

Discussion in 'Travel' started by eduardphoto, Jun 24, 2004.

  1. I'll be in Manhattan for a week, and I'm planning to shot some of the points of interest around, like:
    • Broadway
    • Madison Square Garden
    • Central Park
    • Madison Square Park
    • Empire State Building
    • Chrysler Building
    • Rockefeller Center
    • Greenwich Village
    • UN Headquarters
    • Times Square
    • Carnegie Hall
    • NY Stock Exchange
    • Statue of Liberty
    • The Brooklin Bridge
    • China Town
    For each of the objectives above, which is the best time of the day to photograph them?
    Also, suggestions for where to photograph them from would be appreciated. (before trying to discover original angles, I would like to get some "sure shots"...)
    Similar questions for museums, like Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History:
    • What is the best time of the day to photograph inside them?
    • What is the intensity of light? Will I get away with a Canon 17-40L f/4 if I shoot digital (at <= 400 ISO)?
    • Are there any restrictions photography-wise? Can I use a monopod? How about a tripod?
  2. Have a read of my first two to three days in New York to get some ideas. It's part of my "An American Journey" photo journal.
  3. Eduard,
    You can build on some the photo ideas found here and here.
    Hopefully a native New Yorker will post some details on the best time for each of the above. You can take a tripod to most places.
  4. Tricky one to answer since I don't know what kind of shots you are looking for. However, i
    will try to give you ideas as bad as I can:

    Broadway: Is very long and all depends on what area you are interested in. I assume you
    mainly mean theaters. I'd try late evening to early night when the billboards are
    illuminated. Depending on the time and the day of the week, you can get great shots of
    people in and around the theaters going or coming from shows. If you go later in the
    night, you'll have better chances of getting unobstructed views of theaters since the
    number of people will decrease. Link this with shots of time square at night usning long
    exposures - it's fantastic.

    Central Park: Scout the park a day before you actually want to shoot. CP is large and has
    many intersting angles that lie beyond the most visisted areas. There are some beautiful
    waterfalls, winding paths, and lakes in the northern section of the park that most people
    visiting the park simply don't know about. In general, i would go early in the morning
    when the sun rises and you get great light for some of the bridges close to the ice-skating
    ring and at Bethesda Fountain. The fountain is also interesting in the early evenings,
    particularly on the weekends if you are interested in candids. Early evening might also be a
    good time to shoot across the lawn toward the south where you will get an outline of
    skyscarpers against the treeline of the park. Additionally, try Belvedere Castle in the early
    evening before the sun is down.

    Empire State Building: Pretty good and mostly unobstructed views from Madison Square
    Park and from Madison Square Garden (@34th). I'd try the latter when the sun begins to
    sink over the Hudson so that the building gets great light from that side.

    Also, get up to the Empire State Bulding before the sun sets and make sure you stay well
    into the dark hours. You used to be able to get a special permit to bring your tripod up -
    hopefully that still is not a problem.

    Brooklyn Bridge; I always liked wee-hours of the morning and early evening. Walk across
    and take great shots of bridge details and the skyline. In Brooklyn, try to access a little
    park area on the north side of the bridge at sunset for unbelievable shots (this requires
    some walking!).

    Statue of Liberty: take the boat there - otherwise you don't stand much of a chance unless
    you take the free Staten Island ferry which gets close to the Statue. Otherwise, go to
    Battery Park and use a good zoom from the promenade. Again, go at sunset since the sun
    tends to set right behind the Statue at times.

    Hope this helps.
  5. went and looked at (all?....they just kept on going, and going, and going) your websites. Cool.

    Anyhow, NYC...I live close enough that I dont consider it "travel" per say, so I can't comment on that end of pic taking. I just kinda take pics of where I am when I'm there.

    Times Square and Broadway Theatre Disttict (same general area by the way) is best when the lights are on. Dusk thru at least 1 AM on a Saturday night is the best time.


    Greenwich Village would actually include east and west villages with Soho/Tribeca in the least thats the way I look at it. Anytime is cool. Just different depending on time of day. Broadway is actually pretty cool down this way too......lots of art galleries and artsy people types too.

    If you like street in "new york street fairs", and you'll get to listings of same. Just look for the week (end...usually) you'll be there. I tend to like the ones with wide streets vice the narrow street ones.........for pic taking anyhow.

    Anyhow, my website street pics, and photoblog, are mostly nyc stuff to give you an idea., if only MS would allow me to do something with file/folder lists in dump them in a database or even print them out.............hint, hint....

    oh, I notice you have a 50mm f/1.8...(of course a 20mm f/1.8 would be better).......dont leave it home...that extra "speed" might be needed occasionally. Tripods are not necessarily welcome every place. Any time you might restrict normal free access by people, you will be told to take down the tripod
  6. "There are some beautiful waterfalls, winding paths, and lakes in the northern section of the park that most people visiting the park simply don't know about."
    There is a reason for that -- some of the northern areas of the park are not very safe, especially after dark. As always, anywhere you are, use common sense. If it does not feel safe to you, it is probably not safe for you.
  7. One great thing about shooting in New York City, besides the obvious subject matter, is
    that the light is almost always good for something. Morning and evenings are great for
    cityscapes. Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Heights Promenade have probably the best
    classic views of downtown. The park near the Brooklyn Bridge is one of my favorite places
    in the city.

    As the day progresses, abviously the light get bad for wide angle cityscapes, but great for
    people work. It bounces around off of the tall buildings and you can find almost any kind
    of lighting you want. Down near Wall Street and in midtown and the upper east side you
    will find great light in places throughout the day. You just have to look for it. Then evening
    comes and you are back to magic hour again. If the sunset is spectacular the view looking
    back towards Manhattan from the Staten Island ferry is brilliant.

    Have a blast.
  8. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Everything in NYC is best after dark. Or just when it's getting dark. Or underground.
  9. If you have a heart for a night skyline shot, you can take PATH (clean and safe) from 33rd/34th street to Hoboken, NJ (~30 minutes ride, if I recall correctly). Then walk for ~10 minutes toward Stevens Institute of Technology, Castle Point. The view from there is great. And, its campus is quite safe at night.
  10. I am always amazed at blanket questions such as these. I think I know of excellent pics of the Empire State from all angles at all times of the day. So, which one is best? Stupid idea that only one is best in art.

    And you want a best time, place for the Empire State Building (and 15 other sights), and inside museums (which rooms, which floor) and out. What feels best for you? Nothing, I am afraid. No feeling, just precision, marching down the streets to be at corner C at 10am for a repeat shot of something famous ... that somebody has suggested would be good to do. An automaton photographer of sorts. Sorry, but your approach just scares me.

    Are you not saddling your horse from the tail?

    When I have a few days in a city, I just look around, hike around; I see some things, take pictures. And if i note some scene that may be better at another sun angle (take a compass; 15 degrees sun travel per hour ... ), I note it down and return when i think it will be right for my envisioned picture.

    From what you write, you are certainly aware that all you are doing is playing monkey here. What is your objective? Duplicate others? I hope you can make a good amount money from this. And I wish you luck.

    But I would not share my favorite spots, shot times with you. Why should I? Copy cat. Your trip sounds rather stressed out and boring to me; no adventure, just dull repertoiry shots all over again; nauseating deju vu. But do enjoy the repeats as much as you can, while you will miss - unfortunately - all the living fun of the city.
  11. Thanks all, folks, for your suggestions.
    Frank, you don't have to share your favorite spots and shot times with anyone. In general, you don't have to share anything with anyone. And make sure to keep secret those extraordinary pictures you took, else some people could benefit from them in some way or another...
    Back to my original question, I was just asking for suggestions for getting some "sure shots" before allowing my creativity to walk free :)
    It's my first time in NY, I won't be there for too long, so I don't really have that much time to walk around the island, to see where can I get a nice cityscape from. Or to figure out when it's best time to be on Broadway....
    Again, thanks all for your the suggestions! Hope I'll get some nice shots...
  12. My two cents:

    (1)Time Square: After dark and when it rains. When it rains, there are less people and the reflections from the wet street is a big plus.
    (2)Wall Street: Weekdays at noon. Many people work there have their sandwiches on the stairs in front of the statue of Washington.
    (3)Central Park: Weekdays early morning (when people jog around the reservoir) or weekends anytime.
    (4) Washington Square: weekend morning.
    (5) Greenwich Village: At dusk.
    (6) Un Headquarters: Weekdays and no rain. When it rains, there won't be any flags hoisted.
    (7) SOHO: weekend.
    (8) Chinatown: Yes, anytime. However, sunny day at noon is not the best time when one side of Mott Street (the main street in Chinatown) is in shadow and the other side is brightly lit.
    (9) Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden: Why bother?
  13. I'm with Frank on this. I don't understand the desire to run
    around getting so called 'sure shots'. Are you shooting for stock
    and want to maximise your time in NYC? If not, it just sounds like
    some kind of 'photography by numbers' exercise. Still, each to
    their own I suppose.
  14. Anywhere, any time, that's NYC. Look for detail, for instance, I don't think of anything particularly special about Carnegie Hall, but the immediate neighborhood around it is fraught with opportunity.
  15. Ok, in the meanwhile I got back from Manhattan, I got some "classic" shots, I got some less than typical ones... Here one from the second category

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