Top of the Rock – Manhattan Light

New York City really is a city of lights.  During my trip to New York last fall, I wanted to get a night photo of “The City,” using the city’s lights to show how incredibly large the metropolitan area is.  I thought about going to the observation deck at the Empire State Building, but heard it was challenging to take a good picture from there because the metal safety screens surrounding the observation deck obscure the view.  Also, with the Empire State Building being one of the most recognizable buildings on the New York skyline, I wanted to include this iconic structure in my photo.  So, I ended up heading to the observation deck at Rockefeller Center.  The lower level of the observation deck at the “top of the rock” is glass, but even better, the upper level offers completely unobstructed views.

To prepare for the shoot, I went on Rockefeller Center’s website and couldn’t find anything regarding restrictions, so I think “Sweet!  I’m bringing my tripod!”  Unfortunately, once purchasing the tickets in the lobby that night, in huge bold letters on the ticket, it said “No Tripods Allowed.”  I’m thinking, “How can I get a sharp image in such low light without my tripod!?!”  I decided to nonchalantly carry my tripod up to the observation deck (I had been carrying it around Manhattan all day), and if the opportunity presented itself, I’d thumb my nose at authority in pursuit of a sharp image.  I stayed away from the crowded areas of the observation deck and it turns out, the security guards turned a blind eye to me and my tripod!

20131115-Top of the Rock landscape - w

What an incredible view!  Bathed in blue and red light, the Empire State Building is easily recognizable.  Off in the distance to the right of the Empire State Building, you can see the new World Trade Center.  Also, you can see the incredibly bright Times Square on the right side of the frame.

20131115-Central Park Night - w

Looking North from Rock Center, Central Park stands out as a dark patch in the landscape of lights that merge with the horizon.

20131115-Top of the Rock Portrait - w

It was a brief trip to New York, but I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in America’s largest city.  I can’t wait to visit again!

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