Not knowing what to expect from my first visit to New York, I only had two preconceived images I wanted to capture, and one of them was a panorama of the Manhattan skyline.
As I always do before any trip, I research locations and images to get an idea from where to shoot as well as referring to The Photographer’s Ephemeris for sunrise and sunset times. I had seen some images taken from Brooklyn Heights and read it had great views over Manhattan. I had also read that there was an esplanade on the Heights which was a tourist spot and viewing platform which turned out to be a promenade over a busy motorway. This structure jutted out from the side of the hill that made up the residential area of Brooklyn overlooking the East River. The views from these apartments are amazing, well exactly what you see in my image. The lower right side of the image shows the Esplanade where early morning joggers and dog walkers brave the cold and dark. The only challenge I had was the shaking from the heavy traffic from the motorway underneath me. I wondered if the apartments behind me were showing signs of cracking from all the movement. As it got lighter, the traffic got heavier.
To ensure capturing the rising light, I had arrived about 5.30am on location, but not without drama. Firstly, the cab driver had no idea where Brooklyn Heights was, nor did he speak any English. Mind you, nor did anyone else I can come across since landing. I swear I was in Eastern Europe. With map and torch in hand, I showed the cab driver exactly where I wanted to go and off we headed towards Brooklyn Bridge. On the other side, I recognised street names from the map, but the cab driver couldn’t find the exact location. In frustration, I got out virtually under the Brooklyn Bridge and decided to find a spot on the edge of the East River. I walked towards the river and all of a sudden a spot light beamed onto me, a man on a PA shouted, “you are trespassing, you have been photographed, leave the area immediately”. Who was I to argue, turned and ran back to the street! In hindsight, this was a blessing as I made my way in the dark through the secluded streets, thinking any moment I’ll be abducted never to be seen again, only to locate the Esplanade I had originally set out to find.
At this point I found a spot and set up just in time for the sun to began to rise. I wanted to capture a panorama by stitching multiple images together. A technique that I learned on the Greek Islands where my friend Pieter had given me some advice on technique and a recommendation for stitching software. Since then, I’ve created a few panos, but not one that I can truly call a keeper.