Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Posts Tagged ‘city skylines

New York at Night

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I made my first and only visit to the observatory of the World Trade Center in early November 1981. I was visiting a friend who lived in the Big Apple although we had met back in Springfield, Illinois, when we both worked for the state.

We visited the WTC twice on the same day. The first visit occurred during daylight hours. I might have said something about what a nice view it would be at night.

Whatever the case, we returned that evening and I made this image. I don’t remember having a tripod. Perhaps we went back to Mark’s apartment to get one. I can’t imagine that I was traveling with a tripod.

This image was made on slide film and over the years it has badly faded. I scanned it anyway and through some Photoshop work was able to regain some of the image.

It would not only be the last time I visited the WTC it would also be the last time that I saw Mark. In fact, I can’t remember his last name or how to get in contact with him. Our last visit, though, was a memorable one.

Beauty Along the Flint River

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The Flint River water crisis was still nearly three years into the future when I made these images of the Flint River in downtown Flint, Michigan.

For years the Flint River has been one of the most polluted in the state as a result of decades of dumping industrial waste into it.

Then the waterway made national news in 2014 when Flint began drawing its drinking water from the river. News stories told of high levels of lead in the blood of children and residents were given bottled water to drink.

The top photograph shows Riverfront Center, which is now part of the University of Michigan-Flint complex along on the Flint River.

The 16-story building has academic space, student housing and banquet/conference facilities. Owned by the Upton Reinvestment Corporation, it was donated to UM in 2015.

Prior to that UM had been using the building, which houses the business school. Upton had purchased the building in 2009. It had been built in 1981 as a Hyatt Regency Hotel and soon became a landmark building in downtown Flint.

The bottom photograph shows the Garland Street-Beach Street bridge over the river in downtown. The building in the distance is the Northbank Center on the UM campus.

Do You Like Your Cities Wide, Medium or Close Up?

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Photojournalism textbooks often talk about wide angle, medium and telephoto shots. Each has its own pros and cons, but ultimately the reason for doing one or the other depends on what you are trying to show.

Shown here are three different views of essentially the same thing. I’m standing on A Mountain overlooking Tucson, Arizona.

My focal point is the city’s downtown. In sequence, the images are progressively becoming wider in scope.

By zooming out, the perspective changes as the frame becomes narrower on the focal point. It becomes a tradeoff between detail and a wider sense of place.

Casting Some Tall Shadows in Seattle

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It is late afternoon in Seattle. I’m back in my hotel after spending time looking around the city. It had been cloudy for much of the day but by late afternoon the clouds had started to break.

The sunlight is bathing a cluster of apartment buildings, medical centers and office buildings in its warm glow.

But my hotel is casting a long shadow across the freeway and over some of the structures on the other side. And so is an adjacent building.

Chances are I am the only person noticing the contrast of light and shadows. They are such a part of everyday life that few people take the time to notice, other than photographers and artists.

The Dawn of a New Day to Represent the Dawn of a New Year

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Sunrise is often called dawn, which in turn is often used in the phrase “the dawn of a new . . . ” It could be a new day, a new era or a new year.

Today marks the start of a new year, 2017, and I’m saluting that with a photograph I made last year of sunrise over New York City as seen from my hotel in New Jersey opposite of Newark Liberty International Airport.

This image was made on a Sunday morning and I purposely got up before dawn to photograph the sun rising over the Big Apple on a mostly clear day aside from a few clouds hovering over Manhattan.

A new year also prompts many to look ahead at what might be coming into their life over the next 365 days.

As I write this, I don’t have any particular plans in mind for my photography. Maybe doing some planning needs to be one of new year’s resolutions.

Yet there is something to be said for letting opportunities come to you. A year ago I didn’t know I’d be traveling to New Jersey and having the opportunity to photograph New York City, even if from a distance.

Sometimes, it is the unexpected pleasures in life that make it all worthwhile.

Columbus Skyline on a Late Saturday Afternoon

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The weather forecast for Columbus, Ohio, called for mostly sunny skies. That was later downgraded to partly sunny conditions. But when I arrived there around 10 a.m. it was overcast and cold with occasional snow flurries.

But most of my activities for this day trip were indoors so the weather didn’t matter that much. I didn’t need to see the sun.

As I was getting ready to leave to return home, I noticed what appeared to be a break in the weather. I could see the back edge of the massive layer of clouds that had hung over the city all day.

Was the weather that had been predicted about to come along? Perhaps, but there was only about an hour of daylight left and the only difference appeared to be a thinner layer of clouds.

Nonetheless, I took advantage of an opportunity to make a photograph of the Columbus skyline with some golden color behind it. The image was made from the parking deck at John Glenn Columbus International Airport.

And There Lies Buffalo

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I was driving with two guys over back roads in New York State en route to Arcade, New York, when we came upon an opening in the hills and a city skyline seemed to magically appear on the horizon.

I wasn’t driving so I wasn’t sure where we were, but subsequent research determined that we were on North Boston Road near Hamburg, New York.

Some of my most pleasing images were unintended surprises such as this one. I didn’t set out to make this image, the opportunity just presented itself. It is what makes photography so rewarding.

Not being familiar with this region I had no idea we were this close to Buffalo and that there was a vista that would show it. But there it is in the distance over the tree tops. It was a magical find indeed.