I regularly head up to Vancouver to our company’s office there. I have been going up for the last couple of years but I did not know something until a recent trip and that is that there is a roof terrace on top of the building. I was meeting one of my colleagues and he suggested we take our lunch up there to eat while we talked. The views across the city are really nice on a sunny summer’s day so, once we had finished and were ready to head down, I grabbed a few quick shots. Might take a good camera next time!
One of my meetings in Tokyo took place in the Akihabara district. The company had a cafeteria on one of the higher floors of the building which served food and beer after work and they invited us up there. Aside from having an enjoyable meal and fun company, we also got to enjoy the view of the city as the sun went down. Tokyo is a city that is lit up at night and it looks beautiful. I took along a camera because that’s what I do and grabbed a few shots of the view. It would be good to have set up a time lapse as the sun went down. If I ever get invited back, maybe I’ll try and get that done.
I had a meeting in downtown Seattle that was on the 24th floor of an office block. As a result of traffic being better than expected, I got there a little early so I had a little extra time which was spent waiting in the lobby for the meeting to start. Their lobby had a large window view of the south end of the city looking towards the stadiums. It would have been churlish to not get my phone out and to grab a quick picture and doubly churlish not to share it with you!
On our boat ride back from Bainbridge Island, we were getting back to Seattle in the early evening. The light was not at its best but it was certainly becoming nice. While the boat was moving, if you were quick it was possible to shoot a series for a pano so that is what I did. The resulting pano is rather large. Therefore, the above image is a small excerpt but to zoom in and pan around, you can go to the Zoomify version of the shot below.
There is a place in San Francisco that I have meant to visit many times but have never been to – until now of course. That place is Treasure Island. At the midpoint of the Bay Bridge, it provides a great view of the city. I nearly went there a while back. On a Saturday I was coming to the city to visit a friend and made an early start to be at Treasure Island for sunrise. Unfortunately someone was in a hurry that morning, wrote their car off ahead of me on the interstate and left a bumper in my lane which I hit at some speed. This delayed my arrival by a few hours while Hertz switched out the car for me.
That is a slight aside. I finally got there. This wasn’t a photo trip. Nancy and I were heading in to the city and I suddenly decided to make a quick detour. We weren’t there long. I did take a look at a great Art Deco building that has the look of an old terminal building but which was a Navy building I believe. The city now uses it and it was closed when we were there but it will be worth a second look.
I did take some pictures. I was shooting into the sun so the look I was going for was more silhouette and highlight but we did have a good view of the sailing boats out at Alcatraz. This was part of a great sweeping view. Again, panorama jumped to mind. As with Twin Peaks, I can only show a small portion of it on screen but it was a nice lookout. Another location to be added to my list of places to visit at a more appropriate time of day.
Night photography around the city is something I always enjoy. You will have seen examples of it here and here and here and probably a bunch of other posts too. This time I wanted to get out because the Chicago Blackhawks were in the final of the Stanley Cup. Whenever something big is happening, the buildings near Grant Park can be relied upon to make messages using the lights in their windows.
This was no exception. Messages exhorting the ‘Hawks to win the cup were on display and made what is already a cool skyline, a little more interesting. Of course, the result was success as the ‘Hawks went on to win the cup. I think the lights were updated to reflect that but a variety of circumstances meant I didn’t get a chance to get back out and shoot the updated view. However, this will give you a bit of a feel for what they looked like.
As you know if you follow this blog, the chance to be on the roof of a building for a helicopter lift is also the chance to get some shots of the city. We get into place well ahead of the actual lift and, while the guys are getting ready to deal with the loads, I have the time to get my gear ready and usually grab some shots of the view. High buildings have good views but not always photogenic ones. When you are above the city, you get a good view of cooling units, satellite dishes and all of the others things architects and building engineers hide on the roof out of sight of most people.
However, all is not bad. Sometimes you just get a great view of the city from an angle that most don’t get. Being on the river opens up more options too. You are not closed in by surrounding structures – and you have a river! Not bad, eh?
There are many cities that you might be interested in checking out when looking for a skyline shot. However, I suspect that Oakland is not the first that would spring to mind. However, some work commitments meant that I found myself in Oakland recently and I was staying in a hotel that had a reasonable view across the city. My floor was pretty low but the elevator lobby had a good angle so I figured a trip to the upper floors might be worthwhile. Facing towards the bay means that the morning light is behind you.
As I mentioned in a previous post, sometimes it is useful to have someone come to the city to encourage me to get out and about. A few friends had been to Chicago in a previous week to do some shooting but I had been tied up when they arrived. They were planning some evening shooting and I had been out all day and had plans for the evening so missed it. I was a bit disappointed but there you go.
Consequently, I was pleased to see that a few of them were planning to come back a few days later for another session. This time I was free so agreed to meet up. Some of the group that were coming I knew and others I hadn’t met before. I headed out to the Adler Planetarium – our meeting spot – and started taking some shots. A few guys were already there taking their own shots so I wandered over to find out if they were some of the people I hadn’t met before.
While it was true I hadn’t met them before, they were not part of our group. However, in common with many photographers, they were a friendly bunch a we chatted for a while. They had come to town from Texas and were looking to get as many things in to their trip so I suggested a few spots that they might like to try.
After a while the rest of the guys did show up – well, all but one who had wandered off on his own – and we started taking some pictures. The skyline was lovely as usual and we took some shots around the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. Then we headed across to Millennium Park. I’m becoming a regular.
Shooting around the Bean at night is good since the long exposures you need tend to make any of the other visitors disappear. You get a cleaner shot if you plan it right. We got a bunch of shots and then we started playing around with a flashlight. More of that to come!