Category Archives: Dark City – Personal Project

Dark City, Top of the Rock – Christmas night 2008

My girlfriend, Maria and I decided to take in the sights of the city Christmas night in search of some new material for Dark City. We started out going uptown to see the tree at Rockefeller Center. We got off the bus one stop later than we had planned and ran into the two scenes below, including Radio City Music Hall. It’s such a NYC landmark that I had to shoot it.

Right after this shot, we saw the sign for the “Top of the Rock”, 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Maria and I have never been, so we decided to up. My big tripod created quite the scene there as they have this tripod rule where you can’t extend it outward(like normal) to use it for time exposures. It would have to be used only like a monopod(or just extending the legs downward). This makes sense in a way as when it is busy, you don’t want a bunch of photographers to be hogging the space up on the top…but that made it harder for me to get these shots that would normally be so easy to set up.

This shot, below was on the 68th floor. You can see the viewers on the 67th floor viewing area below and the wonderful expanse of city beyond.

If you’re wondering what that blurry part is on the right hand side, it’s the gap between the glass(2″ thick). The glass has about a 2.5″ gap in 4′ sections, so you can actually stick your camera lens out of it, but for this shot, I liked the composition of it even with the glass distortion.

This is shot through the glass showing the city below and the reflection of the people behind us, which happens to be this dancing light show(which is multi-color and feeds off of people moving near to it).

This is truly one of the best places to view Manhattan if you’re visiting New York. I’ve been up the Empire State Building so many times with other friends and family, but I’ve never seen such an amazing view of New York. Unlike the Empire State Building, which has these nasty metal grates that separate you from the incredible view…the Top of the Rock has completely unobstructed views of NYC. Floors 67 and 68 have glass between you and the view, and 69 has nothing, only air and the view of the city. It’s truly amazing. Even though there was that nasty tripod rule in effect, once we were on the 69th floor, there was this older security guard that saw I was trying to shoot some of the scenes with my tripod and said, “It’s Christmas, go ahead and use it”. I thought that was so nice(and needed).

So we were fairly frozen, especially my fingers, being out using the camera and tripod, so we had enough and went back down to the bottom. Maria and I had thoroughly enjoyed our experience at the Rock. So it was off to see the tree and the Saks 5th Ave windows…

Finally, what we had gone to see that night…with a little interlude…

Trying to get an interesting shot of the tree, I didn’t shoot it with the building behind it…I wanted a more raw aproach with some atomosphere behind it. So, here you have it. The tree did seem smaller this year. I don’t know if it’s the economy or not, but the trees of past years have been much taller. Swarofski Crystal is responsible for the star and led lights on the tree.

So we moved onto Saks Fifth Avenue, which is a stone’s throw from the tree. Beautiful as always, it has a wonderful snowflake light display.

Maria wanted to see the displays at Saks 5th Avenue, so this was just a nice scene I captured when she was looking at the windows…

Lastly, this is an interesting scene that I saw when we were waiting for the bus to head back home. There is this old woman in her fur coat with a pile of garbage next to her. It just seemed interesting that here is this old woman, here with her fur coat, alone on Christmas trying to catch a cab home. Sad in a way…but a New York story none the less…

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Dark City continues…

“Dark City” continues with a few new additions due to my friend and frequent stylist, David Widjaja. These were shot from his rooftop. It’s quite an amazing scene, as there are not any buildings right next to his so it gives a nice panoramic view of the city from within the city. I plan on doing more of the building, “looking down” images in the future(like shot 2). My hope is to get a shot of the empire state building(sticking the tripod/camera out of the grate and looking down the building). It’s a scene not easy to get…we’ll see if I can pull it off without the guards at the top giving me trouble…

Thank you again, David for showing me your wonderful rooftop. :)

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Darkness Reigns

I’ve got a thing for darkness. There’s something different that happens when the sun goes down and the lights turn on. No matter what night you go out, the lights will be different. It’s an ever changing landscape that’s just so rich. Take a look up when you’re walking in the city at night. Look to see the lights in the windows. Each window has it’s own story. I’ll be exploring the city high and low over the next few months for this project. Here’s a few from day 1.One of the problems I thought I would run into going out alone at night is getting approached, or even robbed of my camera. When I was taking this shot, ipod buds in ear, music playing, I hear this, “hello!”. I turn to my right and there’s this older homeless man watching me. He started telling me about when he had a camera, and can he see what I was shooting, etc. It was a mostly harmless encounter which ended well, as I talked to him for a little while, but it could have been much different. You have to keep an eye out, and maybe only use one earbud. :)

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