Manhattan Sunset

One of the best views of Manhattan is from 30 Rockefeller Plaza, an Art Deco skyscraper in the middle of Rockefeller Plaza. At 850 feet (260 m) high, the 70-sto...
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One of the best views of Manhattan is from 30 Rockefeller Plaza, an Art Deco skyscraper in the middle of Rockefeller Plaza. At 850 feet (260 m) high, the 70-story building is the 14th tallest in New York City and is a great place for capturing views at sunset (especially because it offers views of the Empire State Building).
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3 Comments | Report
sweetpea72 PRO
sweetpea72 June 23, 2015
gorgeous shot! (:
jimhelmick June 23, 2015
Excellent photo. In the way back time, there was a restaurant called' The top of the 6's' that had a great view also.
MichalZapsky September 10, 2018
Well done

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Behind The Lens

This photo was taken from Top of the Rock, the observation deck at the top of Rockefeller Center in New York City, which provides excellent views of Manhattan.
This photo was taken at just after sunset in January, so it was about 5:15 in the evening. I was rushing to get to the top of Rockefeller Center before sunset. The queue for the elevator took ages and I arrived just after sunset, but was treated with a gorgeous display of color nonetheless. It was very cold at the top (around 10º F / -12º C) so I could only stay outside for a few minutes before my fingers started aching.
Everything in the photo was natural light. I started shooting frames around 4:50 but the sky was too bright and the city lights had yet to come one completely. By around 5:10 the setting sun had painted the sky with an array of colors and the city lights were bright enough to be engaging.
I shot this with a Sony A7r and a Zeiss 24-70 f/4 lens. It was shot at 1/60 of a second at f/4.0 with an ISO of 1000. Even though the shutter speed was fast enough to take the shot hand held, I used a Pedco UltraPod II table top tripod for stability.
New York City is a magical place, especially at night. Rockefeller Center is the best place to shoot lower Manhattan because you can capture both the iconic Empire State Building and the World Trade Center from the top.
I didn't have to do much to make this photo look good. I brightened the exposure a bit in Lightroom, boosting the shadows, lowering the brights, and adding some clarity for pop. I added a slight vignette but that's about it.
In my camera bag
I travel a lot. I've spent years lugging heavy gear around the world and have finally gotten to the point where having a lighter kit is important to me. I recently switched from Canon to a Sony A7r, which offers great quality in a lightweight mirrorless body. My walk-around lens is the Zeiss FE 24-70 f/4, which is sufficient for most of my photography. It's a sharp lens and while not the fastest, the high ISO range of the A7r makes up for it. I sometimes carry the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 for wide angle and astrophotography, as well as a trusty Minolta MD 50mm f/1.2 for portraits. Everything gets packed into lightweight Think Tank Citywalker 20 shoulder bag, along with extra batteries, memory cards, a host of filters, a LensPen, a rocket blower, and a table top tripod.
If you want to capture the sunset from the top of Rockefeller Center, be sure to purchase your tickets online in advance and allow for enough time to get through the security checks and the elevator queue. The observation deck has two levels. The lower level is surround by glass panels that contain slits for photography, but the best pictures are taken from the upper level, which has unobstructed views. The upper level can be accessed via an escalator from the lower level. Tripods are not allowed on the observation deck; security will ask you to take them down since they are a tripping hazard. However, the wall around the upper level has flat areas where you can easily rest a table top tripod without violating any rules.

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