[This post was originally uploaded on January 14, 2015. It has been updated below with new information on March 19, 2015.]
Even as a lifelong New Yorker, I believe that each day always brings many new things to see and to learn about this great place. Indeed, no one can ever quite know it all or live everything it has to offer. Such vastness and diversity are two its many enduring charms.
I just experienced that sense of wonder on an even greater scale upon viewing nine extraordinary images that have been posted today (January 14, 2015) in a story on Mashable.com entitled What a Night in New York City Looks Like from 7,500 Feet by Max Knoblauch. This display and accompanying text is about the photos taken by Vincent Laforet, a Pultizer prize-winning photographer, from a helicopter at 7,500 feet above Manhattan on the night of November 8, 2014. These were taken as an assignment for Men’s Health magazine. He is quoted here about how he accomplished this and the challenges it posed. As also linked to within in the article is the full set of Laforet’s dazzling photos from this project on a site on Storehouse.com entitled Gotham 7.5K as well as a 3.5 minute video of how he does this high altitude urban photography. I, well, highly recommend clicking through and viewing both of these.
Also, I would just like to add a few bits of navigation to the photos as they appear on Mashable for those of you who are not familiar with New York:
Photo 1: Broadway and Times Square looking east to west, in an ocean of LED signage everywhere. (For further information about the technology of this illumination see the August 11, 2014 Subway Fold post entitled Times Square’s Operating System.)
Photo 2: All of Manhattan looking north to south starting at Battery Park at the bottom center of the image. To the right are Brooklyn and Queens. To the left is New Jersey.
Photo 3: Midtown Manhattan from the Hudson river on the very left to the Est River on the very right. Broadway, again, is the very brightly lit street appearing diagonally from the upper middle left to the lower middle right. The brightly lit circular building to the middle left is Madison Square Garden.
Photo 4: The new World Trade Center and to the right is the Wall Street area.
Photo 5: The Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge spanning, not surprisingly, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Photo 6: Another view of Manhattan very similar to Photo 2, this time more of a southwest to northeast perspective. Notice also the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges from Photo 5 above, seen here in the middle right of the picture.
Photo 7: Moving from top to bottom are the point further south in Manhattan where Broadway and Sixth Avenue intersect each other. The Empire State Building is to the middle right.
Photo 8: Midtown.
Photo 9: A Reverse POV from Photos 2 and 6, this time going river to river from north to south. Central Park is the rectangular area in the lower middle right, the World Trade Center is in the upper middle area, and the bridges are off to the left. Brooklyn is to the left and New Jersey is to the right.
For another astonishing panoramic of New York from way up, please also see this cover of the March 17, 2014 issue of Time that was taken from the very top of the antenna on the World Trade Center and the accompanying story of how it was done.
March 19, 2015 Update:
Today’s (March 19, 2015) edition of The New York Times carried a very informative report with more detail about Vincent Laforet’s aerial photography, this time of San Francisco entitled Capturing The Night in Digital Photos, Spectacularly by Farhad Manjoo (the regular writer of the NYTimes’ always excellent, imho, State of the Art column). It was accompanied by four of his remarkable photos of the City by the Bay from waaaay up high at night. I highly recommend clicking through for the full-text of this story and its eye-popping graphics. I will briefly summarize some of the extra information in this piece not covered in the Mashable.com story above.
Mr. Laforet has been able to capture New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas in his truly original nighttime photography because of the dramatic advances in the digital cameras and the software he uses such as Adobe Lightroom. To demonstrate the possibilities, he took Mr. Manjoo along for a photographic session from a helicopter over San Francisco. One of the images he took, the third of four in the article, makes this city appear as “an orange-and-blue microchip”.
When Mr. Laforet’s photo’s of New York were first published in Men’s Health, he was let down by the relative lack of response they received. However, when he uploaded the images to Storehouse.com (linked to above), they proceeded to go viral across the Web. This new link on Storehouse.com contains his photo galleries of New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas. I believe they will leave you in absolute wonder at their beauty.
Mr. Laforet has developed a series of technological and physical techniques in order to steady himself and his imagery under very challenging conditions. He also takes a large number of photos during each of his sky-bound photography adventures in order to capture numerous perspectives while employing a variety of cameras and lenses.
Massive amounts of kudos to Mr. Laforet as an artist doing truly original and imaginative work.