Seeking to print some images for a tall, narrow section of wall near a window in my office, I realized that I don’t shoot vertically very often. Perhaps that comes from what originally drove my interest in photography—making cooler desktop wallpapers for my computer. I traveled back to 2013 to find a vertical shot that really tickled my fancy (though luckily Adobe’s Super Resolution was up to the task of upsizing for printing.) The warm sodium-vapor-and-neon glow of San Francisco’s Embarcadero (stacked with the Transamerica Pyramid and Coit Tower) are a moment frozen in time, if not least because the switch to LED streetlights is totally changing the hue of an American city at night.
Iron Petrin Tower (tower than the Eiffel Tower, incidentally) looks out over Prague.
This nineteenth-century water tower in the North Country hamlet of Heuvelton, New York is scheduled for demolition (or disassembly, really) to make way for its modern replacement. In the process of preparing the site, however, it was discovered that the original graveyard that was moved to make room for the tower was, uh, not so thoroughly moved as originally assumed. Now, biological anthropologist Prof. Mindy Pitre and her team are on site (beneath the oak tree) to properly finish the job. I joined her for an afternoon to photodocument the site and its tower before ongoing construction forever alters it.
I caught John Wick Chapter 3 in theaters this weekend; that movie’s take on New York City inspired me to finish processing my RAWs from my October 2018 trip to photograph its downtown skyline. Perhaps that sense of a hidden world lurking around every corner is captured in the details along the shore.
Even as a slightly abstract bokeh, the shape of the Eiffel Tower is so iconic as to be (nearly) unmistakable. Given the origin of the word “bokeh,” perhaps the Tokyo Tower has a better claim on being the iconic delta-shaped bokeh building.
After nightfall, the Eiffel Tower puts on an hourly strobe light show that transforms the tower into a sparkly pillar in the city skyline. Much as a flash can brighten a photograph, this effect also means that long-exposure photographs of the tower make it the brightest object in the skyline by an order of magnitude.
There’s that perfect moment when the sky is still blue but the oranges of sodium vapor lamps begin to scatter from the surfaces of the clouds and the Eiffel Tower looks particularly otherworldly. When so many American cities have switched to lighting their streets with white LED lights, I was surprised at how much of Paris is still lit by sodium lamps.
A Parisian cliché says that the best view of the city comes from the top of the Tour Montparnasse—because it’s the only shot in which the enormous tower can’t be seen. My trip to Paris last week didn’t give me the time to establish that definitively, but I can certainly attest that the city looks fantastic from the deck. Cityscapes like this were what originally inspired me to get into HDR photography a decade ago, and they still fascinate me now.
This panorama of the San Francisco skyline (seen from across the Golden Gate in Tiburon) is transient in two senses of the word: because the sunset light takes on this set of specular reflections for only a moment, and because civil engineering has already transformed the skyline to some new form in the time since I took this picture.
Mohonk’s Skytop appears as a small castle atop the hills near the hotel, but its reality is a bit more mundane: it was constructed as a watchtower for forest fires in the early twentieth century. Though no longer in use, it adds an extra hint of magic to the whole setting. The hotel (off to the left) sits on the water, and the tower touches the sky.