One of My All-Time Favorites

September 29, 2013  •  1 Comment

Manhattan and Brooklyn BridgesManhattan and Brooklyn BridgesA good friend moved his family to New Jersey a few years ago and we have remained good friends despite the distance. He invited me out there to take a unique boat ride around Manhattan specifically to take photos in exchange for him getting the print of his choice (pretty good deal if you ask me).

We spent the entire day traveling by boat around the island of Manhattan and we spent a fair amount of time under the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges to get the perfect shot. This is actually a panoramic image constructed of a few individual shots merged together, which is remarkable given how much the boat was rocking and drifting between shots.

A perfect shot from a perfect day.
I know, you're not supposed to have favorites, but I do.  Here's why.

One of my favorite couples, Scott and Patty, used to live across the street from us in our first neighborhood in Washington state.  We have been great friends ever since Patty came over days after we moved in asking "who's the cheesehead?" after seeing the Green Bay Packers stickers and Wisconsin plates on our minivan.  We lived near each other for a while in that neighborhood before Scott moved the family to Tokyo for a few years and then they returned to the area before moving again, this time to the East Coast.  New Jersey to be specific.

Scott has always been into boats, and I will save the stories about the San Juan Islands for another blog post.  Anyway, they had been planning on moving the boat to some waterfront property they own in Idaho when Scott invited me out to New Jersey to do some cruising around Manhattan.  He didn't have to ask twice and I jumped at the opportunity for a visit and a once-in-a-lifetime private cruise around Manhattan.

We packed up for a day on the water and headed to the marina to retrieve the boat.  Fun fact, the boat was on a rack and it was delivered to the water by the biggest forklift I have ever seen.  We headed out from Sandy Hook and headed towards our destination.  It took about 45 minutes before we got near the financial district and the Staten Island Ferry terminal and then headed up the East River with Manhattan on our left (port) and Brooklyn on our right (starboard).  Almost immediately we got to the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges and they are even more amazing as you pass underneath them by boat.

Scott and I made a deal, that he would take me wherever I wanted by boat to get the right shots, and I would give him his pick of the final images when we were done.  As we approached these bridges, I wanted to take a variety of angles looking north and south, with just the Brooklyn Bridge and with both bridges, all the while with the Manhattan skyline in the background.  As you look at a few of my galleries, you should know I LOVE taking multiple images and stitching them together to make one larger panoramic image.  This place was perfect for that, but there was an issue.  The boat was drifting quite a bit with the current and it was rocking quite a bit in the waves.  True to his word, Scott moved the boat for me as we drifted under the bridges so I could take hundreds of photos, all the while not quite sure that the panorama technique would work with so much boat movement.  All told, we probably spent about 45 minutes in that one location trying to get the right shots.

We continued up the East River and passed such landmarks as the United Nations Building and Roosevelt Island, before heading up the Harlem River that cuts across the island and joins with the Hudson River north of the George Washington Bridge.  We decided to stop for lunch and grilled delicious burgers right on the boat as we drifted on the east side of the river looking at Englewood Cliffs.  After lunch we headed south on the Hudson and the water was noticeably rough than the East River.

The entire trip took all day and ended as we drifted on the Navesink River with more burgers and beers while we watched a family of dolphins swimming alongside the boat.  The next day I did a quick edit on the photos from the bridges and was really happy that the panorama stitching worked well, even with all the boat movement.  I put together the rough edits and Scott and Patty made their picks.  After I returned home I did the final edits and was thrilled with the results.  I decided to go with the black and white conversion mostly to give it an old time newspaper look and I actually have a group of three images that work really well as a series.  Check out my gallery here to see all three images as well as other Cityscape Panoramas.  I sent Scott and Patty a 16x48 gallery wrapped canvas print and it is so awesome, I made one for myself.

As I have mentioned before, I can remember who I was with and how the shot was taken for everything in my portfolio.  While the images I got are fantastic, the day I spent with Scott and Patty is one of my all-time favorites.


Patty Pelkola(non-registered)
It was one of my favorites as well!!!! What a great friend you are and an amazing talent you have.
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