01.29.17: Liberty and Manhattan

Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty as seen from the Brooklyn Bridge, New York City. 


Technical information

Nov. 29, 2005,
12:01 p.m.

40°42’14” N,
73°59'39" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Canon EOS 20D

Canon EF 28-135 f/3.5-5.6 (53mm) 


1/80th second


Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of my favorite things to do in New York. The pedestrian walkway on the bridge provides an excellent opportunity to get close-up shots of the century-old architecture on the bridge, but it also provides a superb elevated platform and interesting perspective for photographing the city’s skyline.

I shot this photo of the lower end of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty from the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge in 2005. It was an extremely overcast day and, when I was scanning the area for potential shots, I liked how the low-angled midday November sun cast a diffused light on buildings near where the East River flows into Upper New York Bay.

I framed the scene in my camera’s viewfinder so I could get both the buildings and the statue in the photo, but I didn’t like the first shots I took. The water in the foreground seemed to overwhelm the other elements in the image. That’s when I noticed a boat moving north toward the East River. 

I thought the boat, if it reached the area in the lower left of the scene as I had it composed in the viewfinder, would break up the expanse of water sufficiently to balance the composition. So I held the camera in position and waited, hoping the boat would be close enough to river’s west bank to creep into the scene.

After about a minute the boat cruised into my viewfinder exactly where I needed it. I had the shot.

This is one of a number of photos I’ve taken of, on or from the Brooklyn Bridge.

The bridge is about a mile and a quarter long (it was, by far, the world’s longest suspension bridge when it was completed in 1883) with a wide pedestrian walkway above traffic. More than 4,000 pedestrians and 3,000 bicyclists cross the bridge each day, although I’ve been on the bridge on some nice-weather weekend days when it seems like all 7,000 walkers/cyclists are on it at the same time.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.