Michael Yamashita

National Geographic Photographer, Author, Speaker

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Hell's Kitchen, NYC

Here are the frames I shot on a rooftop in Hell's Kitchen, New York City at — you guessed it — magic hour! We headed up to the roof about 30 minutes before sunset to ensure we had plenty of time to capture landscapes with the best light. 

I hadn't visited this location prior to shooting — if you're in a similar position, I'd recommend arriving at your location about 45-60 minutes before sunrise or sunset, to ensure you can take a look at the opportunities. You should try to have the picture in your mind's eye before clicking the shutter.

Remember, always be on the lookout for light, patterns, and a way to show scale. 

 

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In this photo, the buildings create a natural pattern, and the tiny American flag waving in the wind illustrates a sense of scale.

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Similarly, the "New Yorker" sign in this landscape gives the viewer a sense of scale as compared to the buildings. There are also some patterns occurring with the cascading buildings, the clouds overhead, and the windows on the left that lead your eye into the picture.

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In this landscape, the passing cruise ship gives us a nice sense of scale, and we've also managed to create a layering effect between the background and the foreground.

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As the sun began to set, we had some really hard light hitting the surrounding buildings, which made for some interesting shots.

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I hope this example project will help guide you as you go out and shoot your "big picture" landscapes. Looking forward to seeing your work! 

- Mike

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