Photo Location Guide: An Unconventional Way to Photograph New York

Living in Eastern Canada (Montreal) near the US border has a big advantage for any travel photographer or photo enthusiast; it puts you within driving distance of two beautiful and extremely photogenic cities; Boston, and New York

Travel Photography Blog: New York Manhattan. Midtown
New York. Manhattan. Midtown
Loc: 40.76254, -73.97306

I have a tradition where I visit New York at least once a year. Even if I have happened to visit during my business trips, I still try to find time to return on my own. Since I am not a winter person, and I do not enjoy outdoor photography in wintertime, most of my visits to New York have been in the summer.

It is not easy to photograph New York in the middle of summer. Any place you go is full of tourists, and sometimes it is not easy to frame an interesting shot without people in it.

I guess if you are into street photography then NY in summer is heaven for you. As for me, my travel photographs are mostly urban landscapes, and in most cases I am not looking to include strangers in my photos.

Years ago, I found a very interesting and unconventional way to photograph the city; to take photos from the upper deck of the Gray Line tourist bus. Sounds too touristy? Probably, but it definitely works.

Photographing from the upper deck provides you with a very unconventional view of the city, and your composition and framing become more distinctive and unique than from street level. And, since you always stay above the crowd, you have more freedom with your photography.

Travel Photography Blog: New York Manhattan. Midtown
New York. Manhattan. Midtown
Loc: 40.74332, -73.97387

A side benefit is that you learn a lot about the city on the guided tour, and it will benefit you when you are planning your future photo trips to NY.

These days, when I travel to NY I have one or two specific places I want to visit and photograph. But even now, once a while I hop on the bus to get some above street level perspective.

Here are few tips

Do not buy your ticket online in advance. What they do not tell you is that even if you have a ticket you still have to go to the Gray Line headquarters in Midtown and register it. What this means is that at 8am hundreds of tourists are waiting for the buses at the same location, and every bus is packed.

Travel Photography Blog: New York Manhattan. Midtown
New York. Manhattan. Midtown
Loc: 40.75650, -73.97237

Instead, go downtown somewhere around Wall St. and buy your ticket from a street vendor near a bus stop. As the majority of the people will be going from Midtown to Downtown you will be moving in the opposite direction, and having the bus all to yourself for half of the trip and you can choose any seat you want. My favorite spot on the bus is the corner seat in the last row, as it allows me to photograph to the rear without any obstructions.

Most of the shots you will take while the bus is moving, so make sure your shutter speed is set high enough to avoid blurry shots.

Be ready when the bus stops at the light or in the traffic to take some shots, as you will get much sharper photos.

Travel Photography Blog: New York.  Manhattan. Rockefeller Center
New York. Manhattan. Midtown. Right Beside B&H Headquarters
Loc: 40.75192, -73.99493
Travel Photography Blog: New York.  Manhattan. World Financial Center
New York. Manhattan. World Financial Center
Loc: 40.71289, -74.01470
Travel Photography Blog: New York.  Manhattan. Rockefeller Center
New York. Manhattan. Rockefeller Center
Loc: 40.75905, -73.97841
Travel Photography Blog: New York.  Manhattan. Fashion District
New York. Manhattan. Midtown. Fashion District
Loc: 40.75412, -73.98832
Travel Photography Blog: New York.  Midtown
New York. Manhattan. Midtown
Loc: 440.75946, -73.98078

 

  • Torin Emard says:

    Your photographs are spectacular.

  • Shirley Slayton says:

    And don’t stand up on the bus! I did the Gray Line thing last March, too cold on the top of that bus but going back in the fall I hope before it gets cold again. Love NY! Your images are great!

    • If you stand up on the bus you are risking to hit traffic light with your head. Good advice I totally forgot to mention it.

  • I’ve always avoided those double decker buses for the very reason of it being too touristy & way over crowded. I may have to reconsider thanks to your tips Viktor. Happy New Year!

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