Photographing skylines is one of my favorite objectives in photography. For whole my life I’m impressed by skyscrapers and city skylines. Their size & architecture amaze me every time when I’m facing them in cities around the world. Unfortunately here in The Netherlands, we don’t have those wonderful skylines like New York, Hong Kong, Chicago etc. Well, the only skyline which comes close in The Netherlands is the Rotterdam skyline.
The first impressive skyline which is on many bucket lists, is of course the Manhattan skyline, New York City. It is one of my favorites and can be photographed from many angles. Of course it’s up to you to decide from were you like it most but to me, I like to photograph it from the Brooklyn side. From there you have two great point of views, one from the Old Pier Nr 1 which is shown below
and the other option (which I prefer) is from The Empire Fulton Ferry. From there, you can get a great view on the Lower Manhattan skyline including the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge.
If we’re heading more to the east, you’ll find the best skyline in the world.. The Chicago Illinois skyline. Chicago is also my favorite city to do street photography. It’s an urban heaven for photographers like me! The architecture in this city amazes me every time again when I’m visiting Chicago. Also, like in New York, you have several options to photograph the skyline but the one from North Avenue Beach inspires me the most. From here you have a great view on the Chicago skyline including Lake Michigan. What I like best of this skyline and this point of view, is the symmetry you see from here. The shot below was taken at sunrise, winter time. Lake Michigan was frozen and reflects the Chicago skyline perfectly.
Traveling more to the east, we find San Francisco. Cities along the water always have a little extra. Like New York, Hong Kong, Chicago and San Francisco, water can give an extra dimension to your skyline photos. The first shot below here, you’ll see the San Francisco skyline seen from Twin Peaks. A great spot for shooting the San Francisco skyline at sunset.
Of course you can’t leave the city without a shot from the San Francisco skyline including the famous and most photographed bridge in the world.. The Golden Gate Bridge. There are many options on the east side of the bridge to get a great view on the city like Battery Spencer, Golden Gate view point, Kirby Beach and Hawk Hill. You can’t get wrong anywhere on these spots. Below you’ll see a panorama shot which I took from Hawk Hill at sunrise (which is the best time to shoot on this spot)
Traveling a little to the south, we’ll find the City of Angels.. Although the city itself (downtown area) doesn’t attract me that much, the L.A. skyline is great. Like all the other cities mentioned above, you’ll find several places from were you can get a good shot, close by and further away. My number 1 location is the one from the Kenneth Hahn Park. With a nice zoom lens you can compress the mountains and the skyline beautifully in one shot as shown below.
Other viewing points which are worth a visit are the ones from Mulholland Scenic Overlook and of course the Griffith Observatory. If you want to get a closer look on the DTLA skyline, you’ll have to go to one of the bridges along the Harbor Freeway. Especially at sunset and beyond when the light goes down. The city lights up and a long exposure capture will give you a nice shot of the DTLA skyline including light trails of the traffic rushing by.
Leaving the USA for another great skyline, the one from Hong Kong. The most dense skyline in the world. You can get nice shot from the Av. of Stars, especially when the light show lights up the city but I prefer the view from the Victoria Peak. From here you reach above the city with a stunning view over Hong Kong and its harbor. This spot is great for sunrise when the sun rises behind the city but also for sunset when the city lights give an extra dimension to your photo.
Of course there are many more skylines to photograph around the world.. Singapore, Toronto, Taipei (to name just a few) are definitely worth paying a visit and to photograph. I still haven’t seen all the great ones, which is okay. It’s important to have a wish list so you can keep dreaming of visiting those beautiful places in the future.. and I also know you can’t have it all.