Everyone has ‘goal shots’ or specific pictures they’ve been wanting to capture. One of my goal shots was to capture the New York City skyline from the Brooklyn side of NYC. You know, that iconic image with the pilings in the foreground and the city skyline sitting beautifully in the background. Yeah that one.
It’s been on my mind for a while and I was essentially just waiting for a good moment to pull the trigger and make things happen.
Well, I pulled that trigger last weekend, and all I can say is WOW!"I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Full disclosure here."
I knew I had to have some plan of attack, travel light and be ready to walk a ton. I have been to NYC a few times in the past but only Times Square area so I wasn’t familiar with the southern portion or Brooklyn. (See some of those pictures here)
Research on where I needed to be for my ‘goal shot’ was quick and easy thanks to Google.
A last minute recommendation from a friend made me aware of the DUMBO area, so I decided to include that as well.
I chose to travel via china bus (I live within 10 mins of one). It’s super cheap and the drop-off point is super close to the where I needed to be for the picture. Booked a round-trip ticket, leaving Richmond VA at 12:30 Sunday morning, then leaving NYC on Monday at 3pm. Trip would take about 6:30hr.
I also found a super cheap hotel on Groupon in the Financial District. Nailed it!
My trip outline had come together. Next was gear choice.
Packing light was a necessity since I would be carrying my bag with me all day. I chose my trust Osprey 33L hiking backpack, packed with minimal clothing and a backup winter jacket in case needed.
My big 2 decisions came down to choosing my tripod and whether I would try to bring my DSLR as well to ensure I’d capture the image I wanted.
I love my FujiFilm X100F and have written about it extensively in the past (see 5 Reasons I Love My FujiFilm X100F), but I had a few doubts about trusting it for this particular shot.
And my traditional tripod isn’t very lightweight or travel friendly, but I could have height if needed to pull off the shot. My backup tripod is the Joby Gorillapod 5K. It’s small, lightweight and very travel friendly. But is only 15 inches or so. Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Ultimately I decided to leave my DSLR at home, trust my FujiFilm X100F and go with my Joby Gorillapod after running through a practice pack. My winter jacket took up a ton of space and my DSLR made the pack look overly full. Which I was trying to stay away from.
The Joby Gorillapod slid right in my backpack. I wanted to avoid stashing it outside the pack so I wasn’t advertising the expensive camera I was carrying.
My actual trip involved a lot of walking (as expected). And a few failed mini-goals.
Starting off on the wrong foot, I got off the bus at their first stop near Midtown, much more north than the 2nd stop in Chinatown.
But luckily I essentially had the whole day to kill before heading to Brooklyn Bridge Park area for sunset. So I ventured west to in an attempt to catch sunrise from The High Line since it was still super early in the morning.
But The High Line was closed due to high winds….
Decided to go south along the Hudson River towards Financial District/Chinatown. Caught a few good pictures along the river with a really good one looking towards the One World Center.
I ended up cutting through Chinatown in an attempt to get what was left of the early morning sun but my pictures didn’t really stand out. This cut through ended up leading me directly to and across the Manhattan Bridge where I then explored DUMBO and made a dry run through Brooklyn Park to find that treasured spot.
At this point I was getting tired and slightly aggravated I wasn’t getting any stand-out photos.
Ended up in the Financial District after crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, at the World Trade Center Memorial & Museum. I had never been and didn’t know what too expect, but it was a very solemn experience.
My camera stayed in my pocket, I didn’t want to shoot anything. I just walked through and took everything in. Again, a very solemn experience.
Afterwards I got an early check-in at my hotel and took a nap! I needed to recharge before the evening. This hotel was within two blocks of the Charging Bull and super close to other iconic spots within the Financial District so that was pretty cool.
Set out around 230pm to go back across the Brooklyn Bridge so I can post up and wait for the sunset. Walked around some of the piers to kill some extra time before setting up my tripod at the famous ramp that looks out towards the popular New York City skyline.
It was a busy spot with approximately 10 other photographers in the area. I’m sure it’s much busier in the summer.
As the sun started going down, the pink in the sky moved from the Manhattan Bridge/Brooklyn Bridge area to behind the city then further away towards the Statue of Liberty.
It was a beautiful sight and I snapped a few photos. Mixed up my composition a couple times as well as my exposure times. Got a few great shots but none felt like THE ONE. Until I moved up to the walking path and put my tripod on the rocks.
This spot just felt right.
Took a few shots to test my composure and shutter speed.
Then nailed it! I was so pumped. I had gotten my ‘goal shot’. And after a long day with not many other big keepers, this canceled out everything else.
After the Big Payoff
Took a few photos on the way back across the bridge, grabbed some sweet and sour chicken in Chinatown, then passed out.
And although the next morning’s sunrise was very lackluster, I got a few more big shots just before sunrise.
So now with some trophies to take home, I didn’t do much else after that. Ate some noodles in Chinatown and watched Netflix at a Starbucks in Tribeca.
Bus ride home was peaceful and I got some sleep in.
Next time I’m in NYC, I’ll be using the subway. And completely trusting my FujiFilm X100F.