Central Park as dusk falls from the top of Rockefeller Center

It was a nice clear night, which I normally don’t like for these sorts of shots. I prefer the sky to have some clouds and a bit of drama… but the best thing about a clear night is a little 10 minute window when the sky has a nice spectrum of blues and light reds while the sun plays with the atmosphere. Big cities always start to light up right around this time, so it’s prime photo-takin’ time. I thought the deco border of the building looked pretty cool, so I was aiming to have it become the bottom grill along the border.

For those of you that have never been to New York, Central Park is that big green rectangle in the middle there. You can see a few lakes, trees, and paths scattered about.

Central Park  as dusk falls from the top of Rockefeller Center (by Stuck in Customs)

  • lovely image of NY — looks really great, and precisely the impression i’d retain after seeing it at this hour. the warm lights and cool sky/concrete/glass mix perfectly.

    i probably would have set the horizon slightly higher. looks like there was a limit to how high it could go, though — is that a glass barrier on the bottom zone of the image?

  • oh.. another amazing shot sir!

  • Indibang

    To me composition is just right. 1/3rd and 2/3rd rule. Good work, Trey.

  • it’s slightly lower than 1/3, but in any case, these rules are often broken brilliantly.

  • There are no rules in art. If you paint by numbers, how can you be an artist.

  • I wonder, if we ask the New Yorker to guess which building is this photo taken from, will they know it? And yes, I love the foreground of the building deco. With out that deco, it would probably feel like we are floating rather than standing on top of a building. Much better interaction with the photo to feel that I am part of it, standing and looking at the awesome city…
    and imo, Rules are meant to be broken.

  • Deb

    Never been to New York City but I would love to go just to see a view like this! Really awesome! Thanks so much!

  • James C

    Amazing Photo

  • KSD

    You bring out the feeling of almost being able to see the arch of the earth and falling away of the sun’s rays…brava…

  • Gail in Montana

    Wow!!! An amazing picture, Trey. You got there at the right moment, that’s for sure. Central Park is so huge, I only saw a small portion of it when I was there. What a nice spot for New Yorkers to eat their lunches or walk. That was good planning on someone’s part long ago. The sky is so beautiful at twilight. We quite often get that pink glow at night and in the morning over the mountains, so beautiful!!! Another great job!!!! Have a great weekend.

  • Hehe thanks… Glad you dig the comp too… I tried about 10 – and this one worked best! 🙂

  • Truly wonderful. I will get this one for my wallpaper (if you don’t mind) and it will probably stay there for months. Too beautiful.

  • No – it’s no problem at all. I have no prob if people want to use my stuff for wallpapers… in fact, if you click through to the FLickr page, I keep the hi-res versions there too.

  • Dale Martin

    Looks great Trey!

  • Smegly


    Great stuff, Trey. I’m hooked…

    Just getting into HDR here…the processing, not the shooting. I have an idea which may not be practical(bandwidth?) but would it be possible for you to have your raw files for each shot be downloadable so that we can all have a shot at this. This would be excellent for those of us that are handicapped(either financially or physically) and can’t get out there in the field.

    Taking this a bit further, why not have a contest based on a given set of raw files? It could be sponsored like your last one, the difference being that the playing field is more level, and the given task is just on the processing and artistic value that the contestant brings to what is given to him/her in the form of the raw files.

    I’m guessing that a contest like this would bring a lot of talent into the HDR fold that otherwise wouldn’t have a shot(Ha ha! Pun intended). I can’t imagine that a HDR application development company wouldn’t jump at the chance to sponser something like that given your tremendous visibility.


  • Thanks!

    That would be an interesting contest for sure… I am not sure where to put my raw files so I don’t get overloaded… the site gets about 350K hits a month and each raw file is over 30 megs – not everyone would download it… but still!

    Smegly, btw, I’m giving a talk here in Austin on Thursday night if you’d like to learn more about HDR.

  • Smegly


    Thanks for the tip about your talk this Thursday. Somehow I missed that bit of info on your index page. I’m only 10 minutes drive from the location so I might just be able to catch your talk.

    On the idea of posting the raw files, I can understand the problem. As far as the contest is concerned, I would imagine that your sponser would be willing to do that. After all, it would bring traffic to their site, which is always a good thing when you are trying to sell a product online.

    As far as posting raw files along with your finished product, there is one way I can think of that doesn’t hit on any one server, which would be to post them to a bittorrent site. Not sure if you’d end up with enough seeders, but it might be worth a try. You would have to bundle the raw files together with an explanatory text file into a rar or zip file and upload it, and then leave a link next to your finished product for the bittorrent download page. The other option would be to upload them to flickr.com and leave a link here to the relevant flickr.com page. Not sure if flickr would go for that, but it can hurt to inquire.

    The only reason I think this might actually work out is that last night I spent hours looking for raw files. Finding single raw files was impossible(unless you count some lame tiff’s), and finding bracketed raw photo files was out of the question – much less ones that are ideally suited for HDR.


  • Pat

    I’m in NYC every other week it seems. Been to the top of the Rock many times, and never captured anything like this. Truly an inspiration! Too bad I’m not near Austin to come to the presentation.

  • Nice view of NY city!

  • Xuehua

    This is a very awesome shot! I’m glad to have found your site =D Btw for creating hdr shots, i understand that i would need to use autobracketing to create a few pics of different exposure. But there are some places which I would not be returning in a long while so is it possible to create different exposure shots with one picture using photoshop and from there create HDR images? I’ve tried but doesn’t seem too successful or maybe I still need to improve on my tweaking skills. Thanks in advance if you can help me with this!

  • Thanks for the notes 🙂

    Xue — not really — it doesn’t work so much. I really put the best way I know inside that HDR tutorial.

  • I’ve found through experience that it is very possible to create HDR images from one photo, as long as it is exposed to capture the detail in the bright areas, like clouds. Even though the dark areas may appear very dark, they still contain color and detail. The way to make the dark areas look normal is to make one or more copied layers of those areas on top of themselves and then enhance the heck out of them -extreme editing is needed, boosting the brightness, contrast, and saturation way beyond what’s needed for any normal photo. Then erase the areas that are over-bright so the normal-exposure area shows through.
    Check-out the dozens of hdr images that I’ve made over the last 7 years -from single photos, and lately from two photos, here: http://photobucket.com/hdr_imaging and here: hdri.wetpaint.com

  • The New York panorama was certainly shot at the perfect, and quickly fleeting moment. I like the most is the look of the glowing lights in Central Park, reminds me of a Christmas season scene. During December you might go one step further and put Santa and his sleigh in the sky with stardust trailing behind. That would be magical.

  • Darn.. I was there a few year ago with my family, but I only owned a point and shoot then and never new about HDR..
    As an Idea to store RAW files.. you can use Rapidshare or megadownload it allows users with no account to d/l the files as well for free.. I’ll be happy to load them up on my account for others to d/l..

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