I have a series of images that are quite popular on my iStockphoto.com portfolio. They are a series of city skylines shot when I traveled to various destinations for business.
It would seem so simple to shoot a skyline image, but I have found that it is not as simple as it looks. It takes time, planning, research, and the weather has to cooperate as well.
Say for example, the skyline stock image that I took of Phoenix, Arizona. I don’t know if you have been to Phoenix, but it is FLAT. There is a small hill (I think the local’s call it a mountain) off in the NW of the city, but other than that, the tallest thing around are the freeway overpasses. So getting a good skyline image is not easy to do. I drove around for a couple of hours looking for the perfect location. I shot a couple from around the airport overlooking the downtown that didn’t turn out exactly the way I wanted. The light was wrong. I was shooting in the magic light hours, but I was shooting northwest, not exactly towards the sun, but enough where it was ruining my shot.
So I got in my car and drove around again. The light was fading fast. If you have ever been in a situation where you are racing the sun go down, you will relate to how fast the sun actually sets.
I finally found a place that I could shoot and came up with this image. It took a lot of photoshop to take out the powerlines that were running through the image. But I think it is a good representation of what Phoenix looks like. You have the palm trees in the foreground, the skyscrapers in the background and lots of clear, blue sky.
I also have some shots that I took of downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, with the magnificent skyline framed by the Wasatch mountains in the background.
I have shots in the middle of the calm in the middle of the storm, some fabulous night images, and summer shots of downtown Salt Lake City, Utah with no snow in the mountains.
Looking west to east in Salt Lake City, Utah is a beautiful view. The mountains are impressive. The downtown area is consolidated to a fairly small area. The problem is where to shoot. I have driven around Salt Lake City (similar to the time I drove around Phoenix) looking for the perfect place to shoot.
I want to capture a good representation of the downtown skyscrapers and the world famous Salt Lake Temple from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the Wasatch mountains framed in the background. There are a couple of good places right off the freeway, but it is not easy to stop in the emergency lane to frame the shot. I also like to stay for awhile and capture the light as it fades to dusk, so a shot will take me 2-3 hours of shooting, plus the time it takes to find the location to shoot.
Salt Lake City is one of my favorite cities in the United States. The city planners have done a great job and it is a fabulous place to visit! And – it is a fabulous place to shoot!
When I was in Raleigh, North Carolina, I had some time between meetings that I decided to find a place to shoot a skyline shot. I had two time slots, one in the middle of the day, one in the late afternoon during the golden light of the day. I decided to shoot both shots to give designers the ability to choose between mid-day blue sky lighting versus the late afternoon more warm lighting reflecting off of the skyscrapers. Both of the Raleigh, North Carolina City Skyline stock images are available in my iStockphoto portfolio, although the mid-day blue sky image is selling better than the late afternoon image.
Another downtown skyline image of Boise, Idaho. This image took forever to photoshop! There were so many telephone lines in the foreground of the picture. It took hours to get them all out…