Shoot Manhattanhenge Friday or Saturday

Tomorrow and Saturday are the last two days of the year to enjoy and shoot Manhattanhenge, the phenomenon where the setting sun perfectly aligns with the street grid of Manhattan.

If the weather cooperates, New York photographers can line up on any of the major cross streets – 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th – at sunset and take pictures of the sun shining straight at them through the Manhattan skyscraper valleys. The Midtown streets – 34th, 42nd and 57th – offer the best opportunities if you’re into capturing that sun in between the skyscrapers, as the buildings on 14th and 23rd Streets aren’t that tall.

The sunset will take place as follows:

July 12, at 8.23 PM – full sun aligned with the street grid;

July 13, at 8.24 PM – half sun aligned with the grid.

The ‘founder’ of the event, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at New York’s American Museum of Natural History gives the following advice on the museum’s  web site: “Arrive a half-hour earlier than the times given (…). For best effect, position yourself as far east in Manhattan as possible. But ensure that when you look west across the avenues you can still see New Jersey. Clear cross streets include 14th, 23rd, 34th. 42nd, 57th, and several streets adjacent to them. The Empire State building and the Chrysler building render 34th street and 42nd streets especially striking vistas.”

I’ve never seen a Manhattanhenge before, so I will follow his advice and try my luck the next two days. I’m actually not sure what gear to take. Capturing the skyscrapers will require using pretty wide angles, but those will render the sun really small in the distance. A tele will render the sun much larger, but limit your view more to the lower sections of the streets.

It’s not sure the weather will cooperate. The forecast at the moment calls for some clouds and a 50% chance of scattered thunderstorms on Friday and clouds with a 30% chance of isolated thunderstorms on Saturday.

Update July 14: I ended up not traveling to the city on either day. Friday was cloudy and Saturday mostly cloudy. Next time.

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