Sunset at Top of the Rock

New York City is not a cheap place to visit, but if you’re approaching the Big Apple with the idea of frugality in mind — like I did, you can probably avoid dropping money too quickly.

Max (@easyandme) 分享的帖子 ·

That’s even more true if you’re coming to NYC for a couple of signature, iconic pictures — whether it’s Grand Central, DUMBO, Manhattan skyline, Brooklyn Bridge or the Statue of Liberty, they’re all free to visit. The only one that’s gonna cost you any money, for picture purposes, is the Top of the Rock, the top of 30 Rockefeller Center in Rockefeller Plaza. You may recognize the address, 30 Rock, from the TV show that was about a comedy show being filmed at NBC. This is that place.


From the top of this building, right in front of you is going to be the Empire State Building. And all around it is gonna be this beautiful three-dimensional skyline of New York. You’re not looking at the skyline, you’re in the skyline.

It costs 34 bucks (adult) to go up. Do it, it’s totally worth it. But you want to go up at the right time, which is probably 1-2 hours before sunset.


Another thing you should know is that there are no tripods allowed. At first I wrestled with that, but when you think about it, it’s actually a great thing because with tripods, people would just lock down, everybody would grab the good spots and there wouldn’t be enough room.


Thank you for not allowing tripods. I can’t believe I just said that. I used my Sony a6000 with the pricey F4 16-70 Zeiss zoom lens, which is not very good for night shots. The good thing is, it’s got an optical image stabilization in it. You may want to use lenses with similar focus length or simply a wide angle lens.


You’ll play with that a bit because when the light looks pretty, there will not be very much of it, and I do hope to shoot fully into nighttime because it would be like 20 different pictures when you’re up there.


It’s the sunset picture, it’s the blue hour picture, it is the mix picture. Just don’t go in winter…

*Update: If you are a stock photographer, please note that photos taken on the Top of the Rock are unsuitable for commercial use without permission. Below is a screenshot of the reason that GettyImages rejected my photo:

getty rejection

Click on those photos will take you to its corresponding Flickr page.
all image credit: easyandme

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VSCO-like filters online, a side project

VSCO has been one of the most popular mobile apps for editing and filtering images. If you are a photographer, you probably know that there is also a VSCOFilm - a set of Lightroom presets for quick and dirty image filtering.

The algorithms VSCO used are pretty complicated, which means it’s kind of hard to imitate. But if you simply type “VSCO online” into Google, a website named VSCO-like Filters Online would show up.

vsco online search result
vsco online search result Yep. This is my work.

I made it not because I am an expert of making filters or image research (which I’m definitely not), but because no one else made a thing that allows people to apply VSCO image filters without installing anything. To be more specific, I couldn’t find anything if I google ‘VSCO online’ or ‘VSCO filters online’ before I made it myself!

Don’t get me wrong. This is definitely not something. You may wonder how I managed to make VSCO-like filters onto the web. It’s actually easier than you’d think - as long as you have the Lightroom presets.

bw Photo In Lightroom (I actually used Adobe Camera Raw), once you’ve satisfied with the filtering or enhancing work, just click save settings…. You’ll be saving an XMP file, which could be opened in a text editor and would look like this:

bw Photo Scroll down a little bit, you’ll find the RGB Curve Points for the FUJI Astia 100F preset.

bw Photo Now that we’ve got the key optical values of the filter, we’re going to implement it in Javascript with the help of a canvas manipulation library called CamanJS.

bw Photo Add a little bit saturation value to colorize a little…
Add a little bit noise (grain) to make it more like a film photo…
Finally, set the RGB curves, which really is the essentail part of the filter… Done!

Before bw Photo After (FUJI Astia 100F ) bw Photo

It’s not perfect, and I doubt it’ll ever be…But at least it works!