Good Albany skyline photos?

albany skyline obstructed smallLucas emails:

I'm just curious if you could direct me to some good photos of the Albany skyline/cityscape?
I go to school down in the city, and being back home for Thanksgiving gave me a new appreciation for the Albany skyline as I looked across the Hudson on my way to the train station -- an appreciation that has me yearning for a nice photo of the skyline to hang in my room for all to see (and naturally admire.)

The one that popped into our heads was Carl Heilman's Albany skyline panorama. But there have to be a bunch out there.

Any suggestions for Lucas? Please share!


Here is one I shot (same at night). Recently mikerw took some great ones during the Central Warehouse fire. Or you can search on Flickr, I see a lot right now.

I actually have the View of Albany from the East hanging in my office.

You know, I've been looking for something like this for awhile too. A large print, or even just a poster I could throw in a cheap frame and hang on my wall (or give to all my friends who move to Brooklyn). My searches have been fruitless, other than people selling prints for several hundred dollars. Which I get, it's art, your talented, blah blah blah. But I mean, what does that mean, if you want a large picture of the skyline to display your civic pride you're out of luck unless you have several hundred dollars to throw around. There are certainly cheap alternatives in other cities, and with such an interesting looking skyline you'd think there would be in Albany too. You'd think maybe there'd be some local photographers out there with some civic pride and minimal business savy to fill this need. (hint hint)

@Jackers: well, I'm not saying mine above is good (though it's "popular"), but you can do exactly that, it's a huge 9390 x 3045 file and you can print it big for your own use. That might be true for some other ones on Flickr, it doesn't hurt to ask the artist. Even if the license is "All Rights Reserved", the only way for a photog to prevent you from doing it is by not providing the original full-size for print, or watermarking it poorly. Some people do on Flickr, some don't.

I, for one, think that if you want to print my photos for your *home*, then go for it. Even if you can do it, you can support a photographer by asking him to print it for you; he is familiar with the photo, chances are he has done it numerous time and in any case it should be in his best interest to give you the best product. I prefer to give both options.

Let me drive you through the process and the economics quickly, just as an example. While it won't cost you hundreds, it's not as cheap as you might think. I printed, framed then donated that panorama above to the Albany Damien Center recently for Arts for AIDS sake. Here is what it looks like, and you can do the same for... about $80 to $125.

It's big, the frame itself is about 41" by 27" and fits a 36" by 12" photo or mat. Go to the photo page (or any Flickr photo in that search page I linked above); in the "Actions" menu select "View All Sizes", then click on "Original" on the right, then "Download the Original size of this photo". This comment is getting long enough already so I updated the caption with the list of (local) vendors I used, and the price of the frame, print, board, mat, just to give you an idea. Good luck. Hit me up if you need more help.

Someone took some really spectacular fireworks photos that were seen here in the last two years or so. Can't remember who or when, but I had one as a Windows Desktop image for quite a while.

@ChuckD. Hmm. Paul, B and myself did that on 4th of July last year, with the same skyline (from the central warehouse). And for the holiday tree lighting, kinda. AOA compiled a lot of fireworks shot this year. Maybe it's in there.

-S's example is a little odd for two reasons, one it's a panorama and being in an unusual aspect ratio means custom printing, and two he is using professional printing services with high quality paper and inks and knowledgeable staff.

If you just want something poster quality, services like OPhoto, Shutterfly, and EZPrints can do 20x30" for under $25. That fits the 3:2 aspect ratio of popular DSLRs. -S has given you permission to download anything from his Flickr that you can download, so go for it. I don't have any that are as good as those but if you see any of mine that strike your fancy, they are similarly under a fairly nonrestrictive Creative Commons lisence and I extend the same offer.

Of course, there's a bit of a catch; prepping a photo for the web is different than for print. I honestly would not expect any of those to look great printed, especially at that size. So, you are of course welcome to make an image print ready on your own or look for a service that will do that for you (for a surcharge...). I would of course also be happy to do so but there's no reason for me to put in that time and effort for you. You see where this is going. That is part of what you are paying for when you buy a quality print; someone has put time and energy into not only making sure that print looks as good as possible but they've devoted hundreds or thousands of hours of their life to learning the skills to do so. Again that is part of what you are paying for, not being "an artist blah blah blah". Though I do also have to credit McGreevy Prolab in my own case as I lean on their vast knowledge and skill for the actual printing process itself.

Anyway, yes there are plenty of skyline images on flickr, check them out, contact the owner, I think in many cases they will not mind you printing for your own use; and that is really a courtesy because as -S says, if the download option is available and large image sizes are present, they can't really stop you and economically it's not worth pursuing.

Plenty of good advice on finding a photograph already. For printing/framing I would suggest considering using one of the 'canvas'-printing services. I've used Canvas On Demand. If you like the look of their products (it's probably a love/hate thing) they do a nice job including checking the quality etc and offering a money-back satisfaction guarantee. When you factor in framing - especially for custom/large sizes - they are pretty competitive price-wise with traditional medium-quality prints.

Here's my personal favorite, though it is a little dated:

I'll second Chuck D...those fireworks pictures from the roof of the Central Warehouse were some of the nicest I've seen.

> one it's a panorama and being in an unusual aspect ratio means custom printing

*cough* math *cough*, not really actually :) It's a 3:1, that's definitely what you want to look for in a panorama, because it so happens to be half of 3:2, the "aspect ratio of popular DSLRs". All print shops can deal with multiples of 3:2, they'll take your 3:1 and fill the upper half of a 3:2. If you are savvy you can just copy/paste the same photo twice in the same file and *bam* you get two photos for the price of one. I'm not savvy and that's why I like McGreevy, *they* suggested this economical choice. That's what I did by printing this 3:1 panorama as two 36"x12" side by side inside a single 36"x24" sheet. That ended costing $27 per photo, not so bad, and that's one *big* photo done locally for a price not far from the $25 you quoted on OPhoto, Shutterfly, etc.

Be careful with panoramas, that's true. A custom frame *is* very expensive, so that's the item I shopped for first for that photo. In my experience, the vast majority of the panorama-ready frames I saw had a 3:1 aspect ratio. I see a lot of weird 5:1 or 8:1 photos posted on Flickr (hey B), I would recommend to stay clear unless you are comfortable cropping them.

At the end of the day, if you want a big, really more than decent panorama for yourself, and one to offer as a gift for Christmas, say it will cost you $38 x 2 (for 2 frames) and $55 for the side-by-side print = $65.5 per item. It will look nice on your wall. Add a custom mat for about $15 each and you look almost pro for about $80 each. At this point I would invest more money to get a better glass and less reflections, but you are entering custom-frame $territory$.

Alright, maybe I made it look easy, there will be some quality time involved for sure between you and your print. I'm trying to demystify it a bit though; the "only" thing you have to know here is put the photo in the mat (Google it), and prepare it for print. You might not even need to prepare it, but I've noticed many printers produce darker photos, so I usually create a slightly lighter variation of my photo for print. A small 4x6 proof print will cost you a couple of bucks or less to double-check. It takes 30 seconds in Photoshop to make the change, or you can just ask you local print shop to the adjustement for you for a bit more money. The time you invest here will repay itself very quickly as you get more and more conformable printing art.

Local tourism bureaus usually provide the hub for promotional items like skyline posters.

But since the goverment is considering closing the NYS Museum on Sundays, I suspect they are secretly controlled by zombies who dislike the taste of tourists.

@B, I wasn't trying to dismiss the value of all the work that goes into professional photos and framing with my blah blahs, it was just somewhat tangential to my point. My point was simply that regardless of the value and the reasons for it (blah blah) some people just can't afford that tag. For many cities I could google "Cityname Skyline Picture" and find options for framed and unframed images ranging from $20 to several hundred. Sure the quality would vary greatly, but with a number of options I could make my own decision as to how much quality I'm willing to pay for. Maybe Albany's just too small for that, but the comments here have significantly expanded my options, so thanks you all for that!

No, I think you had a valid point in there; if there's an empty marketing niche someone should fill it.

I think there may be a few options out there already and the Downtown BID has a year calendar photo contest, and I believe they offer prints of the chosen images, but I'm not positive on that one. I also seem to remember seeing some posters in the museum gift shop, might be worth checking.

The fact is, on an individual level those of us who take photography seirously or semi-seriously just tend not to approach that sort of task. When it comes down to it, trying to sell large prints for $20 results in profits of pennies at best, and that's if you have large economies of scale. We aren't Wal-Mart, we're people with day jobs who pay out of our own pockets for equipment, prints, &etc., and spend our own free time on this hobby. I think it's just hard to put the onus on those folks, and as well as things are explained in these comments it's pretty obvious that it's just not a simple thing.

Well, I probably took it a little personally too, but your idea was some food for thought. Hope you're able to find what you're looking for.

i took this and i really liked how it turned out.

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