Flatiron Building, NYC

Manhattan has oodles of iconic things to photograph: images everyone would associated with the city.

Manhattan is also crowded: crowded with people and with buildings. Maybe you’d noticed.

Lacking a filming permit that would allow me to close the street, I couldn’t do much about the people except shoot over their heads. Lacking a bucket truck or a scissor lift, I couldn’t do much about the buildings, either.

Illustrating the Problem

I could get the whole Flatiron Building in a picture that showed its shape, but not without some extraneous elements. Going to the other corner didn’t resolve the street-level clutter, and meant shooting into the sun, to boot.

View of iconic Flatiron Building from street corner, with stree lights and signs in the way.

Solving the Problem (Not)

I could eliminate all extra elements by going around to the sunlit side. Regrettably, this also eliminated the shape.

Side view of iconic Flatiron Building, NYC.

Solving the Problem (Sort of)

I could shoot straight up from straight in front of it, which sort of shows the shape, but also cuts off a big chunk of the base.

Straight-up overhead view of Flatiron Building, showing its shape but not its base.

Or I could photograph it from the corner, dodging street and traffic signs and the early-afternoon sun as best I could, crop it using a vertical widescreen aspect ratio, and accept some building clutter as inevitable. After all, we were in Manhattan . . .

Wide-angle but vertical shot of iconic Flatiron Building, NYC.

Next visit, maybe I’ll look into a helicopter. How much can it be to rent one, anyway?


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6 Responses to Flatiron Building, NYC

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    I’m less interested in how you took the shots, than in why they built it that way anyway.
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – North of 14 Street, Manhattan is laid out in a rectangular grid, but Broadway (which runs the length of the island, at least) cuts across at a funny angle. I think it was an ancient path for Native Americans making their way down to the oyster beds at the island’s tip. So some intersections have this extra road cutting through, making triangular building lots.

  2. I like the first one — it looks like the sign is hanging out of the building’s top window.
    Cities needs more oddly-shaped buildings!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – I definitely need a helicopter! And yes, we do need more oddly shaped buildings. I also like the art deco ones that have interesting terraces and stepped effects, rather than just being monoliths.

  3. Marion says:

    This is where the dreaded drone might suit your needs. Not that I’m suggesting you get one. Probably outlawed in NYC anyway for security reasons.

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