Spectacular Lighting Just Twice a Year: Don’t Miss Manhattanhenge

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Photo: Steve Kelley

Photo: Steve Kelley

Seeking out uniquely spectacular lighting is a good bet for capturing stunning imagery.
May 29th, yesterday, was one of the two days of the year when our friendly neighborhood star, the sun, sets perfectly in-line with the Manhattan grid. Bi-annually, photographers in the big apple take advantage of this unique moment in our solar system. Click through the image tabs above to see some shots of New York in a new, er, light.

Manhattanhenge, as it was termed by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, is a result of Manhattan’s grid not being aligned with the geographic north-south or east-west lines. Instead, according to Dr. deGrasse, it’s angled 30 degrees east of geographic north. This angle causes Manhattanhenge to occur 22 days before the summer solstice, and again 21 days after (that’s July 12th this year). The neologism is derived from Wiltshire England’s Stonehenge, where the sun aligns with the stones on the solstices with a similarly dramatic effect.

Those of you in Manhattan, who missed yesterday’s event, never fear – you have another chance for great photos today. The phenomenon continues (albeit slightly off for Manhattanhenge purists) into today as a “full sun,” event. According to Wikipedia’s definition of the event the phenomenon actually extends into today.

And for all of you no where near New York today, like me, the challenge is to go out and find some uniquely spectacular lighting. It’s out there.

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