Photographing the 9/11 Tribute Lights

Rain over 9/11/2009 Tribute Lights. Photo by Alina Oswald.

September 11 Tribute in Light and Related Photography (from someone who’s been photographing them for almost 15 years)

Tribute Lights cross state lines to converge over Jersey City. Photo by Alina Oswald.
Testing. The beams of Tribute Lights cross state lines to almost converge over Jersey City skyline. Photo by Alina Oswald.

Ever since I moved to New York City area, I’ve been photographing the 9/11 Tribute Lights and September 11 memorials on September 11 of each year and around the year. I’ll post a few images on my regular blog post, on Tuesday morning. But until then, for those who’re interested to photograph the lights, here are a few ideas.

A few notes on how to photograph an event such as 9/11 Tribute in Light that repeats itself each year, over and over again:

  • take the obvious pictures of the lights from where you are in the NYC Metro area
  • include the lights in a Manhattan-scape, a cityscape of Manhattan
  • take a close-up picture of the lights to capture details in the Tribute Lights
  • go to Lower Manhattan, as close as you can to the actual location of the lights and photograph from different angles,  be as creative as possible
  • photograph from a high-rise building in Manhattan, if you have the chance
  • photograph during the week preceding 9/11, when the lights are tested (you might have to be ready to snap a pic at any given moment)
  • photograph on September 11–morning ceremonies, not necessarily in Manhattan, and definitely at night
9/11 Tribute Lights. Lensbaby Photography by Alina Oswald.
9/11 Tribute Lights. Lensbaby Photography by Alina Oswald.
  • photograph not only the lights, but the people, their interactions, emotions
  • photograph details–candles or people placing candles, flowers or people throwing flower bouquets into the Hudson River (for example) or touching a name on a memorial
Rain over 9/11/2009 Tribute Lights. Photo by Alina Oswald.
Rain over 9/11/2009 Tribute Lights. Photo by Alina Oswald. Cover book photo, also featured in Riverview Observer.
Katyn Soldier and Tribute Lights
Katyn Soldier and 9/11 Tribute Lights. Photo by Alina Oswald.
  • photograph the morning ceremonies–the speeches, the fire boats, the fire trucks, and so on
  • photograph 9/11 memorials outside September 11–the memorials in Jersey City, Liberty State Park, the Tear Tower in Bayonne; also, if you can travel, go to DC or Pennsylvania and photograph those memorials
  • photograph 9/11 stories, memorials, during every season, not only on September 11
  • photograph the Tribute Lights using a Lensbaby or other special lenses, for a different look
  • photograph the new WTC sight–the Oculus (inside and out), the 9/11 Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero
b&w photography of Katyn memorial and the 9/11 tribute lights
9/11 Tribute in Light & Katyn Memorial. Photo by Alina Oswald. B&W Photography published in Precise Moment photography magazine.
9/11 Tribute Lights
A close-up look at the 9/11 Tribute in Light. September 11, 2013. Photo by Alina Oswald.

Each September 11 I walk around, camera in hand, notepad (now iPhone) in hand, too, to take notes, capturing the story of the day, of that particular 9/11 day. I photograph rain or shine, and sometimes a rainy day, especially a rainy night, adds to the mood of the day.

I also photograph 9/11-related subjects, such is the Tear Memorial in Bayonne, NJ.

Tear Tower or Tear of Grief 9/11 memorial donated by Russian artist to the US stands now in Bayonne, NJ.

 

Tear Tower or Tear of Grief 9/11 memorial donated by Russian artist to the US stands now in Bayonne, NJ.

Also, photographs of 9/11 Memorial and Museum:

9/11 Memorial and 9/11 Museum night photography
WTC towers remains, as displayed in 9/11 Museum. 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero, in NYC.
Rain over 9/11 Memorial, NYC. Photo by Alina Oswald.
9/11 Memorial in the rain, NYC. Photo by Alina Oswald. Photo appeared in the Journal of Cultural Geography.

The Freedom Tower, captured with a Lensbaby Velvet:

Direction. Freedom Tower and the Tree. Lensbaby Velvet Photography by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Direction. Freedom Tower and the Tree. Lensbaby Velvet Photography by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

And the Oculus:

The Oculus in velvet b&w. Lensbaby Velvet Photography by Alina Oswald.
The Oculus in velvet b&w. Lensbaby Velvet Photography by Alina Oswald.

As well as aerial views of Ground Zero–9/11 Museum, Memorial and the Oculus–from the top of One WTC Observatory:

Aerial views of the Oculus train station, WTC Memorial and Museum as seen from the top of One WTC Observatory. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Manhattan Island under the Veil of Light. Photo by Alina Oswald.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Alina Oswald

 

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