New York State in Pictures: 14 Beautiful Places to Photograph
Taking pictures of New York is a fun and exciting endeavor and a great excuse to see some of the most iconic sites in the United States. New York City has almost endless opportunities for photography, from the tourist attractions to images of daily life in the city. In the Adirondacks and Catskills, the beauty of nature shines through. Buffalo and Rochester will surprise you with their architecture and history, and the Finger Lakes region will have you dreaming of summer vacations.
Long one of New York state's top destinations, the Adirondacks make for ideal pictures. Fall colors always create amazing images, with mountains covered in multiple hues of orange and red.
Several popular pastimes here include hiking, mountain biking, and camping, all of which are great for photographers looking to see and experience nature. For those with less vigorous pursuits in mind, there are also luxury resorts in Upstate New York and fine dining.
2. Times Square
Always a site of frenetic activity, Times Square draws photographers from around the world. Come in the evening to snap pictures of the glowing billboards. Wander around or relax on the benches and take pictures of the ever-changing scene unfolding around you.
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3. Empire State Building
Built in 1930, the Empire State Building remains one of New York City's iconic skyscrapers. Take a ride up to the viewing deck for spectacular 360-degree views around the city. See Central Park on one side and the Statue of Liberty on the other, along with views out to New Jersey and other areas.
Note that it can take a long time to get up to the top viewing deck due to the multiple elevator rides required and the ever-present lineup of tourists. Photographing the Empire State Building from another tower is also a good idea.
4. Statue of Liberty
Take a boat trip out to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to see this landmark up close. The best shots of the statue itself are often from the boat as you approach. You can also get distant shots of the statue from Battery Park in Manhattan.
5. Central Park
Take a walk through Central Park to see the sights and capture some of the park's most famous places in pictures. Be sure to take a picture of Belvedere Castle with the lake out front, the sailing pond with model sailboats, the Mall with its arching trees, or any one of the multitude of arched bridges throughout the park. Central Park is also an ideal place for people watching.
6. Niagara Falls
One of the world's most famous natural sights, Niagara Falls never fails to impress. Photo opportunities here include shots right from the edge of the falls, shots taken upwards from an area below the falls, or pictures taken up the gorge from one of the transborder bridges.
If you have time, head over to Niagara Falls, Canada, for a different perspective. Some of the attractions on the Canadian side, like the Skylon Tower, offer very different views.
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7. Letchworth State Park
Letchworth State Park has great hiking trails, scenic drives, and an impressive gorge, all of which offer unforgettable photo opportunities. One of the key sights, Middle Falls tumbles over a 107-foot-high ledge. From May through October, the falls are lit at night.
8. Lake Placid
Lake Placid is one of Upstate New York's most popular attractions for many reasons. Several of the most important are the picturesque town on the pretty lake; sites from two winter Olympics; great hiking trails; and downhill skiing at Whiteface Mountain, one of the top ski resorts in New York.
9. Lake George
Towering old-growth trees and rolling hills are features of the area surrounding Lake George. Nestled in the Adirondacks, this popular recreation site is a perfect place for boating, swimming, hiking, and biking.
For those less inclined to physical activities, the town of the same name has excellent restaurants, cafés, and interesting souvenir shops. A popular pastime is to take a trip around the lake on the historical Minne Ha Ha steamship.
Buffalo should be on your radar as a place to visit. This city has a varied and interesting architectural scene. Some of the more outstanding buildings include the famous Art Deco-style City Hall, the Electric Tower, and the glass-domed Botanical Gardens.
Fans of Frank Lloyd Wright will want to be sure to stop by the restored Darwin D. Martin House, located in a beautiful neighborhood.
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Rochester has much to offer photographers, but two of the highlights are the George Eastman Museum and High Falls. Eastman's incredible mansion is now a museum, and anyone with an interest in photography will be impressed with the galleries detailing the history of photography.
Rochester is one of the few cities with an impressive waterfall and river located right in the heart of downtown. High Falls drops over a precipitous ledge, and ideal locations for picture taking are located on the nearby cliff-side.
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12. Erie Canal
The Erie Canal was one of America's most important waterways as the nation developed. Today, it is a nice place to spend an afternoon or evening at a canal-side restaurant watching the boats go by. One of the most scenic spots to see the Erie Canal is Pittsford, located a short distance away from Rochester.
For a more intensive understanding of the canal and its development, visit the Erie Canal museum in downtown Syracuse.
13. The Catskills
The Catskills is one of the most popular recreation areas in New York State. Here, you'll find beautiful lakes set among rolling mountains, with interesting towns along the way. Popular things to photograph are the fall colors, views from hiking trails, and waterfalls.
In the winter, the area is one of the top areas for downhill skiing in the state, with Hunter Mountain and Belleayre.
14. Finger Lakes
The Finger Lakes are 11 narrow, long lakes located in the rolling hills southwest of Syracuse. Summer homes of the rich and famous line the shores of Skaneateles Lake, so get your telephoto lens ready for your celebrity shot. The cute town of Skaneateles is also worth checking out, with its historical buildings and fine restaurants and cafés.
Other important large lakes include Seneca Lake, Cayuga Lake, Owasco Lake, and Canandaigua Lake.