I love thinking about all of the precarious situations we’re willing to put ourselves and our camera gear in just to get the shot. Standing on the observation deck on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building, I was more than protected from falling to my doom but that didn’t stop me from resting my camera of the very edge of the outer rest just beyond the protective fence to get this sweeping view of midtown and downtown Manhattan. As far as I was concerned, there wasn’t a decision to be made here. I had the ultrawide 15mm Funk Buster Fisheye lens on and in order to maximize the area of the city that I wanted to include, I had to get that camera as far out as possible.

So, fighting back every urge to shiver from the freakishly cold weather, I pressed my shutter button while bracing the camera with my arms fully outstretched through the holes in the fence. Bracketing was a must here – allowing me to retain the beautiful burst of the sun along with the minute details of the city below.

In the distance, you can see the soon-to-be-constructed Freedom Tower (Never Forget) and to the right of it, you can see a little blip that makes up the Statue of Liberty (which, sadly, is closed indefinitely due to damages from Superstorm Sandy). If you look just below the centerline and to the left, you’ll also see the iconic Flatiron building. Man, do I love home.

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure tone-mapped HDR image using Photomatix Pro.

Stylization was done in onOne Software Perfect Effects 4. I combined Moulin Rouge with a soft light blend_, a tiny amount of Magic Sunset to bring out more of the warm tones, and a custom Tone Enhancer to bring out detail in the city.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.3.