Vancouver, British Columbia, routinely ranks in top ten lists of the most livable cities in the world. It is a beautiful city and there is no place better to view it from than The Vancouver Lookout, an observation deck atop the Harbour Centre that is 553.16 feet above the city. A photographer friendly location, the Vancouver Lookout has late hours and even allows tripods. For my evening at The Lookout I knew I wanted to shoot wide angle cityscapes in addition to zooming in for some detail shots. With this in mind, I left my beloved Fuji X100s at home, opting to bring the Fuji X-T1 with a 10-24 wide angle and a 55-200 zoom. It was a beautiful winter day when I arrived at the top of the tower after a 40 second elevator ride. I was there about an hour before sunset, leaving me a lot of time to grab some city shots with the wide angle:
And also shoot some detail shots with the zoom:
Looking east as the sun began to set you could see the last golden rays highlighting buildings:
Looking directly toward the sunset, the buildings were beautifully backlit:
And, just minutes later, the sun dropped below the horizon line as the city lights of Vancouver came up:
The downfalls to shooting at The Vancouver Lookout are the glass windows that angle away from you, and the fact that there are always reflections when shooting through glass. Normally you can easily overcome these reflections by putting the lens of your camera right up against the glass (usually with a lens hood and some black cloth to block them out). This is much more difficult, however, when the glass angles away, the lights are low, and you want to have your camera upright on a tripod.
Because of this I shot handheld, often at shutter speeds as low as 0.5 seconds, and hoped the optical stabilization in my Fuji 10-24 f/4 lens would do the trick. In terms of sharpness for such a slow shutter speed I was VERY happy with this lens.
The post sunset light was beautiful, full of blue and magenta. This cityscape looks out towards False Creek and BC Place:
This one looks out over Gastown:
And, just as the light was getting too dark to continue shooting, I shot this one looking west:
In the background behind the buildings you can see Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge connecting Vancouver with North Vancouver.
A beautiful city indeed.
Shooting at The Vancouver Lookout was a great way to spend an hour or two. While waiting for the light to fall I enjoyed searching out interesting detail shots in the city with the Fuji 55-200 zoom, and once sunset hit the city looked gorgeous in the post sunset light that only lasts for a few minutes.
It is always fun to play tourist in your own city. I have been doing that a lot lately with Vancouver, and I’m constantly reminded what a beautiful place it is to live in.