My Empire State Plaza Fireworks Photos, 2022 Edition

There’s only so many times I can travel to the Empire State Plaza and photograph the fireworks show. It’s a fantastic show, don’t get me wrong. But when you have to get there at 4pm for a 9:15 boomtime JUST so you can find decent parking AND you can find a decent shooting spot AND you don’t melt from the 100-degree shadeless temperatures …

Yeah. You feel my pain.

Earlier this year, I attended a function at the Kenmore Hotel in downtown Albany. The Kenmore is a historic building, it’s one of Albany’s architectural treasures, and it was recently restored as a mixed-use space. The event I attended took place on the roof. And as I’m enjoying the view from the Kenmore rooftop, I notice that … you know … I can see the bell tower for St. Mary’s Church in the distance.

And you know what … I can see the Empire State Plaza’s Corning Tower in the distance.

You know what that might mean?

I could get a photo that captures the Empire State Plaza’s fireworks WITH something distinctive in the foreground – like, f’rinstance, the ornate bell tower and weathervane of St. Mary’s Church.

But here’s the thing. I don’t scale buildings without receiving permission to do so. I’ve heard of people trying to enter the dilapidated Central Warehouse for urban exploration, which guarantees their inhalation of asbestos and freon and other toxic chemicals that still linger in that downtown eyesore.

Nope. Chuck plays by the rules.

And after talking with the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District, and discussing with Redburn Development (the owner of the Kenmore Hotel property), I received permission to photograph the fireworks from the rooftop, at a special party attended by Kenmore Hotel tenants and residents.

This is why you ask permission first. You get things done.

I found a parking spot right in front of the Kenmore. This is perfect. Once the fireworks end, I’ll have enough time to toss all my gear in Lightning’s Girl and burn rubber out of downtown.

Let’s see. What cameras to bring.

Well, definitely the Nikon Df, gotta bring my ace gear. But I also wanted to give the film cameras some love, so I packed my Kodak Medalist II (“Kodak Red”), my Nikon F2S (“Nikon Athena”), and my Pentacon Six (which still doesn’t have a nickname).

Yeah, we’re ready. I focused each one on the tripod, making sure that I could easily swap each camera in and out without any problems.

This was my shooting angle. Look at the view I have right here. This is incredible.

Skies are darkening. One more dress rehearsal. Every film camera is on f/16, every shutter speed is set to bulb.

One last dry run, to make sure all the cameras are focused and ready for easy swap-in and swap-out.


Here’s three of my shots with the Nikon Df and my Vivitar ultrawide lens.

I then took the Df off the tripod, and shot some images with the Penatcon Six. 24 images, in fact, since it was loaded with cold-stored Fuji Astia 220 film.

Pentacon Six off the tripod. Next up – eight shots with Kodak Red, which had a nice cold-stored roll of Fuji Velvia 100 in it.

Kodak red off the tripod. Next up was Nikon Athena, shooting 36 images with a pack of fresh-to-me Kodak Ektachrome that my blogroll buddy Joe Geronimo sent me last week.

You’ll see all those slide films as soon as they’re developed.

But I had more time. I quickly popped the 55mm f/1.2 lens off my Nikon F2S and slapped it on the Nikon Df. Took some more shots.

Wow. These really turned out nice.

My sincere thanks to Redburn Development and to the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District for their combined help in this project. Couldn’t have done it without them.

And if nothing else … I now have at least one quality image for 2022’s BUILT charitable auction, which features art inspired by Albany architecture. One of these will definitely be my BUILT entry.

At least until I see what I captured with the film images. 😀