Philly Skyline Photography
June 23, 2009 10:13 AM   Subscribe

It's my brother's favorite view of can I capture it for him?

When driving home from countless Flyers and Phillies games to his place in Conshohocken, my brother has commented on his favorite view of Philadelphia, which is on the Vine Street Expressway (just a few seconds further down the road than this picture). As an amateur photographer, I'd really like to take this shot, frame it, and present it to him on his birthday in a few weeks. Problem is, there's no way I can get a decent shot while in a car on I-676, and I can't imagine standing on the road to take the picture without being run over.

Philly MeFites, help me out! Would taking the photo from Vine Street somewhere between 8th and 10th Streets yield usable results? (It seems that the low angle of the expressway relative to actual street level helps, so I'm not sure.) Does a professional photo of this view exist, or have you seen one on the web that I could buy from an intrepid photographer?
posted by sjuhawk31 to Media & Arts (13 answers total)
Have you checked on Philly Skyline?
posted by The Straightener at 10:21 AM on June 23, 2009

If you fake a mechanical problem--stop the car on the shoulder, turn on the hazards, etc.--that'll probably reduce your chances of being run over. Or, if that's still too terrifying, you might try to take your photo from the car during stop-and-go rush-hour traffic.
posted by box at 10:30 AM on June 23, 2009

I would not stop on that road for anything. Philly drivers are the worst.

Go to that street the zoo is on and take it from there. Or isn't there a balloon ride (with the Channel 6 logo on it)? Take it from that balloon.
posted by Zambrano at 10:34 AM on June 23, 2009

Hell, just drive down the road around 5:00 this evening. You'll have plenty of time to get out of the car to take a picture.

Vine between 8th and 10th would put you about 3 blocks from the center of the skyline, so no, that wouldn't work. I'd go to the walkway to the Ben, think about using a telephoto lens, and shoot from there.
posted by onedarkride at 10:35 AM on June 23, 2009

Ack, wrong side! Nevermind.
posted by onedarkride at 10:37 AM on June 23, 2009

Response by poster: Actually, Zambrano, if you picture center city as the middle of a clock, the view I want is at 1 o'clock, the view from the Zoo is about 10 o'clock.

The Straightener, I've never been a fan of the Philly Skyline site, but I'll try browsing around there and asking their contact link.

More suggestions are welcome.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 10:42 AM on June 23, 2009

Response by poster: Yeah, onedarkside, the view from the Ben is close, but not exact. I'll take a picture from there anyway, though.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 10:45 AM on June 23, 2009

This is a bit of a long shot, but the picture's from roughly 7th and Vine, and the center of the picture is at about 17th and Chestnut (where Liberty Place is). If you draw a straight line through those two points it passes through Front and Spring Garden. There happens to be a publicly accessible platform (well, if you pay $2) a few stories above the ground there, namely the Spring Garden station of the Market-Frankford Line. That might be another place you might try taking a picture from, especially with the right lens. But I haven't really paid much attention to that view on the few occasions I've been at that station; it's possible that the bridge and/or I-95 are in the way. There are also some pedestrian bridges over I-95 that might give you the right view, although I'm having trouble remembering where I-95 goes from elevated to sunken.
posted by madcaptenor at 11:14 AM on June 23, 2009

There is a Chinese church at 11th and Vine where you might be able to get a good approximation of this view. I'm not sure if it will work because of the location's proximity to the other side of the street - where there are some larger buildings that might obstruct. I'll test it out tonight and report back.
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:59 PM on June 23, 2009

Response by poster: madcaptenor, thanks so looks like the station is above-ground enough to not be obstructed by highways (though I looked from Google Street View, so who knows what the real view is).

greekphilosophy, thanks for checking and let me know!
posted by sjuhawk31 at 1:16 PM on June 23, 2009

yeah, you can get a pretty good view from front and spring garden mfl stop. it's high enough that there aren't any buildings in the way. at least a few years ago there weren't.

the ben? ben franklin parkway? i'm confused. what is the ben?
posted by misanthropicsarah at 3:03 PM on June 23, 2009

Response by poster: Sarah, I've been assuming 'The Ben' is the Ben Franklin Bridge...there's a nice view of the skyline from the walkway.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 4:18 PM on June 23, 2009

Just wanted to pop in to say that I did eventually get around to wandering over there (sorry it took so long!) and the view is both partially obstructed and a little too close to get the skyline the way you want it. Sorry!
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:16 PM on July 9, 2009

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