Another 8 Manchester skyline photo locations

 

Last year I created a little guide with top hill views. I was thrilled and extremely grateful when "The Manc" published story based on my post. This bit of recognition encourage me to explore even more in order to find better locations than in my previous post. It felt so good when people had written or said to me that my work inspired them to get out more or that I helped them to become better photographers. This is why I kept looking for new places to go and what led me to find another 8 Manchester skyline photo sports.

 

1. Merton avenue playing fields – I spent most of last year looking for the best place to capture cityscape of Manchester. I have found a few interesting locations that led me to create my top 7 best hilltop spots described in my previous post. At that time however I was not aware about one spot that instantly became my favorite. This place is not only great for capturing amazing skyline photos but also nice for portrait shoots or even an engagement session especially for those who enjoy playing football.

2. Scout Moor wind farm – It is the second largest on shore green energy provider in England. Supplies electricity to 40 000 homes across Manchester. It’s a perfect place to cycle on a mountain bike or simply to walk around to enjoy a good view of the city. Most of the presented images are captured with a telephoto lens at about 200mm.

3. Heaton park – It was the first park where I was taken by my friend when I arrived in Manchester all those years ago. I immediately fell in love with this place and I even moved my house to be closer to it. You can get really good shots of the town from the Temple area located at the north side of the park.

4. Tandle Hill – This place is not only a perfect spot for snapping the great cityscape of Manchester but also a great to have quality time with your family at one of nearby picnic areas or a unique playground with a sand pit and long slide for kids.

5. Snake pass – It a gateway road to Peak District National park some of the best areas such as Derwent Dam or Ladybower Reservoir. It is one of most picturesque roads to drive though that offers some stunning views including this perfect sport for cityscape. You are going to need at least a 100mm lens to enjoy this view.

6. The Edge at Alderley Edge – As I was scouting for my new assignment I found this great place at Alderley Edge with a unique perspective on Manchester skyline. Unlike other locations recently visited this one offers a very clean foreground full of greenery perfectly highlighted with setting sun and Scout Moor wind farm visible in the background. I will definitely be going back there for sunrise photos in the near future.

7. Greenbooth Reservoir – One of best walks you can find and very underrated with great views over the city with only one caveat… There are power lines obstructing the view of the city but it is possible to climb a bit higher on the north side to get a clean shot.

8. River Irwell and Pomona
If you have never walked along River Irwell from Manchester to Salford quays or you are just going to visit Manchester there are certainly some of the best views on the city skyline worth checking out. Although you’re never gonna get a good view of the entire city due to low altitude like you could have with spots mentioned earlier, I decided to include this location nonetheless because it’s such a good walk for anyone who is visiting town or those who are not aware of this walk. Best way you can enter on the path is either from Lowry hotel or the cross of Trinity way and Regent road. You can get both reflections on the river as well as for those who enjoy long exposure photography as much as I do there are metrolink trams constantly passing by leaving plenty of light to capture.

 


Alderley Edge viewpoint

As I was scouting for my new assignment I found this great place at Alderley Edge with a unique perspective on Manchester skyline. Unlike other locations recently visited this one offers a very clean foreground full of greenery perfectly highlighted with setting sun and my favorite Scout Moore windfarm visible in the background. I will definitely be going back there for sunrise photos in near future.

Here are a few photos taken during my short visit.


Top 10 locations in Manchester for long exposure photography

So why go outside and get battered by rain or freeze your limbs by horrible wind? To do all this in for few long exposure photos? Process is simple; I show up at previously scouted location, setup my tripod and wait for perfect moment at the only time in a day where artificial light balance perfectly with still present in the sky natural light. That moment in time feels special and it allows me to capture unique images. I’m not here to teach you about technicality of entire process making twilight photos, there are plenty amazing guides already out there. All I want is to show some of my favorite locations perfect for this type of photography. Hopefully this will encourage you to go out and explore our wonderful city or try presented light painting technique to learn something new.

  1. Media city Uk – Salford – This area offers multiple compositions from various angles. Newly build Metrolink line to Trafford Centre provides excellent opportunity to capture lights of passing trams along Trafford Wharf road where Imperial War Museum is located. With its impressive architecture this structure give us perfect subject to photograph from both sides of the road. Another attractive spots is one at Trafford bridge from where you have great view on Salford Quays and Media city with train tracks on the left side. It gives us another chance to capture light from passing trams with Salford’s most famous area in the background.

2. Victoria station – Shooting there might be at bit challenging sometimes as at few occasions I was told I could not use tripod inside station therefore bringing Gorillapod it’s always good idea. You can also get good images outside of the station with lights from Metrolink trams on both sides and station as the background.

3. M60 – There many locations along ring road to choose from but I’m going to show you two spots located near Whitefield. First two photos are taken from pedestrian bridge at Bury new road whilst third is taken from bridge to lesser known entry to Philips park.

4. Piccadilly station – There are few compositions to be captured around Piccadilly station and my favorite is taken from bridge just outside the station. Watch out for camera shake as you shoot at this bridge because it can be very wobbly when people passing by.

5. Castlefiled – This is one of most photogenic locations in entire Manchester. It’s industrial feel with many old bridges and constantly passing trams offers some of the best compositions you can get.

6. Scamendon Bridge – Human eye is drawn into curves and S shapes therefore this spot is working so well with this type of photography. Lights left by passing cars are creating atmospheric image very enjoyable to look at. There is also very enjoyable walk in the area where you can find different composition to shoot.

7. Stockpot Viaduct – Even though I only have one picture to show today from that spot I decided to include into my list anyway. I encourage anyone to explore this location more than I did so far since there are multiple compositions to be discovered out there. I took this photo from bridge at Wellington road.

8. Charles Street car park – Although you can only find one or maybe two compositions at this place it’s still worth visiting as it offers very unique look at the town.

9. Albert Square – Once again Metrolink trams will be leaving plenty of light for you to capture at this location. You can combine these lights with unique architecture of Central Library to create memorable photographs.

10. Green Gate Square – This area is under constant development in recent years and it’s becoming one of my favorite places to go at night. This time you’ll be waiting for buses to give to long exposure effect in combination with beautify lighted fountain located at the square.

I hope my short list will encourage you to try light painting techniques in your photography whether you do it with digital camera or your phone (with manual exposure) I leave that to you. Remember all you need is a bit o patience and a tripod.

Follow me @kozakphoto at Instagram for regular photo content updates.

Have a great light!


Merton Avenue Playing fields

I spend most of last year looking for perfect place to capture cityscape of Manchester. I have found few interesting locations what led me to to create my top 7 best hilltop spots described in my previous guide. At that time however I was not aware about one spot that instantly became one of my favourite. Merton avenue playing fields. Here are few photos captured from this amazing spot.


Haslingden Halo

This large sculpture is one of four Panopticons structures we can find across East Lancashire. Its part of art project that create 21st century landmarks as symbols of the renaissance of the area. I can’t remember how I discovered this location but from first look I knew it was good spot to shoot. As a huge fan on sci-fi books and movies I wanted to make photo reflecting that vibe. Here are few of my favorite images.


Virtual Exhibition

I always dreamt that one day my photos will be shown at an exhibition for everyone to see. It didn’t happen yet. In last few months I spent significant amount of time learning everything about 360 photography and panorama stitching workflows. That experience made me create this Virtual Exhibition where you can view some of my favourite photos taken around Manchester.

I used Photoshop template and 3dvista software to create it.



Icy Scout Moor wind farm

I’ve been visiting this place many times recently however it never happened under such icy conditions. Scout Moor Wind Farm is second largest on shore green energy provider in England. Supplies electricity to 40 000 homes across Manchester. It’s perfect place to cycle on mountain bike or simply to walk around. I’ve been enjoying coming here as it is closest place to find some snow due to its high altitude.

As always I have few images to share.



City shrouded in fog

When I got up that morning and looked out the window, world looked just like another a boring Monday morning. I was wondering if it makes sense to carry camera? At the last moment, I took it from the shelf and put it in my bag. When I arrived in town I could not be happier for my decision. Everything was shrouded in a thick layer of fog! As a photographer, I love foggy scenery. This gives each street and alley a more mystical and eerie look. It’s also one of those weather phenomena that doesn’t happen very often so when it does it’s better to be ready!

Unfortunately as I was running out of time and having only 10% of the battery, I end up making only about 20 photos that I’m quite pleased with.
In post-production I didn’t have much work to do because everything looked fine in the camera and the only changes I made were a little bit of colour grading and some sharpening.


Time blending

I discovered this spot not too long ago and I imminently thought it would perfect to try time blending technique that I had so much fun using recently. It’s a special exposure blending technique, which is usually used to combine several photos of the same scene that have been taken over an extended period of time. Typical examples are the combination of a blue hour photo with a another taken at night – usually used by landscape photographer with the stars or the Milky Way in the frame. However I like to blend city lights instead to make unique looking, high quality image that I would not be afraid to print even at very large size.

 

I’m not going to explain step by step how I’ve done it as there is plenty of videos online explaining entire process. Just look up “time blending technique” and follow one of many available tutorials to create stunning images!


Top 7 Manchester skyline hilltop views

Short list of Manchester skyline view points from easily accessible nearby hilltops. By creating this little guide I hope to bring some help for those who want to start in cityscape photography but don’t know where to go. You don’t need to be a pilot of a drone to create amazing images!

All seven spots are not just great cityscape photography locations – they offer so much more than that! From woodland areas with hidden waterfalls or bare hilltops spiked with wind turbines. These are beautiful natural landmarks reach of history and to easy access. This make them perfect to enjoy walk in nature with family or friends. On technical side; you don’t need expensive camera or super long zoom lens to create stunning images. Most of photos you going to see are taken at fairly small focal length ~80-100mm on full frame body.

Without further ado here is my top 7 Manchester hilltop views:

1.Werneth Low -Hyde – Don’t be mistaken by the name of this place. Word “low” does not refer to any lack of altitude (279 meters above the sea) but rather from northern English word “hill”. This location offers panoramic views of Manchester and it’s great at sunsets. Best time to visit it’s probably September or April as sun set directly behind city center. It’s easy to park near visitors center than climb for 10 min at steady pace.

2. Peel Tower – Bury – Name of the place come from monument build 1852 from hillside stones. Composition offers quite a bit of foreground interest especially at the dusk where you can capture car trails creating leading lines into the city. Be aware that google maps will lead you thorough narrow private roads therefore I’d recommend leaving your car at the bottom on the hill than climbing for 15 min to reach the hilltop.

3.Hartshead Pike – Ashton-under-Lyne – This hill over-viewing Ashton-under-Lyne and it can offer nice view on Manchester skyline. On very clear day you can see all the way to Liverpool. Google maps will lead you rightly to spot where you can park your car.

4. White Nancy – Bollington – It’s farthest south location I had found so far and it’s also hardest to shoot because of longest distance to the city. You going to need clear day to capture Manchester from this angle. In terms of foreground there is plenty of interest with Bollington village natural shape creating leading lines, drawing eye into the city.

5. Crompton Moor – Oldham – This location over-view city of Oldham with good foreground interest. It’s worth to visit waterfall hidden close to the carpark to the left. It also worth to remember they close entry to area at the dusk so make sure you leave before that.

6. Clarks Hill – Whitefield. As we were all grounded in our localities and could not travel during lockdown days I’ve discovered this area in one of my daily runs. There is not much to think about composition as there is only one place along the road where you can stand without trespassing onto private lands.

7.Philips Park – Prestwich – Probably the weakest location among all since there are power lines obstructing the view quite a bit. I recomend removing it in post production which is quite easy to do even with the basic software.

I highly recommend researching each of these locations before visiting. They offer much more than just pretty picture of our city.

If you want to folow my work you can always find me at instagram.