I’m a lucky guy. Nearly every day I walk between home and office along the Hudson River, just north of where it widens out into New York Harbor. As an amateur photographer, I have begun to pay closer attention to — and often photograph — the scene (as below).
Each day the sky as the sun sets over New Jersey is different. Sometime clear, sometimes cloudy, often mixed — with many variations in cloud types, formations, heights, and so on. Each day the river water is different — sometimes calm and almost glassy, sometimes choppy and almost ocean-like, with thousands of variations in between.
The tides create a 4-5 foot variation in river height on a typical day, as well as variation in the direction and interactions of the channel flow and the surface texture. Sometimes the air is still, sometimes pleasantly breezy, sometimes downright windy. Each day of the year, the sun sets in a slightly different place.
In the five years I’ve been doing this, I do not recall seeing the identical sky-water combination more than once. There are simply too many factors that change over too wide a range, and that interact in complex ways to see much repetition. The building and piers are the only relative constants — and sometimes those change too.
New York Harbor is an open, dynamic, complex system, with an innumerable number of factors interacting continually.