Yesterday I posted an overview of Central Park in autumn shot from the Top of the Rockefeller Plaza. Today, let’s go into the park and enjoy some more intimate views…
Before I left for New York, I made a shot list. I knew that there was so much to see and capture in New York City that I might get overwhelmed if I didn’t at least have an idea of what I was hoping to photograph. It turned out to be a good idea for me. I didn’t get everything on the list and I got lots of shots I didn’t plan to, just by being open to what I was drawn to in the environment, but overall I feel that doing some advance research was well worth the effort.
Let me give you an example. I knew I wanted to shoot Central Park. But where? As was evident in yesterday’s shot, the park is huge and you could walk around in it for days…I knew I didn’t have a whole lot of time and I had plenty of other places on my list, so I decided to be selective.
I figured New York, being south of where I live, was still likely to have colourful leaves on the trees. So I googled fall foliage in New York and discovered that the fall colour was likely to be at its peak last week. Good start!
Then I went to one of my favorite photo sharing sites — 500 px — and did a search for Central Park. This site is chock full of wonderful high-quality images that provide great inspiration. The search function works really well (much better than flickr) because it can filter by date and also by popularity.
Lo and behold I saw a stunning image of a beautiful stone bridge covered with red ivy. I could see that it had been taken only a few days before so that confirmed that the colours were still quite glorious.
I could also see that it was called the Gapstow Bridge. I love stone bridges (covered with ivy especially) and this is a beauty. It did not take long to find out that this particular bridge was in the southeast corner of the park, not far from the entrance. Bingo! I had a great destination all picked out.
Once I got into the park, I had to ask directions to the bridge, but it was only a short walk and there it was! I was in my element running back and forth trying to capture the bridge from a variety of perspectives with a few different lenses. It was obvious that it had a completely different personality and feel shot from different vantage points. It was late afternoon so the sun was providing fairly nice light.
I am more comfortable with intimate landscapes than really large ones, so that is what I tend to shoot. But it was good practice to try to capture some wider shots as well.
I had to work around the people who were walking across the bridge and feeding the ducks at the water’s edge. Sometimes I like to have people in my shots, but I did want to make sure I got some of just the bridge.
I probably could have stayed there a good while longer, but the Metropolitan Opera’s performance of Tosca was on the agenda for that evening, so I had to reluctantly wrap it up. (Little did I know then that by the end of the night I would become a raving fan of opera and especially Roberto Alagna! If you’re curious why, click here to hear.)
As I walked out of the park, I managed to get a few shots of the park’s trees with the New York skyline behind.
I just love images that show the natural and built worlds side by side, which stands out so clearly at the edge of Central Park. Such a study in contrast.
If you’re going to New York and don’t have days to wander at will, a bit of advance research can really save you a lot of time.