Central Park in Black and White and in Colour

central park boaters copy

Last fall, I did a 7-part series in this blog featuring images of New York. It’s such a visually rich city and I had such a good time shooting it that I was thrilled to have the chance to make another trip this fall.

Last year I signed up for a photo safari called “Iconic New York.” It was a great fun to discover key spots in Midtown Manhattan with fellow photographers and get tips to improve my photo skills. You can read more about it here.

Me and my sister on the Bow Bridge. Photo by Rob, Photo Safari leader.

As I was going to be travelling with my sister Elena this time, who enjoys photography as much as I do, I suggested we sign up for another safari — this time in Central Park, a place we both love.

Ever since my very first trip to New York back in the early 80s, I’ve been an enthusiastic fan of Central Park. I appreciate its enormity, its diversity, its intelligent and beautiful design and the way it is open and accessible to everyone.

Public green spaces are vital to liveable city life — and Central is one of the most exceptional examples in the world of how that works. New Yorkers love it — and so do visitors from all over the world.

Our group met at the Bethesda Fountain and Terrace and concentrated our first shots around that area. Leader Rob, a professional photographer, offered useful pointers and suggestions before and after we made our images. I particularly enjoyed discussing composition with him. He gave us demos and also gave us plenty of time to wander on our own.

There were four of us in the group, which turned out to be very congenial — two Canadians (my sister and I) and a man from Australia and a woman from New Zealand.

We then gathered under the arches and practised shooting in low light and high dynamic range situations.

After that we moseyed on to the Bow Bridge, which proved to be a great vantage point for shooting the boaters on the Lake and the Loeb Boathouse. The day had been forecast to be rainy, but we did not get one drop. It turned out to be gorgeous with lovely light.

Before we parted 2 1/2 hours later, we also spent some time in the famous tree-lined Mall.

Elena and I spent the rest of the day continuing to explore areas of the park we hadn’t been before (such as the Ramble) as well as returning to spend more time around the Bethesda Fountain.

This is where I made some of my favorite images — and happened to look up just at the right time to catch a young couple ready to kiss. It was a “decisive moment” as Cartier-Bresson would say.

The whole area was packed with people taking pictures and enjoying themselves and the excellent free entertainment. It was obviously a magnet for romantic wedding pictures as everywhere we went we saw brides and grooms posing together. To get my images with fewer people in them, I had to be patient and wait for just the right time.

The colours in stone and tile work under the Terrace are beautifully soft and subtle, which makes for lovely colour pictures, but the stone arches and interesting architecture and light also suits black and white photography perfectly.

So I did both.

It was a still a bit early in the season for the really vibrant fall foliage (not to self: go a bit later in the fall next time), but there was enough of a change to make the background scenery pop a bit.

I found that alternating between my wide angle zoom (24 to 85 mm) and my telephoto zoom (70 to 200 mm) gave me a good variety of focal lengths to capture the images I was drawn to.

These are only a small group of my images of Central Park, as you can imagine. I just may have to do another post on this very special place!


I surprised myself by being fast enough to capture this “decisive moment”.

arches band

The Terrace arches in black and white.


With their beautiful light, couples flock to the Bethesda Arches for wedding pictures.


These giant bubbles must have looked magical to the little ones. Hey, they looked magical to me!


The Loeb Boathouse reflected in the waters of the still Lake.


My sister focusses her camera on some of the beautiful details of the Arches.

sherry and rob

Elena took this one of me and Rob discussing a shot.

32 thoughts on “Central Park in Black and White and in Colour

  1. I have some of your pages starred so I can come back…I just loved this page so much…That bride, the more I look at her, the more I see. I love the toning you used…it fits so perfectly with her mood…or maybe it makes it mood…today I’m going to print it so I never lose the pages and info…your inspire me….I know, I say that often but it is so true…now back to catching up…instead of playing.

  2. Central Park is a truly beautiful place and it seems you enjoyed time there. I did not know that there are tours in Central Park. I would have gone on one the last time I was there.

  3. Pingback: Converge… | Still and All

  4. You, Sherry are the tour guide! Such beautiful beautiful photos, each one special. I must agree though that “the kiss” and “the bride” are my favorites, especially the bride and the veil covering her face so delicately, and her repose…so like a painting. You have really shown the true beauty of Central Park. Thank you so much for sharing, your story and your stunning photos!! Simply excellent!

  5. Hi RH. We did walk through the Ramble, which is beautiful. Problem is I’m not that knowledgeable about bird species so I couldn’t recognize the birds we saw. I will have to bone up a bit before going back next time. It’s neat to know that this was he first place you real looked at birds properly!

  6. Sherry, you asked about the birding in Central Park. Your were nearly there! The prime location is The Ramble, the wildness area north of Bow Bridge / Loeb Boathouse – between there & the Belvedere Castle. There’s a network of paths, and a feeder area in the middle. I always spend time there whenever I visit NYC (every 2 or 3 of years or so) – it’s the first place I ever looked at birds properly, never having seen most of them before! RH

  7. We did have a wonderful day, Kim, but really only saw a small part of Central Park. Even after many visits I still haven’t begun to really know it. But that gives me more reason to go again right? If you do plan on taking a photo safari in the future, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

  8. I think you have a good idea there Sarah. Having someone with some knowledge with you would make the tripe easier and being with someone who likes to photograph would make it more pleasant!

  9. How absolutely wonderful. The photo safari sounds like a great idea. I know I would love that. I would love to go to NY some time, but for my first time I would prefer to go with someone that has already been there and preferably somebody that likes photography.

  10. Oh, it sounds like you had a wonderful day and really saw Central Park in all its glory. Your pictures are magnificent. Based on your recommendations, I will definitely do a photo safari the next time I’m in New York. Thanks for sharing the experience with us.

  11. oh goodness … I looked at your photos and left that previous comment before reading your post! Sheesh. This was a repeat trip, this time to Central Park. Anyway, outstanding photos!

  12. You should be so proud of yourself. These are amazing images you captured last year. Excellent work my friend

  13. Yes, Dotti, it was grand and altogether too short. But better than not at all. And so much fun to photograph with another photographer who is great and happens to be related.

  14. It looks like you and your sister had a grand time! Your photos are wonderful examples of the City {it must be capitalized!} and I’m so glad you’re sharing them with us.

  15. It was a great day Elena and I’m glad you enjoyed it so much. I know you got some great shots — and I hope you can get to see them soon! I can’t wait either.

  16. I hope you do go Cheryl…know you would enjoy it. It’s funny you should mention HDR though because I didn’t do any. 😀
    All these images are just one exposure. I shoot raw as do you and many others. I process with Adobe Camera Raw and that’s it. Not even Nik or Topaz. I think it was just the light that day! As always I appreciate your kind comments and support so much.

  17. I see New York in my near future…well, maybe spring..and thanks so much for the tour guide name…I’ll check him out because he obviously knew all the lovely places to take you…I love the HDR work…not overdone at all but just enough. Makes all the scenes pop…You are really, really working it Girl and it shows…just amazing work. I loved every one of these images…my two favorites though are the Kiss and the Bride taking a break…great story telling photo’s, both of them…

  18. Thanks for organizing this great day for us. So very, very envious of your great results. Haven’t reviewed all my photos from the day yet, so I hope I have some that even a fraction as good as these!

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