My photo safari in New York City
The iconic Chrysler Building from below
My take on the Grace Building
Reflections of the Empire State Building
Lines, beautiful lines
Before I left for my recent trip to New York City, I made a shot list, and on it were several of my favorite places. In previous posts I’ve featured the Flatiron Building and Central Park, which were right at the top.
But I also wanted to shoot Grand Central Terminal, the New York Public Library, Times Square, the Chrysler Building and the Grace Building, all places I had been before, but wanted to see again through my camera’s lens. But I doubted I’d have the time to shoot all of them since my visit was quite short.
Luckily I stumbled on a solution. I found out about a small group photo safari offered by a knowledgeable photographer. It was highly rated by Trip Advisor and so I signed up for it online. It was a three-hour tour of iconic places and buildings, many of which were on my list.
Zim: we couldn’t have had a better or more passionate instructor/guide…
The morning of the safari, I met up with my group of seven at a breakfast spot across from Grand Central Terminal. I got there early, after figuring out my way on the subway with no problems. The first two people I saw with cameras were a lovely mother and daughter team from Birmingham, England.
Over coffee I learned that Sharon was treating Molly to a trip to New York to celebrate her 18th birthday. Sharon was enthusiastic about photography and just learning her new DSLR. Molly was on a point and shoot. They had arrived in New York City the day before and were still adjusting to the time change and the overwhelming sights and sounds.But they were gung ho to make the most of their week in the Big Apple.
Gradually the others arrived and then we met our fearless leader, Zim, and did a round of introductions. In addition to Molly and Sharon, on the tour were three Australians, one American living in Singapore and me, the token Canadian. Some of us had DSLRs, some point and shoots and some smart phones. Jack, a serious hobby photographer, told me this was his fourth photo safari during his three-week trip to New York. He was shooting with a wide angle 10-20mm lens that made me drool with envy.
But Zim did not discriminate. Her safari offered something for everyone — at all skill and experience levels — and we all left with wonderful images of New York City after the three hours, which just flew by.
Zim had a route that she followed to cover the major icons, but she left plenty of room for spontaneous shooting. As she led us, she walked ahead, but backwards, so she could talk to us.
Zim encouraged us to shoot icons like taxis and police cars and dispelled the idea that it’s illegal to photograph police or their cars.
Every so often she would stop and point and say: shoot this! We would snap away, and because the group was so small, she could easily do the rounds to comment on our composition and exposure etc. and make very helpful suggestions to improve our captures. One of the things I liked most about this photo safari was the immediate feedback you received and the easy tips that you could put into practice right away.
It was crazy busy on the streets of midtown Manhattan. A true New Yorker, Zim did not wait for lights to cross the street. She just charged ahead in the middle, followed by her merry band. At one point, as we all forced the oncoming traffic to stop for us (yikes, I hate jaywalking!), I waved to the fancy black sedan in thanks. Zim called out: “You didn’t just wave thanks to that car did you?” And I called back: “Sure I did, I’m Canadian!”
I’m definitely going to do another safari in New York (next time it’ll be Times Square at night) — and other places as well, where I can. I highly recommend the experience. I came back with so many images that I haven’t even begun to process. If you have any questions about this photo safari, please feel free to ask me in the comments.