New York Revisited…

 

 

new york contrasts

New York contrasts

 

chrysler

The Chrysler Building from below

 

lamps in grand central

Beautiful lamps in Grand Central Terminal

Oh my archives! I have so many images in them that I’ve barely looked at…especially from my past trips.

Now that my beloved Nikon is away for servicing, and I can’t be out there shooting, I thought I’d get to one of the items on my projects list — identify some images to print and frame.

Since I’m drawn to architectural images on a wall and I love neutral tones, I immediately thought of all the building images I had shot in New York and then not done anything with.

As I dig into these archives, I thought I would post a few images here. I think some of these would work well together in a wall gallery. And if not these, I do have many more!

 

The New York Series, Part 7…

My photo safari in New York City

Chrysler

The iconic Chrysler Building from below

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.

NYPD blue

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.

The New York Series, Part 6….

family

Kids coming home from school with Mom…

I find street photography to be one of the most challenging types of photography to do well, but since people are endlessly fascinating to observe and wonder about, I can’t help wanting to try it when I travel.

Framing and composing the image and pressing the shutter at just the right time to tell an interesting story is not easy. Especially when the subjects are moving — since they often have no idea they are being photographed. So many times I miss the most interesting action or cut somebody’s head off or something…

And then there’s the question, black and white or colour? Fortunately, that decision doesn’t have to be made until afterward, in post-processing. I read a helpful interview with New York photographer James Maher, which helped me decide which of my images I would convert to black and white and which ones I would leave in colour.

These are just a few of my favorite candid images of people doing what they do in New York City….

“How the heck are we going to get there from here?”

Grand Central Terminal

“As long as I have my cell phone, I’ll be fine…” at Grand Central Terminal

Putting up the tree lights near Rockefeller Plaza

“Some weird lady is taking a picture of me…”

Planting ornamental cabbages on the street for winter colour…

The New York Series, Part 5

Top of the Flatiron, detailsbandw3

Top of the Flatiron, details1000

Still on the Flatiron Building today in this the fifth part of my New York City series…You can scroll back to see the other four parts, if you wish. I feature shots of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline.

Because a lot of the joy of looking at the Flatiron Building is in the details, I wanted to show them to you closer up. This was taken with my 70-200 mm zoom, at 70mm. It has been cropped.

Before I cropped it, I took three different exposures into Photomatix and processed them as a High Dynamic Range (HDR) photograph, but with a natural look. Then I converted one to monochrome, leaving a hint of blue.

I may print this one, or one like it. Just curious, which version do you prefer?

Thanks so much for helping me out today — and I really appreciate all your kind and thoughtful comments on this series. I read and smile at every single one!

The New York Series, Part 4…

flatiron busy1000

I would forgive you if you called me obsessed by the Flatiron Building in New York. Given how much time I spent trying to capture its lovely uniqueness from different angles, even on different days and at different times and with different lenses, I could not argue. (And no doubt I will do the same next time I’m in New York — trying yet again to capture its essence.)

This is the building I love — way more than the Empire State or the Chrysler or any of the other iconic buildings. The Flatiron says New York to me…

Completed in 1902, it’s shaped like an old fashioned cast iron clothes iron, thus the name. It sits on a triangular island-block formed by Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 22nd Street.

It was designed by Chicago’s Daniel Burnham as a vertical Renaissance palazzo with Beaux-Arts styling. The bottom of its facade is limestone changing to glazed terra cotta from Staten Island.

H.G. Wells wrote of the Flatiron Building in 1906:

I found myself agape, admiring a sky-scraper the prow of the Flat-iron Building, to be particular, ploughing up through the traffic of Broadway and Fifth Avenue in the afternoon light.

Now I get one of the reasons I love it. It reminds me of a ship!

I also love the cast iron clock not far from it on Fifth Avenue.  I set out to try to capture them in the same image. Not a terribly easy task, given that the best spot to stand was smack in the midst of crazy traffic. I didn’t try that.

(I hadn’t noticed the sign in the lower right of the first image until just now. “Have an idea. Make it happen.” Appropriate.)

The clock was installed in 1909. One of the most ornate of New York’s cast-iron street clocks, it’s composed of a rectangular, classically ornamented base, and fluted Ionic column. The two dials, marked by Roman numerals, are framed by wreaths of oak leaves and crowned by a cartouche.  A masterpiece of cast-iron workmanship, it is beautifully designed, and a prominent sidewalk landmark.

Such old, historic and delicately intricate beauties make New York City endlessly fascinating to me and are why I return time after time.

The New York Series…Part 1

forpost 2000

I’ve been to New York City a few times before — 12  to be exact — but this was the first trip I had a good camera — and it was autumn in the city. That made for a great combination!

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that I took hundreds of photographs. I plan to spread some of them out over a series of  blog posts.

I’m starting with this image since Central Park is one of my favorite places in the world.

I wanted to see what it looked like from a great height in the fall with the trees leafed out in their beautiful colour, so I took the elevator up the 67 floors to the observation deck on the Top of the Rockefeller Plaza on a sunny perfect fall day.

What a vista!

In this photo, you’re looking north and you see the west side of the park and the buildings of the Upper West Side.

A few years ago, my mother and sister and I took a guided walking tour of Central Park, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Up until then, I simply had no idea what a massive accomplishment this park is and how unique it is.

Central Park was the first public landscaped park in all of the United States.  In 1853, the state legislature first set aside land for a major public park. City commissioners spent $14 million for the land and the construction of the park, which extended from 59th Street to 106th Street, between Fifth and Eighth Avenues.

The designers, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux were chosen in public competition in 1858. The park was developed over a span of 16 years.

(Olmsted is considered the father of landscape architecture and he went on to design Prospect Park in Brooklyn and many other North American parks, such as Boston’s Emerald Necklace, Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, Mount Royal in Montreal, and the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and the White House. Here are ten lessons for landscape design you can pick up from him.)

Central Park occupies 843 acres in Manhattan, 6% of its total acreage. You could fit 16 billion New York apartments in the park.

The park includes seven water bodies totaling 150 acres (some of which you can see above), 136 acres of woodlands and 250 acres of lawns. There are 58 miles of walking paths and 4.25 miles of bridle paths.

It also boasts more than 26,000 trees, 36 bridges and arches and nearly 9,000 benches.

It surprised me to learn that there are 215 species of birds in a 6.1-acre sanctuary, many rare to the area including the peregrine falcon.

The 25 million people that visit every year can also enjoy 26 ballfields; 30 tennis courts; 21 playgrounds; one carousel and two ice-skating rinks, one of which is converted into a swimming pool in the summer.

Stay tuned for more images inside the park…