Friday, June 3, 2011

A Long Hot Walk In New York City

It was late Wednesday morning in New York City and the weather was turning from hot to hotter. The humidity was increasing by the minute. Not exactly the best time to take a long walk...but any time that I get free time in NYC, I take advantage of it. So, while most New Yorkers were hiding in their air conditioned buildings, I took a cab to Battery Park at the very Southern tip of Manhattan.

This was one of those days when I was walking around with thousands of other tourists, camera hanging off my neck, snapping away.  My first photo opportunity was the Statue of Liberty, since she is just to the South of the city. The weather was hazy and overcast, which has it's advantages if I was shooting portraits, but not great for cityscapes. As I watched all the tourists taking pictures of the statue, I realized the importance of finding a unique perspective. I found this area with plants and flowers and crouched down to allow them to be in the frame. I positioned myself so that the statue was right in the middle of the pylons and took my shot.

I love the old lights in the park.

After walking through Battery Park, I followed the path along the water (partly to get some of the breeze blowing in) and found this cool "pier" area. What drew my attention to this area was the multiple curves in the frame. You can see the curve of the wood overhang, the curve of the bridge, and the curve at the top of the building in the background.

As I made my way towards the World Trade Center area, I came across this memorial for the NY Police officers who have died while serving the public. Since it was only a couple of days after Memorial Day, their were fresh wreaths placed for them. I took numerous shots of this memorial, trying to find a unique view, but really did not like any of them. And then as I was walking away, I saw that I could shoot an image with the name of the memorial and the wreaths and wall in the background.

I then walked by ground zero to see how the new construction was coming. It was weird to be back in this area, since the last time that I photographed this area was ten years ago, only a month after the  tragedy. I took this image to show the classic crowds in the city.

I shot about ten images of the crowd scene, and when going through them back at my hotel, I noticed this shot with this nice looking woman standing out of the crowd. (Photographer note: For a shot like this to work best, you really need to have a "subject" that draws the viewer's eye to one spot. I wish that the older gentleman in the foreground was a foot or two to the right, so that this lady in her red dress would really stand out, but...of well.)
Next stop on my 6 mile walk was Union Square. In the 30 or more trips that I have made to NYC, I have never been to this park. I really liked this perspective with George Washington in the foreground with the Empire State Building in the background. In this case, the hazy skies made this image more interesting. (Photographers note: Since you can not control the weather, take advantage of what you have. Do not let hazy or rainy days stop you from shooting photos. Many times, the overcast skies, puffy clouds, or rain puddles will bring you more opportunities than a bright sunny day.)

As I continued my walk towards Central Park, I saw this man cleaning windows above a busy street. So I crossed the street to get a better view and took some shots of him at work. Why? Not sure, but it is different than most people see everyday. :)

An hour passed and I really did not see any subjects that interested me, so I decided to slow the shutter of the camera and get some shots of the streets. Panning along with the taxi bike, I grabbed this shot to show a typical New York street scene. (Settings for this shot: ISO 100, f10, 1/10 sec, 24-105mm lens set to 24mm)

After 5 and a half hours of walking, I decided to go up to the top of the Rockefeller Building, otherwise known as the Top Of The Rock. I knew that the weather was not ideal for this type of view, but figured that it would be worth the $22 to see what view was offered at the top. I used this excursion as a scouting trip to plan a future visit to this location when the weather is better. Since my feet and legs were hurting, I took the time to sit up at the top of the building for an hour. I waited for this big cumulus cloud to cross behind the Empire State Building and grabbed this shot before heading back to the hotel to get cleaned up for my dinner meeting. Next time I think I will head up there at sunset (and hopefully with the fall colors in Central Park, which is the view from the other side of the building).


bob said...

A walk in the park, your walk in NY.

There's nothing like shooting in the greatest city in the world, especially when you're not on a schedule; other than when your feet give out.

Nice. Very nice, indeed …

Jazz Guy said...

Great article and photos. I live on the Jersey Shore, but I take the train into Manhattan on most weekends and whenever else I get a chance.

Even if I go into the city without a plan, there's always something interesting to shoot while walking around.

TomBrooklyn said...

Hi Jeff,
You got some unusual views, which is saying something in the most photographed city in the world. Good eye.