Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Central Park in NYC - Photographing Bow Bridge (different from everyone else)

As many of you know, I was in NY last week, speaking at B&H Photo. But as always, as soon as I am done working, I go out and shoot some images for me (and the blog). I took a cab over to Central Park and walked for miles. Not for the first time, I came across Bow Bridge and decided to try and take some images of this iconic site from a different perspective. Like so many other popular sites, which are photographed so often, my goal is to come away with an image that is different from what most people will capture. And so...this is the lesson of the week. :)

I shot this image of Bow Bridge from a viewing platform next to the lake. Why did I shoot this one? Because most people are drawn to the spots that the park marks for you. They figure that, if there is an area built for photos, it must be the best vantage point. And I framed this shot to show the whole bridge, because that it what most people try to capture. But...

I captured this image from the same vantage point. The only difference is that I zoomed in on a portion of the bridge, and not the whole thing. I wanted to show more of the architectural detail, and also highlight the potted flowers against the highrises in the background.

And then, walking about 50 feet up the path, I found this view of the light post at the entrance to the bridge, which was framed by lots of lush foliage. You see just enough of the bridge to let the viewer know that it is Bow Bridge, without being obvious.

This shot does show a wider view of the bridge, but uses some of the trees and brush to give me a foreground, middle ground and background.

For something totally different, I got down low to the railing of the bridge and shot this image. I zoomed the lens to 300mm and used an aperture of f6.3 to create the desired depth of field.

Lastly, I walked across the bridge and down a pathway (towards Strawberry Fields) and came across this cluster of purple flowers. Again, wanting a strong foreground, I got down low with the camera to make sure that I had plenty of the flowers in my frame. Notice how the angle of the flowers, along the edge of the water, draws your eye up to the bridge. There you go. Some different views of Bow Bridge. And, of course, you can use this same lesson for shooting any well known landmark.

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