Friday, October 19, 2012

New York City - Teaching photography to 450 people on the Circle Line Cruise

Thursday was an amazing day in New York City. After months of planning by B&H Photo, we embarked on a private Circle Line Cruise with Moose Peterson and 450 people eager to learn better photography. I was joking with Moose about a week ago that I wanted clear skies and puffy clouds, and we got them! Good thing...because today is rainy and nasty here in the city.

Since it was a cruise, Moose decided to play pirate for the day. He and I greeted each person as they hopped aboard the ship...

...and there were a lot of people to greet!

And you can probably see from this photo, we had an amazing day to work with. People usually think that having a clear blue sky is the best thing for photos, but trust me, these clouds really make the photo more dramatic. Wow!

I took many photos of the new World Trade Center tower since it really close to it's final height. It is great to see a tall building back in this spot. I hope to go back to shoot more images at the 911 memorial  next week. If you are a regular blog reader, you will know that I was there last year, but this time I want to shoot images with a wider lens (knowing what I know now).

Another view of the financial center framed with awesome clouds.

As we approached the Statue of Liberty, I turned back towards to city and saw this view of the lower part of Manhattan with a straight line of clouds overhead. So beautiful.

We passed by Ellis Island and got a quick shot of that. (Since I was teaching and shooting, and since there were so many people on the boat, I was not always able to get the shot that I wanted).

(Photographer's note: When photographing skylines like this, it is always a good idea to look past the obvious. Even when you don't have a marquis building in the shot, you should look for the combination of colors and patterns like what we see in all these different buildings. Having the sun behind the clouds, thus creating a nice flat light with very little direct sunlight and harsh shadows, helps to make a shot like this even stronger.)

Another shot showing how the new World Trade Center building rises above all the others in lower Manhattan.

Did I mention that we had a lot of people on the boat? I took these shots of everyone else shooting the Statue of Liberty. I figure that there must have been almost one million dollars worth of camera gear on this boat at the time. :)

I was switching between my 70-200mm lens (sometimes with a 1.4x extender) and my 24-105mm lens. For this shot, I used the 24-105 at 24mm to get Miss Liberty and the city skyline in one shot. In order to get this wide view, I cropped out a lot of the water at the bottom of the image.

Could I have shot a close up shot of the Statue of Liberty? Sure. But, as I was teaching to the others around me, it is more interesting when you see the statue surrounded by the clouds.

Just after we launched from the pier, we were able to see a bunch of helicopters in the distance, signaling the arrival of President Obama. After leaving the Statue of Liberty, we headed towards the Brooklyn Bridge and could see Marine One (the President's helicopter) at the nearby heliport. Needless to say, security on the water was high. Even our wireless microphones stopped working, leading us to wonder if all wireless devices were being scrambled in this area.

Focusing my attention back to the bridges again, I waited for a good angle and shot this image of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge.

It was my first time making a complete circle around the island and I saw many new views of the city.

Here is a view of the Cloisters from the river. I have photographed at the Cloister 4 or 5 years ago, and need to go back to shoot there again. It is a very cool place in the Northern part of the city.

We shot photos for 3 hours and then came back to the piers. Before leaving, I had all of the kids from NYC Salt (an amazing charitable organization for which I am on the board) to pose for a shot with Moose, myself and some of our B&H friends.

To top off the day, we were invited to eat at the amazing River Cafe, which is located at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge.

This is a very expensive place, but the view is amazing! I could not help but take this shot. (Photographer's note: I shot this without using a tripod, firstly because I would not want to break out a tripod in a fancy place like this, and secondly, because I didn't have mine with me at the time. I set the camera to ISO 3200 and held tight. This images was captured at 1/40 sec using only the lights of the city and the lights in the restaurant. The host of our dinner told the Maitre' D that I was an Olympic photographer, and he came over to introduce himself and gave me his business card. Since I had his email address, I sent him this image later that evening.

After shooting the images inside the restaurant, I went out to the deck and shot this last photo, showing the last glimpse of light of the day. It was a spectacular ending to a spectacular day.

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