Thursday, May 28, 2015

New York in Spring Time - From Park Avenue to Central Park

On my way back from vacation in St. Thomas a couple of weeks ago, I stopped in New York to do some presentations at B&H Photo. I decided to stay at a different hotel on this visit to The Big Apple, and I am glad that I did. I usually stay near Times Square, but this time I stayed on the East Side very near Park Avenue. And as you can see from the photos, Park Avenue was full of flowers in full bloom.

I saw these flowers and just had to get out and take photos. For all of these photos, I used my Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 24-105mm lens. As you can see from this photo, I purposely slowed the shutter speed to 1/2 second to get motion in the taxi cabs which were going by in both directions.

I walked block and block to see if the different groups of flowers would offer a unique perspective. After taking some straight-on shots of the flowers here, I turned and framed the shot to include the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel. I waited for a group of yellow cabs to drive in front of the hotel to take this photo.

And then...I zoomed in tighter to get a nice shot of the tulips on their own.

As I walked down Park Avenue, I was looking for different colored flowers.

What caught my attention here was the one yellow tulip amongst the purple tulips. I framed the shot to have the yellow flower off center, and made sure that the focal point was on that unique flower.

After shooting along Park Avenue, I headed to Central Park. I have photographed in the park many times, capturing this iconic location in Winter and Summer, but never during the Spring Time. As I walked through the park, I came across numerous tress that were full of cherry blossoms. But, for the most part, I was not thrilled with wide shots of these trees.

I wanted to show something more than a tree full of blossoms. So I got in close and shot this.

And I was walking through the park, I saw this lady walking towards me. I noticed that her hair perfectly matched the color of the cherry blossoms, so I asked her if I could take her photo. She graciously accepted. I like the fact that this is different from what everyone else was photographing that day in the park.

I took this photo to show the cherry blossoms against the cloudy sky. I knew that when I took this photo, I would be presented with a challenge. I knew that, by exposing for the sky, the cherry blossoms would be too dark (original photo below). But I also knew that I could correct this in Photoshop later. When opening the RAW image in Adobe Camera Raw, I lowered the highlight slider all the way to 0 and moved the shadow slider to +50. This simple adjustment changed the photo from what you see below to the photo above.

I stopped by the Bethesda Fountain, set up the tripod and took some shots with a shutter speed of 1/2 second to show a little bit of motion in the people surrounding the fountain. My goal was to get motion in as many people as possible, but not the bride and groom having their photo taken.

Another photo by Bethesda Fountain, this time using the lines of the staircases to my advantage.

And one last shot for you, from the boat trip that we took around Manhattan the next evening. We had pretty bad shooting weather during the day, with grey skies and minimal contrast. I didn't shoot much, but as the cruise was ending, there was a minute or two where the setting sun broke through the clouds. I stopped down a full stop to further darken the environment and took this photo facing New Jersey.

The next blog entry will show photos from my exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Grand Central Terminal.


If you are interested in purchasing any camera equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. I would really appreciate that.

And also, remember that you and your friends can enter your email address at the top right of this blog to get an email any time I write a new blog post.



Carl said...

Great shots Jeff and as usual great behind the scenes advice and tips.

One question. Did you use a tripod for the first tulips and cabs ½ second exposure? What actual tripod do you use for these travelling photos? I've got a very heavy Manfrotto which is often too bulky (and heavy) to take but carbon fibre tripods (and light heads) are VERY expensive.

Unknown said...

The last pic in this post is awsome

danielkehoe said...

Hi Jeff, Like the last photo but if you don't mind an amateur critiquing it it might look better with a little of the right side and bottom cropped out. It's just my opinion and I know I'm not as good as you, but what do you think? Don't post this if you don't want since I think I'm the only reader to say anything other than "Wow" and "Great Photo".

Jeff Cable Photography Blog said...

I did use a tripod for the long exposure shots. I travel with the Gitzo traveler. Love it! Email me for a specific model number. And yes, it is expensive.

Daniel - I am glad that you are thinking critically. Good for you. I may have to try that out. I like the photo, but don't love it, so I did not put too much into it. :)

Charlene said...

Hey, Jeff, I adore the photos and I have to agree with the others, the last one is phenomenal! Could you please tell me where exactly this lighthouse is located, I'd live to take a shot at it myself, maybe from another perspective? Thank you!

Hunter said...

Every image in this article is wonderful. I love all the images and decided to personally see the beauty of these flowers this year, by taking the cherry blossom chocolate trip.