America [Part 1 - New York] - 19th June 2016 - Stephen Beecroft

You may have already read my post that I did about The Grand Canyon and this is a bit out of sync but it has taking me so long to go through 3000 photos to put this post about my actual New York Trip together.

In December 2009 Kara and I went to New York City on holiday. I was semi interested in photography and took an SLR camera. It was my first big trip with a "proper" camera. I was pretty pleased at the time with the images I brought back. As they were certainly a step up from any previous holiday or trip. The majority were shot on an auto mode though and more importantly looking back they were only shot as JPEG and not as RAW. For the non photographers amongst you just take it that this is like filling a Petrol car with Diesal.

With my 30th Birthday coming up I was asked where I wanted to go for a break at Easter. Well there was only one city I wanted to go. I love city's, which you have noticed with my London, Paris and Rome photos that are already on my website. So the chance to go back to New York with my fairly new Canon 5d Mk3 (a very nice camera) sounded perfect.

Once it was booked the first thing I did was create a Pinterest board and started putting together images of New York that I liked. Basically in two groups - daytime and nighttime. With having already been there before; in someways it was good that we didn't have to do the obvious tourist things because we had already done them before. It also gave me an idea of the geography of the city and ideas I already had. Some I had already shot but wanted to better with.

Lens choice proved a dilemma. Previously on trips I have subscribed to American Photographer Scott Kelby's philosophy of just having one camera and one lens for travel photography. Using a nice zoom lens that has you covered from wide to telephoto. Now I want bore you with the details but basically my new camera isn't compatible with some  lenses. So I was in a bit of a dilemma. Fortunately I was offered a loan lens from my friend Andrew. I also took with me a very wide angle lens for the odd shot. As usual I took a brown shoulder bag that doesn't resemble a camera bag. I also had my new travel tripod that I had bought for my recent London trip that you can read about here. On that trip well as I was looking forward to some night time shots of the city.

The day before my birthday -two days before we flew- Kara surprised me with the announcement that following our time in New York we would be flying to Las Vegas for a few days! It took a while for the shock to settle before I was quickly back on Pinterest carrying out rapid research of where to go and what to see.

Here is some of my personal favourites from my time in New York. I will write about Las Vegas in another post.

Last time we visited New York we went up the Empire State Building. This time I wanted to go up the Rockerfeller so as to get the iconic view of the Empire State Building. We thought about going up at night but our evenings were rapidly filling up with other things so we settled on an early visit on the hope the light would still be low and not causing too many harsh shadows.

A view I was particularly keen to get was looking back at the Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn Park. If I had one choice for selecting an image I wanted it was to be this. Unfortunately the weather didn't really play nice and so we went around lunch time which in landscape terms isn't really the best time. There wasn't much happening in the sky either. As I kept being reminded this was a holiday and not a photography expedition. Here are a couple of shots I did get.

The wind was really picking up and the temperature was just about on the plus side. The plan was always to walk back over the Brooklyn Bridge. With the conditions it would have been easy to get the underground back. However my whinging on meant we went for it. And I am so pleased we did because of this photo which is up there with my favourites from the whole trip. So much so I have had it printed 30x20 and had it hung in my office. Originally going for the soft night time light and tones creating this edgy high contrast image wasn't my intention but sometimes things work out for the best. I had a surprisingly long wait to frame the yellow cab.

During our 2009 trip we visited the Ground Zero site. Pretty much it was a construction site. Some of the plans for the memorial were still in the planning stages as well. It was quite fitting I felt when we went to the World Trade Centre that it was grey and wet. It added to the sombre mood of the visit. Inside the museum it was as thought provoking and atmospheric an exhibit that I have ever seen. The people who have put the museum together have done a superb job under extremely challenging circumstances.

Here is an image of the monument and Freedom Tower. It had to be a black and white image for me.

One of my favourite places in Manhattan is Times Square. Specifically at night once the lights really take effect. The main problems from w photographic point of view is you can't really use tripods. Not sure if it's a legal problem but more from a practical point of view the place is so busy. Also there is so much going on trying to frame your shot I also found challenging.

One night when I really planned to get some night time shots the a police started to move people away from Times Square. When we got back to our hotel and turned the TV on all over the news was the story that Times Square had been evacuated because of a bomb scare.

On this sort of holiday you do a lot of wandering around. Sometimes it is difficult as a photographer to stop and just watch and to take in your surroundings. This is a photo I captured when I slowed down and took some time to think of something a little bit more creative and abstract.

One way to really get around any city these days is by the open top tour buses. Although we had previously done this in 2009 we thought we would do it again. However the weather wasn't really with us. I was a bit stubborn and stuck it out a bit longer managing to get a few photos.

In case you are thinking the whole holiday was a Photography Expedition, rest assured for Kara's sake it wasn't. We ate at a lot of establishments and went to see Matilda on Broadway and spent an evening at the Ice Hockey watching the New York Rangers come back from behind to beat Tampa Bay.

It was soon time to leave New York which would have been very difficult if it wasn't for the fact we were going to Las Vegas - a much warmer Las Vegas more importantly. I will post "America (Part 2 Las Vegas)" soon.

Photos

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