Tag Archives: NYC

Around the Bend (Travel Theme: Curves)

A few weeks ago, Ailsa’s travel theme focused on leading lines.  Briefly, I thought about  posting curves instead of lines but I resisted my rebellious thoughts and played along, although my photos weren’t what one might traditionally think of as “leading lines”.    I have a second chance, though, to post the shots I had in mind since this week’s travel theme is Curves!

Two views, two curves, one train: this was not on a loop track.   I was standing on a pedestrian overpass as the train came around a S-shaped curve.   I like both these pictures because the train leads in — or out — of the frame.  In the first, it snakes its way into view; the viewer hears the train long before it can be seen.  Where was it before?  Where is it going?   In the second shot, it chugs slowly, but expectantly, away.  Don’t you want to wave goodbye?  Expectations and imaginations accompany these shots.

Only rarely have I taken a shot of train tracks disappearing into the horizon line that I kept.   Throw me a curve, though, and I’ll shoot it anytime!

The journey in

The journey out

Free Spirit: Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is Free Spirit.  This week’s challenge is guest hosted by Strauss Louw.  Louw writes that this theme — free spirit — lends itself to many possibilities for subject matter and composition.   I agree with him.  But, I take exception to his comments that working with film rather than digital allows for more creative exploration and experimentation for a theme such as this.  

I agree that they are different mediums, and they produce different effects, but I don’t think that a particular subject matter — especially one that can be so broadly interpreted — is best suited to a particular medium.  One could just as easily paint a picture (in oil, acrylic, watercolor, egg tempura, finger paints…) and convey the idea of “free spirit”.  They wouldn’t be the same, but I doubt that one is better than the other simply because of the medium.   Of course, if you were to paint, rather than photograph, it wouldn’t be a suitable entry for a “Photo” challenge.

Just my two cents worth, which is worth 2 cents exactly nothing as this is the internet. 🙂


I spotted this boy on an unseasonably warm day along the banks of the Hudson, in the Fort Washington area of Manhattan, last Spring.  His mother sat nearby, enjoying the sun while keeping an eye on the child, yet still allowing him to be a kid and to explore.   Here’s to that free spirit in each of us.

Skipping stones

Nearby was a spot where he had been playing, before his attention shifted to throwing stones into the water and watching the splashes.

Rocks and Wheel

Can you hear the beat?

Ailsa @ Where’s My Backpack has done it again: proposed a photo challenge that is difficult to resist. And it isn’t an easy challenge either: rhythm!

How do you capture in a photograph something that can’t be seen? If you think literally it seems impossible. Until you consider a different approach: all good photos are more about what the emotion and ambience they suggest instead of the specific image that they capture. Looking at it this way, I thought of several photos I’ve taken over the years — a bullring in Spain that makes me think of the Toreador’s song from Carmin; any number of shots taken at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that make me want to hum a few notes from Back Home Again in Indiana; see a picture of a baseball stadium filled with fans and I can not only smell the hotdogs with mustard, and beer, but I can also hear the opening National Anthem or Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the 7th inning stretch. Music is a constant presence in our lives and the rhythm of our lives is made up of a cacophony of sounds filtered to those that we remember: maybe the sound of traffic out our windows, or a dog barking, or the radio playing a little too loudly on the neighbor’s patio, but also a friendly hello, a loved one’s laugh, or the quiet breaths of an infant sleeping comfortably in his crib at the end of a long day where the only noise is the gentle humming of the furnace.

Below is a photo essay from one midday walk in NYC’s Washington Square Park on a spring day a few years ago.   The day started out a bit rainy and the streets echoed the usual cacophony of the city, but once the sun came out,  in this small oasis at lunchtime, there was a definite vibe — a rhythm — the was the soundtrack to a break for those spending a few minutes in the park, whether they were working, on their lunch hours or tourists.   Listen:  can you hear the beat?

See the other entries is Ailsa’s challenge here.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Sun

Freedom Tower, Sunlit, New York City

Freedom Tower: October 2011

Not the best shot, but it fits the category. No sun here today to shoot something new.

This is part of the Weekly Photo Challenge. To see others, click here.

I had something else in mind for today’s A – Z Challenge, but in case I don’t get back to this today, we’ll file this under ‘R’ for ‘Reflection’, lame though that may be!

Have a great weekend!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects

Bridge & Tree

Upstate Manhattan: Bridge and Tree

I found this week’s challenge to live up to its name: challenging! As I scrolled through my photo archives trying to find a photo, I found very few that I considered even approaching the compositional challenge of two distinct subjects. It wasn’t until I went back to nearly a year ago (last Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011) that I found this shot. As I thought about it, I decided that part of my challenge was that, even when I have two different objects, I come to think of them as one, as a tableau. It is difficult for me to separate them, to think of them as different subjects, even if there are different focal points vying for the viewer’s attention. But, I think that this shot does do that. Is it about the tree, still bare in the Spring, not even beginning to show signs of budding while those on the opposite bank are? Is it about the bridge, the towering, looming George Washington, an icon of engineering, an intrusion of steel into the tree-lined Palisades? Or is the shot about both of these things, a juxtaposition of the straight lines of the bridge and the curvilinear lines of the tree? The opposition of the horizontal and the vertical? About nature — the trees and the river — and man’s adaptation of it — an enormous bridge that connects? Is it about a piece of park-like scenery in the midst of the enormous city? I think it is about all of these. Two subjects. Maybe more.

Taken with a Canon Rebel XSi, ISO 100, 55mm, f/22, 1/40 EV -2. I was just starting to learn how to use my camera in creative mode when I took this, but still relying mainly on the camera to select the settings. I wasn’t surprised when I checked the exif data that I shot this in Aperture Priority mode. I have no idea why EV was set to -2. Likely I had changed it for a previous shot and forgotten to adjust it afterwards. And I can’t believe that even with IS, I didn’t have more camera shake at 1/40. I would do this shot so differently now.

Be sure to check out other entries in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge.

Likely won’t be blogging any more today, so I’m going to use this as today’s entry in the A to Z Blogging Challenge: M for Manhattan. I could use so many other photos to talk about one of my most favorite cities to visit, but I think that this one illustrates one of the things that I find fascinating about New York: it’s variety. Without the George Washington Bridge, this shot could be many places and nothing would identify it as being in Manhattan. I love the green spaces in NYC. Although they aren’t as plentiful as one might like, they are a respite from the concrete canyons most are likely familiar with from photos of New York.

This post is part of the Blogging A to Z Challenge. Today’s letter is M. Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. You can find other A to Z participants by clicking on the graphic. You’ll find an index of all of my A to Z blog posts here.

Photo Friday: Depth Perception

Today’s challenge: Depth Perception

Sometimes you need to step back to see a different perspective.

“A Magical Garden in the Sky”

Those who know me well know that my favorite city is New York. It is truly a city like no other. I love the vitality of the city, but every urban space needs an oasis. The other night, a segment on the Charlie Rose Show was a feature on The High Line, NYC’s new oasis in the sky that combines a gathering place and nature in a urban environment, making use of an old industrial rail line.

Watch this: Charlie Rose – High Line Nov 2011

I had the opportunity in August to spend some time near sunset walking the 1.5 mile High Line. I was enchanted by the park. It will be a place that I will return to often when in NYC. Maybe in the Spring, with my camera, in daylight.

Billboard and City Vista from the High Line

Recently, I came across this list of the top 100 public spaces in the US. The High Line is #12 on this list. I’ve been to 15 of the places on this list. I thought at first that perhaps that was because I am drawn to gathering places, as I didn’t search out any of these because they were a public space. But, I think that is what a great public space is: a space where people naturally gather because it is inviting, open, accessible, and, to some degree, exists not because of itself, but because of its purpose, its functionality.

The City

I live in the 12th largest city in the US, based on population. It feels like a small town, though.

It is a nice city to live in: relatively inexpensive cost-of-living; lots of space for the city to spread out without crowding; two state parks within the city limits, one municipal park that is over 4700 acres, and lots of smaller neighborhood parks; a full-time, year-round symphony; theater and dance companies; a major league pro basketball and football team and a decent minor league baseball park and team; some great independently owned restaurants serving great food; an art museum that also includes both formal gardens and a terrific outdoor “art park”. One of the things that it is really lacking is a decent public transportation system, but maybe the city leaders will figure that one out in the coming years.

I like my hometown; I really do. But, it isn’t a BIG city. It can’t compare with Paris, or London or Chicago or my favorite: New York.

I’m not sure that any city can compare with New York. It has everything you can imagine. And more. Theatre, music, dance, art museums for classical art, modern art and contemporary art, and galleries galore. It has a great transportation system, one that isn’t hard to figure out how to get where you are going, and you can rely on it. Despite the miles of concrete that extends in all directions, including vertically, it has lots of green space. I passed a city park with playing fields at 10pm this evening. It was filled with teams playing soccer, rugby, and volleyball – at 10 pm. It has every type of restaurant imaginable, and more languages spoken than anywhere else I’ve ever been.

But you know all of that already about NY. I wish that I could figure out how to express why I like NY so much. I find it hard, beyond stating the obvious. Maybe it is because there is always something to do, something to learn, something to see, that allows the City to feed me the way no other place can.

That, and with subways, trains, and taxis, I never have to drive.

I leave NYC tomorrow after having been here for five days. It isn’t likely that I will be back again this year. But I will be back. Until I do return, NYC, please don’t change. You are my favorite city on the planet. Sorry London, Paris, Rome, Chicago and all the rest.