New York City Through My Lens

Visiting new places can be daunting to say the least, especially if you’re planning to photograph them.  I find the toughest part of visiting someplace I’ve never been to before is not knowing where the most interesting subjects are and how the light will be.  Cities are especially difficult because of all the man-made obstacles that block sun light, simply knowing when and where the sun rises and sets just won’t cut it.

As you probably already know, time constraints and weather play a huge role in your ability to get out and photograph everything you’d like to.  If it’s pouring rain or you simply don’t have time, you won’t get to shoot what you’d like while visiting a new place.  Luckily I was able to peel a few hours out of our visit to practice a little photography.  I was able to capture some diverse photography because it had rained one day and, as you already know, rain makes for some great photography.

1014_untitled_024Rainy NYC Day – ISO 3200, 85mm, f/2.2, 1/2500

Photographing New York City is entirely different from photographing my home town, Pittsburgh.  Pittsburgh feels like a ghost town after photographing bustling NYC.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a completely different experience.  I quickly learned that stopping in the middle of a sidewalk to get a shot was frowned upon and never, NEVER, make eye contact with a questionable homeless man (it quickly escalated into a starring contest at which he won, crazy eyes always win).

1014_untitled_231Yellow Cab Movement – ISO 100, 17mm, f/10, 1/25 sec.

The city is full of opportunity and you could literally spend hours in one spot capturing interesting photographs, but good luck staying in one place for long…  Very little stands still in New York City.  It seemed like every turn I took there were interesting subjects waiting to be photographed.  I’ve never seen so many diverse things to photograph in such close proximity to one another.  New York City is easily my favorite place I’ve ever photographed.

1014_untitled_033Sleeping In The Park – ISO 3200, 85mm, f/2.2, 1/160 sec.

If you’re like me you probably have a favorite lens, there are times when I’ll even leave my other lenses behind.  New York City is not a place you’d want to limit yourself to just one lens.  The shot below was taken with my wide-angle lens tilted up to create as much distortion as possible.  Normally I would be meticulous about leveling my lens to eliminate the distortion caused by wide-angle lenses but for this shot I was deliberate in my attempts to bend the rigid buildings.

One of my favorite shots, shown in my last article, A New York Minute was taken in Times Square.  Of all the places I photographed in while visiting NYC, Times Square was my least favorite…  I can’t really put my finger on why but I’m glad I got this shot.

1014_untitled_187A New York Minute – ISO 1600, 16mm, f/20, 1/20 sec.

Believe it or not, this was my first trip to New York City but certainly not my last.  NYC was a blast to photograph and is easily my favorite place I’ve photographed so far.  I’m sure I will be headed back in the near future to spend much more time exploring the city and photographing my face off.  Hope you enjoyed this small selection from the 300+ NYC photographs I took.

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4 Comments

  • John, your photos are wonderful – I always admire your ability to capture the most interesting shots. I am a bit confused about the settings on the Yellow Cab Movement photo. The camera data states f/10 and shutter speed of 1/25. Were you panning which would account for the background blur and how did you manage to get the cab so sharply focused with a shutter speed of 1/25? The more I do this photography stuff, the less I seem to know!!!!!

    • Thank you! And yes, I was panning. I find that a shutter speed of about 1/25 or 1/30 works best for me. It takes a lot of trial and error, I’m still trying to get better at it. I’m headed back in November so hopefully I can try again. I agree, the more I learn the more I realize I have much more to learn.

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