I’m getting married soon… Unless you read this at some later date in which I may already be married. Either way, this most recent trip to NYC was in lieu of a bachelor party… I’m not a huge “let’s get drunk and make bad decisions” fan. So that’s what found me on the streets of New York City once again.
Riding the subway for the first time (in NYC) was quite the experience, you’ve really got to choose who you sit next to carefully… Hint – not the guy murmuring to himself.
There are a ton of photography opportunities in the subway but unless you’ve had a chance to really photograph the city you will feel like you’re missing out on everything going on above you (at least that is how I felt). Don’t ride the subway during rush hour unless you enjoy strangers smelly bodies pressed against yours.
You’ll likely feel under dressed even when you’re wearing your best outfit, unless your best outfit is a red freaking suit. Oh, and men can carry purses here… I’m not talking about a “satchel like Indian Jones had”, I’m talking about a full-on man purse.
The city feels relatively safe compared to some of the other cities I’ve visited. I think because everywhere you go there are a lot of people, I would not feel safe walking down an empty street… I need witnesses!
Even at night, things are pretty copacetic. The next trip to NYC I take will be devoted to long exposure photography. I’d have spent some real time on it this go around but the eyepiece on my Nikon Df unscrewed itself and jumped off of my camera someplace in Central Park ($12 dollars later and another is on its way).
If you’re looking for a safe place to photograph in the city 24/7 try out Times Square. The area has a police station in it and there are always officers meandering around. The lights are a real test for your cameras auto white-balance setting (shoot in RAW so you can fine tune in post processing).
If photographing NYC has taught me one thing it’s to be more observant, to look for shots everywhere. The city has a tendency to sweep you up into the hustle and bustle of the fast paced life but if you force yourself to slow down and look around you’ll find scenes that really depict the life of the city.
Whether you consider yourself a Street Photographer or not you won’t be able to help yourself… There are so many interesting things going on and 99.9% of them involve humans. From day-to-day life to things out of the ordinary you’ll want to pick up your camera and capture
their souls them.
Chinatown is interesting to walk through but I found that both Chinatown and Little Italy were my least favorite areas to photograph (I may have had high expectations but this was my second time visiting and it felt the same). Soho, on the other hand, was one of my favorite places to photograph…
When asked why Soho was one of my favorite places to photograph the only thing I could come up with was that it seemed more raw… Like it’s just to hip to care what the rest of the city is doing, it’s going to do what it wants.
A big part of the city feels as though you’re photographing tourists doing tourist things while Soho feels like you’re getting a glimpse of what life is actually like for “actual” New Yorkers.
Timing is everything in the city. Times Square is empty before 7 a.m., the Brooklyn Bridge is less crowded during the week, early in the day and late in the evening. Sidewalks have fewer people on them early in the morning than they do late at night (the city that never sleeps?).
I noticed that my experience changed drastically depending on whether I hit a huge crowd or now. The Brooklyn Bridge was a perfect example of this… Going around 3 p.m. on a Sunday was a terrible idea (lighting aside). The crowds were smothering and if you didn’t have cat-like reflexes you might get run over by a bicyclist.
Either way, Soho is worth a visit.
One of my favorite things to do in NY is photographing shop windows… Possibly a photography project in the future. Looking beyond what is going on inside the window and focusing on the reflections and color (or lack of it if you’re shooting B+W) has a ton of potential.
I’ll be visiting NYC again in April for a friend’s wedding, If I have time I will capture some long exposure shots then. In the meantime you can visit/follow The Streets Of New York on Tumblr by hitting this link.