New York

New York City Skyline

Sunset over New York City

A brilliant sunset sky over the skyline of New York City and the Brooklyn Bridge

Manhattan Skyline at Dusk

The lower Manhattan skyline as viewed from Brooklyn Bridge Park at dusk

New York City Skyline

The skyline of lower Manhattan as viewed from Brooklyn Bridge Park

I’ve had some shots on my photo bucket list for quite a while. Those include images from Patagonia, Iceland, and New Zealand among many others. It’s pretty easy for me to justify a lack of images from those locations in my portfolio. I haven’t traveled to those locations… yet.

But, the skyline of New York? That’s hard to explain. It’s not that difficult to get there. The shot itself isn’t technically difficult. I just didn’t have it. So, when Taylor and I began to plan a trip to Boston and New York, I immediately began to think about locations in New York that I would like to photograph. The view from the Empire State building or from the top of Rockefeller Center was one obvious location I wanted. The other that came quickly to mind was a view of lower Manhattan from Brooklyn or New Jersey.

As I began to flesh out the details of our trip it became apparent that the time of day that I could shoot most readily would be sunset. That meant that I would want to put the setting sun behind the city. So, I would be shooting from Brooklyn. As I researched online the spot that came up over and over again was Brooklyn Bridge Park. Since I haven’t spent a lot of time in New York City I had not visited that location before. Frankly, I didn’t know if the area would be safe, well-lit, or even easily accessible. When I talked to my brother-in-law who lives in the city he assured me that the area was perfectly safe and that I would not be alone there.

So, I hopped on the subway and made my way to Brooklyn. After a short walk to the park I was surrounded by other photographers, sightseeing tourists, and plenty of locals who were out enjoying a beautiful late spring evening. Now all I had to get was great lighting conditions for my shots. As it turned out I had perfect conditions and I was extremely grateful for them. To be in the right place at the right time doesn’t always work out for your friendly neighborhood photographer. But, God smiled on me that night.

I shot from several different locations, but I ended up at a seating area that has been created to view the perfect New York City sunset. The seating area is located just south of the Manhattan Bridge. As you can see, there is just enough of an angle so that the Brooklyn Bridge can serve as the foreground for the skyline of lower Manhattan. I sat in that location for a very happy hour and a half just watching and capturing the changing light conditions.

The shot I had in mind when I set out that night is the glowing sunset over the city. It’s a toss-up though whether my favorite is the dusk shot or the later shot with only a bit of glow still lingering in the sky. I love them all. I hope that you enjoy them all as well. And, as always, thanks for stopping by. Enjoy.

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The Guggenheim

The Guggenheim

The beautiful and utterly unique architecture of the Guggenheim Museum on Manhattan’s Upper East Side

I’m extraordinarily fortunate to have family who lives on the Upper East side of Manhattan. Not only did Taylor and I have nice accommodations we also got to spend time her uncle and aunt who treated us with great hospitality. And after visiting in the city for a few days I came to appreciate the relative peace and calm of the area as opposed to the constant noise, hustle, and bustle in some other areas of the city.

One of the sights that I had pretty high on my list to visit was the Guggenheim Museum. I was primarily interested in seeing the architecture that Mr. Wright had dreamed up and constructed. Of course, a bonus would be to visit the collections of the museum. As it turned out, the day we had available to visit was a day the museum was closed. That didn’t deter us from taking a rather walk to Central Park via the Guggenheim though.

When we arrived, I wasn’t the only person with a camera in tow looking to capture a unique view of the place. There was a photographer from Brazil who was capturing street scenes with the museum as a background. That wasn’t my goal, though. I wanted to make the sensuous curves and elegant white concrete the primary element in my composition. It wasn’t very difficult to get my shot. By focusing above the street level I was able to isolate the upper part of the museum in both vertical and horizontal compositions.

I had the chance to visit one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s other masterpieces later in the fall. Now that I look back on my images of the Guggenheim I can see that the two structures have much in common. The most striking commonality is how futuristic both structures look even now. Wright simply had a way to create design elements that are timeless, elegant, and beautiful. Oddly, the Guggenheim is unlike any other architecture I saw in New York. Yet, I can’t imagine the city without her. Enjoy.

The View from the Rock

The View from the Rock - horizontal

The Empire State building and lower Manhattan at sunset as viewed from Rockefeller Center

One of the shots that I hoped I would be able to get was the Manhattan skyline from the top of Rockefeller Center. Unfortunately, on the day we had tickets to go up some rain was forecast for New York City. After discussing it for a while, we decided to go anyway hoping that the weather would hold off until after sunset.

So, we queued up with all the other tourists and waited our turn to ride the elevator up to the observation deck of Rockefeller Center. I could tell from the gathering clouds that our chances were pretty slim for staying dry. Still, the experience was fun and we looked forward to our turn.

Our time finally arrived and we made our way through the queue and into the elevator. When we arrived at the top of Rockefeller Center we took a few minutes to wander around a bit, taking in the view and looking for the best vantage point for the upcoming sunset.

My only mistake was taking the rules posted on the Rockefeller Center website a bit too seriously. There were strict prohibitions of any type of tripod or monopod being allowed. Of course, I immediately saw at least two tripods in use and no one really seemed to care. A bit later on I regretted not having even a small travel tripod. I was able to photograph until the sun actually set, but after that there simply wasn’t enough light for me to hand hold my camera and take a shot without vibration.

The good news was that the incoming storm also created some pretty sweet shooting conditions. I did have to stand through a brief rain shower covering my camera with my rain jacket. But, it turned out to be worth it. There was a brief ten minute or so window where the setting sun dropped below the clouds creating the showers and cast some beautiful golden light on the Manhattan skyline.

The shot posted here was taken in just those conditions. Some of the city lights were coming on at dusk. Some sunlight was creating a wonderful glow on the Brooklyn Bridge and some of the buildings of lower Manhattan. The Freedom Tower stood virtually glowing in the late afternoon light. All in all, it was a pretty amazing experience even though we did get a bit wet. Enjoy.

Late Afternoon Light on the Saranac River

Late Afternoon Light on the Saranac River

Late afternoon light creates a golden hue on the wetlands and hills covered in fall foliage along the Saranac River near Saranac Lake, New York

Photographers refer to the golden hour often. Generally speaking the golden hour is the hour following sunrise or just before sunset. That’s when the sun is low in the sky and sunlight is filtered through more of the atmosphere. As a result the light is more subdued and can cast a golden hue on the landscape.

Although I’m always looking for great subjects to shoot, I become keenly aware of my surroundings in the golden hour. Good subjects become great subjects when the light is just right.

That was certainly the case with this shot. The Saranac River flows for about eighty miles from the mountains around Saranac Lake to Lake Champlain to the northwest. At times, it is simply a river making its way to its destination. In the fall when colors are peaking and golden hour does its magic, the river and its surroundings can become a canvas upon which beautiful scenes are created.

On this fall afternoon, the light was just right and the colors were peaking. I took a few minutes just absorbing the scene then I set my tripod up to attempt to capture the scene. Only a few minutes later, the sun had dropped below the mountains to the west and the magic was lost. Hopefully I captured a bit of that magic in this image. Enjoy.

Moose Pond Reflection

Moose Pond Reflection

Fall foliage reflected in lovely Moose Pond near Bloomingdale, New York

One of my favorite things to do on a photography trip is to simply drive around in a new environment. Although I almost always have a few locations in mind, I enjoy just driving and looking for images that suit my eye.

That’s exactly what I was doing just prior to taking this image. I was driving from one gorgeous spot to another in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks when I saw a sign for Moose Pond. Now, for me, that sign was like honey to a bear just waking up from hibernation. The curiosity in me surpassed any other agenda I had at just that moment.

So, off I headed down a lonely country road passing an occasional home or farm. I drove for perhaps four miles before entering a small local park where Moose Pond was the featured attraction. I really didn’t know what to expect at this location and as often as not this type of shot is a bust. Fortunately for me the afternoon light was slanting in toward the opposite shore from the boat access ramp. I was able to maneuver around enough to get a great shot of the shoreline. To add to my good fortune, the wind was calm that afternoon and the trees on the shoreline were fairly far along in their turn to autumnal majesty.

I spent an hour or so capturing the sign as well as I could and from as many angles as possible. I exited as a couple and their dog approached. I’m sure they were ready to exercise Fido by throwing sticks into the pond for him to retrieve. I had my time, though, and I was ready to exit and move on to my next location. Hopefully, this image conveys a bit of the beauty of the spot that mid-fall afternoon. Enjoy.

Fall Color at Chapel Pond

Fall Color at Chapel Pond

Fall color at its peak above Chapel Pond in the Adirondacks

One of the shots that I had visualized before my trip to the Adirondacks was a beautiful fall landscape reflected in one of the many ponds in the area. I had achieved my goal earlier in the day with my excursion to Round Pond. But, there was another shot that I also hoped to capture.

Chapel Pond is one example of many ponds in the area that sit at the base of steep cliffs covered in trees. The trees are a mix of evergreen and deciduous and create an interesting composition in the fall. The gray granite of the cliffs creates a wonderful contrast with the green pines and the yellows, oranges, and reds of the changing deciduous trees. I wanted that combination reflected in a still pond.

Unfortunately, finding a moment where the ponds were perfectly still proved to be more difficult than I had realized. In the early mornings, the water was calm, but dense fog settled in over the ponds and ruined any chance for a reflection shot. Later in the day, the fog was pushed aside by the sun burning through the fog and the wind that rose up to clear it out. But, the wind also ruined the mirror smooth water that I needed for a reflection.

So, I settled for a shot that focused on a cliff with foliage clinging precariously and its foliage at the peak of fall color without the pond. It isn’t the shot that I had envisioned, but it still turned out quite nicely, I think. Enjoy.

Round Pond Reflected

Round Pond Reflected

Small pockets of calm water captured a reflection of Round Pond in the Adirondacks

As I mentioned in a previous post dry weather conditions had caused me to change course from my original strategy of spending a couple of days doing stream and waterfall photography. So, I started scouting for locations that hadn’t been on my original shot list.

For me, that’s a bit like Br’er Rabbit being thrown into the briar patch. One of my favorite parts of these trips is simply driving back roads and seeing things I’ve never seen before. Sometimes hiking down an unknown trail is a waste of time and sometimes it yields an experience and an image that stays in my memory forever.

Round Pond doesn’t exactly fit into that category. It’s not an unknown location. It was just unknown to me. So, after thrashing around looking for the trail after parking my car, I finally found the trailhead. The trail was pretty straightforward although I recall wondering if I was headed in the right direction. There was only one other hiker in the area and I quickly lost sight of him. Finally, I topped a small rise in the trail and I could see the vegetation changing significantly. Soon, I was hiking along the shore of Round Pond looking for a stretch of calm water to take the shot I had in mind.

I found an opening in the brush and a small set of rocks thrusting out into the pond. I set up my tripod and just soaked in the scene for a while. It’s quite a treat to have a spot like this all to yourself for a spell. As I sat, I noticed some movement in the water. At first, I thought it was just a fish catching insects on the surface. But, I quickly realized that a beaver was moving through the water and moving on an angle that would bring him close to me. As the beaver approached, I took a few shots, but he never really came close enough for me to capture anything memorable photographically. Nevertheless, it was a cool experience to watch him swim gracefully through the water looking for his morning meal.

As I waited out the wind gusts, I was rewarded with a few calm minutes here and there that allowed me to capture some images. I’m still working on the panoramas I took, but this shot gives you an idea of the conditions that magical fall morning. The overcast skies, peak fall foliage, and occasional lapses in wind allowed me to take some pretty spectacular reflections shots. I’m looking forward to sharing the rest. Enjoy.

Emerging from the Fog

Emerging from the Fog

Colorful trees on a foggy day in the Adirondacks

All of the mornings that I spent in the Adirondacks this fall season started out foggy. Sometimes the fog was an aid in my photography and sometimes it ruined my plans. That’s just the way it is with landscape photography. You have to adapt to the conditions that you are dealt.

I had planned to shoot for at least one full day in the streams in the region. Unfortunately, the weather in late summer and early fall was very dry and the rivers had slowed to a trickle. They simply didn’t have the flow I needed to capture the images I had in mind. So, I changed gears. I explored other locations looking for examples of fall foliage at its peak.

This shot was taken after exploring a nearby lake for shots. Walking back up the hillside from the lake, this shot emerged. The fog was lifting slowly and these trees were less obscured than the ones in the distance. Fortunately for me, each tree was at the peak of its color change and still had the majority of its leaves. The lifting fog made for a unique and ethereal background. It wasn’t the shot I had anticipated taking that morning, but it turned out pretty well. Enjoy.

Birch and Maple

Birch and Maple

The beautiful, peeling, white bark of the birch trees contrasts wonderfully with the orange and yellow of surrounding maple trees

It’s not a technically perfect image and I don’t love the old piece of lumber formerly used to nail a sign to the middle birch tree, but I do love the contrast of color and texture in the image. This is yet another example of the brilliant fall color to be found all around the incomparable Adirondacks. Enjoy.

Fall in the Adirondacks

Fall in the Adirondacks

A forest scene from Lake Placid, New York in the heart of the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks

I almost didn’t post this image because it’s so simple. But, the more I’ve looked through my images from the Adirondacks, the more this one grew on me. So, here is a very simple image of a forest scene near Lake Placid of foliage at the peak of fall color. It may be simple but it’s beautiful to me. Enjoy.