New York in Black & White

I took a semester of photography as an elective when I was in college, long before I began to consider trying to make money as a photographer. The class was taught using film SLRs with black & white film. I quickly learned that I loved shooting in black & white and that even more than shooting, I loved the traditional dark room. It was right around the time that digital cameras were breaking on to the scene. Nobody knew back then just how much digital would take over and become the new normal. So at the time I found myself wanting two cameras – one that I could always have loaded with color film and one that I could dedicate to black & white film.  I wanted to eventually have my own dark room, too. I loved the idea of converting a bathroom into a dark room.

Four years later I bought my first digital point-and-shoot (and Photoshop) and then eventually upgraded to Nikon DLSRs and lenses. How quickly things changed. Now I always shoot in color but love the process of creating black & white images from my original shots. These are just a few images from my brief New York trip that I think lend themselves nicely to black and white…

Brooklyn Bridge Love Locks

Love locks on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges

Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges over the East River.

Looking north towards the Empire State Building from One World Trade.

Looking north towards the Empire State Building from One World Trade.

One World Windows

The One World Trade observatory. I think this is the 102nd floor (shot with my S6).

Old & New

Old and new in lower Manhattan.

Rooftop Water Tank

Rooftop water tank in lower Manhattan (keep scrolling).

Statue of Liberty & Sailboat

A sail boat near Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty (cargo container cranes in New Jersey in the background).

Verrazano Narrows Black & White

Looking south towards the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from the ferry.

Brooklyn Traffic

Late afternoon traffic in Brooklyn, from the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade.

New York City!

October 19, 2015 History, Travel 0 Comments

Almost two weeks ago I flew up to New York to photograph a couple of commercial properties.  The next day, instead of taking the early flight home, I took the latest flight that I could and spent the day in the city.  It was my first time in New York (other than connecting through JFK once) and I was lucky enough to get a day of great weather.

I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan, visited the World Trade Center Memorial Pools, went up to the observatory on the 102nd floor of One World Trade, got lunch from a street vendor (and didn’t die), got pooped on by a pigeon (I’m a real New Yorker now, right?), walked down Wall Street, visited Battery Park, took a ferry tour around the tip of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty and walked back across the Brooklyn Bridge late in the afternoon.  I made it back to La Guardia with plenty of time to spare.

Below are some shots of what I saw during my day in the city (with a little more information about each one in the caption).  My favorite shots from that day are the black & white ones that I’ve been working on.  I’ll post some of those soon.  The next time I go back I will have to make sure I have a longer zoom lens.  I kept wanting to zoom in on building details and roof tops and I couldn’t get quite as close as I wanted to with the amount of zoom that I currently have.

Brooklyn Bridge in the Morning

The morning started out a bit cloudy but the temperature was so comfortable that I didn’t mind. See that white line up the middle of the walkway? One side of that line is for pedestrians and the other side is for cyclists. It’s highly recommended that pedestrians stick to their side of the line – the cyclists are fast and unforgiving!

Brooklyn Bridge Close-Up

I understand now why so many of the pictures that I’ve seen of the Brooklyn Bridge look a lot like this one. There is a lot of pedestrian and bike traffic on the bridge, as well as a lot of clutter (construction signs, garbage cans, utility poles as you approach the bridge, tourists, etc.) and it’s hard to get a clean shot without all of that stuff in it. If you shoot up above peoples’ heads you can avoid all of that clutter.

Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn Bridge

The Manhattan Bridge and upper Manhattan skyline as seen from the Brooklyn Bridge. You can see the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building in this photo (shot with my Samsung S6 and edited a little in Lightroom 5).

Woolworth Building Detail

I walked past this building on my way to One World Trade and the ornate facade caught my attention. I didn’t know it at the time but this is the Woolworth Building, construction completed in 1913. It was the tallest building in New York until 1930 (if I had known that at the time I would have taken a picture that shows more of the building)! When I got home and zoomed in on some of the details I noticed the variety of different Native American faces that decorate the building. There are apparently also owls and gargoyles (made out of terra-cotta, as are the Native American faces) elsewhere on the building.

East River from One World Trade

I made it up to the 102nd floor of One World Trade by about 10:30am, when it was still a bit cloudy and hazy. Here you can see the Brooklyn (on the right) and Manhattan (on the left) Bridges spanning the East River. Manhattan in the foreground, Brooklyn in the distance.

North from One World Trade I

The clouds eventually lifted to reveal a lovey blue sky! This is a shot looking north up the Hudson River (shot with my S6 and edited in LR5).

North from One World Trade II

This is similar to the shot above but more zoomed in (and not shot with my phone). In the distance is the George Washington Bridge, connecting Manhattan Island to New Jersey.

Northwest & Down from One World Trade

Looking down now, but still pointed mostly north. The tallest building in the lower left is Goldman Sachs Tower. Slightly below the center of the photo, is Stuyvesant High School. There was a field of horses next to my high school (now a Trader Joe’s and a Taco Mac) – so I can’t imagine going to high school in the city! It must have its perks, though. Also visible are the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, the Borough of Manhattan Community College and Washington Market Park (amongst other places). The main road you see running through the photograph is the 9A.

New Jersey & More from One World Trade

Looking southwest now. Here you can see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and New Jersey (shot with the S6 and edited in LR5)!

Looking up at One World Trade I

Standing outside One World Trade looking up.

Looking up at One World Trade II

Another shot looking up at One World Trade (shot with the S6).

Manhattan from the Ferry I

I had just enough time for a quick boat ride and it ended up being a great afternoon to get out on the water and see the Manhattan skyline.

Manhattan from the Ferry III

Shot with the S6…I’m starting to prefer this aspect ratio to what comes out of my camera (Nikon D600).

Statue of Liberty

You know who this is! On my next visit I’ll try to make it out to Liberty Island and Ellis Island.

Brooklyn Bridge in the Afternoon

Walking back towards Brooklyn in the afternoon (Brooklyn skyline beyond the bridge).

St. Abbs and Cove :: East Coast of Scotland

January 30, 2014 Landscape, Scotland, Travel 0 Comments

I didn’t mean for more than a month to pass between posts! January seems to have gone by so quickly. I don’t want the year to start flying past me, but I am looking forward to spring. It was 9°F here this morning just north of “It’s-Going-to-Snow-Two-or-Three-Inches-But-Let’s-Not-Close-the-Schools-Because-We’re-Awesome-at-Driving-in-the-Snow” Atlanta.

It has taken me longer than expected to go through all of my photographs from my trip to Scotland last September. I took somewhere around 1,500 pictures, so that could be the reason =) My one request during our trip was to make it out to the coast. It think it’s in my blood to want to be near crashing waves, gloomy skies and seagulls. I just love it.

The day that we drove out to the east coast ended up being pretty drizzly and overcast. Luckily, by the time we reached St. Abbs and Cove the rain had stopped. The remaining overcast skies really suit photographs of the coast so I didn’t mind too much about that. Colors really pop out on overcast days and the clouds set a mood and tone that I love to capture in my images.

(Above: Cove, Scotland – If you enjoy beach combing for glass, stones and other bits and pieces this is a good place to visit)

Cove Coast

St. Abbs I

St.Abbs, Scotland (I darkened the sky a bit in this one).

St. Abbs II

St. Abbs, Scotland

St. Abbs Rocks

St. Abbs, Scotland

The Not-So-Wild Wildlife from My Recent Travels

December 16, 2013 Animals, Nature, Travel 0 Comments

Deep down inside me there is a frustrated wildlife photographer.  Every time I travel I end up annoying the pigeons, seagulls, cows, horses, sheep… At other times I have pursued unsuspecting turtles, fish, caterpillars, spiders, lizards, rabbits, deer, elk, grasshoppers, spiders…and reindeer! Sometimes I could swear I see them rolling their eyes at me. Someday I’ll make it out west with a good zoom lens so I can capture moose, bears, maybe wolves, whales, marmots, prairie dogs…

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Rannoch Moor :: Glencoe, Scotland

While in Scotland in September I visited Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands. I had been there once before but it was during my earlier photography days and all I had was my old Canon Snappy point-and-shoot film camera. I had my new, beloved Nikon with me this time, and a tripod, and a polarizing filter…and a bit more skill and experience =) It was nice to get out for a day and just think about photography.

We stopped first in Rannoch Moor, the entrance to Glencoe. Rannoch Moor is beautiful and wild and will give you a serious case of wanderlust. You can walk for miles and miles and miles out into the open and over the hills. Parts of the landscape can be seen in the movies “Rob Roy” and “Trainspotting.”

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San Francisco

August 31, 2013 Black & White, Travel 0 Comments

I flew out to California in early August to go to a friend’s wedding and while I was out there I got a chance to see a bit of San Francisco.  I’ve been out there a couple of other times in the past several years so it wasn’t all new to me, but I did get to take the ferry from San Francisco to Vallejo (about a one-hour ride) and I dragged myself and my suitcase up to see Coit Tower.  The view on the way up was pretty nice so it was worth it, even if it was a bit of a workout with my suitcase in tow!

(the image above is the western span of the Oakland-Bay Bridge)

Bay Bridge Close Up

A closer view.

San Francisco Ferry Building Black & White

The back of the ferry building while waiting to board the ferry to Vallejo.

Seagull Behind the Ferry Building

Suspicious seagull.

Port of San Francisco B&W

Leaving the Port of San Francisco on a ferry.

San Francisco Skyline from the Ferry

The skyline, including the Transamerica Pyramid and Coit Tower, taken from the ferry.

Alcatraz and Golden Gate Bridge Panorama

Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands.

Passing Under the Richmond SanRafael Bridge

Passing under the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in the ferry on the way to Vallejo.

Hang Glider

A hang glider seen from the ferry.

Pier 39 Marina Black & White

The Oakland-Bay Bridge through the clutter.

Pier 39 Carousel

Lining things up.

Pier 39 Panorama

Pier 39 panorama. The Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands are visible in the distance.

San Francisco Bay Overlook II

The view of San Francisco Bay from Telegraph Hill Blvd.

San Francisco Bay Overlook I

Another view of San Francisco Bay from Telegraph Hill Blvd. The America’s Cup was getting ready to take place – you can see the grandstands set up.

Coit Tower Black & White

A view of Coit Tower from a residential neighborhood nearby.