What a full 4-day workshop spent exploring NYC in late May! We had some less than ideal weather, but our fantastic group rallied through gray skies, a morning filled with rain and some fog covered cityscapes. All that might sound like shooting was a bust, but in some locations these seemingly less than perfect weather conditions actually worked in our favor. It’s also a great reminder to get out and shoot no matter what, you can always find ways to create good images.
Here we are on Day 1; exploring around the northern edge of Midtown and Central Park.
Maybe starting an Urban Quilt series from NYC….
The image below is a detail fo the water feature inside the Hearst Tower. Interestingly, the water used here is the rain water collected on the roof, which is used to cool the space by flowing down the fountain.
So not my typical way to photograph but the muted light from the gray skies made the spring colors pop and hard to resist. Central Park is just so pretty!
We had planned to end the day with sunset at the famous Bow Bridge in Central Park. As you can see those flat gray skies don’t exactly make for great, colorful sunsets. But, it’s still a pretty space and works in black & white. Using the rocks and grass in the foreground create a layering effect within the frame.
Day 2 had us up bright and early with a 4:15am start time. Omg, why?! Just kidding, when you get a spectacular sunrise it’s all worth it. Or, in this case, blue hour and the city lights before most of the city awakens. We started at Hunter’s Point in Queens.
A little detail of that pavilion, because, c’mon, you know I gotta get those abstracts.
Very different than the blue hour shot but I liked the very white, high-key edit for this.
The infamous Chrysler Building. I didn’t get anything I loved inside but it’s must see location. So pretty inside!
No visit to Midtown is complete without at stop at Grand Central. I just love the chandeliers in there!
Next up was the Public Library. So many beautiful spaces in here as well. I seemed drawn to the arches on this visit.
More arches for our final stop at St Patrick’s Cathedral.
After breaking for a few hours, we met back up with the group for an in-person critique of the students work. A great way to check-in and see how everyone was doing and if there were any questions. Plus, we all loved seeing how the others were shooting the same locations.
On Day 3 we slept in a bit to, somewhat, recover from the 2 previous days and the early morning wake-up. We headed out to the High Line in the pouring rain and found refuge in 10 Hudson Yards and a nearby cafe.
Another for the possible Urban Quilt NYC series…
This was probably my favorite building of the day, and a surprise. Plus, those gray skies made good shots of this possible. The fins on the edge of the building against the flat sky worked well to showcase the curvy shape without distraction from clouds or uneven lighting. While not visible in the wider shot above, the fins took on this blue hue in this lighting. It’s slightly exaggerated in post-processing but not too much. I know, hard to believe.
This next building designed by Zaha Hadid was probably the one I was most excited to photograph the whole weekend. I adore her designs and this is the first building of hers I’ve ever photographed or seen in person. It’s a bit tough to shoot but it has this other-worldly, almost alien-like vibe. My favorite shots were definitely the more detailed takes on these “bubbles”.
Next up was IAC designed by another favorite architect, Frank Gehry. Interestingly, it took on this very blue hue in the gray skies. Much like the fins of 515 on the High Line. However, on sunny days this building is very white. When we think of Gehry designs we tend to think of stainless steel which can often feel a little cold, like the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. I think this is much more elegant design by him. Very much related to the materials used, but his signature play with volume and curves is still there.
Next up was Cooper Union designed by Morphosis. Very dystopian feeling. Another challenging location to photograph. However, I think focusing in on the details and varying depths of the exterior works well.
We did attempt to shoot a cityscape from Gantry Plaza in New Jersey but Manhattan was totally covered in fog. Oh well, always an adventure.
Our final day had us up bright and early again for another 4am start time. This time we started at Brooklyn Bridge Park. One of the students borrowed my tripod so I got this shot with my iPhone propped up on rocks and using an app called Slow Shutter. All post-processing was done in my phone too. Not too bad for a phone shot, huh? Also proves that what you shoot with matters little. Oh yeah, and more fog 😉
A couple more shots from Brooklyn…
Another building by Frank Gehry, and a tough one to shoot. A telephoto is a necessity for this one, allowing you to zero in on the waviness and curves of the facade.
We then had a private tour of the beautiful Woolworth Building.
We ended the day with two of my favorite New York locations to photograph: The Fulton Center and the Oculus.
We had a really great group with us for these 4 days and despite some challenging weather conditions everyone came away with great shots. If you haven’t checked out my new website with Michael Muraz (we lead these workshops together) – Photography Unfolded – be sure to head over there. Lots of blog posts featuring tips on post-processing, locations, creative ideas and workshop recaps. Plus, if you sign up for the newsletter you receive a free ebook about creating architectural abstracts + you’re the first to know when new workshops are announced.
Up next: Paris (only a couple spots left) & Chicago ($100 off with code: EARLYBIRD through June 30)!
If you know me by now, you know this is a very, very small sample of images from my time in NYC. Everything from the workshop can be found here. Thanks for taking a look!