It’s been over 3 years since the last NYC workshop. I was so excited to be back – I love this city + there are a number of new locations to photograph since my last visit.

As always, I had a really great group of students. About half have done a workshop with me before and the other half new. A great mix! A couple from nearby and many from the west coast. Be sure to check out their work in last week’s post here.

Now, brace yourself for a very long post covering most of the stops over our 4 days together.

Day 1

First up, The Edge, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF). It’s the tallest building in Hudson Yards and 3rd tallest office building in NYC + has the highest observation deck in the western hemisphere. We did go to that at the end of the day, which I had timed perfectly for sunset had the damn line not been well over an hour wait despite having timed tickets. It was cool to be up there but this will not be part of the workshop again. IMO, not worth that wait.

Anyway, from street level, there’s some great geometry.

Of course, we had to shoot the controversial Vessel (Thomas Heatherwick). Despite its lack of usability due to a number of suicides (so sad) it’s still an interesting structure to photograph. Both, from the exterior and the interior ground floor.

It’s also interesting to photograph the Vessel and the surrounding buildings through the glass windows of the mall there. It creates this warped, layered interpretation of the space.

I did edit a lot of these in color & BW but seem to be in a color mood so that’s what you’re getting here 😉

Next, a condo or apartment building along the High Line – 515 W 29th Street designed by SCDA Architects. The fins on this building are the most interesting element to me.

Looking down the streets from the High Line, some great shadow play caught my eye.

My favorite building on the High Line – 520 W 28th Street by Zaha Hadid. Despite really liking this building, I do find it difficult to photograph. There are so many things on the balconies and reflections and layers with the design that tends to make shots very chaotic and I struggle to get any sense of order, which drives me a little crazy.

A new building this year – The Lantern House, also by Thomas Heatherwick. I scouted this before the workshop and was super struggling to get anything good with my phone. Definitely needed that telephoto to isolate the interesting patterns in this one. Also, my scout day was overcast and gloomy; the workshop day we had some great sun, which caused some nice shadows and colors to reflect in the glass.

More patterns with Frank Gehry’s IAC Building and Jean Nouvel’s 100 Eleventh Avenue.

Another new stop, again by Heatherwick – Little Island. This one was so fun! Love the organic nature of the pods and how many shots feel like flowers. There are these striations on some of the pods that kinda feel like budding tulips to me.

Some compositions I absolutely struggle to decide if I prefer color or black & white. So, you’re getting both. I’ll let you decide which you prefer.

The final stop of day 1 (well, other than the sunset/blue hour at The Edge, which I didn’t really photograph) was Studio Gang’s Solar Carve. All about the geometry in this one. Plus, a little fun with shadows.

Day 2

Our second day began with another new location, the Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) redevelopment of Moynihan Hall. We spent time photographing the atrium and “The Hive”, a sculpture of the NYC skyline hanging from the ceiling at the south entrance.

We, then, headed to Brooklyn. First stop, the Barclays Center by SHoP Architects. Love the curviness and patterns of the building, its green roof and the interplay between the patterns of the surrounding buildings.

Nearby, 300 Ashland Place by Enrique Norton Architects. Multiple patterns and angles.

Love the very reflective surface of 620 Fulton and the mix of colors and patterns, only enhanced by the fins patterns on the facade.

Found some new Urban Quilt shots in this area.

Now for one of my favorite buildings, 11 Hoyt by Studio Gang Architects. The wispy motion of the windows feels like pages blowing in the wind to me.

Back in Manhattan for the AIDS Memorial by Studio a+i. The canopy is made of various triangles within triangles. The slats allow the light to softly filter through the space. This first shot is probably my favorite from the day because of the warmth of the light contrasting with the blue sky.

There are so many ways to shoot this. Here are a few black & white takes on the space.

Now, for some fun with ICM.

The New School University Center by SOM. The faceted, sculptural facade makes for great layers, patterns, reflections, and a combination of old meets new.

Down to Tribeca for a couple of buildings to end the day – 187 Franklin by SYSTEMarchitects, which is a private residence with this great, curvy, brick facade. A nice way to play with leading lines and layers.

And, 56 Leonard designed by Herzog & de Meuron. They describe the building as houses stacked in the sky and has been dubbed the Jenga Building. Lots of fun patterns, angles, and layers.

This one had some fun ICM opportunities too.

Day 3

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, most of our stops consist of contemporary architecture. This time we started with one of NYC’s icons – Grand Central Terminal. Given I’ve shot here a number of times now and the degree of busyness here, I focused my attention on the beautiful chandeliers and some of the detailing.

And, one attempt at something approaching street photography, lol.

Next, the art deco beauty – The Chrysler Building. It was the world’s tallest building at the time it was built until The Empire State Building surpassed it in 1931.

A couple shots of buildings also in this area that caught my eye because of their layers and geometry.

Another older building – The Grand Central Library. Beautiful archways, ceilings, and detailing.

After lunch, we brought our attention back to the more contemporary at 7 Bryant Park designed by Pei, Cobb Freed & Partners. More great geometry and contrasts between curves & lines.

Off to another favorite, The Guggenheim. Hands down, my favorite Frank Lloyd Wright design. Drawing inspiration from the nautilus shell, Wright aimed to bring an organic feeling to the dense urban environment.

The curved ramp is, of course, a favorite area to photograph. However, there’s also this great geometric spiral staircase tucked away in the corner.

Loved this keyhole doorway and the dramatic light in the second shot.

I’ve never really shot from the top looking down but this view caught my eye.

Now, for that geometric staircase.

Moving outside. While I edited in both color and BW, I’m drawn to the color a bit more because of the vivid blue sky contrasting with the warm glow of the sun on the surface.

Our final stop on day 3 was VIA57 designed by BIG Architects. I usually prefer the back of the building with its staggered window bays. Especially when there’s some nice dappled light on the surface.

Day 4

Our final day began shortly after sunrise at the Brooklyn Bridge, completed in 1883, it was the first bridge to connect Brooklyn to Manhattan.

Also, opportunities to shoot the Manhattan Bridge from here.

A couple more Urban Quilt shots of Lower Manhattan.

After a little coffee break, we caught some beautiful morning light on the shimmery facade of New York by Gehry. Until recently, it was Gehry’s only skyscraper. This is probably my fourth time shooting this and the first time I’ve managed to see it with some sunlight. So pretty!

Onto the Fulton Center designed by Grimshaw Architects. The atrium in here has this sci-fi vibe to it so I prefer a more dramatic editing of the space. A great area for both symmetrical and a more layered, overlapping perspectives.

A favorite of everyone’s – The Oculus designed by Santiago Calatrava. Said to be representive of a bird being released from a childs hands. Also, built to maximize the autumnal equinox rays (coinciding with the skylight opening on or around September 11 every year). Though, I don’t think it actually opens. It does have a wing-like and skeletal feel to the design.

A couple of ICM shots. I like both the color & BW, so you decide which you most connect with.

Our final stop of the workshp was Brookfield Place by César Pelli. Just inside the entrance are these tree-like structures that are fun to shoot.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking around this very long post. It was a fantastic 4 days exploring so many exceptional pieces of architecture. Here’s my great group 🙂



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