Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Wishing all of my East Coast friends and family and many others affected by the incredible storm, Sandy, Health, Quick Recuperation and Small Losses.  May Peace and Ease of Mind follow in the wake of nature's wrath.   All my best, Ellen

Chelsea Market

I had never been to Chelsea Market before.  Completed in 1997, Chelsea Market has become a meeting destination for numerous New Yorkers and tourists.  Although I visited Chelsea numerous times for art exhibits, to photograph landmark buildings and to walk the High Line, I never ventured to the fabulous food court/ shopping area located in the old National Biscuit Company factory: home of Oreo cookies.  A lovely and talented young artist friend who attends SVA invited me to Chelsea Market for lunch a few weeks ago.  I was struck by the wonderful use of old machinery and industrial equipment as decor for the au courant dining establishments; shops and great get-together indoor spaces.

Chelsea Market Decor

Art genre: Sepia art photograph

Complimentary decor: Modern, Eclectic

Photography tip: Look for contrasts.  Edges can be sharpened or softened in post production.

Location: Chelsea Market: Chelsea, NYC

Monday, October 29, 2012

Influences: Margaret Bourke-White

One of my earliest influences was the brilliant photojournalist/ photographer Margaret Bourke-White.  Her work was often published in the magazines my Dad loved, like Fortune and Life.  Bourke-White's images impacted the way I saw shapes and their relationship to each other.  Her photographs of machinery in the steel mills are still among my resources for composition and design.  Her work holds up as remarkable for all the visual elements that come together in great photography.

Steel Mill: Margaret Bourke-White

Machinery: Margaret Bourke-White

Steel Worker: Margaret Bourke-White

Steel Mill: Margaret Bourke-White

Diversion Tunnel: Margaret Bourke-White

Friday, October 26, 2012

PhotoPlus 2012

Yesterday I attended the industry trade show I look forward to all year: PhotoPlus.  I love going to trade shows at the cavernous Jacob Javits Conference Center in NYC.  People from all over come together with a shared passion.  PhotoPlus, the photography industry's promotion of product, information and all things connected with photography, is an event for me to connect with new ideas, refresh known concepts and create mental wish lists.  I looked at my dream cameras, printing papers, software, equipment and spoke with sales reps and best of all, other photographers.  I stopped by to see old friends and made some new ones.  Great Day!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An Old Friend

Recently I attended an art exhibition.  It was a wonderful time: artists happy to show their new work; wine and cheese; a stunningly modernized  gallery in a great old building in Dumbo: does it get any better!  I love that type of event.  After viewing the art, which was an eclectic exhibit of printmaking, watercolors, oils and drawings, I began, as always,  to look at the space.  Off to the side, away from the art and art lovers, I spotted a grate.  Now metal grates are at the top of my list for beautiful objects.  One of my fondest memories I have of childhood is looking through the air-shaft grate into our backyard.  I thought that this grate was the portal to a secret garden that held marvels to be discovered every day.  Actually, it did.  I saw the seasons change and the natural forms in the yard evolve throughout  my early life.  So while people at the art show looked at the fine art, I photographed the old grate in the corner.  Few people noticed what I was up to, but that was fine: a secret between me and an old friend.

Art genre: Sepia architectural detail art photograph

Complimentary decor: Eclectic

Photography tip: Textures are important.  Look for contrasting textures to increase interest when photographing architectural details.

Location: Dumbo: NYC

Monday, October 22, 2012

See the Light

Frequently the eye sees light as as source of brightness.  It streams into a space.  It illuminates an object.  Light allows us to see where we are and whom we are with.  But often we don't look at the light itself.  Light has color, shape, form.  It varies in its intensity.  Light in and of itself is exquisite.  Capturing light as a focal point for an image is formidable, but I continue to be intrigued by light and its many configurations.  I especially love light steaming into a muted space.  Illuminating all it reaches. Conforming to form as it curves and bends, spreads and constricts.  Light is infinitely varied and wonderful, but elusive and challenging to capture.  It is the single inspiration why I am a photographer.

Art genre: Sepia architectural art photograph

Complimentary decor: Traditional

Photography tip: Capture the shape of light, but be aware of soft, diffused edges.

Location: Wall Street area: NYC

Friday, October 19, 2012


Every artist expresses an aesthetic that will hopefully be shared.  Art is a form of communication that transcends time and cultural barriers to connect people universally and throughout history.  It is marvelous to create art and to share it with others. Recently I discovered a wonderful web site devoted to sharing many types of art: furniture, accessories, wall art and other expressive forms of human creativity.  WellFurnished presents beautiful items and is platformed to encourage interactive relationships among decorators, clients and artists/ artisans.  I have posted several photographs on the site.  Hope you'll get an opportunity to spend time looking through the wonders on

Metal Ovals

NYC Art Window

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

An Opportunity I Took

On my last full day in New Zealand in April 2011, I was going to laze about.  I had been to Sydney, Australia, Aukland, NZ and was on the final leg of a 17 day solo photography jaunt, gearing up for the 20+ hour trip back to NY.  The last leg of my trip was 5 days at gorgeous Queenstown at the South of NZ.  I had toured around extensively and taken around 6,000 photos.  "Ready for a day of rest," I thought.  Someone at the hotel mentioned Arrowtown, a nearby( 2 busses) place for some great pix. I will be forever thankful that I put relaxation on hold and went to Arrowtown.  Crystal air, history, amazing vistas.  Architecture is eclectic, but even the smallest structures are beautifully set in landscape with gardens. Here is one small, enchanted house from that day.  Every opportunity is one to be taken and enjoyed!

Sepia/ Color Tinted Photograph

Art genre: Sepia/ color tinted architectural art photograph

Complimentary decor: British Colonial, American Colonial

Photography tip: Convert color photograph to sepia.  Slowly and sparingly add back color for an old fashioned tinted effect.

Location: Arrowtown, NZ

Monday, October 15, 2012

Architectural Jewelry

I love metal architectural details.  Railings, door knobs, grates, plaques, the addition of metal accents to a structure reminds me of putting on jewelry after you get dressed.  Men and women (children, too...notice some of the royal infantes and crown princes/ princesses painted throughout the Renaissance!) have always adorned themselves with gold, silver, and other metals as ornaments to enhance their appearance.  Architectural jewelry is a marvelous addition to a space.  The bold glitter or subtle glow of a well placed metal detail adds decorative and/ or functional jewelry to the most modest or lavish building.

The NYC's main branch of the Post Office on 34th Street and 8th Avenue has some beautiful examples of architectural jewelry that, at one time, was a common inclusion in buildings.  The marble and metal of a bygone age have frequently yielded to plastic and other artificial materials.  I love to visit this P.O. to see the elegance that represents care and attention to detail.

P.O. Window

Art genre:  Architectural detail photograph

Complimentary decor: Eclectic

Photography tip: Accent metal by crunching darks, lights and mid-tones.
Location: 34th Street and 8th Avenue NYC, Main Branch P.O.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


NYC is a wonderful place.  I am always fascinated by sights that I encounter in my hometown.  The City abounds with all manner of architecture and architectural detail.  From  Native American artifacts and burial places (dated well before the Europeans arrived) found in Northern Manhattan to 1600 Dutch homesteads in Brooklyn to steel and glass skyscrapers, NYC runs the gamut of human creativity in the area of craftsmanship.  As I walk from place to place on the streets of the five boroughs, there are architectural old friends, such as Art Deco apartment buildings of the 1930's which always capture my sense of design and new wonders to see, such as this elaborately decorated doorway of a tenement on the upper East Side.  Imagine today's low income housing looking like this!  However, when this was build in the late 19th/ early part of the 20th century every structure had ornamentation, all houses were to welcome inhabitants.  Craftsmanship was utilized in so many areas of life. 

Doorway of a Tenement: Upper East Side NYC

Art genre:  Sepia architectural art photograph

Complimentary decor: Art Nouveau, Baroque, British Colonial, other elaborate styles

Photography tip:Find light in the darks.  In the dark areas of the doorway are lights.
Location: Lexington Avenue: Upper East Side, NYC

Monday, October 8, 2012

Influences: Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks was truly a Renaissance human being.  Not only did Parks create stunning photography, but he composed music (award-winning Shaft, among many other pieces); designed fashions; painted beautiful surrealistic artworks; wrote poetry and had long reach into many other aesthetics.Who could not be influenced by such a paragon of the arts!  Each and every Gordon Parks' photograph offers a slice of life that adheres to the adage: "One picture is worth a thousand words."  In Parks' work, each image speaks volumes.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Detail Selection

I like to look at a building , photograph it and tweak the photograph to create an architectural art image in post production.  When either photographing the architecture or playing with the image in post production, I often find details that are more interesting to me than the entire structure.  The details become greater than the whole and I begin to zero in on one or two that intrigue me.  Here are two different railings.  The first two images show two details of the same wrought iron railing:

Wrought Iron Railing

Detail of Railing

The third railing photograph, which is at Rockefeller Center, was shot as a detail.  I really zeroed in on a specific segment of an Art Deco brass railing.  So engrossed in the shot was I that when a guard asked me what I was doing I jumped, almost dropping my camera.  I showed him the part of the railing I was photographing. I felt really great when the guard told me he had worked in Roc Center for 17 years and had never noticed the railing.  "It's beautiful.  A jewel," he said.  "You've taught me to look at my surroundings," he said.  Can it get better!

Rockefeller Center Brass Railing

Art genre:  Architectural detail photographs

Complimentary decor: Any

Photography tip: Narrow down to details.

Location: Top two photographs: Stockholm, Sweden.  Third photograph: Rockefeller Center, NYC

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Traveling to Australia in the spring of 2011 required tat I capture as many photo images as possible because I didn't know when I would be back.  Good advice was given to me a while ago by a photographer friend who makes his living journeying from one place to the next in search of memorable pix to share with magazine readers from all parts of the world.  "When you see something that you want to remember with a photo, pause before shooting to embed the memory in your mind as well as on your camera card."  Here I stood in Sydney Harbor, a very iconic place.  For a long time, I looked at my surroundings.  Of course, I was ever watchful of the light!  I shot the Sydney Harbor Bridge many different ways, but always tried to get as many memories into the frame as possible.  In this photograph, I captured what the place felt like to me.

View of Sydney Harbor

Art genre: Sepia art photograph

Complimentary decor: Traditional, Art Deco

Photography tip: Capture different elements of a place into the shot.  For example, the palm trees; bridge; stone wall embankment & railing; boat that characterizes the harbor; shore beyond.  Incorporate the elements into a pleasing composition and placeprint.  A placeprint is a memory of a place that recalls the feeling of when you where there (or perhaps of your desire to go there).
Location: Sydney Harbor: Sydney, Australia

Monday, October 1, 2012

Recalling Wonderful

In March 2011, I had the good fortune to travel to Australia and New Zealand accompanied by my cameras and various lenses.  It was a wonderful trip!  I wandered around Sydney, Auckland and Queenstown under sunny skies for two magical weeks.  I came home with 6,000 pix and lots of memories.  Here is one of them:

I was walking down Market Street in Sydney, looking for a coffee bar and a bit of breakfast.  Suddenly there appeared one of the most gorgeous buildings I have ever seen: the Queen Victoria Building.  Created by the architect George McRae in the Romanesque Revival style, the magnificent building was erected between 1893- 1898.  Floors of stunning architectural detail and design, the Queen Victoria pays homage to its namesake in the most spectacular of ways: beauty, timelessness, elegance, quality/ excellence of craftmanship.  Beaskfast forgotten, I spent 4 hours photographing everything in sight!

Queen Victoria Building: Sydney, Australia

Art genre: Black & White architectural detail photograph

Complimentary decor: Any

Photography tip: Let the themes, in this case the orbs of light, guide the eye around the photograph.

Location: Market Street: Sydney, Australia