Sunday, June 23, 2013

Limitless Possibilities

Walking around with my camera presents limitless possibilities.  I see a building or an architectural detail and I begin to frame it in my mind. The endless array of architecture I am drawn to gives me inspiration.
No matter how many times I see NYC on my rounds, sights there always foster creativity.
I frequently walk up 6th Avenue in midtown Manhattan.  Beginning my trek at at 34th Street, where I always glance and/or stare at the Empire State Building, I continue up to the 40's where I usually give nod to Grand Central before I go into one of the buildings where I have meetings or an activity.
One day last week I looked across 42nd Street and thought, "Who moved the Empire State Building!"  There it was: reflected in a glass building eight blocks away.  I had never noticed it as a reflection in just that spot. What a treat to see it as a reflection.  And what an inspiration for the limitless possibilities prompted by the icon shimmering in all its majesty.

The Inspiration

 Empire State Building: Reflected

Monday, June 17, 2013

As Is

The area of Hell's Kitchen has transformed itself from a dangerous and seedy place into a slick, trendy neighborhood.  Now referred to as "Clinton,"  the streets of Hell's Kitchen (West of Times Square in midtown Manhattan) are lined with chic restaurants, upscale boutiques and pricy vintage shops.  I walk here frequently.  I have seen the many changes wrought over the last decade in Hell's Kitchen.  Occasionally I see something that smacks of the neighborhood's past life.  This iron grate is on the side courtyard of a brownstone close to 9th Avenue.  The building is slightly run-down, like a tired chorus dancer from the near-by theaters.  The grate is artfully fashioned from a time when craftsmanship was lavished on so many structures and their accoutrements throughout the City.  I love the design of the metal grate: swirls, spokes, ribbon-like flowers.  I thought to "clean it up" in post production.  Give it a polished look.  But I realized that some things are best left As Is.  Flaws, chunks of plaster, cracks and all bespeak of survival, age and the struggle to preserve the beauty and history that is New York City's heritage.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Enormous of Enorminity

I have always thought of skyscrapers as enormous.  They scrape the sky.  I look up at the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building and feel tiny: a speck of humanity in the shadow of huge structures that inspire me, dwarf me and invariably fill me with pride at humankind's accomplishments of reaching for the heights.  However, once in a while my perspective shifts. 
On Sunday,  I visited the American Crafts Festival at Lincoln Center  It's a great outdoor show that highlights extraordinary craftsmanship and artistry in fabric design, jewelry making, pottery, glass art and a host of other stunning creations made from the imagination and talented hands of artists/artisans.  As I left the Festival I walked along thinking of how human beings can design, mold, fashion and produce works of beauty, wonder and skill.
As I rounded the corner of West End Avenue, I chanced to look up to admire the skyscrapers I love: another form of human virtuosity.  I pointed my camera at some tall buildings that were under construction.  Through the lens I saw a form of workmanship that was breathtaking.  The stuff that promotes inspiration and has always provided vision: Nature.  High above the "in-progress" tower constructed by humans, soared a dazzling cloudscape.  A magnificent display of nature's continuing stimulation and challenge to our inventiveness.

Cloudscrape with Skyscraper Detail

Art genre: Black and White art photography

Photography tip: When photographing clouds, make sure to contrast cloud edges so that clouds don't appear as white "blobs" in the sky.  Clouds are challenging to photograph because their amorphous shapes can blend together and give a "flat" appearance.

Location: Shot from West End Avenue and 65th Street facing South, NYC

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Recent Mists of Time

According to the dictionary, Mists of Time refers to happenings of long ago.  I associate Mists of Time with a dreamy feeling.  Sort of like seeing near and far memories through a blurred filter on the lens.  This is the feeling I have about some of my 2010 adventurers in Australia and New Zealand.  They are a bit hazy and multilayered.
The high point of my 17 (7 planes!) day trip was meeting a family with whom I had been corresponding for 40+ years.  We had experienced a great many joys and sorrows through the years and I dearly wanted to say hello in person.  That part of my trip will always give me the most cherished memories.  It is intriguing to "meet" people with whom you have had an ongoing and intimate conversation for a long time. I was wined and dined and taken to many beautiful sights, but most of all, I was, in person, taken into the family as I had been through letters and later emails and rare phone calls.  That deep family bond continues as it always will, enhanced and strengthened by my visit.
I also took about 6,000 photographs during my travels.  Occasionally I look at the images to remind myself of a particular moment.  I recently looked at some photos I had taken in Queenstown, a stunning lakeside resort town in southern N.Z.  I stayed in Queenstown for a few days towards the end of my trip, looking around and shooting the architecture and the "Lord of the Rings" scenery.  It was a golden time there: summer into fall, early April.  One day on a whim I booked an afternoon trip to Walter Peak Farm: a well touted tourist attraction and a functioning sheep farm.  I was not sure what I expected when I got off the boat that was the way to the farm.  It was about a half hour trip from Queenstown on placid waters.  This is what I saw as I walked through lovely blooming gardens towards the magnificent homestead.  A wonderful memory, slightly misted but reminiscent of an unforgettable time.

Approaching Walter Peak Farm: Queenstown, N,Z.

Leaving Walter Peak Farm: Queenstown, N.Z.

Art genre: Sepia art photography

Photography tip: Sepia can be cool or warm with many tonalities in between.  When using sepia as a value range, explore its many temperatures as these affect enormously the visuals of the image.  These images were enhanced with both orange and pink filters to provide a warm tone.

Location: Walter Peak Farm: Queenstown, New Zealand