Got this shot? We rode the dinner cruise on World Yacht. One buys tickets and signs on for dinner. The route takes you down the Hudson River past the “Lady.” The challenge is that the boat is moving and the shutter speeds are slow. But you can do it. Just shoot a few estra shots to be sure one comes out sharp. Alternatively you can take the Staten Island ferry for free. Yup, free. And you pass close enough to the Statue of Liberty to get the shot also. You could even bring a sandwich.
The Shinnecock Indians hold an annual Powwow on Labor Day weekend out in Southampton Long Island. I’ve been going when I can. It’s very colorful with native American costumes and pageantry. Anxiety? You go there hoping to see everything and to not miss anything. The key is to isolate the subject and to avoid modern life. So someone wearing tinted lenses does not make it. Most shots are close ups to focus on the face or costume excluding distracting elements. Contestant numbers are the most annoying things that spoil shots. This event is a recurring one and I have attended more than once. There are even a few participants I recognize from previous years. Imagine that?!
With all the ethnic groups represented in New York City, there is probably a festival or parade just about every weekend. There is a cluster of Brazilian shops and restaurants over in the 40’s just west of 5th Avenue. The crowd is enthusiastic. Green and yellow are the colors. And everyone is having a good time.
Being based in the Middle East, the day almost got by me. When I traveled to the US recently, the Saudi movie censors put blurred spots on all the crosses in the cemetary scene in Sherlock Holmes. No other religious signs are permitted except traditional Muslim. So my last Easter Parade in NYC was back in 2012. To be honest it’s not a parade. They close off Fifth Avenue in front of St Patrick’s Cathedral and people mill around seeking attention. There are the traditional and the strange all mixed together. If you wear it, I will photograph it.
I studied the internet and got info on the venue and the parade route. I knew it would be crowded and rowdy. I arrived hours early by subway to scope out the venue and to pick a place to shoot. As I walked the empty parade route, I encountered these three young ladies. They immediately posed shyly and let me take a few images. I took many more shots that day, hundreds and hundreds. I managed to get into the middle of the parade route and walked along side the marchers getting intimately close. But after all that, this is one of the best images and memories of the day. Who knew it would be one of the first shots. … I could have gone home early…
Halloween 2011, Columbia University, Baker Field, Yale vs Columbia. At least I didn’t travel far. It was snowing hard before kick-off and it never let up the whole game. Yale won. Yay! Snow is wet. I had an umbrella and my trusty long lens 80-400mm. I shot. I tried to keep my gear dry. I shot anyway. Alex remembers this game fondly. I remember being wet and cold. I’m used to cold when I ski. But when you are sitting and just moving your finger on the shutter, fun has an entirely different context. His Elis won and I got some shots. Everyone was happy.
I admit to being a photo opportunist. Alex wanted to follow his beloved Yalies to the ECAC Hockey Championships. It was held in AC, Atlantic City. It’s hilarious because Alex and I don’t gamble. The venue was where they used to hold the Miss America pageant. And no camera; I was stopped as soon as they saw my serious camera gear. I think it was the 80-400mm lens that really scared them. Other people got in with medium teles. So I fell back on my Canon G11 point and shoot. Now that’s a real challenge. There’s a shutter lag, you shoot, and a few milliseconds go by before the image is captured. At that lag, how in the whole wide world do you capture the action. Lighting is horrible and everything is moving to say nothing of the glass that surrounds the rink. You might as well not turn on the camera. So I just sat there and experimented. As with anything, I figured you have to follow the action. That means the puck is where the action is. Yup! I got a few with the puck headed past the goalie. Not great but not bad. You have to look close but that puck is in the frame.
I was fortunate enough to make it onto an island full of puffins. I’d do it again. The problem is that it would be a very arduous trip. So for now, once was enough. It’s not just the birds. There is fog and lupines.
You need the whole experience. The shot one sees on the post card is of the lovable bird statically positioned. You can’t point your camera and not capture a zillion of these shots. So what is unique? Pondering, I fell back on my sports experience (tennis, Manny) and realized that “flying” was the ticket. Ninety percent of the time the puffins are standing around. The last bit is flying. There’s plenty but it is not easy to have the focus, focal length, and composition all working simultaneously for a bird in flight. On this one I had no lessons or advice. I just relied on experience and imagination. It was a one shot deal. There are other things I might do since I am more experienced now. It’s great that things change and make you want to get better.
This post ties in with other discussions on this blog. J recently ran the LA Marathon. I met Charlie and we flew in his Bell 47 helicopter. I shot with Manny, from Sport’s Illustrated. Manny told me of the quintessential shot of the NY Marathon in which the image is made of the runners cresting the Verrazano Bridge. Well, I was in the position to try for this image. The shot had been described but I had never seen it. It was crystal clear blue sky day as Charlie and I hovered in his ship over the bridge. It also helped that he had been a former NYC Police helicopter pilot. We were not chased away from the venue. All that remained was to get that “shot.” You can go wide or tele. I know I didn’t quite get it right. I got a lot of images but the “one” got away. I still count myself lucky to have been there. A lot of stars came together for me to have the chance.