The city seen for the first time

by | May 27, 2017 | new york city, photography, travel

Over the great bridge, with sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of non-olfactory money. The city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world. -F. Scott Fitzgerald

7 days in the greatest place on earth

I have been in New York City for one week today. My friends, the hype is true. I have barely scratched the surface of what exists in this other-worldly entity that we call a metropolis, but I can say that it is beautiful. Perhaps I’m a romantic, but when I got out of the cab in Midtown to the mad bustle of people and cars and buses, I felt a hint of the magic. Or electricity. The inexplicable X factor this city has.

While it’s not the same as being here, and I would implore you to come see for yourself, I’m going to take you on a little tour of my last seven days. Since I’m in a Photography Intensive course, this trip will be photographic.



The photography course, I quickly discovered, is designed for fine artists – not communications majors who think a lot about social media and the digital world when they take pictures. But the thing about art is that it can be whatever you want it to be. I’ve been learning through discussions with other students and professors and visiting artists that the things I care about in a photo – light, color, form, aesthetic – are worth exploring.

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This photo here is an example technically of all those elements I love, as well as a symbol of the light I am seeking through this experience. The now little used motto of Columbia University is In lumine Tuo videbimus lumen, or “In Thy light shall we see light”, which comes from Psalm 36. I have been stunned by the beauty of my Lord so evident in this marvelous place.


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Last Saturday was the season finale of SNLIt was surreal feeling walking by 30 Rockefeller Plaza, knowing what was happening inside. I didn’t get to watch in studio, but I did catch most of the episode on the hotel TV.


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I flew out to NYC with my brother and his wife. Here’s Justin setting up a great shot.

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With a few exceptions, it’s been pretty rainy in the Big Apple. Two days ago I rode the subway 21 stops to the Financial District and walked to the riverside. I heard someone say it looked like “a fairyland” and they were right. In the picture below, I was ready for the Black Pearl to roll into the harbor.

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I boarded a rush hour Staten Island Ferry ride yesterday afternoon and sailed along with hundreds of other tourists and natives alike to a new borough. While on the Island, I messed around a bit with my photographing techniques. Below I shot through a fence, but focused far enough away that it gives the image a hazy frame.
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Here I decided to put my sunglasses in front of the lens. With very little enhancement in post-production, the result was colorful and exciting.

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Vintage coloration for Manhattan Island thanks to the sunglasses again.

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On the ride back to the mainland, I got my touristy pictures along with everyone else, but I also endeavored to photograph the people observing. What we don’t see in postcards is what’s happening behind the camera.

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Below is a pretty accurate depiction of what the ferry ride is like if you’re not forceful enough to push to the front for a photo op.

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The setting sun made both shoreline watching and people watching artistic adventures.

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What to expect in 7 more days

Thank you for following along with me! Next week you can expect (though I will not 100% guarantee) a bit about my experience using a film camera for the first time, some exploration of Brooklyn and the Bronx, and some talk of delicious foods.



New York City Week Two

New York City Week Three

New York City Week Four

New York City Week Five

New York City Week Six