New York City

First Friday!  One Photo Focus and More!

This year is really speeding by; I can’t believe it’s already May.  I’ve just returned from a short trip to New York City and it’s also time for Stacy Fischer’s monthly OnePhoto Focus Event, so this post will be serving double duty.

In the case of NYC, I managed to squeeze in brief visits to three of the city parks in between some other business.

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The Pond, Central Park, Early Morning

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William Seward Monument, Madison Square Park, Early Afternoon

William Seward, a New York native, was Secretary of State under President Abraham Lincoln, but is probably best known for his role in the purchase of Alaska, originally described by his critics as “Seward’s Folly.”

NYC D-16-04-30-5766_74Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain, Bryant Park at Twilight

Josephine Shaw Lowell lived most of her life in New York City where she founded a number of progressive reform organizations during the 19th century including the still operating National Consumers League. Her husband, a Union soldier, was killed one year after their marriage and one month before the birth of her daughter. She never remarried. The fountain, installed 8 years after her death, is said to be New York City’s first major memorial dedicated to a woman.

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Bryant Park at Night

Bryant Park, located between 5th- 6th Avenues and 40th-42nd Streets, has had an interesting historyover the past 240 years. Retreating American rebel forces under Geaorge Washington passed through this area in 1776 as they fled the British in the Battle of Long Island. In the mid-1800s, it was the site of a massive resevoir, part of a city water distribution system considered one of the great engineering feats of the 19th century. Shortly afterwards, the city’s first major tourist event, the Crystal Palace Exhibition was inagurated next to the resevoir and attracted over 1 million visitors. During the Civil War it was an encampment for Union troops.  A few decades later, the space took on its current name to honor William Cullen Bryant, who was the longtime editor of the New York Evening Post, a civic reformer, and romantic poet.  A major redesign in the 1930s created the space as we see it today.  A detailed history on the park can be found here.

OnePhoto Focus

 

This month’s image was a lot of fun to work with, many thanks to Julie Powell for providing it.  As a reminder, the 1PF Challenge is sponsored by Stacy Fischer of Visual Venturing and anyone can participate.  Details can be found at  Visual Venturing .

As usual, I first opened the RAW file in Adobe Camera Raw and followed a standard workflow (Setting black and white points, etc.) before opening the file in Photoshop.  The starting point is shown in the image below.

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Original Image, after Adobe Camera Raw Adjustments

At this point, I thought a late night sci-fi interpretation might be interesting, so I experimented with the Filter Gallery for a few minutes and settled on the following steps:

A duplicate image of the Background Layer was created and I then applied the “Glowing Edges” filter to the Background copy layer (Filter–>Filter Gallery–>Stylize–>Glowing Edges).  The settings were Edge Width=2; Edge Brightness=17; Smoothness=8.  The layer’s opacity was reduced to 61% to allow a certain amount of the original scene to soften the dramatic effect of the filter tool.   I then created yet another copy of the Background Layer and then applied the Trace Contour effect (Filter–>Stylize–>Trace Contour).  The Level was set at 89 and the Edge was set at “Upper.”  The opacity of this layer was set at 13% to give the filter just a slight effect on the image.  The final image is shown below.

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Final Image

Thanks again to Julie Powel for supplying us this image and thanks again to Stacy for managing this monthly event.  It is always great to see what others have done with the same image, so check them out at OnePhoto Focus May 2016.  In the meantime,

Keep Shooting…..

A Winter Day in Central Park

I was in New City on Thursday for a quick business trip with my wife.  Arriving a few hours before the business meeting, we decided to take a walk in Central Park.

 

NYCD-16-01-28-1778A Horse Carriage Continues a 150-year Tradition

The recent snow is no problem for the horse carriages, but the city’s mayor is still out to curtail, if not eliminate, them.

 

NYC D-16-01-28-1663Artists selling their works were out in force.

 

 

NYC D-16-01-28-1650As were couples recording their memories.

 

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The ice rink was busy as usual

But our destination was the zoo.  At the entrance one will find the famous George Delacorte Musical Clock, which is built on a triple archway passage into the zoo.  Flanking the clock on either side are G. R. Roth’s Honey Bear and Dancing Goat bronze sculptures dating from 1935.

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Roth’s Honey Bear

Supposedly during daylight hours, a selected tune is played by bells while bronze sculptures of a bear with tambourine, a hippopotamus with violin, a goat with pan pipes, a kangaroo and offspring with horns, and a penguin with drum glide around the base of the clock. In addition, on the hour, two bronze monkeys on the top of the clock appear to strike a bell. We saw the monkeys striking the bell, but the animals did not move while the song was played.  Still, it is a very cool clock.

NYC D-16-01-28-1669Visitors Watching the Delacorte Clock Announce the Time

 

Inside the zoo, the visitors were often as entertaining as the inmates.

NYC D-16-01-28-1672Sea Lion Striking a Pose

 

NYC D-16-01-28-1700This Snow Monkey appeared distraught that the snow in his compound had mostly melted.

 

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A Seal Creates a Kaleidoscope of Reflections as it Swims

But our favorite stop was the snow leopard compound where, if one is lucky and patient, they can capture an image that almost appears to be taken in the wild.

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Snow Leopard Cub (about 20 Months) Moves Across the Snow

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The Same Cub, Striking a Pose

The cub shown here is one of a pair of twins who, a few minutes earlier, had been frolicking in the snow.  But unfortunately, their antics were almost completely obscured by rocks and bushes so that classic, prize winning image was not captured.  So I guess I will have to….

Keep Shooting…..

 

 

Catching Up: Hermione Visit Part 2

Not being one to complain, we’ll skip all the details about my Internet’s provider’s spotty service this week and get right to a post that is about six days late.

Regular readers may recall my earlier posting about the midnight arrival of the L’Hermione in Alexandria, Virginia about two weeks ago.  The vessel, is a replica of the French frigate that brought the Marquis de Lafayette to the American colonies during the Revolutionary War.  Details on its background can be found in my post here and in Patti’s “Displaced Beachbums” post here.

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The next morning, the public began to queue up for free tours aboard the ship.

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Channel 7 was on the scene.

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As were others who found the frigate a handy backdrop for themselves

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The gangplank wasn’t ADA compliant, but no one was complaining.

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Once aboard, you notice there are a lot of ropes everywhere.

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                Every rope (actually line) on the rigging has a function and a name,               such as the “mizzen topsail halyard.”

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There are two wheels, in front and in the rear (fore and aft, I believe).

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Everyone wanted to know what was underneath these hatches.

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Some more than others.

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 Some of the crew performed maintenance duty….

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and others charmed their guests by posing for pictures….

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and others kept alert for evil doers…

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with the help of local security forces.

L’hermonie will be in Philadelphia June 25-28, then will sail for New York City.  Details on the itinerary can be found here.

Keep Shooting….

New York City- Part 2

Spring is the best time to be in New York City.  Unfortunately, it is also the best time to be in many other places such as Washington, DC.  But when one has business in NYC in late April or early May, one must bring a camera.

The afternoon stroll through Central Park on our first day only whetted our appetite.  So it seemed that an evening visit to the top of Rockefeller Center would be a good way to end the evening.

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Top of the Rock, looking south

(Technical: Nikon D800E, resting on balustrade, with 24-70 mm f/2.8 extended to 24 mm; Exposure: 0.6 sec. at f/16, ISO 800.)

NYC 02

 Setting sun, Top of the Rock, looking west

(Technical: Nikon D800E hand held, with 24-70 mm f2.8 extended to 42mm, Exposure 1/640th   sec. at f/10.0, ISO 800.)

The next day, we took the E Train to the World Trade Center to check out the progress on the new PATH Terminal designed by Santiago Calatrava and visit the 9/11 Memorial.  The last time I had been there was in May 2013, shortly after the Memorial had opened and security had been exceptionally strict.   They have relaxed a lot since then.  One can stroll right into the grounds.

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View of one of the two reflecting pools, surrounded by waterfalls.

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The names of the victims are inscribed in bronze around the twin pools.

Brookfield Place, housing scads of places to eat and shop, is right across the street in Battery City Park.  We only had time for a quick peek, but I am definitely going back to explore Le District (billed as a French market) in detail. This place is gy-normous.

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The Winter Garden Atrium looking out toward the Hudson River

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View from Brookfield Place looking toward the PATH Terminal under construction.

The new PATH Terminal is suffering a lot of ridicule in the New York media. But, having seen structures designed by this controversial architect in places such as Valencia, Barcelona, Milwaukee,  California, and Buenos Aires, I expect it will be impressive once it is finished (assuming the engineers can fashion his design into reality).

The next morning we headed over to the High Line, a 1.5-mile elevated train line that has been transformed into a highly popular aerial greenway.

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Tracks from the former NY Central spur line are integrated into the design

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If it’s New York City, there will be a fashion shoot

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Hidden Gem: The High Line Hotel courtyard, just a block away from the actual High Line, is a great place for a coffee break.  Previously part of a seminary, it was once a large estate and apple orchard owned by the man who is thought to have authored “The Night Before Christmas.”

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The High Line has numerous, and often amusing, public art installations

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The new Whitney Museum is located at the southern terminus of the High Line

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It was opening day and the line stretched for several blocks.

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But the view up there is supposed to be great

Maybe on the next visit….

Keep shooting.

Spring in Central Park

Central Park is my favorite go-to location whenever I’m in New York City,  and tthe spring weather last week made it especially tempting.  Starting from a point at 67th Street and Central Park West I wandered in a generally eastward direction and then south.  No real plan except to end up at 5th Avenue and Central Park South.  The pictures below are roughly in the sequence they were taken.

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Looking Northwest toward Terrace Drive

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The tulips were at their peak

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This classic scene may dsappear if the NYC Mayor has his way

NYC 01Virginia Bluebells in Central Park?  Who Knew?

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 The Carousel Building

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Slow Piitch Softball Game

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Looking Southeast from the Wollman Rink

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There was a lot of this going on

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Looking North toward the Capstow Bridge

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“Desire Lines” by Tatiana Trouvé

Now you may be asking, what do these racks of spools have to do with a walk in Central Park?  As it turns out, quite a lot.  Click here to find out more.

And if you are interested in finding out what flowers are blooming where (and when) in Central Park you can go to this link here.

Keep Shooting…..

Central Park, Part 2

This last weekend, I was in New York City for a brief visit and spent a fair amount of time in Central Park, at least the area around the Bethesda Terrace.  The picture I posted last Sunday of the Bethesda Fountain was only one (although my favorite) of the several I took while there.  Here are a few more.

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The Terrace’s quietest moments are in the early morning on weekends.  This image, taken on Saturday morning from an overlook balcony shows that dog owners are among the first to arrive with their canine companions.  The nearby roads are already bustling with bikers and runners.

Central Park 02

The Terrace borders the Lake and is the second largest body of water in Central Park.  The image above, taken at sunrise, was taken from the pathway leading away from Bethesda Terrace towards Central Park West.  The twin towers are the San Remo co-op apartments, originally built in 1930.

Central Park 05

The famous Bow Bridge is nearby, leading into the Ramble, which was described by Frederick Law Olmstead, the park’s designer, as a “36-acre wild garden.”  It is a rolling forest of trees, plantings, and wildlife. Once there, it is easy to forget one is in the center of New York City. Because of the park’s location along the Atlantic flyway migration route, the Ramble is the center of birding activity in the Park. The image above, taken in mid-morning, is the view as one emerges from the Ramble to cross the Bow Bridge and head back toward the Bethesda Terrace.  As I crossed the bridge a few minutes later, a young man was kneeling before his companion, asking her to marry him.

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The nearby Loeb Boathouse has boats available for rent and, on warm afternoons, rowing a boat about The Lake is a popular activity.  One can also rent a piloted gondola for $30 per half hour (above).  The area around Bethesda Terrace almost always has several commercial photo shoots underway but the photographer in the boat has found a way to escape the competition for a prime spot.

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In the late afternoon, I spotted a “Balloon Man” whose shimmering creations were delighting a trio of youngsters who had wandered away from a wedding party photo session.  This image was taken from the same balcony as the panorama image of the Terrace and Fountain above.  The balcony is immediately above a pedestrian pass-through that is illuminated at night (below).  The glowing gold of the ornate ceiling attracts photographers like a flame lures moths.  This image was taken while navigating two fashion shoots and a skillful itinerant musician playing a guitar and singing romantic tunes.

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The Loeb Boat House not only rents boats, but also has a restaurant with some prime views.  By this time the image below was taken, the boat rental facility had closed, but the dinner hour was in full swing.  There is also a café that has a passable breakfast for under $7.00 starting at 8 AM.

Central Park 07

Finally, it was time to leave  but as I walked back toward Central Park West, I was struck by the ethereal quality of the Bow Bridge as its white masonry took on a luminous quality in the evening twilight.

Central Park 03

Bethesda Fountain, Central Park

First, an apology to my fellow contributors at ABFriday Forum for publishing a dead link to the Week 23 Forum a few days ago.  It couldn’t have happened at a worst time because this week featured the long-anticipated annoucement of the “Reader’s Poll” whereby all readers can vote for the image they would most like to see undergo post-processing by 11 different photographers. Worse yet, I was traveling without a computer and could not repair the damage until now.  Here is the actual and, hopefully, correct link: ABFriday Week 23.  The poll will remain open until midnight Wednesday November 4th.

And now back to the normal program:

Central Park 01

Bethesda Fountain, Central Park, New York City

The Bethesda Fountain is topped by the Angel of the Waters statue, the only statue that was commissioned for Central Park.  According to the park’s website, the fountain commemorates the Croton water system, which first brought fresh water to New York City in 1842. The angel carries a lily in her left hand — a symbol of the water’s purity, very important to a city that had previously suffered from a devastating cholera epidemic before the system was established. It was created by Emma Stebbins, the first time a woman received a public art commission in New York City.