Calvary Cemetery part 2. Sunset.
It’s Snowmadeggon, or Snowpocalypse, or maybe Snowmapocalypse, or Nemo - depending on whether you’re a fan of the weather channel’s rather vain system of naming storms or not.
Either way it’s been snowing a bit. And things are looking pretty. But surprisingly the world has not yet ended.
Calvary cemetery seemed like the perfect spot for a little snow based photo fun. A graveyard the size of a village its a pretty spectacular place. And between the gravestones and the blanketing snow, black and white was always going to be a successful strategy.
I’m particularly pleased with the panorama of the gravestones, with the out of focus spire in the background. And the sunset in the second post. The last light hitting the snow is always a beautiful sight.
And to top it all off, after we’d packed up, and i was looking forward to getting home and perusing the fruits of my endeavors, we had been locked in. Yes, we were locked inside an enormous graveyard, in the dark. Wonderful. Luckily, thanks to a friendly pair in similarly dire straits we found a nice warm car to sit in until the security guard turned up to let us back out. Ah the things we do for a few photos. Worth it.
If you talk to any good landscape photographer you’ll find they all have favourite locations. Places they return to over and over looking for the perfect image. Often somewhere comfortable and familiar, like a pair of old slippers. But for me this has always been somewhat of an elusive concept. There are so many things to photograph and so many locations that catch the eye - particularly somewhere like NYC where sensory overload is unavoidable - that the idea of wasting precious shooting time by retreading old ground can seem futile and wasteful.
But what I have to force myself to remember is that on a different day, with different light, in a different season, the outcomes of two very similar compositions can be like night and day.
Or, in this, case they literally were night and day.
I returned to this spot, only a ten-minute walk from home, because it was too late in the day to head further afield, and because the light and clouds looked like they were planning something beautiful.
So here, in the first image, is the new winter shot, taken last night after the sun had dropped below the horizon. It contains so many elements that i look for in a landscape: unique foreground interest, dusty water and streaking clouds from the long shutter speed (100 seconds), a fantastic colour gradient in the sky, mirrored in the water. And just for luck the Empire State Building was lit up pink, as if i’d planned it that way.
Then, the first image below gives you the alternative view, taken on an overcast day in late spring. Two almost identical compositions. Two strikingly different outcomes.
So in conclusion, don’t shy away from returning to a favourite spot. Regardless of how many other ideas you have scrawled down on your list of intended targets. If the light and season is right it certainly isn’t futile, or a waste of time.
Where were you? A common question. September the eleventh, our where were you moment. We may never witness anything as terrible on Western soil again in our lifetimes, and reading stories about it still makes me shiver.
Every year on September the eleventh, in New York City, this beautiful floodlight memorial is projected into the atmosphere, from the site of the old twin towers. And on a clear night it almost looks like it goes all the way out to space. It’s incredibly emotive, evoking images of the towers themselves, and up until now I’ve failed to capture any fitting images of it.
This year i found my location. It was a long lens shot. I’ve tried this location at other times this summer. With the bridges, alongside the new World Trade Centre, it’s a great composition, only to be thwarted by wind (the scourge of the telephoto image), or haze (a plague of the hot sweaty weather). And there was always an element missing.
Today, the air was cool and clean, the wind was non-existent, and the floodlights were lit. I hope these images do an acceptable job of conveying the moment.
The only good thing about the hot, sweaty, New York summer weather is the storms. All i seem to do these days is sweat. It’s like a hobby I didn’t choose to become involved in.
But, that said, these summer storms are great. And the rain is so refreshing I keep finding myself ‘accidentally’ caught out in it.
So today I figured, if I was going to go for a walk up the river to Queens with torrential rain imminent I’d at least take my camera and see if i could get something useful out of it.
Unfortunately between remembering a little too late that the umbrella that normally lives in my camera bag (for keeping the lens dry-ish) has been co-opted by my lovely fiance, for keeping her clothes dry-ish, and forgetting that my lens cloth was in my pocket when the rain came down, I almost didnt get anything out of it other than wonderfully soaked.
But luckily I did end up with two shots. One with the rain lashing, using my trusty Aussie bush hat to shield the lens in the absence of an umbrella. There’s a great grainy feel to it with the raindrops streaking the foreground. And one in the subsequent calm. I love the sheen on the wood in this one, along with the clouds washing round the tops of Manhattan’s skyscraper’s.
I can foresee more ‘accidental’ forays in the rain if this heat keeps up. Let’s see what happens.