Hey guys, today I decided to pay a visit to the Van Cortlandt House Museum; it is in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. It was a beautiful outside today; however it was sunny as all hell [note to self: for extreme sunny days like this, bring my ND filter not CPL. 🙂 Lesson learned]. I had an incredibly hard time figuring my settings while taking photos outdoors, the sun was particularly ferocious on this day; but I think I’ve handled things like a trooper. I was forewarned that I could not use a flash at the museum; but when I actually arrived, most of the rooms were so dark, it was almost impossible to get a good exposure without the use of a tripod (which I am sure that would not have been permitted either). I had trouble mostly because there wasn’t enough sunlight. The most trouble I had was the first room I went in located on ground level. I was the only one inside the museum, I closely looked around the house to see if there appeared to be any light sensitive devices; once I was comfortable that there was none, I realized then that the caretakers probably just didn’t want flashes going of in people’s faces (which is understandable). I Then whipped out my external flash and did my thang. Unfortunately I still had to do a lot of processing when I got home. The rooms were blocked by mid-height gates, therefore I could not get up close and get the kind of shots that I wanted. There was a beautiful clock that had to have been from 1700’s; but I couldn’t take a good shot because it was stationed on the far side of the wall, and the gate prevented me from getting that good shot. 🙁 However, I did manage to get a partial side shot (I’ll try to remember to share that later). Even with my flash, the first room was too dark (at the moment & time) for my automatic focus to work properly, and I couldn’t use manual because I couldn’t see perfectly to measure the focus… Oh rats…
The museum is a very, very small home with three floors (basically a mini mansion). If I understand correctly, the Van Cortlandt home was built for Fredrick Van Cortlandt in 1748. It was a very weird feeling walking in to a non-modern home; however, I really got the feel of what it was like to live in that era. Now I understand what Oprah meant when she did a press interview for the “Color Purple.” 🙂 Even the steps are noticeably different; they are much thicker and with a greater vertical length (it was definitely a little more of an exercise than a walk up the stairs). I’d say the staff has done an excellent job in preserving the home and the original owner’s possessions; this is not an easy thing to do, considering 90% of the home’s furnishings and clothing can’t be older than 1810 i’d say (last item purchased/entered). The house was setup in such a way, it almost felt like the original owner(s) were coming back shortly. After I finished my visit @ the Van Cortlandt home, I walked around Van Cortlandt Park, and took a couple of nice shots there too. Enjoy!
Salutations everyone! I hope both my curious visitors and my long time admirers are enjoying my blog content so far? Today I decided to get up early and walk around two sections of the Bronx: Morrisania & Claremont Village. I didn’t shoot too many photos today, but that’s ok. Photography should never be forced, but a natural occurrence (at least when it comes to street photography). To be quite honest, I didn’t expect to take a lot of photos, simply because I was not in landmark areas. However, much to my surprise I always manage to find photo opportunities. Which proves my point that, it’s just a matter of keeping an open mind. Remember that old saying, “seek and you shall find?” That statement holds true for just about anything I can think of. I also discovered one other thing, how difficult it is to take photos in a moving car LOL. I was so curious to see if I could pull it off; and I actually was able to get some good shots! However, being in a moving car also meant that I had to think 3 and 4 times as fast, because each turn the cab made changed my exposure immediately. It was indeed an interesting exercise. As always, I enjoy the beauty of the Bronx, it’s culture, and SOME of the beautiful spirits of people that live in it. I encourage more photographers to come up here every once in a while. There is a world of photo opportunities here, in places you least suspect.
Salutations everyone. Today I visited Chinatown in Manhattan. I haven’t been down there in ages. I have to say, if it were not for the fact that I was in the company of good friends, and that I always enjoy myself on every outing with them, I would have never gone to Chinatown. I would not have chosen this location for myself/solo. First, it was incredibly crowded and has made photography quite difficult for me. To date, Chinatown had to have been the most difficult and challenging place for me to take photographs. The other thing, I didn’t realize that some Chinese street food vendors really have it out for photographers. One woman gone ballistic because a friend and I was taking pictures of fruits she was selling. Not only did she try to chase us away, but she was showing a follow vendor how we were taking photographs. Huh? A fellow photographer explained that in China photography is practically forbidden many situations. Then I also realized that that woman probably thought we were food inspectors, and probably was scared we would get her shut down. Because she didn’t speak English, it would have made no sense to try and explain anything. But you know, on the other hand it’s sad, because in that split second, I’ve learned first hand what a closed world the Chinese live in. For them, Chinatown IS china. Anything outside of Chinatown is most likely unbeknown to them. However, in the end it did not matter to me, because I was enjoying myself with good people, who also happen to be photographers too (we can all relate LOL).
Unfortunately, I didn’t shoot as much photos as I would have liked; not because the Chinese had issues with us, it was just too damn crowded. I’ve learned that this is something that’s not for me. I wouldn’t go unless I was with friends. However, on the upside of things, I did manage to obtain some really interesting shots. So I guess I can say it was kind of worth it. We were at a park near Bayard Street. Again, a whole new world. There were people playing live traditional Chinese music, as well as singing in their own language. Please don’t take this the wrong way (it is not meant to disrespect), but when I heard them bang that Chinese musical symbols, it immediately took me back to those old 60-70’s karate movies. It also made me think I’d wish I’d gone to the Hong Kong Dragon boat festival. But to be honest it was too far, plus I’d rather go with my photo group. I’ll see if the guys want to go next year. Speaking of martial arts, there were people performing what looked like Tai Chi. This was a pain in the ass for me, because they were practicing in very dark shade, and it was difficult finding and adjusting the right camera settings without disturbing them. Well, like I’ve said, despite the minor difficulties and annoyances I’ve experienced; I obtained some great shots today! So I’m not sorry I went. Plus I got to laugh and have fun with some new friends.
It was a beautiful day today, so I decided to walk around my neighborhood and take some photographs. You know, the Bronx has obtained such a bad reputation over the last 3 or so decades. However, the Bronx (like so many other boroughs) is rich with culture and life! Construction workers working hard, Yankee fans, children, guys playing sports, landmarks, interesting trash (yes I find beauty even in garbage), all within a couple of hours in a very small section of the Bronx. Anyone that thinks the Bronx has no photo opportunities is sadly mistaken. One thing I have noticed though, there does seem to be slight difference in experience when photographing up in the Bronx. Every once in a while, I’d notice a couple of Manhattenites run away when they see someone with a big camera LOL. However, most Bronx people really don’t care, we live our lives normally as though the camera wasn’t there (for the most part). Which is a good thing. I enjoyed taking pictures of my neighborhood; I’ve actually forgotten how colorful it actually is. Then again, I’ve realized that once you start taking photographs of your neighborhood as a photographer, you see everything differently; you start to notice things you never knew before. By the way, I want to remind newbie photographers that photographs with logos are for personal use only (for such use as a blog); and cannot be sold or submitted in any art gallery.
Today, I went to see the Manhattanhenge @ The Gantry Plaza in Long Island City. You can read about what the Manhattanhenge is here. I got there kind of early, so I walked around before it was time to meetup with members of my camera group. I got some nice shots of people playing sports, and just relaxing having a good time. Unfortunately, I did not get a shot of the sun because it did not travel in the location it was supposed to; plus there were some clouds blocking the spectacular experience 🙁 . Oh well, the good thing was that, as always I try to think positive and got some other interesting photographs, so the day wasn’t a total loss. I met some incredibly nice people, both in my photography group, and strangers I’ve met in L.I.C. I managed to get quite a few shots of the brilliant sun over the buildings (before the sun went down). As I walked along Central BLVD, I discovered people were actually fishing. I didn’t realize you can do that there! It was really interesting to see. Every time someone has ever talked about fishing, it usually involves a boat, and or traveling to Great Lakes somewhere. I was so happy I decided to bring my tripod, because as it got dark, it became really difficult to take pictures. For me, it was a totally different experience shooting at night; and if I didn’t have my tripod, I don’t think I would have gotten any shots at night. Despite the fact that we did not get any photographs of the “Manhattanhenge,” I had a wonderful experience meeting new friends (and an old one). Time sure flew, and I guess it was because I was having fun! I just realized I barely took any pictures of my new friends 🙁 . I will make sure I am more mindful next time 🙂 . New York is such a beautiful place to shoot photos, I don’t understand when people “I don’t get street photography.” I decided to do something a little different with my camera. I did some “in camera processing.” For today’s event, I have done no processing on my computer for these shots. Ahhhhhh it’s wonderful to be different and unique, and not play follow the leader.
Boy, I am so happy I came home in good spirits, because we all know there is always someone waiting around the corner (loitering) to say something negative, stupid, and uncalled for. And obviously these same people think the intended person is deaf. The only thing I will say about this ignorant person’s comment is that; yes, it would be nice to have everybody’s support, but, I know that despite all the positive things I’ve done, there still exist miserable people who make it a point to say something stupid against me. However, there is enough people that now DO understand, so what you’ve said under your breath is unimportant. Not only that, a lot of people around you think your unimportant too. So stop trying to make yourself bigger than what you actually are. I don’t need your kind of support. I know that I am not only talented, but creative in what I do; my actions over the years speak for itself, which says more than what the hater’s have done (other than blab every change they get. I am happy with that fact. I do hope that one day some of you haters snap out of your miserableness, because I’m having fun doing what I love to do. I don’t need your seal of approval. Crack open book, please.