My photo blog… visual thoughts around me.


NYC harborA-20

“OLD and the NEW”

I woke up very early Sunday morning preparing myself for the hour and a half drive ahead of me. I was off to shoot in the NYC harbor on what seemed, at the time, a large raft. I met the captain, Bjoern Kils and found out he grew up in northern Germany where I was born… the world just keeps getting smaller. I kept eyeing the craft and after stepping on board, was transfixed with how stable and open it was, great for the type of photography I was hoping to encounter. Our captain was the perfect host, as he kept our safety, weather and position on the boat a top priority. Bjoern, being a photojournalist full-time, would guide and position our boat into areas that would optimize our shooting opportunities. He filled our group in on the history and background of all that we would pass by that day. The wind and chop of the open bay made me more thoughtful of just how incredibly hard it must have been when hurricane Sandy hit this area.

For myself, I found out early on, that standing and shooting on a moving platform was a 50/50 experience. When the wind cuts across the bow, I had to place myself on the opposite side or better yet…duck behind someone. Ocean spray can do wonders to an otherwise dull bridge shot! Around each corner was another scene, ready to be captured and tamed by my viewfinder. I realized early on that the symmetrical formations in front of me were not unlike the landscape pics that I normally line up in my camera. There was a surreal quality to many of the compositions I encountered throughout the day. What struck me more than once was the beauty in an otherwise extremely urban seascape. The angle and perspective which presented itself was priceless, thanks to the captain and his craft’s maneuvering.

I grew up being driven, and later driving myself, past all the refineries, airports, rows upon rows of homes, and miles of turnpike exits to reach relatives and downtown NYC. What I was exposed to, on this trip, was another completely different layer in my quest to photograph my adventures. “Industrialized Symmetry” accentuated and enhanced the harborscape that surrounded me everywhere. This seemingly simple trip opened my eyes and lens to the world of the outer edge  of NYC.

A big thanks to Marty Joffe of the Ridgewood CC meetup group for finding and organizing this one of a kind photo excursion.



36 responses

  1. Cool. I like the double bridges and all the glass windows! Taking an overly complex scene and simplifying it through an image is a great experience to see in a different way. I find it’s fun to explore places to find these scenes, I just don’t have a lot of the “urban” around me currently! More deer and flowers, haha. Great shots Mike!


    July 9, 2013 at 7:08 pm

  2. Like radiant gems in all its brilliance. Beautiful images of place we hope to be close at.


    June 23, 2013 at 8:23 am

  3. What a great perspective. The water looks pretty choppy, though!
    A-26 stands out for me – the colours and texture tell a story, and I like the slightly abstract nature.


    June 9, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    • Hi Mike…. many have said the same thing about that pic… it did not strike me until I reviewed my images. The wind and water were very choppy to start … you would have laughed if you saw my out takes… front of the boat, my feet, sky and just really wonky horizons. Appreciate the visit.


      June 10, 2013 at 1:54 am

  4. Very nice series Mike. I especially like the sailboat shot! The color and clarity is great.


    June 7, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    • Hey Al thanks for the follow… that shot was one of the last for our trip and the light and background just made it pop.


      June 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm

  5. As always Mike, I enjoy your post immensely. The buildings and the ships hull just catch my eye (LOVE A-26 and A-7). Thanks for sharing!


    June 6, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    • So thats what caught your eye… those horizontal abstracts caught mine too. I had to wait until I opened them in LR before I realized how dynamic they could be.


      June 8, 2013 at 7:49 pm

  6. Great work Mike, though I’m not surprised.


    June 4, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    • Big thanks for the visit John… it was a much needed departure from our board meetings 🙂


      June 8, 2013 at 7:51 pm

  7. What stunning and dramatic vistas… Really lovely. I just adore the first (“Old and New”); it’s almost painterly.


    June 4, 2013 at 11:20 am

    • That one was very hard to line up…. our boat was moving and the city was moving in the opposite direction. Tried to wait until the Empire St bldg hit the opening and just had one try.


      June 8, 2013 at 7:54 pm

  8. Another great set. I love your instincts in applying the right post production treatment to each photograph. By the way, the first 3 images in this set would make an awesome triptych.


    June 3, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    • I now have some experimenting to do…triptych… I like it. Thanks Rich.


      June 8, 2013 at 7:55 pm

  9. You have an eye for capturing unexpected elements of beauty and a mind for appreciating such happy discoveries.


    June 3, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    • So glad the eye and mind lined up that day… really appreciate the comment.


      June 8, 2013 at 7:57 pm

  10. Skip Vandegrift

    Your eye and your brain are, as always, so well connected. Congrats!


    June 3, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    • Its the rest of the body that I am worried about… bouncing around in a small boat all day does some wear and tear… but thank god NO seasickness. Thanks Skip


      June 8, 2013 at 7:58 pm

  11. elizabeth

    I am so glad to be on your distribution list. Your work is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.


    June 3, 2013 at 11:10 am

    • I thank you for taking the time to view and comment.


      June 8, 2013 at 7:59 pm

  12. Nice work, Mike, and a nice write-up


    June 3, 2013 at 10:32 am

    • Just trying to keep in touch with my inner sailor… whats weird is that at the end of the trip when I hit the dock… there was no wobble 🙂


      June 8, 2013 at 8:01 pm

  13. Awesome, Mike. I especially like the first three shots of the buildings!


    June 3, 2013 at 9:47 am

    • Those were like an unexpected bonus at the end of the trip. These buildings and reflections just kept popping up. They really intrigued me also when I saw them in LR. Thanks for the follow.


      June 8, 2013 at 8:03 pm

  14. Pat

    A beautiful series!


    June 3, 2013 at 9:27 am

  15. Great shots Mike! You never know what interesting visuals there are from the water looking back at the shore and you certainly have an eye for finding them. The eagle’s nest , or at least that is what I think it is, is amazing — nature and industry merge and your striking look at the skyscrapers all bring a unique view of the NYC harbor.


    June 3, 2013 at 8:44 am

    • Yes Lisa, those buildings took on a really cool light and perspective… the only problem was … it was a moving canvas, so I only had glimpses of what was appearing in front of me. Oh, those birds nest were of ‘Cormorants’. I have always just seen their heads in the water and had never viewed the actual nest…. who woulda thunk 🙂
      Really nice to hear from you.


      June 8, 2013 at 8:10 pm

  16. Nice way to start my Monday. They are collective unique but I the cranes stood out for me.


    June 3, 2013 at 8:24 am

    • Big smile…. the first 30 or so cranes were not that exciting. Then the weather changed… bingo… clouds gave them a whole new life. Thanks for the follow.


      June 8, 2013 at 8:12 pm

  17. Linda Kamholz

    Beautiful gallery, Mike. Your post processing gave a unifying feel to the images. What a unique view of the area.


    June 3, 2013 at 6:57 am

    • Hi Linda… and you will also be going on this adventure… can’t wait to see your take on this place. Remember to time your up and down motion in the boat. I found that clicking on the up-rise gave me many more keepers 🙂


      June 8, 2013 at 8:15 pm

  18. Wow what a cool adventure! Excellent captures and your eye for theme and structure was really nice. Keep it up Mike!


    June 3, 2013 at 6:26 am

    • Many thanks for the visit Mike… you are very right… that structure just oozed out everywhere.


      June 8, 2013 at 8:17 pm

  19. Excellent set: a very new New York!


    June 3, 2013 at 4:25 am

    • This is one of coolest compliments… ‘very new New York’. Really appreciate you taking the time to visit.


      June 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm

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