New York Bocce Volo

Last month we visited New York City and were lucky enough to have unseasonably warm weather and no snow. At lunchtime we were sitting in Bryant Park, behind the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue and I watched there three older gentlemen also outside enjoying the weather with a game of bocce volo. These guys were good, clearly having played for years.



52 Week Challenge: Week 40

WEEK 40: Portrait: Sitting in a Chair – Either a formal sitting portrait or a re-interpretation of this classic. Photography your subject sitting in a chair.

With the lack of willing models available to me I decided to get creative with this one. At a recent visit to MoMA in New York City I was looking through the blinds in the cafeteria and into the museum’s courtyard below. I took a couple of shots focusing on the blinds and then the courtyard and have merged them, having desaturated the main subjects, to emphasize that they are outside, yet still inside the museum confines.



52 Week Challenge: Week 31

WEEK 31: Portrait: Street Candid – Candids on the street, show us life in your town through the lens.

OK, it’s not my town, but it is my side of the country at least, and quite nearby. I took this on a recent trip to NYC. A particularly muscular looking chap was using the reflective properties of a storefront to help his extremely strenuous workout with a resistance band. How ironic that he was stood next to a parasol advertising 100% beef…



Urban(e) Art?

As a biologist I have an affinity for the so-called natural world and the beauty of nature but, having said that, there is also a lot of unseen beauty in many mundane areas of our industrialized world. One aspect that I like to explore photographically when taking a trip to our cities, is that of reflection in our glass superstructures.

This was taken in Manhattan from my hotel window and there is a wonderful mix of  the perfect straight lines and the waviness of the reflections in the not-so-perfect glass windows.



Never too old to celebrate…

We were in Manhattan at the weekend, on the same day as the Puerto Rican Day Parade. This is held on the second Sunday in June and was established in 1958. It was colorful and noisy, with lots of streets blocked off for the parade along Fifth Avenue.

People of all ages take part, and you’re never too old to celebrate, as demonstrated by this older gentleman on roller blades, who was keen to show me he could still do the splits!


I hope I am that fit when I get to his age!



Lost …?

It’s been a while since I posted here. A combination of international travel, lack of internet access and general ennuie creeping in perhaps? On a  weekend trip to NYC we stepped out from the hotel and the first person I saw was this colorful guy.


What sort of a message is this conveying?



The Empire State Building

At 1454 feet (443m) tall, the Empire State Building (ESB) is a very impressive art deco skyscraper that was the tallest building in New York City from 1931 until 1970 and then again from September 2001 until April 2012. Globally, it is as iconic as the Statue of Liberty, Big Ben and The Eiffel Tower in being able to instantly identify with a country and city.

There have probably been millions of photographs taken of the ESB in just the last few years so I was pleased to be able to get an unusual angle with the cross atop The Guardian Angel Church juxtaposed against this behemoth of a building.

Philosophically deep and meaningful? Maybe, you tell me!  Interesting composition? I like to think so 😉



The Other Art of(f) the High Line

As intimated in my earlier postings yesterday and Monday the New York High Line features several worthy art installations along its 1.4 mile length. However, there are also other artistic perspectives to be seen in the local environment too. In addition to the “Young Veezy” art I showed yesterday  particularly liked a few other other graffiti works that are easily seen on the walk.



This is definitely going to become a place I try to visit more, and in different seasons too.


A new focus from the High Line in NYC

Yesterday’s trip to the Big Apple was a bit of an eye opener for me. Despite trying to get inspired by the dogwood52 challenge that I have forced myself to participate in for the last 19 weeks, I have really been neglecting my photographing activities on the whole. One could say I have lost my focus (appalling pun intended!). Thus, knowing that I would have several hours free time in NYC yesterday I made a point of packing up my bag to include my Panasonic GX-8 with a 20mm f/1.7 and a 45-200mm f/4.0-5.6 lens.

I also took along my trusty Panasonic LX5 and removed its external LVF so that I could keep it handy in my pocket. I thought about getting some decent street/urban shots but, to be honest, I still feel very self-conscious about this and don’t want to intrude too much into people’s lives. It’s just my opinion, but I strongly believe that the ways of the Garry Winogrand “in yer face” approach are long-gone and people are much more suspicious and unforgiving than they were even 20 years ago. I want to get home in one piece.

Anyhow, as I mentioned yesterday I took a leisurely stroll along the High Line and was pleasantly surprised not only by the art installations but also the views of the buildings and the creativity that has been used in the area. This extends from the place itself into the neighboring buildings and also into some of the graffiti in the area.



Being alone in the city as a tourist can be a little strange; for example, there is no-one to share your thoughts or discoveries with but on the other hand it does afford a time of quiet self-reflection from the normal busy day. I used the time to wander aimlessly along and to “see things again” through my cameras, unfettered by a tight schedule or the wants of others.

Part of Untitled (Swan) by Matt Johnson


After an hour or so on the High Line, generally making myself a nuisance to other users and drawing some confused looks from tourists, some of whom wondered why the old guy was taking photos of a wall or getting low to the ground*, I felt as though I had reset myself. As I headed up to Central Park it was as if I was able to focus on my photography like I used to.



* as an aside this is a great way to get strangers to look at all sorts of odd things and almost start a chain reaction of crowd behavior. It’s surprising just how few people will actually ask what you are trying to see!  



I was fortunate to be in New York City for a day and had time to visit the High Line for the first time. This old elevated railway line ceased to be used in 1980 but was saved and converted into a 1.45 mile walk over the last 15 years or so. It first opened to the public in 2009 and includes planting and art installations as well as great views of the city. It is well worth the effort to see when visiting Manhattan.

Like many of the other visitors on this bright, but windy day I was particularly struck by Tony Matelli’s amazingly realistic painted bronze sculpture, “Sleepwalker.” Initially I thought it was a performance artist but quickly realized that there was no way he could have maintained that pose in the strong gusts of wind, and without goosebumps! It is a very interesting piece and got me a-thinkin’…

Sleepwalker by Tony Matelli


~ Sleepwalker ~

Immobile he stands

With arms outstretched

Reaching for something


What triggered his moment

Now frozen in time?

One thing is clear,

We all need a door.

Even those who sleepwalk

In daylight…



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