New York

20 Best Photos of 2016

Time once again for the annual struggle to choose 20 photos that best represent my year in photography. As any creative-type might imagine, the process of choosing images for the Year in Review is both rewarding (in sifting through the thousands of photos taken this year, I found a few nice surprises that I'd overlooked at the time) and torturing ("was last year's Year in Review better? Am I actually getting worse at this? Were these really the best shots that I got?")

In choosing this year's favorites, I noticed the following:

1) I took tens of thousands of photos of my 1 year old daughter this year, and not much else. There were just a handful of days this year that I actually went out to take pictures. New Year's Resolution #1 for 2017 is to get out there and shoot more.  

2) I don't know if this represents an evolving personal style, but this year, a few things caught my eye much more-so than in years past: geometry, primary colors and umbrellas. Read into that what you may.

Without further ado: 
 

"Tribute in Light" September 11, 2016. New York City
Fujifilm XPro1, 14mm, f/8, 10s, ISO 400

I've been photographing the September 11th Tribute in Light for about five years now, and each year I try to find a new vantage point. This year, I planned to start on the Manhattan Bridge and make my way into the city to wander the streets around Lower Manhattan. But the views were so stunning, I spent 3+ hours on the bridge and called it a night.

"Tribute in Light over Chinatown" September 11, 2016. New York City
Fujifilm XPro1, 14mm, f/4, 2s, ISO 200

Another one from September 11th. This one was taken a few hours later from the Manhattan end of the bridge. The graffiti in the foreground is Chinatown, and the smell from the bridge was amazing. After taking this photo, I called it quits and went for dumplings.   

"A ray of hope. Wall Street, 9:25 a.m." October, 2016. New York City
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO 200

Presidential debate #2 between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was an especially dark, ugly and discouraging affair, sure to make anyone anxious-at-best about the future of our country. The next morning on the way to work, I climbed the stairs from the subway, stepped out onto Wall Street and saw this.  

"The center of attention" May 2016. Downtown Los Angeles
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/8, 1/125, ISO 1000

I'd love to say this moment just happened. But I camped out in this spot for about 15 minutes hoping a pedestrian would walk through the street instead of along the sidewalk.

"The Refresher" September 2016. Los Angeles
Fujifilm XPro2, 35mm, f/8, 1/150, ISO 200

Los Angeles' original Farmer's Market is amazing for vintage signs and old school Americana. I was taking photos of this great old soda shop when this guy wandered into my shot. Sometimes the photography gods just hand you a scene from a Wes Anderson movie and you just have to be there to take the picture. 

"Beautiful" November, 2016. Brick Lane, London U.K. 
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/8, 1/125, ISO 2000

Full credit for this photo goes to the graffiti artist. 

"Baltimore's Best Pawn" April, 2016. Westminster, MD
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/350, ISO 200

I mean, come on. You couldn't have asked for a better car to be parked there. Even the colors on the Louisiana license plate match.

"Stripes and squares" May, 2016. Downtown Los Angeles
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO 200

Downtown L.A. is weird. There are pedestrian overpasses connecting nearly every building so it's entirely possible to traverse the city without ever touching the sidewalk. It must make urban planners insane. On the bright side, the walkways offer some interesting perspectives, transforming the streetscape below into a living Mondrian painting. 

"Calling for snow" January, 2016. Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
Fujifilm XPro1, 35mm, f/1.4, 1/2000, ISO 640

In January, New York got the largest snowstorm on record with 27.5 inches falling in Central Park. Laziness prevailed and I only made it about four blocks from home before deciding it was too cold/windy/snowy and calling it quits. I'd make a terrible mailman.   

"Off duty" January, 2016. Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
Fujifilm XPro1, 35mm, f/1.4, 1/2000, ISO 400

This photo was taken about a half block down from the previous one. I told you I didn't make it far. 

"Black and blue" May, 2016. Downtown Los Angeles
Fujifilm XPro1, 56mm, f/8, 1/125, ISO 500

This was another intervention from the photography gods. I was working this scene, taking some really mediocre photos of the reflection of these umbrellas in the marble when this guy in his perfectly matching blue shirt walked out to take a phone call smack in the middle of my shot. 

"Come together" March, 2016. New York City
Apple iPhone 6

One of my favorite photographers, Jay Maisel, says that all great photographs are about one of three things: Light, Color or Gesture. Light and color are easy to understand. Gesture is a bit harder to explain, but you know it when you see it. 

"The interloper" September, 2016. The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
Fujifilm XPro2, 14mm, f/8, 1/100, ISO 500

One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong...

"Buff" May, 2016. Downtown Los Angeles
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/8, 1/100, ISO 6400

We were staying at the Standard Hotel in Downtown L.A. for a quick work trip. I stepped out of the elevators and saw this. 

"Somewhere West" May, 2016. Location unknown
Fujifilm XPro1, 56mm, f/6.4, 1/2200, ISO 200

I took this photo from the airplane window on the way to the LA trip mentioned above. Taken somewhere between Kansas and California. 

"Santa Barbara Sunrise" September, 2016. Santa Barbara, CA
Fujifilm XPro2, 56mm, f/8, 1/850, ISO 200

While staying in Santa Barbara, I motivated myself to get out of bed stupid-early in the morning and go try to take some photos from the pier at sunrise. It was the right decision.

"The night swimmer" August, 2016. Santa Monica, CA
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/2, 1/70, ISO 6400

I took 20 or 30 shots of this kid running in and out of the surf. Not many came out. Not because they were out-of-focus, but because he needed the lightness of the waves crashing in the background in order to make out the shape of his silhouette. 

"Chase" May, 2016. Pier 5, Brooklyn, NY
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/16, 1/900, ISO 800

The nice thing about taking the ferry to work is that, instead of crowding onto a train and being wedged into a stranger's armpit, your commute home looks more like this. 

"Limitless" November, 2016. Brighton, U.K. 
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO 200

At the end of Brighton Pier there's an amusement park. This shot was taken at the trampolines.

"West Pier" Novmber, 2016. Brighton, U.K.
Fujifilm XPro1, 14mm, f/16, 28s, ISO 200

Closed in 1975, Brighton's West Pier sat vacant and partially collapsed for years, until a fire gutted the structure in 2003. To get the ghostly effect in the water, this photo is a 28 second long exposure. I got this shot just in the nick of time. A few minutes later, those storm clouds unleashed a massive downpour and I went for fish and chips. 

Thanks for reading! And if you want to see more, you can check out 2105's Year in Review. Or 2014's Year in Review. Or follow me on Flickr or Instagram

20 Best Photos of 2015

In June, my wife and I had a daughter. Which means that 95% of the photos I took in 2015 were baby photos. Here are the best of the rest. 

Click on any photo to view it in lightbox mode

"The snowstorm and the smokehouse" January 2015. New York City
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/20, ISO 6400

In January, winter storm Juno was forecast to bring a major blizzard to New York City. The storm missed New York (sorry Boston!), but gave us enough snow for some magical twilight photos on Stone Street in the Financial District. I love the way the warm glow from the lights plays against the blue evening sky in the distance.  

"Sunset snapshot" April, 2015 Islamorada, Florida Keys
Fujifilm XPro1, 14mm, f/4.0, 4.3, ISO 200

One of the most annoying things that can happen as a photographer is to frame up a beautiful shot of the last fleeting moments of the sunset only to have a bunch of thirteen year olds walk into said sunset shot and start posing for several hundred iPhone photos. After briefly cursing them and wishing that they would fall off the end of the pier, I realized I could use them to make a more interesting photo. I used a slow shutter speed to capture the flash from their iPhone, which cast a spotlight onto the girls while leaving the boys in silhouette. 

"Bahia Honda State Park" April, 2015 Florida Keys
Fujifilm XPro1, 14mm, f/11, 210s, ISO 200

Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys is at the foot of an old abandoned railroad bridge.  To get the smooth water effect and movement in the clouds, I used a three minute long exposure. Here's a shot from the other side of the bridge.

"!" April, 2015, Islamorada Florida
Fujifilm XPro1, 14mm, f/8, 340s, ISO 200

Here's another long exposure shot from the Florida Keys. This photo was taken at the Amara Cay Resort in Islamorada. This exposure was nearly six minutes long. It's also cool in Black and White

"Daybreak in Jamestown" November, 2015 Jamestown, Rhode Island
Fujifilm XPro1, 56mm, f/16, 1/125, ISO 200

I guess I had a thing for water and pylons this year. This shot is taken at sunrise in Jamestown, Rhode Island. I love the ethereal mood created by the fog rolling across the harbor.

"Washington, DC sunrise" November, 2015, Washington, DC
Fujifilm XPro1, 56mm, f/8, 1/25, ISO 200

This was taken just before sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. To get the reflection in the marble, I sat on the floor and set the camera on the ground.   

"Here comes the sun" November, 2015, Washington, DC
Fujifilm XPro1, 14mm, f/22, 1/125, ISO 1600

It wasn't easy to get this shot from inside the Lincoln Memorial. There was a boot camp class with about three hundred people running laps up and down the stairs and weaving in and out of the pillars. Fortunately, I got enough of a break between runners to make it seem like a much quieter morning than it actually was. The lone runner created just enough mystery to the shot with the shadow on the wall. 

"The Bird Feeder" December 25, 2015, Coney Island, NY
iPhone 6

Coney Island is magical in the fog. Especially on Christmas Morning. Something about this photo feels like it could have been taken 75 years ago.  

"Head in the clouds" March 2015, New York, NY
iPhone 6

I took this photo of the clouds draped over downtown Brooklyn from my office window in Lower Manhattan. 

"Across the bridge" August, 2015 New York, NY
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/16, 1/80, ISO 6400

The new transportation hub at the World Trade Center is controversial because of its four billion dollar price tag. But it does make for some really great photo ops.  

"Scenes from a Taxi" August 2015, New York, NY
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/4, 1/9, ISO 6400

I took this photo of the World Trade Center from the back seat of a taxi somewhere in TriBeCa. The red glow is from another car's brake lights hitting the plexiglass divider in the cab.

"31st Street Sunset" August 2015, New York, NY
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/8, 1/90, ISO 6400

I'd just gotten off a train from Washington, DC and turned the corner in front of Amtrak's Penn Station just in time to catch this incredible sunset. I love the way the neon lights along the side of Madison Square Garden blend with the purple glow in the sky and reflect on the buildings across the street.  

"Never sleeps" November, 2015 New York, NY
Fujifilm XPro1, 35mm, f/8, 8, ISO 200

In November, we edited a film project at a studio called Work in TriBeCa. This is the view from their office. Not bad. 

"Castle Hill Lighthouse" November 2015, Newport, Rhode Island
Fujifilm XPro1, 14mm, f/11, 1/125, ISO 500

Hard to go wrong with lighthouse shots. This one was from a trip to Newport, Rhode Island in November. I like the way the cracks in the rocky cliffs draw your eye down to the lighthouse. Classic leading lines stuff. 

"Lincoln Memorial Reflections" November 2015, Washington, DC
Fujifilm XPro1, 14mm, f/3.2, 1/140, ISO 2500

The trouble with shooting famous landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial is that it's photographed thousands of times every single day. And often by photographers with much fancier equipment. To avoid taking the same postcard picture everyone else took, I came out at sunrise to try to find a unique perspective. I found it in a tiny puddle of water on top of a metal wayfinding sign. 

"Not Forgotten" September 2015, Jersey City, NJ
Fujifilm XPro1, 56mm, f/2, 1/30, ISO 6400

The September 11th Tribute in Light as seen from the waterfront in Jersey City, New Jersey. 

"Statue of Liberty at Sunset" December, 2015 Brooklyn, New York
Fujifilm XPro1, 200mm, f/4.8, 1/25, ISO 800

This was shot from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade with my telephoto lens at 200mm, using the fence as a makeshift tripod. 

"Synchronized selfies" December 2015, Brooklyn Bridge, NY
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/2, 1/20, ISO 3200

Millenials. 

"But I hadn't run out of things to say to you" July 2015, Brooklyn, NY
iPhone 6

I saw this scene while walking the dog. I have so many questions. 

"Tough crowd" April, 2015, Central Park, NY
Fujifilm X100s, f/8, 1/240, ISO 400

New Yorkers are a hard bunch to impress. 

Thanks for reading! And if you want to see more, you can check out last year's Year in Review. Or follow me on Flickr or Instagram

The Historic Uber Apocalyptic Megastorm Blizzard That Wasn't

Last week, New York was supposed to get clobbered by a snowstorm of epic proportions. After everyone freaked out and cleared the supermarkets of all things edible, we got about 4 inches. While it wasn't exactly a winter wonderland, it did make for some snow-globe-like photos. Here are a few favorites from around the Financial District.  

Stone Street

Stone Street

Stone Street Selfie

The Charging Bull Statue at Bowling Green

Delmonico's Steakhouse

Broad Street

Broadway at Cedar Street

The Charging Bull Statue at Bowling Green

Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade 2014, East Village, New York

On Saturday, Tompkins Square Park in New York's East Village hosted the 24th annual dog halloween costume parade. According to CNN, it's the largest dog costume parade in the world. It's also arguably the most adorable. Here are some of my favorites from the day. Pity Dog Halloween only comes once a year.  

Check out the iPhone case

Steve and Nick's Wedding - Central Park, New York

Talk about an amazing destination wedding. On September 20th, Steve, Nick and 25 of their closest friends traveled from London to New York celebrate their union at the Cop Cot in New York's Central Park. They couldn't have asked for a nicer day. With perfect weather, lots of laughter and so many excited friends, the wedding was a joy to attend. Congratulations to Steve and Nick and thank you for your hospitality and the huge honor of photographing your wedding! 

We started the day with some wedding portraits in Steve and Nick's hotel room at the Viceroy in midtown Manhattan. The light from the huge windows was fantastic.  

After a few pre-wedding portraits, we headed downstairs to Kingside to meet the guests for Champagne and pastries.

Afterwards, everyone headed over to Central Park for the wedding ceremony.

But first a few photos. (I'm always a sucker for the selfie shot.) 

Steve and Nick's wedding took place Inside the Cop Cot, a rustic wooden gazebo on the crest of a hill at the southeast corner of Central Park  

Rev. Annie Lawrence gave a beautiful ceremony. 

Group photo with all of the guests. 

And here's a picture of me taking a picture of them. Thanks for the behind the scenes shot, Rev. Annie Lawrence! 

Congratulations Steve and Nick! Thanks again for inviting me to be a part of your wedding day!

September 11th, a Tribute in Light

Tonight, New York will remember the lives lost on September 11th with the annual Tribute in Light memorial. The Tribute is a breathtaking art installation made of 88 xenon light cannons which shine from the shadow of the World Trade Center into infinity. The lights can be seen from 60 miles away. I've spent the last two September 11ths capturing images of the display. Here are some of the better images from the Brooklyn waterfront (2012) and Lower Manhattan (2013).

Brooklyn Bridge Park, 2012

West Side Highway, 2013

Lower Manhattan, 2013

DUMBO, Brooklyn 2012

Brooklyn Bridge Park, 2012

Zuccotti Park, Manhattan, 2013

West Side Highway, 2013

Vesey Street, Manhattan 2013

This is Robinson. He told me that his cousin passed away in the towers. He moved to the US from the Dominican Republic. On 9/11 he was 10 years old. 

DUMBO Brooklyn, 2012

DUMBO, Brooklyn 2012

From the roof where they hold the light canons. Lower Manhattan, 2013

From the roof where they hold the light canons. Lower Manhattan, 2013

Event: Pooja and Chris's Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

Last Friday night I had the pleasure of capturing the memories from Pooja and Chris's wedding rehearsal dinner aboard the Atlantis cruise yacht in New York. After a few portraits by the waterfront in Jersey City, we set sail along the Manhattan shoreline, with a trip up the Hudson and the East Rivers and a grand finale at the State of Liberty. Perfect weather, an amazing party and a very, very happy couple. Congratulations to Pooja and Chris!

Event: Debbie and Dan's Surprise 35th Anniversary Party

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of photographing Debbie and Dan's surprise 35th wedding anniversary party at F&G Pine Restaurant in the Bronx. It was a fantastic party. Their wonderful family came in from around New York, Connecticut and even Florida for the event. And Debbie and Dan were definitely surprised! Congratulations!