A woman stands on a bench to photograph a brick wall along the High Line Park, New York.
I made this photograph on a winter’s day walk along the High Line Park in western Manhattan — the increasingly well-known park that extends along the abandoned path of an old elevated railroad bed. The park is very popular, and even on a winter day there were many, many people out walking along it, and the surrounding neighborhoods were also filled. Of course, there is a lot going on in this Chelsea neighborhood — the Whitney Museum is now open at the southern end of the park, there are lots of restaurants and more along its length, and the north end now terminates at the busy construction site of the Hudson Yards.
When I made the photograph I probably wasn’t thinking consciously about much or than the possibility of isolating the figure of the woman, engrossed in making a close up photograph the bricks, against the small and large patterns of the background wall, with the slight natural intrusion of the tree at the right edge. Later I thought about what she was photographing, and how most people might simply wonder what the heck she sees there, in a place where there is nothing apparent to photograph. This might be a bit of a metaphor for lots of photography, where the act of capturing “something you see” defines your world and presents a personal vision of it to others. And I still do like the complex set of interlocking patterns of the wall, the wooden structure, the window, and the single figure.
The East River and Manhattan Bridge, photographed from the Brooklyn Bridge, winter.
During our recent December 2015 week-plus in New York City we stayed only a five or ten minute walk from the Brooklyn end of the Brooklyn Bridge. Primarily that put us in a great area for food and other things and very close to a bunch of subway stations, but it also meant that a walk on the bridge was almost inevitable. On this day we had a date at the Metropolitan Opera in the evening, but we found ourselves with just enough time to wander onto the bridge before we had to go to Manhattan.
This bridge is, of course, a tremendously popular place these days. Even on a cold day after Christmas there were hordes of people walking across. I think I’ve made the classic photograph of the bridge towers and cables before, so I was looking for something that wasn’t that. As I walked along I noticed how the Manhattan Bridge towers (and other urban landscape elements in other photographs not shown here) lined up between the cables, and I soon found this spot that placed parts of the bridge structure in the foreground.
Visitors to Griffith Observatory overlook Los Angeles twilight.
We were in Southern California over the Thanksgiving holiday, visiting our daughter and son-in-law. On the weekend we decided to head up to Los Angeles for various things, including a visit to the Frans Lanting show at the Annenberg Space for Photography. We finished up there, headed out for food (of course!) and then decided to head to Griffith Park.
We were apparently among approximately 350,000 people with the same idea! I’m not sure what a typical crowd looks like here, but this one was huge. We finally abandoned our rental car well below the observatory and found a shuttle bus that went up the hill. We arrived a bit before sunset and found that hordes were already there. But I can see why — it is a spectacular location. Although I was only carrying my “little camera,” I decided to see what I could come up with. Eventually I photographed the actual sunset, but first I turned the camera towards the people crowded onto the walkways around the observatory and standing in the beautiful light watching the evening develop.
Tourists on a late-night walk pass closed Chinatown shops in San Francisco
This is (yet another!) night street photography image made on one of my summer night walks in The City, in this case between roughly Union Square and almost to North Beach. A group of us meets up to photograph these subjects every so often. We begin before sunset and then continue walking, watching, and photographing right on into the night.
I recently read a nice description of part of what is appealing about photographing the street at night. In the daytime everything is more or less evenly lit, but at night small groups move into and out of the light, becoming “spotlighted” against the backdrop of the night. In places where we might see undifferentiated subjects in the daytime, subjects that pass though localized pools for light acquire more importance, and other elements of the scene recede. Here a small group of slightly uncomfortable-looking tourists shuffles past the closed up storefronts of Chinatown. Something about the group does not look entirely comfortable with their surroundings.
Steep coastal ridges run down to the edge of the Pacific Ocean, Northern California
Having lived not far from the Pacific Ocean for more than a couple of decades, I am lucky to have regular access to the California coastline and its often dramatic meeting of land and sea. Due to proximity, my home territory is the section between just north of San Francisco and down through the upper portions of the Big Sur coast. The shouldn’t be any surprise, given the number of photographs of that area that I have made.
Oddly, for a near-native Californian, I had little experience with the coastline farther north. I had made it up as far as Fort Ross a few times, but every time I went north in the state I headed inland. Some years back we began to rectify this omission with some visits to the Mendocino area. I still haven’t gotten my mind completely around photographing this particular coast, but I’m learning. While we think of the coast as being somewhat civilized, with roads traversing it and passing from town to town, the actual meeting of land and water remains mostly a rugged wilderness. I made this photograph from a spot that it at the edge of one of these wilderness sections, where the roads cut inland and leave the coast to the birds and the sea life.
Cliffs and eroded towers near Fruita, Capitol Reef National Park
I’m a sucker for juxtapositions of mountains and cliffs, and sunlit and shadowed surfaces. (In fact, “juxtaposition” is a word I think about a lot when making photographs.) This part of the world provides these juxtapositions with a vengeance. Everywhere in the red rock country of the Southwest there are sandstone walls, lined up, building one on top of the other, standing in front of and behind each other, layered with eroded rock and soil, standing above valleys and beyond lower ridges.
We had only a brief time to photograph on this first afternoon in Capitol Reef National Park. I had arrived in the middle of the afternoon and then busied myself with setting up a tent and a few other camp chores, plus catching up on the news with my friend Dave. By the time all of these important things had been taken care of the sun was rapidly dropping toward the horizon, so we quickly headed to a nearby area to see what sort of late-day light we could find. Literally within minutes of leaving our campground (which is just to the right of the shadowed trees visible in the lower part of the photograph) we came upon this intense and saturated late-day light, with shadows starting to stretch across the valley and the low foreground ridges.
Bicycles lean against an old stone wall in Salzburg, Austria
This is another photograph from our visit to England, Germany, and Salzburg, Austria a few summers ago. (We need to go back! Not this summer, though.) From our “home base” in Heidelberg, Germany we travelled south by train to Salzburg on our way to Bavaria, where a big group of us stayed in a farm-house near Berchtesgaden and the Königsee for a week.
Since that area is so close to Salzburg and since we arrive and departed via that city, we ended up visiting Salzburg several times, often walking around the city with cameras at the ready. Cars really can’t get into the central old town area, so almost everyone walks, with bicycles serving as a faster mode of transportation for some. And there are bicycles everywhere, including these two parked against a very old stone wall.