Cliché roundup—the Brooklyn Bridge with my X-E1

I understand that more than 8 million people live in New York City. I understand that NYC is a popular destination for millions more business people and tourists each year. And I also understand that the Brooklyn Bridge has been photographed by every single one of those people, multiple times.

I don't care. 

These are the pictures I took of the Brooklyn Bridge with my Fujifilm X-E1 and I like them. 

So there. Now it's millions and millions plus one.


Temple of learning—New York City Public Library

Now that I've transferred this site over to Squarespace 6, it's time to get cracking on the blog again. I'm pleased with the way things are displaying so far and I'm looking forward to using the increased flexibility for the galleries and for the blog itself.

The pictures in this entry were all taken with my Fujifilm X-E1 while in New York City for a week in July. It was great to get a block of time where I could concentrate on photography, so I tried to make good use of it. The X-E2 has just been released, but I think it'll be a little while before I can justify stepping up to a new body when I bought this one just a year ago. Still, the improved speed and image quality of the new X-Trans CMOS II sensor does sound pretty tempting. On the other hand, the "Lens Modulation Optimizer" sounds like something Marvin the Martian might use as a weapon.

But back to the pictures. The Main Branch of the New York Public Library (also known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building) was built on top of a former reservoir in Manhattan between 1897 and 1911. Every corner of the building speaks of a high regard for literacy and written culture as foundations of the world we know.

Public libraries are having to reinvent themselves and many are scrambling for funding to avoid becoming "book museums" in the face of the digital revolution. For the last several centuries, though, they were centres of entertainment, socializing, self-improvement and democratic education of citizens. Today we have instant access to a staggering range of "content" day and night on portable devices and I like the new access. I'm just not always sure that we are better people or better citizens for it.

Guggenheim in monochrome


Guggenheim 3 -- Fujifilm XE-1 - 14mm - f/11 - 1/350 sec - ISO 200The term is overused, but the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum truly is an iconic piece of architecture and instantly recognizable. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, it is as much a work of art as any of the pieces displayed within its walls.

I've admired the building on previous trips to New York City but this is the first time I've had the opportunity to visit the gallery. Unfortunately, the current installation by artist James Turrell means that the famous interior spiral ramp is completely covered by projection screens. Great for lovers of Turrell's work with light; not so great for anyone who wants to experience the unique design of the gallery.

I may have spent as long photographing the building as I did visiting the exhibits inside. The curves and lines cry out for abstract treatment and it gave me the opportunity to try out the black and white mode of the Fujifilm X-E1, using the simulated red filter to darken skies.

I wasn't disappointed. The resulting JPEGs, while not completely straight-out-of-the-camera (I did make some contrast adjustments), showed a pleasing tonal range and held highlights well. I'm becoming increasingly confident that the JPEGs the X-E1 produces stand up with little or no post-processing.

I think I'll be doing a lot more black and white work with this camera.

Geggenheim 6 -- Fujifilm X-E1 - 14mm - f/11 - 1/220 sec - ISO 200Guggenheim 12 -- Fujifilm X-E1 - 18-55mm @ 55mm - f/8 - 1/1800 sec - ISO 200Guggenheim 4 -- Fujifilm X-E1 - 14mm - f/11 - 1/240 sec - ISO 200Guggenheim 2 -- Fujifilm X-E1 - 18-55mm @ 55mm - f/8 - 1/320 sec - ISO 200

Rockefeller Center (with the Fujinon 14mm)

Radio City (Tony Bennett) -- Fuji X-E1 - 14mm - f/2.8 - 1/60 sec - ISO 800I recently had the chance to spend a week in New York City on my own. It's rare that I take a trip without the family, so I decided to make the most of it and drew up a list of places I wanted to visit and photograph. Photography is always a part of any travelling we do, but it's freeing when you have only yourself to plHalal food -- Fuji X-E1 - 14mm - f/2.8 - 1/60 sec - ISO 800ease.

Just before taking the trip I decided to give my Fuji X-E1 a present: a new lens. I wavered back and forth between the Fujinon 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 and the 14mm f/2.8 before finally settling on the wide angle. The optical stabilization of the longer lens sounded interesting, but the wider lens has received rave reviews and better suits the kind of shooting I like to do.

These shots were all taken around the Rockefeller Center complex and the 14mm did not disappoint. It is a fantastic lens.Bags and shoes -- Fuji X-E1 - 14mm - f/2.8 - 1/220 sec - ISO 800

Anthropologie -- Fuji X-E1 - 14mm - f/2.8 - 1/85 sec - ISO 800

Manhattan at dusk

What else is there to say about New York? It is the archetype of the metropolis.

This was shot from the Top of the Rock, looking south over Manhattan. The Empire State Building is dead ahead and you can just make out the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

Few cities have played such a defining role in modern Western imagination. And it's still easy to see why.

New York grain

We spent three glorious days in NYC a week ago. If you're not caught in a late-winter blizzard, March break in Quebec often means grey skies, grey streets and grey scenery, so somewhere with a little more warmth and activity is always a welcome break.

New York is only a day's drive from here, but it could just as well be a world away. Not only is it warmer, but there's something to see and do on every street corner. A break for the soul, as well as for the body!

And it's a photographer's paradise. If you aren't moved visually by this city at any hour of the day or night, well, you need to put your camera away and take up Sudoku as a means of personal expression.

This shot was taken from the "Top of the Rock" at Rockefeller Center. The observation deck allows for fantastic views of the city in most directions and is a great vantage point for including the Empire State Building in panoramas. We went up just before sunset to get the best balance between the building lights and the glow of the sky. We weren't disappointed. I messed around a bit with the image in the desktop version of Snapseed, an inexpensive little image editor with fast and powerful tools. For about $20, it's a real deal, and it lets me experiment with RAW, JPEG and TIFF files non-destructively.

Still in the photographic line, we also visited B&H Photo and Video so I could pick up a new lens and make the pilgrimage to the superstore. I have never seen anything like it: a photographer's most vivid dream and combined with a descent into the ninth circle of retail hell. It's madness -- but what glorious and orderly madness!

Needless to say, we'll be going back to New York and more shots will follow on the blog.