Check out my New York field test with the impressive Canon TX1, you just might double take when you find out how big the camera is and how bad the weather was!
As soon as the tickets were booked for my most recent trip to NY I pulled up “Dashboard” on my laptop to check my weather “Widget”. Sadly I watched as little rain clouds and lighting bolts began to appear on the days I would be there. I had a fair amount of business to do while there, but I always enjoy a few days to get some personal pics in too. The trip ended up being, (as I call it), an “umbrella special”, and I found myself pushing the limits of the newCanon TX1 , as I fought with the wind and rain, until I learned to embrace the nasty weather.
I used to work retail selling cameras for many years while going to college, and the number one question people asked me was:
“Should I buy an SLR, or a Point and Shoot?”
I always told them that they would need to make that choice based on how the camera will be used and who will be using it. Almost every time, (if the budget allowed), I would end up selling two cameras, an entry level SLR, and a pocket sized camera too. I always explained they serve different purposes, and that they would want to be able to choose when one was needed more than the other. Well, years have passed now, and almost all cameras are digital, but I still believe that the same situation exists. However, as these little point and shoot cameras continue to increase in quality, (both in lenses and sensors), I believe the margin –at least as far as the novice, and intermediate consumer are concerned– gets blurrier by the day. Besides, you cant film progressive HD video on an SLR, at least not yet.
So with that, here are some of the photo’s of that trip, shot exclusively with the TX1, which I must tell you is no bigger than a box of Band-Aids. Oh yeah, and most of these were shot during rain storms and strong winds, under my trusty umbrella. So don’t try this with your $400 camera unless you have damage insurance from the store where you bought it. Consumer Reports tells us not to buy the extended warranties, but I bet they would think differently if they were to spend a day trying to help frustrated vacationers understand that, “Oh, actually the manufacturer won’t cover that”…. If I had a nickel every time I heard those words!
Also, many people that know me quickly assume that because I am an experienced artist, all my photographs are manipulated, and that they should not be shown as examples for the specific device. So, be assured that all these photos never left Adobe “Bridge”. in other words, if the scruffy kid at Walmart knew how to work the $40,000 photo machine in front of him, I could have brought the files there, as they were only corrected for color and exposure. Hope you like them!
The storm began to hit as I neared the water front and passed by these boats at the docks. The wind really kicked up and actually bent my borrowed umbrella, so I had to angle the umbrella off to the side, both to block the wind, and stay out of the shot. I love night photos as it allows me to really tweak the shutter, and exsensuate motion.
I snapped this photo from atop two stacked park benches, using a pocket tripod, long exposure, self timer, and again using the umbrella-barrier-technique. All the color is completely natural from the lights of surrounding restaurants/bars. I was way up on a bridge and then used the two benches to get up high enough to use a long lens and get ONLY the pylons, water, and color in the shot.
This was a shot from my window in the morning. At first I was annoyed as the camera kept struggling to focus through the dirty, rain-drop-stained, glass. So, instead, I tried to focus on the glass, and created this photo with an almost painterly effect to it.
This is the same window from the middle of the room.
One of the many perks of the place I’ve stayed at the last few times, has been the owners permission to go up on the roof of the building. Out of all the places I have been in NY so far, that is my favorite, especially during a terrific sunrise or sunset. This is a view from Midtown looking Downtown, where the twin towers have left us with an incomplete skyline.
Though out of place, and perhaps not the ideal shot for most people, I put this shot in anyway because it always makes me laugh. I was carefully composing a shot of the subway stairs when a train let out. It was dark so I was shooting another long exposure and using my self timer. Moments before the shutter closed the rush of travelers stampeded past me, bumping me, and ultimately blurring the image. For a moment I wanted to shout into the crowd, “thanks a lot!”, until I looked at the picture and rather enjoyed it. I then tried to replicate it by purposely jiggling the camera just before the complete exposure, thinking I had to perfect this NEW composition… will I ever learn? Needless to say this is the original.
Now, back on track. This is a simple shot of Uptown as seen from my favorite rooftop. I love how the low clouds on the horizon created a pre-mature, (and far too early for the time of day), sunset. The Empire State Building.
The previous photo of the Empire State Building was the first day of that trip where the sun began to show through. So I raced to the subway to catch a train Downtown, hoping to get the most out of the sunset. There was construction on the subway that day, so I had to get off early. When I came out into the open air, I was greeted with a massive view of Tower 7. As I walked closer, I caught an angle of this beautiful old building reflecting warmly in the cold blue steel of the newly rebuilt Trade Center companion.
As I walked around the huge tower, I watched these little white clouds, rushing past the very top of Tower 7, and snapped this shot.
Even though I don’t live in NY, I have been deeply effected by 9-11, as I am sure we all have. Even still, I feel that most of the people I see visiting Ground Zero, are scrambling to get a shot of the construction fence that almost seems to guard this sacred site. Its almost as if they have a “ToDo list”, and once they document they have been there, they move on. I hear people saying things like, ” what am I supposed to be looking at, I cant see anything, lets go see the Statue of Liberty”, and I wonder why they don’t see what I see. This place, at the back of the WINTER GARDEN, (which I read was destroyed on 9-11, and had to be completely rebuilt), is a place where I have found great emotion for what happened that tragic day. I was hoping to capture the emotion of the couple to the right of the walking man, (middle right), as I had watched –just moments before– as they stared out into the massive acreage of construction, with tears in there eyes. Another sweet moment was listening to what seemed to be a friend of a paralyzed man, (far right), talk of how things used to be at the Trade Center. You can see Tower 7 to the far left of the frame.
I always seem to spend so much time in the Winter Garden, hoping to see people who care about what is just outside the window, that I often find myself rushing around afterwards to also capture the sunset on the waterfront. This was a tour sail boat, headed out to catch a glimpse of Lady Liberty before dark.
From there, I rushed around the tip of the island hoping to get a shot of the Statue of Liberty myself, only to find the the sun had just finished its light show minutes earlier. This was just to my right as I looked out toward New Jersey.
Just behind me was a completely different temprature as I used a long exposure to take this shot of the skyline.
A while later, again using a long exposure and tripod, the Statue of Liberty began to glow brilliantly green as the last bit of light slipped out of sight.
After the sun went down it became extremely cold, and I began to head back. This was a shot I took of the US Custom House ,again all natural color. I had wanted to include the two homeless men hanging out on the stairs but, I took to long and they soon moved, not wanting their picture taken:)
Oops, found out later you’re not supposed to take photos in the subway. This is what they look like at 3am.
This was a cool looking phone outside a fancy business building downtown. There was a security guard that kept circling because I don’t think he could see my small camera, and most likely wondered what I was doing at that hour down on the ground.
I loved how this shot shows some of the really old buildings of NYC, and then towering behind them stand new multi-million dollar buildings, strangely lit on various floors and sections… even at 3:30am.
This was a scary looking door on “Stone Street”, and from the plaque nearby I found that it is one of the few originally laid cobblestone streets left in the big city.
As I turned around I saw another old vs. new scene. While I was setting up my camera some guy cruises over and pulls his camera phone out, snaps a pic, and pulls out a cigar. “Thats what I came out out to do myself”, he says. I then responded with a laugh… “you want me to email you mine then, as we glanced down at his almost completely dark image on his cell phone screen. He laughed and surprisingly gave me his email.
The next day I walked through Central Park, and found this leaf near a lake full of people rowing around in these tiny rowboats. The TX1 has an incredible macro mode, where you can literally rest an object on the lens and focus. This was a shot I took while holding the leaf right up against the lens barrel and holding it to the sun.
Finally, that same day I took the Staten Island Ferry past Liberty Island. I was amazed with the detail of this shot as it was taken as we flew by the island in super, wind-blown, choppy waters. Not to mention I was hand holding the camera, between to big woman trying to film it with their camcorders.
Once again, I was impressed with the detail captured by the Canon, as this was a shot through the mesh gate at the rear of the Ferry, and it was zoomed in as well! NYC to the right, and NJ to the left.
This was an easier shot, sort of, as there was plenty of light, but again I am basically shooting beneath the armpit of some guy, (which you can see creating a little flare to the top right), and this Ferry is no pleasure cruise….can you say windy,cold, and BUMMPY. Hey at least it was free right?
My final image for you is the low sunlit skyline of NY, as we came back to dock. it would be cool to have some one digitally matchup old footage of immigrants passing the Statue of Liberty and seeing this for the first time so long ago. I have to say, New York is one amazing place… “I Love New York”:)