NY Through the Lens - New York City Photography

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New York - Autumn in the City

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Today was an absolutely perfect autumn day in New York City. The air was crisp, and the sun exuded a cool warmth.

This time of year always makes me incredibly nostalgic. It was the autumn of 2009 that I found my passion for photography. I would walk as far as my legs would take me with my little point and shoot camera which was severely limited in its capacity. I was too poor for a smartphone at the time and remember hoping that the no-frills point and shoot that I bought on sale for $79 could help me capture the city I love in photographs.

I went through quite a few of those early photos today for a client who found one of the photos on my Flickr account and requested it for an upcoming ad campaign. I keep all of my work on my Flickr account, even the early work. It’s amazing how far some of those early photos have gone in terms of usage. Not all of my early work is what I would consider good. In fact, most of my early work is fairly rough in terms of execution of what I was attempting to do with the limited tools I had at the time.

However, I keep them online because I believe it’s important to keep a record of where we have been in life. It helps to put everything in perspective. Most importantly, it helps to track growth and learning.

I wanted to share a few of my photos from that magical autumn of 2009.

I can still feel every aspect of each moment I captured with my camera when I look at these…

The way the leaves gathered at the curb…
Early Halloween decorations…
Quiet moments where the past and present co-mingled…
Horses and Central Park’s autumn foliage…
As holiday scenes tugged at the heart…
And glowing orange lights warmed up chilly afternoons..
Central Park’s landscapes in their last hurrah before winter…
As the first intrepid ice-skaters took to the ice…
While the Upper East Side’s architecture framed a perfect hint of orange…
As townhouses…
And grand architecture uptown stoically waited to hibernate…
Brooklyn reveled in Autumn’s warmth…
Modern love enjoyed a moment in an abandoned East Village lot…
And New York City passionately declared its love for autumn.

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Looking for these photos to view larger? Here you go (click or tap on each photo to view larger):

New York Autumn - A Look Back

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Information about my New York City photography book which is releasing in stores and online in the autumn of 2014 (including where to order it):

NY Through The Lens: A New York Coffee Table Book

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View: My photography portfolio, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

New York City: Winter - Spring - Summer - Autumn. Imaging Edge Magazine.

Very excited to announce that my photography was featured in a double-page spread in the recent edition of Imaging Edge Magazine. It’s a spread featuring New York City through all four seasons which is timely considering the recent post I made regarding the Top 8 Autumn Views in Central Park.

Imaging Edge Magazine is a print and digital magazine that is in conjunction with Popular Photography Magazine, American Photo Magazine and Sony. If you are interested, here is info about Imaging Edge Magazine.

I didn’t realize the issue had already shipped until a few Popular Photography and American Photo Magazine subscribers contacted me to let me know that they saw the spread! Pretty awesome!

The great thing is that Imaging Edge is also available to read online.I was beyond flattered and honored to find out that I am featured in their “Who’s Next” column currently as well:

Who’s Next? A Blog For All Seasons

…along with a 16 photo gallery of my New York City photography!:

Imaging Edge - Vivienne Gucwa - Photography Gallery

I hope you enjoy the spread and gallery!

Now, excuse me while I blush profusely and do my best Snoopy dance of joy… :)

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* If you are interested in looking through this issue, here is the download page that has the magazine available for reading on iOS and Android devices as well as PDF.

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View: My portfolio, My Gear List, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

Top 8 Autumn Views in Central Park

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UPDATE: I updated this post for the 2014 fall season showing more of Central Park’s autumn landscapes with expanded information about when the leaves change, when peak autumn occurs, and more here:

New York Autumn - Central Park’s Most Beautiful Autumn Views

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Information about my New York City photography book which is releasing in stores and online in the autumn of 2014 (including where to order it):

NY Through The Lens: A New York Coffee Table Book

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Around this time every year, I get a ton of messages from people asking me when the leaves are changing in Central Park and what the best places are to soak in the best of Central Park in the autumn. So, without further ado, here are my top picks.

Gallery Key (corresponds to the order of photos in the photo-set:

1. What’s more romantic than 2 bicycles waiting next to trees dripping with autumn foliage? This photo was taken on the east side of Central Park near the East 70s. I usually enter the park in this area. It’s full of rolling hills. If you wander around during the peak of autumn, you are bound to catch views like this in quite a few places in this area. View this photo in my portfolio here: New York Autumn - Central Park - Lovers

2. If you happen to be in Central Park when the fall foliage is at its peak, make sure you stick around for an autumn sunset. This photo was taken adjacent to The Mall in Central Park. No, The Mall is not a giant shopping center. Rather, The Mall is a section of Central Park that runs from 66th to 72nd Street. I usually enter Central Park from the east side of the park and follow the signs to get to The Mall. This is a pathway that is right next to The Mall. It has an abundance of trees that turn red in the autumn which makes it ideal for sunset gazing. View this photo in my portfolio here: New York Autumn - Central Park - Sunset

3. This is one of my absolute favorite areas of Central Park in the autumn. It is right next to the Loeb Boathouse which is on the east side of the park near 72nd Street. The willow trees here turn the most vibrant shades of yellow and orange at peak foliage and you get a perfect view of San Remo (the two-towered building in this photo) as well as people in row boats on The Lake enjoying the last vestiges of nice weather. View this photo in my portfolio here: New York Autumn - Central Park Fall Foliage at The Lake

4. Another favorite spot which I mentioned above is The Mall and Literary Walk. It’s the absolute best autumn view in Central Park (hands down) due to Central Park’s gorgeous elm trees that form a giant canopy above the bucolic landscape. View this photo in my portfolio here: Autumn - Central Park - New York City

5. Bow Bridge is always my main goal when I go to Central Park to view the peak fall foliage. It’s a fairytale setting that seems to have made its way into reality. It’s also made an appearance in a Dr. Who episode and a ton of films (Spiderman 3 being one of them). Bow Bridge is located right in the middle of the park overlooking The Lake. It is between 74th and 75th Streets and the easiest way to find Bow Bridge is to head to Bethesda Fountain and then follow the path from there to the Bridge. Central Park is an easy place to get lost in (even I get lost there on a regular basis despite going there often) but there are signs everywhere and I have never failed to find a knowledgeable NYer who is willing to help with directions (and who isn’t directionally challenged like I am!). View this photo in my portfolio here: New York Autumn - Central Park Fall Colors - Bow Bridge

6. Here is another photo taken in the area of The Mall (see above for explanation of where this spot is located: in fact if you look closely you will notice this view overlooks the view in Photo 4). I love this area because at autumn’s peak, the leaves carpet the ground. View this photo in my portfolio here: New York Autumn - Central Park - The Mall

7. When you are walking south away from The Mall on the East Side of Central Park and you are in the vicinity of the Alice in Wonderland sculpture (which is near 74th Street), there are a series of large rocks that people love to climb. The light is absolutely stunning there during the autumn especially when the leaves are covering the ground. View this photo in my portfolio here: New York Autumn - Central Park - Trees and Fall Foliage

8. Bow Bridge is also beautiful to view from the other side of The Lake. If you wait until the hour before sunset, the sun tends to set almost directly above Bow Bridge when you are standing (or sitting) at this vantage point. View this photo in my portfolio here: New York Autumn - Central Park - Bow Bridge - Fall Sunlight

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Are these the only beautiful autumn landscapes in Central Park?

If you notice, a lot of my top views are near the east side of the park. This is because for about 7 years I lived on the border of the Upper East Side and Harlem and I would walk down to this area to acquaint myself with Central Park. Familiarity breeds unabashed love.

Are there gorgeous areas of Central Park on the west side or further north and south? Of course there are. Central Park stretches across 840 acres of Manhattan. I just happen to be extremely enamored of this particular area due to my familiarity with it and my love of Bow Bridge.

When do the leaves change in Central Park?

Great question! I can give you only an approximate answer though since the peak has varied wildly over the last few years due to extreme weather (Hurricane Irene and Sandy).

Usually peak fall foliage in Central Park occurs towards the beginning of November. If New York City gets a lot of rain though, the quality of the fall foliage will vary. Lots of rain means less leaves on the trees and a less lush appearance during the peak. Also, if New York City is incredibly dry, the peak can take longer to occur.

Some years, peak foliage has occurred early towards the middle to end of October. Currently, I have noticed some leaves already changing here in New York City. Most of Central Park is still green at this point though. We seem to be on track for a relatively normal peak this year (late October, early November). But (and I think I speak for a lot of NYers right now), I am apprehensive to stand by that claim due to the extreme weather we have experienced over the last few autumns.

How long does peak fall foliage last?

Not long enough.

No really. It’s only vibrant like in the photos in this post for around two to three weeks. Sometimes that time is cut short by rainfall and/or early snow. I wish it lasted for a month or two!

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I hope you have enjoyed my autumn tour through Central Park :).

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View: My portfolio, My Gear List, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

Rain. New York City. Greenwich Village.

When the sky opens up over the city, urban wanderers glide over the surface of streets slick with shadowy memory.

And every drop of rain holds the world in its slippery grasp.

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Recently, someone who saw this same photo in black and white inquired if I also had the image available in color. Since I shoot in color and convert my color photos to black and white after the fact (with a few exceptions), I went through my library and found my color rendition of this scene. I was struck with how the photo evoked a different set of emotions when viewing it in color. I have come to love it in black and white to such an extent that my memory of the scene as it occurred also plays out in my mind in black and white. However, I remember the initial appeal of this candid moment was the strong bursts of color against the winter-bare trees. The day was bitterly cold: the type of damp cold that seeps down to the bone and in one short moment, the street erupted with color. It was such a fleeting moment but it created such a spark. 

On a related note, I read an interesting essay by Joel Meyerwitz a few days ago on the New York Times Lens Blog called A Question of Colors - Answered. Meyerwitz is part of a current exhibition in London which compares some of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s black and white images with work by other noted photographers who have been influenced by him but have chosen to work in color for a large part of their photography careers. The curator of this particular exhibition states that: “This exhibition will show how Henri Cartier-Bresson, in spite of his skeptical attitude regarding the artistic value of colour photography, nevertheless exerted a powerful influence over photographers who took up the new medium and who were determined to put a personal stamp on it. In effect, his criticisms of colour spurred on a new generation, determined to overcome the obstacles and prove him wrong.” 

It’s interesting to me that color photography inhabits a more defensive realm than black and white photography especially when it comes to street photography. I think that both have different psychological effects on the viewer and both can be just as valid in terms of having artistic value. However, it’s definitely not a simple debate. 

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View this photo larger and on black on my Google Plus page

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Buy “Rain - New York City - Greenwich Village - Washington Square” Posters and Prints here, View my store, email me, or ask for help.

Rain. New York City. Greenwich Village.

When the sky opens up over the city, urban wanderers glide over the surface of streets slick with shadowy memory.

And every drop of rain holds the world in its slippery grasp.

—-

Recently, someone who saw this same photo in black and white inquired if I also had the image available in color. Since I shoot in color and convert my color photos to black and white after the fact (with a few exceptions), I went through my library and found my color rendition of this scene. I was struck with how the photo evoked a different set of emotions when viewing it in color. I have come to love it in black and white to such an extent that my memory of the scene as it occurred also plays out in my mind in black and white. However, I remember the initial appeal of this candid moment was the strong bursts of color against the winter-bare trees. The day was bitterly cold: the type of damp cold that seeps down to the bone and in one short moment, the street erupted with color. It was such a fleeting moment but it created such a spark.

On a related note, I read an interesting essay by Joel Meyerwitz a few days ago on the New York Times Lens Blog called A Question of Colors - Answered. Meyerwitz is part of a current exhibition in London which compares some of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s black and white images with work by other noted photographers who have been influenced by him but have chosen to work in color for a large part of their photography careers. The curator of this particular exhibition states that: “This exhibition will show how Henri Cartier-Bresson, in spite of his skeptical attitude regarding the artistic value of colour photography, nevertheless exerted a powerful influence over photographers who took up the new medium and who were determined to put a personal stamp on it. In effect, his criticisms of colour spurred on a new generation, determined to overcome the obstacles and prove him wrong.”

It’s interesting to me that color photography inhabits a more defensive realm than black and white photography especially when it comes to street photography. I think that both have different psychological effects on the viewer and both can be just as valid in terms of having artistic value. However, it’s definitely not a simple debate.

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View this photo larger and on black on my Google Plus page

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Buy “Rain - New York City - Greenwich Village - Washington Square” Posters and Prints here, View my store, email me, or ask for help.