Day 18 | New York photo safari

Today we made for the PATH to get over into New York. We must get to the corner of 34th St and Madison by 9:30 am so it's a bit of a challenge. There’s no breakfast in the hotel so we’ll have to work something on the way. Who’d have guessed it, because it is the weekend the line we want isn’t running for some maintenance reason and we take a different line and get a shuttle across to where it would go. Okay, we’ve a 30-minute contingency. 

Getting on the half-full bus after taking the line under the Hudson River it sat. It sat some more. We considered walking. Some got agitated. Even on Saturday the traffic was all banked up downtown (the area designated by the messy laid out streets in lower Manhattan). And we were off and we went for a long way making the walking idea seem a bit naïve. Suppose it is easy to underestimate New York. 

Grabbing a egg-bun we continued on our way to our intersection. Without being able to see from one parallel street to another it is difficult to get the hang of whether you are traveling in the right direction. The phone Google Map vacillates back and forward just to give a level of indecision. Anyway, after arriving Rosie rang and we got a friendly wave, phew!

Zim was our photographic guide and we were soon joined by the members of our group, notably Alfredo from Argentina, Courtney and partner from Texas and lastly Jilllian and Denise from Ohio. Zim started by getting us to say who we were and what we wanted out if the session. Zim is a professional photographer with a high-energy approach asking you what you want to highlight or show your picture viewer in your photo. There are a couple of humorous rules to remind us that NY is a visually busy place and there is so much to look at you can miss the point in your photos if you try to catch it all. Australians were exempt from the rule "shoot no pigeons or squirrels" as it would be unreasonable to expect our restraint. 

Capturing these huge buildings is more complicated than it appears. We traipsed around the streets to get a couple of interesting positions on the Empire State Building. We learned some techniques to try out and then headed for the subway to capture movement and people in this space. Surfacing we checked out Radio City Music Hall before passing St Pats and the Rockefeller Centre. At the Cathedral, there was bagpipes and a wedding going on. Must just be for us. 

Across to Central Park to check out the skyline from there. This ended the first part of our tour and we farewelled our new friends Jilllian and Denise from Ohio. They’ve been great fun and we’ve enjoyed their humour (and they seemed to get ours). 

We lunched with Alfredo and Zim at a place outside Grand Central Terminal where you have this huge buffet for $9 per pound (whatever a pound is). The selection included salads and cold stuff but also hot dishes. For the second part of our session we were joined by Michael from Melbourne (of all places, insert righteous Queensland here). 

New York is a contrast of the old with the new and we experimented with this using reflections and previous techniques. Then we walked the Grand Central Terminal to check out the huge busy space and even try out the whispering gallery. Just down the road is the dramatic frontage of the Public Library with its Lions. Returning to Times Square we tested our ability to capture the movement, colour and excitement.

Unfortunately, we had to farewell Alfredo, who is a retiree from Buenos Aires who loves travelling. Even more unfortunately we were to say good bye to Zim, who has given us some techniques to try anywhere and an introduction to a few New York places. There are so many more. Before parting she recommended a place to eat and gave us a five minute rundown of how to use the New York subway (shame we chickened out and grabbed a cab).

Dinner at the Bella Vita just off Times square was delicious and a bit of an experience. The other customers were all keen to chat and we had a great time. Footsore we cabbed to World Trade Centre for the Path home for the night. 

Rosie – Would have to be the entire photo safari – beyond my expectations
Angus – Lunch, like a smorgasbord