Monochrome Mondays

Summer is progressing here. Long lazy days where you don’t want to move around too much. Just find a shady spot somewhere and watch the world go by. Here in the big city there are lots of places, and lots of things to look at of course. Since we moved to Queens I have one favorite spot called the Anable Basin, or as some call it, the Eleventh Street Basin in Long Island City. It is an artificial inlet built in the 1860’s for industrial use. When much of that industry dried up, the area went through a period of decline before being re-purposed in the 1990’s as Gantry Plaza State Park. The park as a whole offers a lot of activities and people watching, as well as an amazing view across the river to Manhattan. But tucked away on the side of the park, runs the basin. As I have said here before, I love old buildings, and things like a ship wharf or an old brick building have a natural appeal for me. I love sitting there under the trees reading or people watching and imagining what the same view must have looked like 100 years ago. Which is just something your mind seems to do on a long lazy day in the shade.

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Home

Home is a unique word. As adults most of us have a home. An actual current home we live in. Often though we talk about other homes from our past. The home we were raised in. The home we lived in after breaking out on our own for the first time. The home we move into with our significant others. The home we spend our final days. The word evokes so much, both good and bad. Earlier tonight, I was looking at this photo I took a few weeks ago on a ferry trip from Brooklyn to Rockaway Beach. The photographer half of me took it because the scene was so inspiring on a beautiful day. The other half of me, the emotional half realized that it was my home in so many ways.

Other than 4 years off for good behavior attending college in Massachusetts, this photo represents all my ‘homes’. On the right of this photo is Brooklyn, where I was born. It also shows Queens, where my wife and I have happily lived for over two years now. On the left is New Jersey, where I grew up and spent all my youth. In the middle of course is Manhattan, where I spent my most crucial years of development. It is where I began taking up photography. It is where I dived deeper into the rich diversity of music that was there for the taking. It is where I met Jennifer, the person who has changed my life the most in so many incredible ways. It is where I learned who I am, though of course that process is ever evolving. Finally, surrounding it all is water, which connects me with my spiritual home of Ireland. Those of you familiar with my posts know that water plays a crucial role in my photography. That ebb and flow feels like life itself, and for me that is a crucial realization. My physical home may change, but for now as I ride the most meager ferry, or sip a beer on a beach, the crucial ingredient to all of them has been a connection to the water. Lakes feed the rivers, which flow to the sea, which carry you away towards home…

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Monochrome Mondays

I’ve always been a fan of optical illusions. Those subtle little works of art that play little tricks on the viewers eyes. They can be fun games to play with people. I’m sure everyone at some point has played the ‘is it a vase, or is it a silhouette of two people game’. Or stared at photos to reveal a hidden object after a period of time. Or tried proving that objects that are further away appear smaller (just like Father Ted once exasperatingly tried to do!). Here’s a list of some of the classic ones-http://https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_optical_illusions

Artists such as MC Escher, Salvador Dali, and Marcel Duchamp utilized various types of optical illusions as well in their work. As I said in my recent post Terra Firma, sometimes in the moments before you take a photo, you get a sense of where you are going with the shot. You know what you are after, and you just hope the technique and decisions you choose are the right ones. I remember when I saw this scene for the first time I had the vaguest sense of it being an optical illusion of sorts in the way the archway fades up towards the distance. What do you think? What are your favorite illusions?

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Monochrome Mondays

There are days (or evenings) when the most routine things look unique. Scenes you see day in and day out. But then you just look at them in a new way and think, that’s kind of cool! That happened the other night getting off the subway. Maybe it was the time of day and the shadows that were set against the sun. That is one of my favorite things about monochrome photography. It really highlights shadows. I couldn’t actually decide on just one photo so  for the first time here on Monochrome Mondays I’m sharing more than one photo!

Happy Memorial Day as well. Thank you to all who have served.

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Monochrome Mondays

Well yesterday was a fabulous spring day here in New York City. My wife and I took a stroll around Flushing Meadows Corona Park and enjoyed the sunshine, glorious weather, and all the beautiful flowers and trees in bloom. For those unfamiliar, the park was twice the site of a World’s Fair, first in 1939 and then again in 1964.  It was a great chance to see the icons of this park standing up close and personal such as the Unisphere, the NY State Pavilion, and the Queens Museum. My favorite is definitely the Unisphere, designed for the 1964 World’s Fair by Gilmore D. Clarke. Though it looks impressive every time you drive by on the highway, up close it really takes on a new meaning. Representing the budding space race at the time of construction, to me it takes on an entirely new meaning these days. The entire borough of Queens is probably the most diverse area not just in New York City, but all of the United States. Perhaps even the world. Walking around on a beautiful spring day seeing people from all corners of the world barbecuing, riding bikes, skateboarding, playing soccer or even cricket reminded me that the planners of that World’s Fair chose very well indeed when they added the Unisphere to remind us we all live on this one planet.

The Unisphere

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Monochrome Mondays

Spring is officially here! Well I hope it is for most of you anyway. After being cooped up for much of the winter it is now finally time to get outside and enjoy the nice weather. I love going for long walks with my camera in hand. Where I live you never quite know what you will see. Old buildings, interesting signs or architectural details, or waterfront scenes. I love discovering all sorts of scenes like that. On one such walk a year or so ago, I found a little waterfront view near Astoria Park, in Queens. What made me grab my camera was the way the big clouds were slightly obscuring the sun, which caused some great sun beams on the water, together with the streak of sun glinting off the water and the silhouetted skyline of Manhattan in the distance. But sometimes happy accidents happen just as you are preparing to press the shutter release. And so it was that the two birds came swooping across on the left hand side, giving the photo a real sense of movement and life.

Hope you all are getting some nice weather wherever you are and taking advantage of it!

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Monochrome Mondays

Here we go with yet another Monochrome Mondays on this first day of Spring. Yesterday was a particularly nice day and I went for a walk down some different streets in our neighborhood. While snapping various photos I was reminded that photography does not always have to be about big, epic scale type photos of landscapes or action shots. Sometimes it can just be about ‘things’. Things that may on an ordinary day mean nothing to you, but then on another jump out at you as if to say ‘Take a picture of me.’ That is what happened yesterday. Our neighborhood is a mix of small warehouses and industry along with residential areas. As I rounded a corner of a street I don’t recall having walked on before I saw this storage yard with an entire fleet of small cranes. The kind with  those jumbo tires used on small construction sites. There was something about how the sunlight was glaring off the rows of them that made me want to take some shots. Thanks to my wife for coming up with the title, which really does suit it.

Also, on a technical note for the other photographers out there, this was among the first shots taken on my brand new camera! It is a Nikon D3400 with an 18-55mm lens. I’ll also be using my new 55-200mm and the nifty 50mm lens now regularly too. After 6 years the D3100 was starting to act up and be less reliable, so I’m very excited to have new equipment again!

Symphony In Metal

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle

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