Visiting Coney Island may seem like a crazy idea in December but I had such a great afternoon there last week. It takes about 90 minutes on the subway to reach Brighton Beach from Harlem, it’s all part of the experience! It was not very cold for a December day, no snow in New York yet. But it was definitely cold enough to keep most of the tourists away, which was a bonus.
I knew that Brighton Beach was heavily populated by Russian immigrants. Most came to NYC in the 40s and 50s. What I didn’t expect was to hear the Russian language almost exclusively. In fact, I tried to have a conversation with several of the elderly people who were out for a stroll on the boardwalk and several knew no English at all. This really shows how big and tight of a community it is and it really enhanced the timeless feel of the experience for me.
I quickly decided to shoot in B&W because there was very little color and I found monochrome fitting with the dreary Winter day.
The amusement park at Coney Island was shut down for the season but crooner’s Christmas music was streaming from the speakers on the deserted boardwalk. It was quite an eerie atmosphere. So try to imagine Bing Crosby singing “I’ll be home for Christmas” as you look at the photographs below 😉
Overall, it was one of the highlights of my week. Something new and unexpected in New York City and I love to be surprised!
I hope you enjoy this post, very different in nature from the previous one. Just another day in NYC as seen through my lens. Please leave a comment!
It was my first time walking the streets of Harlem with my camera. I stayed in a small apartment on 136th street, at the corner with Malcom X blvd, also known as Lenox Avenue. I walked along the boulevard for an hour or two each morning over a period of 3 days. The time was short but I headed out each day with my camera set to classic chrome and limited myself to one street only. Harlem is changing rapidly but it still has a gritty feel which is very different from the other boroughs of Manhattan. I’m not shy and I have some streets smarts. I can sense when I need to move on if I feel that people are starting to question my intentions. I always make small talk with locals, anywhere in the world. People in Harlem are extremely friendly and always welcome a conversation and a smile.
It takes a while to get the feel of a neighborhood. I didn’t have the pretension to ‘get’ Harlem in just a few days, but I wanted to share a glimpse of my first experience.
I hope you enjoyed this mini series. Please leave a comment below, thanks!
I didn’t shoot much in B&W during my last visit to San Francisco. If you saw the previous post Classic Chrome in San Francisco, I was definitely more in a color mood that week.
Most of the B&W I shot was at night, in harsh sunlight or in situations where the subject would stand out better than in color. Monochrome also adds a layer of grittiness that is most fitting in some urban settings.
You know how much I love B&W, it remains my favorite way to see the world. But I must admit that recently I’ve been looking for more color on the streets. As you know, it’s not a decision that I take lightly. I make the decision in camera, like in the film days, except that I can change my choice without having to finish the roll of film 😉
Color adds another element of difficulty for the street photographer. It needs to be part of the story without distracting from it. It’s really a balancing act. If the color overpowers the subject, B&W makes more sense. Since Fujifilm came up with Classic Chrome, it has become my color of choice. I find that it has the timelessness of monochrome in a color palette. Does it make sense? It’s simple and real,it fits the streets. If you’ve experienced it, I’m sure you get it.
Many ask why I shoot JPEG? The answer is simple: Because it doesn’t get any better that! I’m not sure I would feel the same way with any other gear. But the JPEGS my little camera give me are better than RAWs processed in LR. Yes, shooting JPEG is less giving and more challenging. But this is street photography, isn’t one of the goals to get it right in camera and spend more time on the streets vs. in the digital darkroom? I don’t need to bring out details from the shadows, I love deep shadows! I don’t care if some of the highlights are blown out, it’s often the desired result for more dramatic effects when shooting silhouettes for example.
And why this constant JEPG vs. RAW question? Isn’t it time to put it to rest? Does shooting RAW make you feel like a better photographer? Then shoot RAW!
Another question I often answer is why I use the LCD vs. the viewfinder. Why does it matter? When do you see any of that information attached to a photograph in a book or a gallery? And if you did, would it change to way to look at the photograph? Would it make a difference in the merit of the artist? Does bringing the camera to your eye make you look like a real photographer and using the LCD like an amateur? I hear that often… Well I guess I’m an amateur then, and that’s okay with me!
Well, these were just a few thoughts to ponder on this Sunday morning… Here are a few of my Classic Chrome JPEGS shot without using the viewfinder of my X100T 😉
These snapshot are a random collection of everyday people seen in Chinatown, North Beach, the Mission District, Union Square, and the Financial District in San Francisco last week. Enjoy!
Thank you for visiting and I look forward to reading your thoughts in the comment section.
Maybe another reason why I love NYC so much is because, like Paris, I see it mostly in B&W. But I don’t believe that photography should be all color or B&W. The photographer has to let the subject dictate the choice.
Here are a few of the color subjects I saw a few during my New York wanderings last month… If you missed the New York in B&W post, see it here.
Paris is definitely my first love. I would never get tired of roaming its streets day in and day out, camera in hand. Today I must say that New York City comes close second, it has the incredible power to grab your heart and never let go. The more time I spend in New York, the more I want to come back.
I taught a street photography workshop in the Big Apple last month. I’m going again next month, to work on a personal project this time. My heart is still full of NYC from my last visit and I just can’t wait to hit those streets with my camera again. Here are a few B&W photographs from my October visit. Color pics coming soon… Enjoy!
I just returned from New York yesterday and before I start posting NYC pics on a blog post, I better post the few Classic Chrome pics I shot in Paris last month. In case you missed my last post, Paris Sera Toujours Paris, I definitely see my city in B&W most of the time. Now that I have the beautiful Classic Chrome available as a film simulation, I have been shooting more and more color. Here are a few of my favorite color pics from my September trip. Enjoy!
I’ve been back from France for over a week and getting ready to go to New York, it’s about time I post some of my photographs from Paris, don’t you think? I had an AMAZING week. I taught a 6-day workshop to a wonderful group of 10 people from all over the world. It was a week of photography, friendships, good food and good laughs.
I must say that, being a French expat, I truly appreciate the French way of life when I’m back home. Yes, there are problems, like everywhere else. No place is perfect. But life in France is pretty darn good! I miss it more and more…
Here is a selection of pics from my recent visit. They are random moments of everyday life, the ordinary as seen through my lens. Slices of life immortalized forever. Street photography is so important!
Some Paris in color coming as soon as I have a few minutes of free time 🙂 Enjoy!
On the train…
Music in a shaft of light
“Je veux un voilier, maman!!!”
Meanwhile, at the Petanque courts nearby…
“Yes, I know, my boyfriend looks like a true frenchman.”
Writing Le Plat du Jour on the board.
Rain will not stop the dancers at Rue Mouffetard!
A dose of daily news and passion
Considering what’s on the news… I don’t blame him! 😉
The eye contact
I always allow myself a few extra minutes during my morning commute to catch some light!
Shy Jack Russel
Seen at St Sulpice
Some art mixed with construction workers
Gilberte and her reflection
Another one immortalized for my readers series…
Waiting in the light in Le Marais
Playing with reflections in Le Marais
Neighbors on the ground floor: Helliot and Lily with their mom and dad.
Lily with her mom
On the bus…
In the metro…
Chasing the evening light
No comment, this IS Paris 🙂
At the next table…
Crossing the line
The model and the boy
Lunch and a glance
Checking out the menu part 1
Dog in a bag
Dogs in a stroller
Dog on a Harley
Seeing double on the Seine
A Royal Entrance at Le Louvre
Enjoying the rain at the park
Pont des Arts
Alone and framed
A blur in the night
Eiffel head… Couldn’t resist 😉
Of course I did a few mirrored-me selfies along the way…
THANK YOU for visiting my blog! Please leave a comment below, thanks!
I am spending two days at my family home in Normandy before the next Paris photo workshop starts on Saturday. It’s a glorious time to be on the coast. The tourists are gone and the weather is nearly as beautiful as in July. I took my camera for a few walks during my short visit. Here are a few snapshots of every day life on the Normandy beach…
After 2 years and 104 episodes as the host of the Street Focus podcast on the TWiP network, I decided to spread my wings and launch my own show!
Join me every Thursday in this new adventure. Make sure to sign up for the weekly posts to get more information about my guests and participate in photo contests. Hit The Streets with Valerie Jardin will officially launch on Thursday, September 22 but it is now live on iTunes, Pocket Casts, etc.
PLEASE leave a rating and review to help give the show more visibility. Thank you for your continued support. Now it’s time to grab your camera and hit the streets!