Dear New York - The Rooftops of the World

Dear New York,

As a pre-christmas treat, I decided to buy myself an  early present in the form of a new 32 GB SD card for my camera. I have a bad habit of keeping photos that I like on my SD card, so I can flick back through them on my camera. It also serves as a useful backup for my laptop, external hard drive and my cloud albums (I know, I have trust issues with technology, but better safe than sorry!) This does, however, mean that the old SD card kept running out of space, and it was time to start afresh with a new one.

Well, over the holidays I actually managed to completely fill the new SD card too, so I think the New Year is the perfect time to begin some better organisational habits.

At this point I think it won’t be until 2018 that I have cleaned up all of my many photo folders, deleted the photos I have in triplicate in different places on the same hard drives, and created some form of order in the chaos - however having too many photos is a much better problem than not having enough!

It also meant it took about an hour to copy all the photos across from my camera to my laptop and far (faaaaar) longer to go through them finding the best ones.

So, what did I actually get up to over Christmas?

Well, your theme for me this time was Rooftops. I have taken a little bit of a liberty with this theme - my thinking was that I was in a stunningly beautiful area of Poland for New Year, and happened to be on top of a mountain, which I think can be considered the rooftops of the world!

Marcelina (forever patient and always helpful) managed to carefully navigate the treacherous ice and bitterly strong wind to get into position (who cares about safety when I need a good photograph?).

As a more traditional nod to rooftops - I thought the below photo of a lovely wooden church, nestled among the snowy pines would also work, as the white tips made a really beautiful effect.

For my theme this week, I am going to use a photo I took when I was back in London. I woke up on a Saturday morning, and a thick fog had fallen over the lake outside my flat. I grabbed my camera and ran out, as I thought there was a high probability it would burn off with the sun. I spent a lovely hour walking around the lakes - it was eerily calm and all the usual noise of London was muted.

I managed to take some really lovely photos (which were surprisingly difficult to edit, and keep the fog effect in place). The below is my favourite. I think it really gives off the sense of calm and isolation that the fog brought.

It would obviously be unfair to give you the theme “Fog” or some other weather orientated theme, so this week, I want you to to work on your Minimalism.

It’s good to be back!


Dear London - A Snowy New York Day

As you know, I've been dabbling with portraits for a while now, but that apparently doesn't make me immune to some of the most rookie mistakes. I managed to sneak in a quick shoot before Christmas but was so absorbed by the wonderful, treasured, light that we were given on a mild December day, that I forgot to adjust my white balance for each new location. Because it was so bright, I couldn't see that the images were incredibly drab and nowhere near a true reflection of the colors I was seeing or the wonderful lady I was photographing. So, this week called for some pretty dramatic edits. 

I spent hours editing this shoot and I am MORE than thrilled with the outcome. Dara Orland, an actress, dancer and choreographer, was my fifth portrait shoot, and it's so exciting to see my work grow over the three months I've been taking portraits. I took three hundred and fifty images during a one-hour session… Needless to say, a lot of them were terrible as I'm still experimenting with my photographic style and testing what looks good with each new model, but here are some that I'm particularly pleased with. (Keep an eye out for the rest of the shoot in an upcoming post called “A Philadelphian in New York - Dara Orland”.)

I can't even remember taking the first image, but it has been my favorite snap from this whole shoot. It was very dark and needed a fair bit of adjustment but I just love the movement created by her hair and the way it caught the light. I played with colors on this portrait and I really feel as though it adds to the drama of the shot.

I don't know about you, but when I edit a shoot, I always start with the image that I love the most. I can't wait to play around with it and make sure that it is the most beautiful it can be. Then, towards the end of the set, my edits become a little sloppier and generally more tiresome as I try to find the best in some images that just aren't as eye-catching. The second image is the latter part of an edit. I fought with the colors of this image so much, but I was determined to find the beauty in it.  As I am still a novice with editing, I often find that if I am struggling with the colors of a portrait, I'll make it black and white and the beauty I've been missing is suddenly found (some may call this lazy editing… but if the final result is a good’n, who are they to complain?).

When it comes to this week's theme I may have committed the biggest photographer crime... my camera ran out of battery when the first heavy snow hit New York and this means that I didn't get many of the magical shots I hoped for before the cars dragged mud through the fluffy, snow covered streets. I did, however, manage to get a cracking rooftop shot. So, I want to see the Rooftops of London please!

Next year's Dear New York will be coming from 2017, so have a great New Year’s and I'll see you on the other side.

Happy snapping, 

New York x x

(Plus a bonus portrait from when you and Marcelina came to hang out in NYC!)

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