Here I go again. I can’t quite believe it but I’m writing about my third Bryant Park street photo trip of the summer. I don’t think I’ve ever written about my street photo taking this much. Unlike the first two that I wrote as I was out for the day this one I’m writing a few days later in the comfort of home. A look back approach.

I came in through Grand Central Station again which meant a trip across the Tappan Zee Bridge to Tarrytown. That was easy enough in the morning but on the way home the bridge was backed up and took twenty minutes or so to cross. The same thing happened last time so I assume, with all the bridge construction, that’s just the norm these days for a Saturday evening at 5 PM or so. Or maybe it’s the norm for always because it looked backed up in that direction in the morning as I was going the other way.

Every year for the first three Saturdays in August the city closes Park Avenue South, from 7AM to 1PM, to car traffic all the way up to Grand Central Station so people can bicycle, rollerblade, jog, skateboard, or just walk up the middle of the street. It gets really busy with people and that’s why I went down that third Saturday of August to get some photos. But first I detoured to Bryant Park.

Like other summer Saturdays they had dancing in the park from 9AM to 11AM. By dancing I mean that a modern dance group leads whoever wants to participate in some dancing across the lawn. They have a drummer to keep the beat and what looked like two women to lead the dances. They have lots of jumping up and down, sweeping gestures, and running across the grass. The people doing it look like they’re having fun. I got there just after ten thirty and for twenty minutes or so took photos of all the people dancing back and forth. It’s not an easy setting in which to take picture but I always get one or two good ones that I can use.

At about 11AM the dancers called it quits and I walked the couple of avenues over from Fifth Avenue to Park Avenue South. That is where all the bicyclists were. It was only last year that I discovered I should photograph the cyclists by using my camera’s “Sports” mode. All my life I’ve been shooting in “Aperture Priority” mode as to let as much light into the camera as possible. That still works okay with cyclists but in sports mode it keeps the autofocus moving and refocuses between split second shots. I found I got a lot more in-focus shots of moving people that way. If the people were still I switched back to “Aperture Priority” mode because then I didn’t want the focus to change all the time.

I walked from 40th Street down to 23rd Street shooting pictures as I went. It was a 94ºF day so I stuck to the shady side of the street. It took me until about 12:30 PM to make it to 23rd Street and I was a bit tired when I got there. Lately when I’ve been shooting in Bryant Park I make sure to sit down rest every so often but on Park Avenue South there aren’t any chairs. I took it easy in the shade around 23rd Street and got a few minutes rest before heading back up to the park. Luckily I wasn’t walking the whole time as I often stood on a street corner for fifteen minutes or so at a time as I took photos. I walked up the sunny side of the street on the way back but still tried to find some shade. Downtown walk was an hour and a half and the uptown one was half an hour. I grabbed a seat when I got to the park and took a break. I made sure to drink plenty of water that day too. Maybe twice what I normally drink.

It was a weird day shooting in the park since it was so hot out. Bryant Park has a big open lawn in the middle, maybe two football fields big, with trees and paths surrounding it. Around the park itself are some really tall buildings and the library at the east end. There were a couple of dozen sun worshipers out catching some rays and getting tan but almost everyone else was huddled in a small area in the south east portion of the grass. That’s where the shade was. Usually I do laps around the park taking pictures from all angles but that day I stayed mostly to the area of shade with everybody else.

I took pictures of the sun worshipers further off in the grass as I often do but I also took photos of people as I sat amongst them. Usually everyone is so spread out that there is no “Amongst” but this day there was. About three different times I sat down in a chair and took photos of those around me. It was much cozier than I’m used to.

I’m normally far away when I take my street photos and people rarely notice me. But every now and then I think someone does but I can’t always tell. Last time I was in the park I think a woman got annoyed with me but this time it was the opposite. A woman noticed I was taking photos and seemed to be happy I was photographing her. She was in the cozy shaded section with her little dog and would glance over and smile as I was shooting every now and then. She even nodded to me as she left. But I always think no one notices me so I don’t know if anyone really does or not.

The heat was really bad around the corner on the library steps. I usually spend a lot of time photographing there but it was so hot and there is no shade on the steps. The tons of people that are normally there were down to dribs and drabs. I did end up finding a shady spot off to the side of the library where I could shoot people on the street corner. This is usually a secondary spot for me but with the blazing heat it became a primary spot that day. The street corner had a little bit of shade too that people could cling to.

All in all it was a pretty good day for photography. The only problem I noticed is that photos of people riding bikes can really be way too similar to one and other. Oh well, I’ll work with what I got.