I made it down to Bryant Park to take some photos in New York City a for couple of Saturdays in September. It was the first time I’ve gotten down there in about two years. Time sure does fly. I like to take street photos in NYC but most of the time I end up taking park photos. That’s because people are sitting still in the park rather than walking. It’s a little easier to take photos of a stationary subject.

I like the everyday moments in life. That’s what I usually take photos of when I’m in the city. Besides my friends on occasions I haven’t worked with any models but instead take photos of strangers on the street. Or in the park. Strangers doing everyday things like hanging out in the park, eating, reading, and more often then ever before looking at their phones. Since Bryant Park is near Times Square in Manhattan it’s a big tourist park. You can hear lots of languages spoken and see lots of people consulting maps. Downtown in Union Square Park you’ll see many more young hipsters and I sometimes go there to take pictures but Bryant Park is still my favorite.

I used to care a lot more about what kind of camera I used. I guess I still do to an extent but these days with all sorts of digital devices being able to take pretty good pictures I think about it less. My current digital camera is already a few years old and I bought it as a fairly cheap stop gap camera until I could save up to get a nicer one. My own personal economy crashed so I never got that new and better camera but the Canon SX30 IS has served me well. Mostly because it has a ridiculously big zoom lens on it. I can stand well away from whoever I am taking a picture of and not disturb them. It’s a little like taking wildlife photos. I don’t want to disturb the wildlife but want to record them in their natural habitat.

One of the odd things that I like taking pictures of is other people taking pictures. I don’t know why but it amuses me. Maybe because it’s so easy to find people taking pictures. Being a park in the middle of NYC it’s easy to find a lot of people taking photos in Bryant Park. It’s even easier around the block at the Midtown Public Library. That’s the library with all the steps in front and the two famous statues of lions. Bryant Park is the library’s backyard. When I’m tired of the park I walk around and hang out in front of the library. Everybody stops there to take photos. I take pictures of people taking pictures and of the people in the pictures that people are taking. I’ve also taken a lot of pictures for people. Every time I’ve been there at least one person has asked, “Hey can you take a picture of us” and handed me their camera. I always do because I’m there to take pictures so why not.

There are often photographers and their models in Bryant Park. Probably in about one out of three times I’ve been there I’ve seen some sort of photo shoot going on. A couple of weeks about was the biggest one yet. There were about seven or eight models, at least, two photographers, and a make-up artist too. I have no idea what they were shooting for but they were in the park for at least a three hours shooting away in various parts of the park. At the end when all the models were in on a single shot they had quite the crowd watching them. I took some photos but from a distance. I didn’t want to disturb anyone or get in the photographer’s way. Plus I got some more shots of photographers photographing. It’s meta.

Oddly enough after I got home I read a blog where someone complained about a photographer “Stealing” another photographer’s photo. That’s not when a physical or digital photo is lifted or credited wrong but when a photographer goes to all the trouble of coming up with a concept, arranging for some models, finding a space to shoot in, and then some other photographer shows up at the location and takes pictures. Usually the second photographer gets his photos out to the public first. I imagine the photographers have to run in the same circles for this to happen but I never even knew that type of stealing was a thing. Weird. And what I try to avoid doing when I see a photographer and models in public.

I even had some fun shooting video on the street. I’ve mostly used my pocket camera, the Canon Powershot S95, for shooting video over the last few years. I totally forgot that my larger super-zoom Canon can zoom while shooting video. The small one can’t. I had a lot of fun sitting on the library steps looking for little visual stories to tell of people’s comings and goings as I panned and zoomed around. On my second trip down I even revived my old habit of videoing as I walked on the streets of NYC. That is not an easy thing to do. I had to walk on a crowded sidewalk in and out of the crowd as I tried to hold the camera steady. The weaving part is tough but a video of the back of someone’s coat as I follow behind them is pretty dull so I gotta move. That’s also when it’s good to be a fairly big male that people don’t want to bump into.

In my past years’ trips to Bryant Park I’ve often taken some time out to sit and draw. I didn’t do that this past month. I spent the whole time taking pictures. I tend to draw a lot more than I take photos so I wanted to walk around and take as many as I could. I could draw at home after all. That made for a tiring day. I got into the city at 10:30 AM and caught the 3:00 PM train home. That made for a good four hours of walking around and taking photos. When I eventually make it home I always end up with a headache. I forced myself to sit down and rest a little more last time and I think it helped with the headache. Getting old is no picnic.