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Discover New York: Central Park Through The Eyes Of A Local Photographer

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A glimpse into Central Park

If an effort to explore my home like a tourist and really take advantage of the fact I live in one of the greatest cities in the world (in my opinion, anyway), I’ve started letting my camera be my guide and going on photo safaris in different locations around New York City. Today’s journey took me to Central Park, as I realized despite having wandered through the natural attraction many times I rarely bothered to take notice of all the details. High 60s and sunny without a drop of humidity — it was the perfect (and rare) morning to take my Nikon on a park date.

Photography Tips For Photographing Central Park

Central Park is one of the top attractions in the Upper East Side and Upper West Side. Here are some important tips for taking photos here:

  • If you photograph a performer or artist, leave them a tip. Some of them will outright say you can’t photograph them without leaving a tip, but even if they don’t it’s the right thing to do.
  • Don’t take shots of children without permission. Parents are very protective of their kids — as they should be — and many will not be happy with strangers snapping pictures of them.
  • Use your imagination and get creative. Instead of just photographing the skyline or The Lake, try to frame the scene in a unique week. Also try different angles and perspectives. It’s amazing how just the slightest change in eye level can make a big difference in a photo.
  • Play with exposures. Try exposing for the highlights (the bright part of the frame, like a sunny sky) then the lowlights (the darker part of the frame, like a shady tree) and compare. When exposing for the highlights your photo will appear darker — great for creating silhouettes against backlight — and when you expose for the shadows your photo will appear brighter. The tunnels around Central Park are a lot of fun for experimenting with this.
  • Remember reflections. Central Park has some serene bodies of water that make for great skyline and tree reflection photos.
  • Get closer. Many novice photographers have great ideas for shots but they are too far away for the viewer to focus on the subject.
  • If you have certain attractions you’d like to photograph, click here to download a map of Central Park so you know where you’re going. It’s not hard to get lost in this huge park, encompassing over 843 acres (341 hectares). This way, you’ll be able to easily find the best places to take pictures in Central Park.

Need A Guide?

Looking for a New York City tour guide? I’m a certified tour guide and photographer leading custom and private tours — all of which include a gallery of high resolution images of your group — as well as photo safaris. If interested please email me at jessie (at) jessieonajourney (dot) com and let me know what kind of experience you’re looking for and when.

Without further adieu, here is how I saw Central Park on a sunny NYC morning:

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Entering Central Park


Sunny skies and rainbows against an NYC skyline in Central Park

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Around Central Park you’ll find a few of these trees where lovers and individuals scratch their initials into the bark


Pure serenity at The Pond in Central Park


Bright flowers abound in Central Park in summer, while in fall this is an excellent place to photograph the colorful foliage


Cyclists, taxis, joggers and horse-and-carriages all share the same roadway in some areas of Central Park, although in separate lanes.


Supposedly, these thin wispy clouds mean fair weather is ahead

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Concrete jungle meets natural paradise


This bubble artist is just one many talented characters you’ll meet in Central Park

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“The Mall,” littered with artisans and performers


Watching the Peace Industry Music Group perform for free in Central Park. They’re there every Friday afternoon and are seriously amazing!


Central Park can be odd sometimes

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Row boating on The Lake in Central Park, the skyline looming behind

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Another perspective of row boating on The Lake

Bethesda Fountain

Bethesda Fountain

Bethesda Fountain

Another view of Bethesda Fountain


“You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one, I hope someday you’ll join us, And the world will be as one” – John Lennon, “Imagine”

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And on your way out near Columbus Circle you can $1 original jokes!

Jessie Festa standing in front of grafitti wall

Hi, I’m Jessie on a journey!

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1 Comment

  1. Matt @ Enjoy Central Park on at 12:32 pm

    Really enjoyed this post! I’ve never been to NYC and have only seen the Central Park they show in the movies/tv shows. Was fun seeing a different side of it. Thanks!

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