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
- 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).
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 jessieonajourney (at) gmail (dot) com or use the form below 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:
Note: All photos were taken by Jessica Festa with a Nikon D5100, with no filtering or hard editing (some photos have light highlights added). All Rights Reserved. If you would like to use the below photos in a high resolution version for marketing, publication or to print and hang in your home please contact me for details. Frames and canvas available.
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