If you have been following me over at http://nyc2012.jonathanisaacs.com you will know exactly what I got up to on my little trip to the USA. Apart from the presents brought home for parents and siblings, I did manage to purchase a few camera gadgets for myself in light of the fact that there has since been an increase in the commercial work coming my way. My first purchase was my first ‘L-Series’ Lens by Canon, the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. For portraiture and event photography, there is, in my opinion, no better lens, as the focal length, fixed aperture, and lens optics combine to produce stunning images. The second purchase was the result of the first. The lens is heavy, especially when attached to a body. My previous Manfrotto simply could not cope, especially when taking panoramas, when the camera needs to be rock steady. As a result I purchased a beefy Vanguard Alta Tripod. The thing is beautiful, and can support weights up to 20KG! As you can imagine, my new lens meant that I took quite a few pictures. Many are HDR Panoramas which mean that I need to merge up to 200 images together to create one shot, which is going to take time. Im hoping to get this years photos done within a month or two (unlike last years photos which took over 11 months to do!), however before they all get edited and uploaded to flickr (a link will be placed on my blog when uploaded) here is one of my favourite images thus far.
Well it had to come sometime, the penultimate day had arrived, and typically it didn’t go to plan. As we awoke the rain was coming down from the heavens, meaning that our speedboat trip had to be postponed till tomorrow, however all was not lost, as there is aways something to do in New York. I had the mother of all breakfasts, consisting of pancakes, eggs, orange juice and coffee (oh and an apple strudel cake – pictures shortly) before wandering round Time Square. This evening we went to a kosher restaurant, yes we found one that was open! I had a veal sandwich and a hotdog – pictures to follow. Thankfully they are open at 11 tomorrow, so we will have a quick bite to eat there before the plane ride home. As checkout is at 13:00 or can be at 15:00 for an additional $50, we are going to go on the speedboat ride tomorrow morning at 10:00, giving us plenty of time to pack, have lunch and shower before heading to JFK. We went to the Rockerfeller Center, and just like last year, it was raining when we left – boy was it raining! However when we got to the top it didn’t rain once, in fact the clouds looked amazing in the photographs, they added character and will look AMAZING once HDR’ed. Just like last year I was blown away by the views that the Top Of The Rock offered and how much better it was from the Empire State. For a start you can see the Empire State (which you of course can’t if you are on the Empire State). Secondly there are seats, don’t get me started with the lack of seats available once you are up the Empire State. Thirdly the staff are pleasant, they are not rude, they understand that the tourists bring them their wage and are friendly. The staff at the Empire State were something else. Therefore having been to both the Top of The Rock, and The Empire State twice if you are going to do one do the Top of The Rock – its a much more enjoyable experience. My next text based post will probably be from the Airport before we take off to head back to the UK 🙁
I made it, when my alarm went off at 03:50 I did have second thoughts about staying in bed, however as the thought that this is probably the last time I visit NYC for a few years (unless I have of course won the NY State lottery), that I should get up and take the photos. The hotel manager suggested that as it was so early in the morning, getting down to the bridges would be safer by taxi, so I arrived in plenty of time. The sunrise was beautiful, and I really do think I’ve got some good shots. As with my other photos I have done HDR panorama’s so will need to edit them on my iMac back home, however I will upload one non HDR version of the Manhattan Bridge. The tube ride back was uneventful, and I got back into bed around 06:45. After breakfast I went to checkout the bodies exhibit. At first I thought it would disturb me seeing real life human bodies that had been preserved using rubber, but instead I found it quite interesting. Having Crohns disease, it was particularly interesting seeing parts of my body which had been talked about by my doctors in real life. Another interesting exhibit were real life embryo’s in two week stages all the way up to birth. Coming out of the exhibit, I really do believe that the creation of life, and the working of the human body is a miracle. Having so many organs working together in harmony is quite amazing. This evenings activity was to visit the 9/11 memorial. The first free activity we have actually done since tickets can be applied for online. It was quite a solum trip, as you realise how many innocent people lost their lives, both on the planes, in the buildings, but also those of the rescuers. The memorial is a fitting tribute to those people, and standing there looking into the pools you can’t help but think how colossal the World Trade Centre Towers were, and the panic that must have been around on 9/11. Evening was spent walking around Time Square, picking up a few bits and pieces.
Today involved a lot of walking, I went to take pictures of famous street signs (Wall Street, Broadway, Time Square, 5th Ave, Avenue of Americas and Lexington Ave) so that I can combine them into a montage at a later date. After that, I came back to the hotel for a rest as I wanted to travel to New Jersey on the bus, as the concierge Eric had suggested that there was a fantastic view point of the NYC skyline that I wanted to get at sunset. He wasn’t wrong, it was stunning. The HDR Panoramas will need to be edited back home, but I will upload one shot after this post. Im going to get an early night, as I want to get a photograph of the sun rising over the bridges tomorrow, which means I’m going to be up at 4, for a 5:30 sunrise – call me mad, but the photos should look great!
So today we had a bit of lie in, and went to Madame Tussauds, I thought that the statues were quite lifelike, and it really did feel quite weird walking round the room having the eyes looking at you. If you stared into the eyes, up close and personal with the wax works, you almost expected them to say “what you doing looking at me for”. At the museum there was a 4d Marvel experience. The 20 min film was in 3d, the seats moved, bubbles were blown into the audience, strobe lights and lasers flew by, it really was a cool experience. After Madame Tussauds, I came back to the hotel for a bit of a rest and went to the National Photography Museum. The museum was full of old pictures and photographs that really were quite thought provoking in the story that they told. I didn’t think I would have enjoyed a art gallery/museum like that as much as I did. This evening I went to take pictures of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. I attempted to take HDR panoramas, so the results won’t be seen until ive stitched them together (as I don’t have Photoshop on my MacBook Air). I also took some pictures of The Empire State, as it was lit up with different colored lights for Gay Pride. From what I’ve been told this was the first year that the Empire State has been lit up like this for Pride, no doubt a mile post for recognition in equality in the US.
Today was the day we went to see the Statue of Liberty, the weather was scorching once again, which meant that surprisingly the most cool part of our entire trip was the Subway over. David and other family members will be proud of us, we have not get lost once! We have had a few hesitate moments whilst we get our bearings when we emerge from the station, but thats to be expected as we work out which direction we are facing. This afternoon we went on a tour round NBC studios, and got to see inside two real life TV studios. The studios were cooled down to 50 Degrees Fahrenheit (10 Degrees Celsius) as the lights in the studios increased it to 75 Degrees Fahrenheit (21 Degrees Celsius). We made plans to go to Kosher Delight this evening, the kosher restaurant that I had visited twice last year, however when we got there it was closed. People were saying that it had closed down. Not to worry there was a kosher pizza place which we ate at which was very nice (pictures to follow). This evening we went to The Empire State Building. Yes I took lots of pictures, I am trying to get one full HDR panorama out of the entire NYC skyline. Well we shall see if that happens! Thats about it really, tomorrow is a relative relaxing day, as we have Madame Tussauds in the morning, and the afternoon free to do whatever.
Well well well. It’s been a busy day. Firstly breakfast was yummy (pictures to follow shortly). We then went on the tour bus downtown NY which was slightly different than last year as it was operated by a different company. After that I came back to the hotel room for a nap so that I wouldn’t be too tired for Wicked. Dinner was eaten at the Kosher restaurant that is on our street. Alas it is milk only, however we have plans to go to a meaty one tomorrow. Wicked was well ‘wicked’ the set was amazing, the voices were incredible and the acting was better than anything Russell Brand could pull off. As I’d not seen or heard of Wicked, it was an interesting story and took me back a few years (well more than a few actually) to when I read the Wizard of Oz. Tomorrow is a busy day. We have the Statue of Liberty in the morning, NBC Studio Tour in the afternoon and the Empire State in the evening. As always I’ll be tweeting so make sure you follow me 🙂
Well, hold your breath, we landed, not only that but we landed over 30 minutes early! The flight was stress free (apart from when I cause the man sitting next to us to spill his water all over himself), and with fantastic kosher meals served at two intervals, it flew by. After checking into the hotel, (which has a massive TV screen by the way) we set off to get the necessary things sorted. Subway pass was purchased. The all important data for my phone was purchased, and a new Canon 24-105 f4.0 L Series lens was purchased. My first meal of the trip was a kosher salt beef sandwich. Well I did say I was going to eat my way round NYC. This evening (at 18:30) we are going to go visit Time Square and Repleys Believe It Or Not, and have an early night as tomorrow we have a full day packed. Sadly there is no free wifi in the room, however there is free wifi on the ‘promenade’ so at some point (most likely tomorrow afternoon) I will upload some photographs of the hotel room and what we’ve been upto today, oh and of course the food that I’ve eaten! I’m going to try and post at least once everyday. So you can see what’s happening. You can always follow me on twitter, I’m @jonathaneisaacs where I’m tweeting as often as I can 🙂 Until tomorrow, look after the UK whilst I’m away.
Well after a short nights sleep we have arrived at the airport. Bags have been checked and travel essentials sucks as water and sweets have been purchased. American Express, sent me a £5 gift card for duty free, as a way of a thankyou I presume for putting the holiday on the card. This went towards a very patriotic travel pillow (see previous post for picture). As it was reduced to £7.50 (presumably after the jubilee) I thought why not. The sandwiches which my grandfather so kindly made us have been eaten, and grandpa if you’re reading this they were beautiful! Will try and snap/upload a picture of the plane before we take off, if I can’t I’ll post something once I’ve got Internet sorted on my phone. See you State side!
It’s official. Our holiday has begun. We are currently bring driven to Manchester by both our mothers. As flight is in the morning we are staying at my grandparents over night, next stop Manchester Airport!