April 19, 2017 by John Kincaid Articles, Cities 0

New York City

New York City

New York is an incredible city. There are no words to truly describe the beauty, pace, and enormity of Manhattan. While I’m not a regular visitor, this trip was my third of this year and one of about 30 in the past 15 years. On this trip I was determined to get some street-level shots that really give you an idea of just how amazing NYC is from someone just walking around the city. Unfortunately, for the duration of our trip we had relatively low/dense cloud coverage that usually blocked our view of the taller buildings.  

Day 1: Unfortunate Weather Conditions

Even with the poor conditions, I was lucky enough to catch a very short break in the clouds and I was able to take this shot … with my iPhone of all things (I chose not to bring my camera with me because of the low visibility). It’s certainly not print-worthy but it gave me an idea for a different type of shot that I took later that night.

Night 1:  

We were monitoring the weather all day (if you haven’t used the Dark Sky app, we can’t say enough about it). It allowed us to monitor the wind, temperature, and precipitation with pretty reliable accuracy.

On this particular night the winds were around 18mph (similar to speed of the clouds in the video above). The cloud level was just above or at the top of the empire state building and the lights from all of these buildings were reflecting against the low, quickly-moving cloud front. So we took a taxi to 42nd and 5th Ave, which is about 9 blocks away from the Empire State building. The top was glowing blue but with the clouds falling right at the tower, I just wasn’t seeing the shot I wanted….not to mention it was difficult to get the tower in view the closer we were on the street:

We weren’t going to give up though. As you can see from the photo above there are going to be some good shots if we can find a location with shorter buildings with some kind of ambient lighting against the clouds. The clouds were still moving very quickly which provided a great backdrop to the buildings and were low enough to really display the city lights.

We walked back up to 41st and 5th Ave where we had a great shot of the New York Public Library. At this point it was getting late so there wasn’t much traffic or people on the sidewalks but we had a maintenance crew on the left side of this frame (below) at street level. There was too much for me to take out in post-processing so I just altered the frame:

The shot below was taken in Bryant Park. Some NYC police officers were nice enough to let us into the park for a few photographs because at this point it was after midnight and the park was closed.

Days 2 & 3:

RAIN!  So we stayed indoors and went museum-hopping, among other things.

9-11 Museum and Memorial

Prepare yourself for a lot of mixed emotions by the time you exit the museum. You’re incredibly mournful for all the lives lost, angry that people can be so brutal, but also inspired by how so many people came together to help. I highly recommend visiting this memorial.

But to end our trip on a positive note, we decided to grab dinner at a very popular “gourmet” hot dog joint: Crif Dogs. This is easily the best hot dog place I’ve ever been to, and was even featured on the travel channel (among other TV appearances). Everyone at Kincaid Galleries that was on this trip had an amazing time and loved the food. And to sweeten the experience, Crif Dogs features a small phone booth inside that, when you get into, gets you access to the bar next door (“Please Don’t Tell”), one of NYC’s premiere speakeasies.


As a photographer who travels to locations for shots, it’s not alwasy easy to plan your shoots too far in advance as the weather can either be your best friend, or your worst enemy.  On this trip we were met with dull, gray skies most of the day, capped off with heavy rain by the end. Take the time to know your environment and sometimes that simply means walking around and looking more closely at the world around you. We had less-than-ideal conditions but we didn’t walk away completely empty-handed and were able to come up up with some pretty cool shots.

John Kincaid

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