Empire State Building

The final leg of last year’s holiday after Iceland and Florida was New York.  I’ve not written a blog piece on Florida, as photographically I didn’t get to do much.  We spent most of our time just being a family on holiday, visiting theme parks, eating and shopping.  

So…we arrived in New York after a pleasant flight with JetBlue, and a short train ride.  I have no connection or affiliation with JetBlue, but I have to say the leg room on the flight was the best I’ve experienced on a low cost carrier.  

Maybe it’s different for younger generations, but when I was a kid, the Empire State building was THE most awesome building in the world.  Not only was it the tallest… (actually not quite the tallest by the time I was old enough to be building my own copies from Lego, but as far as us kids were concerned, there was nothing to beat it), …but its tapering shape was distinctively different from any other that I knew of.  New York and the Empire State building were synonymous.  I knew that it was going to feature in some of my photography goals in the city.

This one was taken as the daylight began to fade on our first day.  I’m pleased with it as I feel it’s quite atmospheric and a little different from most of the views I’ve commonly seen of the building.

Later that night after we’d eaten I left a tired Eileen and kids at the hotel and went out exploring.  Another of my goals was the typical night time shot from high up looking out over the city lights.  I was heading for the Rockefeller center to go up onto the roof, when I saw this view in 6th Avenue. I like the feeling of emptiness in the street, apart from the rubbish waiting to be collected.  Although I suppose it’s trash,or possibly garbage, not rubbish - this is America after all!  I also think the contrast between the ordinary, low rise shops and apartments, and the glamorous world of the skyscraper makes it an interesting image.

The roof of the Rockefeller center (note I’m spelling it the American way) gives panoramic views across the whole of New York.  It’s one of those locations where you know the same image has been made a million times, but that doesn’t stop me wanting to make my own photo.  During my stay, I went up the three most popular skyscraper observation decks, Top of the Rock, Empire State building, and One World Observatory.  

Given that I have the emotional connection with the Empire State building from my childhood, going to the top was a “must do” item on my list.  Of the three though, I think the views from the other two are more interesting.  Maybe it’s because when you’re on top of the Empire State building, it’s the building that’s missing from the view!  I do like this shot I took from there the following night though, looking South towards the Flatiron building, Downtown and beyond.


Back To Vik (10 June 2016)

Our 2nd full day in Iceland was always going to be a full day, with over 200 miles to drive to Reykjavik and several locations along the way that we wanted to visit.  Our first stop was Vik again, but this time in the daylight as I wanted to explore the beach area with its distinctive headland and sea stacks.  

And looking inland from the beach you can see the village of Vik, unless you’re only about 3ft tall, in which case you can only see the church on the hill!  Just to clarify… I’m not only 3ft tall. I squatted down to take the picture!

After our brief stop in Vik, it was time to head a little further West.  I had hoped to stop at Dyrhólaey and explore the headland a bit more, but we were already running out of time as we needed to be in Reykjavik by 10pm to pick up the keys for our overnight apartment.

One of the sights I really didn’t want to miss was the wreck of a Douglas DC-3 aeroplane on the beach at Sólheimasandur.  Back in 1973 the crew made a forced landing on the beach after encountering severe icing.  The navy recovered all of the high value parts of the aircraft, but the fuselage was left behind.  The years have taken their toll, but it’s still there over 40 years later.

It’s a surreal location. The sea and the road are both beyond the horizon in either direction.  All you can see is an uninterrupted landcsape of coarse black sand.  The kind of a location where they might have faked the moon landings!.  

It was the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday the day I was there, and there were lots of other people around. I spent about an hour taking photos, much of that time was waiting for a clear view of the composition I wanted.  



Lights In The Sky (7 June 2016)

Well, no prizes for guessing that this post is going to be about the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis.  We’d left Vik and were heading back towards the cottage as the kids were getting tired. My intention had been to drop everyone off and then head out if the sky was still clear in the hope of seeing the aurora.

It was already dark, and we hadn’t gone very far when out of the car’s side window I could just make out a very faint glow arching across the northern sky.  I found somewhere to pull over where there was an uninterrupted view and took these photos.

It’s hard for me to find the words to fully describe how I felt witnessing such a spectacle. Looking up at the stars has always given me a feeling of being just a tiny inconsequential part of the vast universe.  Seeing the sky light up like this though and knowing that most of the people of the rest of the world will never, ever get to see this truly awesome phenomenon in the whole of their lifetimes made me feel incredibly fortunate.

When we got back to our cottage at Hörgsland everyone else was tired and went to bed while I stayed out with my camera.  The mountains behind the cottage blocked out most of the action to the North, but there was still a faint glow making the crags stand out from the sky.  This image was a 10 minute exposure, which also just how much the stars appear to be in constant motion as a result of the Earth’s rotation.

I eventually got back to the cottage after driving a few miles further East at about 2am as the aurora had died down a lot.  I wanted to stay out longer in the hope that it would intensify again, but I also knew that the following day would be full on with several planned stops along the 200 mile drive to our apartment in Reykjavik for our final night.

Next instalment…Back to Vik.

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