Fun With Frigid Photos

Currently, it is 22 degrees in New York. Brrrrrrr! I don’t even want to get into how chilly it is factoring in the wind. I will refrain from complaining too much though, because at this time last year, we were covered in snaux. My feelings on the white stuff are as follows: it looks nice when it is fresh, and is fun up until you actually have to trudge through it. In short, I was pleased we did not have a white Christmas this year.

All in all, we have had a pretty mild winter so far (knocks on wood). I have been able to wander about more than I normally would given the temperature, so I have been grateful for the extra rays the sun has been throwing our way (whether or not I made the sun shine lately).

Today I was set on taking photos for Gizmodo’s weekly shooting challenge. I am always amazed at the entries and winners each week, but have never participated myself. Something stirred in me today, so I set off for my old garden, and the High Line, to take some fabulous winter photos that used the compositional rule of thirds for the challenge.

My first stop at the community garden on 48th between 9th and 10th was relatively brief, but I did see a few interesting things and captured a couple good shots. I missed the explosion of color from the tulip tree and the constant buzzing of bees the garden is full of during the summer months. Some kids followed in after me and tossed a football back and forth, and I didn’t want to get in the middle of their game, so I headed back to the train at 50th street.

From 50th, I took a downtown C train. It was a tiny stroke of luck that I noticed my crush on the train and he said wassup. I tried to compose myself, after remembering that I bumped into him at brunch last week randomly too.  I managed a smile and a nod and stayed cool and exited at the next stop. Since when am I shy? I turned my headphones up a little and continued on.

At 23rd and 10th, I made my way up the tinted elevator and onto the High Line. I had not been there in some months so it was a solemn winter homecoming. I remember taking photos of Anthony there last year and drawing a huge crowd. Summer bliss.

Once atop my perch on the High Line, I noticed that there were stunning, crimson berries growing on small bushes on the east side of the walkway. I took a few shots of them and then noticed I had made a tiny friend.

I am no birdwatcher, but this bird was quite interesting in that it was so handsomely patterned even in the winter. Perhaps some kind of finch? I remembered how the goldfinches played along the river bank of my old home in Tukwila, and then I got excited about seeing my family later this month.

I ended up giving this little bird quite the photo shoot, and it provided me with the perfect shot to use for the Gizmodo competition. No cropping was necessary, because the bird remained still throughout shooting, like it waited for me to compose the perfect shot. Kismet. A decisive moment from Cartier-Bresson himself.

I continued along the High Line, looking up into fantastic condos and co-ops as I wandered the wooden path. I couldn’t feel anything but crystalline pain in the tips of my fingers, so I quickened my pace and stole a few more shots from the winter cityscape, and the window displays of DVF and Alexander McQueen as I made my way back home.

Once home, I realized that while I set out to accomplish my  goal of capturing a single, perfect moment trapped in the thirds of my camera frame, I saw that nearly almost all of my photos adhere to this most golden rule without even trying. As with phi, the golden ratio, there is something pleasing about the rule of thirds and how it draws your attention to a subject and simultaneously gives it enough space to breathe life into the image.

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***UPDATE***

Though my entry in the shooting contest did not win this week, it was still featured in the gallery on Gizmodo today! I was supremely happy to see my little bird perched there amongst some amazing shots. Go ahead and check it out here.

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