Jul5

Central Park 2011

Last weekend I was in New York to catch the Archers of Loaf reunion shows, and on that Saturday, I had a few hours to kill before meeting up with my friends to go to the show. I had just received a new camera, the Nikon P7000, and really wanted to familiarize myself with the camera during this trip. Instead of doing a typical review of how the camera works (you can read those here and here), I figured I would just show you what I made with them and let you decide if you like the camera by what it’s possible of. If you’ve been reading my blog here, you know the kind of photography I make and you can see how well these photos stand up to my other work.

I started out in Astoria (which is a neighborhood in Queens for those of you who aren’t familiar) and walked a couple of blocks over to the train station.

Astoria 2011

I love public transportation in New York. During the day you don’t need to wait long for a train – who needs schedules?

NYC Subway 2011 NYC Subway 2011 NYC Subway 2011

After about 10 minutes, I arrived at the Fifth Ave./ 59th St. station.

NYC Subway 2011

I emerged from the subway to the sights and sounds I lived in for so many years in a past life.

Manhattan 2011

My first stop was the cube Apple Store, which was completely covered with boards because it is under renovations – Not a problem, it makes for a more interesting atypical photo! Because it’s such a busy scene, the lines in the crosswalk come in handy as an element to draw your attention to the construction site in the center of this shot:

Manhattan 2011

Just outside of the Apple cube was a brass band which was drawing quite a crowd. I snuck in from the street side and got in close – you can see my bald-headed reflection in the horn!

Manhattan 2011

I was getting hungry and thirsty and I knew exactly what I wanted: A dirty-water dog. I didn’t have to walk far into Central Park to find a cart and a bench to sit on.

Central Park 2011

As I sat and enjoyed my mystery meat on a bun, I started to compose the scenes around me. Right across the way was a guitarist and girl eating her lunch. While the guitarist was interesting, I couldn’t get a good shot of the girl that was flattering because she was munching on her food the whole time. I figured I’d drag the shutter a little to get a pedestrian walking by and capture the motion. This was the result:

Central Park 2011

To the right was a pretty lady getting her portrait made:

Central Park 2011

I ventured further into the park, past the zoo, and through this tunnel to see what moments I could capture.

Central Park 2011

Isolating a person in a scene is a lot harder than you can imagine on a perfect Saturday afternoon in the park. I found this girl hanging out on the rocks – she wasn’t alone though. There were 8 other people on the same rock, but I found this angle to single her out:

Central Park 2011

As I walked further into the park, I started to hear live amplified music. I followed my ears until I came upon the Summer Stage. I walked in just in time to catch a set from Fitz & The Tantrums!

Fitz & The Tantrums at Central Park 2011

Fitz & The Tantrums at Central Park 2011 Fitz & The Tantrums at Central Park 2011 Fitz & The Tantrums at Central Park 2011

Fitz & The Tantrums at Central Park 2011

Boy, did that put me in a good mood! By the end of their set, there was nothing but smiles in the crowd. I had food in my belly, a song in my head, and a new camera to break in. You couldn’t ask for a better place in the world to be at that moment. I ventured back out into the park and stumbled upon some people doing the Tango in the middle of the path. I knew it was the Tango, because someone was kind enough to spell it out for me on the ground.

Central Park 2011

I decided to climb some rocks and came across this fantastic view – I fell to my stomach and quickly shot this as there was a clear people-less view!

Central Park 2011

I looked around and there were so many couples – it was quite romantic. I like this scene because there is a couple on the left, as well as a single guy looking over at a single woman. When coupled with the photo that follows it, there is a story of longing going on.

Central Park 2011

Central Park 2011

I really started to focus on couples for a while. This couple seems pretty focused on something off camera:

Central Park 2011

Here’s another couple checking out some photos on the girl’s camera:

Central Park 2011

It was sunny out for most of the day, and I was very happy to have an optical viewfinder on this compact camera – it’s a lot easier to see in bright conditions than the LCD screen. Speaking of the screen – It’s the same size as my D90’s screen! It’s bright and defined, and Nikon was kind enough to let you clear all of the visible data so you can shoot and view your photos without any clutter.

Central Park 2011

This couple eventually asked me to take a photo of them with their camera as well:

Central Park 2011

As I said earlier, I try to isolate my subjects, but in this photo you can see just how close people really are to each other:

Central Park 2011

It was time to head downtown to meet up with my friends. I put on my tourist hat and started taking shots of the buildings.

Manhattan 2011

Manhattan 2011

I absolutely love this action of this shot of a couple exiting F.A.O. Schwartz:

Manhattan 2011

All of the shots I took in this series were made using the camera’s finest jpeg setting. I could shoot in RAW, but for purpose of this camera, which for me is primarily street and casual photography, the jpegs look downright amazing right out of the camera. I like to know that if I find myself in a situation where I know I will decide to do some extreme photo editing when I get back to my computer, I can switch to RAW. I did do some light editing in Lightroom on these, such as black & white conversions, cropping, & straightening, and tweaking of brightness & contrast.

Manhattan 2011

I want to briefly touch on the features of the camera that stick out for me so far. If you’re a Nikon shooter, you should be pretty comfortable with the menu structure. However, I do find it strange how you can conveniently get to important settings using the camera’s quick menu dial, but you can’t get to all of those same settings using the menu button! The separation is a bit confusing. I also wish I could change the direction of the physical dials to mimic the way I have my D90 set up. I haven’t taken advantage of the User mode presets yet, but I think they’re a great idea. I really wish the exposure compensation dial was a dedicated ISO setting dial like the Canon G12 sports – it is a setting I find I’m constantly getting into. In fact, I had my quick menu set to the ISO function 90% of the time. I know it sounds silly, but I love that it has standard strap connectors so that I can use my favorite camera strap, the Domke Gripper. A good strap is something you shouldn’t overlook for your camera – if you you’re not comfortable carrying it, you’re less likely to do so!

Manhattan 2011

This shot of a man on his phone is one of my favorite shots of the day – I walked up and was immediately drawn to the geometry of it all. I love the lines of the steps leading to the man and the pots and the trees at the top that balance it all.

Manhattan 2011

I also love this simple street corner by the world famous Carnegie Deli. It’s not too busy and the tone made for a great black & white photo.

Manhattan 2011

In conclusion, I friggin’ love this camera. It’s capable of taking very high quality shots in a small package. During this trip, I didn’t miss lugging around my DSLR and a bag full of glass. I was able to get great shots and look inconspicuous while doing it, which for street photography is a huge plus.

I took a lot of photos that day – you can see the full set on Flickr.

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7 Comments

  • Comment by Melissa — July 5, 2011 @ 10:53 pm

    Great post! Wonderful review of the camera- who wants to read all the tech specs? (ok, me.) Seeing how it was in real like is great- i’ve been considering this camera as a walk around fits-in-a-big-pocket camera. Sounds like a perfect day in NYC.

  • Comment by Joe — July 5, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

    Thanks Melissa – a lot of the comparisons give the edge to the Canon G12, but the fact that it works with my flashes and remote, as well as the price I got it for ($379 at B&H), it was a no-brainer!

  • Comment by Robert Donovan — July 7, 2011 @ 8:21 am

    Great shots Joe. Been thinking about the 7000 vs. the G12. Going to Vegas for my 40th next weekend and don’t want to lug the full get up with me but i also don’t want to go cameraless, well outside my phone. I wonder if borrowlenses rents them….

  • Comment by Robert Donovan — July 7, 2011 @ 8:51 am

    Why yes they do.

  • Comment by Joe — July 7, 2011 @ 8:55 am

    My decision was purely incestual – I wanted to keep it in the NIkon family!

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