Happy Thanksgiving — Images, Art, And Lego In New York

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the United States. A belated Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in Canada. Happy Thursday to the rest of the world.

Following my usual tradition I’m visiting family in New York this time of year and as with tradition I thought I’d share a few of the images I’ve captured while here. Unlike previous years, the weather hasn’t wanted to cooperate and present conditions conducive to photography. We had to skip a few of our usual site seeing spots this year, but I did my best to capture some images.

Here are some Thanksgiving posts from years past if you’re in a photography viewing mood.

Christmas in New York

Seeing the city filled with decorations and especially seeing the department store windows set up for the season lets me know the holiday season is upon us. Maybe it’s from growing up here or from all the holiday movies set in New York, but there’s something about Manhattan this time of year.

The first two pictures below are from the Macy’s windows. If you look closely at the second image, you can see my reflection taking the picture.

Macy's window decoration
Macy's window decoration

The next two images are from the Lord and Taylor’s display. There were a handful of small windows with the artist’s mannequins that I really enjoyed.

Lord and Taylor's window decoration
Lord and Taylor's window decoration

I wish it was easier to get pictures of the store windows, but with all the people getting in close to take a look and the way the windows pick up reflections of everyone walking by, it’s more difficult than you might think.

Buildings in the City

Some rainy weather made it hard to get pictures as we walked through the city and since I’ve shown buildings so often I figured I’d hold back on most of the ones I captured this time around.

I did get two I liked and thought I’d share though. In the first I liked the way the one building curves out near the ground. I’m not sure what building it is and don’t remember quite where we were when I took the picture, but there’s something about the building that made me want to get the image.

The second image is an interior of the New York Public Library. We don’t usually spend a lot of time in the Library, but this year we did. So much seems to be happening in this one little corner looking up toward the ceiling.

Buildings in Manhattan
Interior of the New York Public Library

Camera Experiment in Times Square

A few years ago I left my camera behind and starting taking pictures exclusively with my iPhone. One thing I haven’t really done is learn how to use to iPhone’s camera better. I typically point, frame a composition, and click.

I recently bought an iPhone 5s and thought this year I should start learning to use the camera better. My first experiment was to play around with the lighting by tapping different portions of the image before taking the picture.

Below are the results of three experiments in Times Square as afternoon was becoming evening. On the left of each is the default lighting the camera chose. On the right in each is the result of tapping on a darker are in the picture to capture more of what was in the shadows.

The last image below shows the difference the most. You can see how much more detail is captured in the building, but also how much the sky gets blow out.

Experiment with lighting at Time's Square
Experiment with lighting at Time's Square
Experiment with lighting at Time's Square
Experiment with lighting at Time's Square

I didn’t think of it till after we were home that night, but I probably should have been taking the pictures above, in fact most of the outdoor pictures from this day, using HDR, which would have combined the images at several exposures.


Because the conditions outside weren’t as good as usual, I took more images inside. The image and quote below are from an exhibit at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). The first sentence made me think of the principle of unity.


Do you sense how all the parts of a good picture are involved with each other, not just placed side by side? Art is a creation for the eye and can only be hinted at with words.
John Baldessari, What Is Painting (1966–68)

The vase below is from the Qing Dynasty and something it’s simplicity and minimal aesthetic grabbed me. We walked past it quickly on the way to an exhibit, but I had to go back after and grab a picture.

Vase from the Qing Dynasty


I came across a few typographic photo opps. First was a Gutenberg Bible in the Public Library. Second was this Hebrew table in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and finally is this poster by Jan Tschichold. It’s one I often come across and I can’t remember if I’ve ever included it in a post here. It was definitely cool to see the real thing.

Pagefrom a Gutenberg Bible
Hebrew type on a stone table
Poster by Jan Tschichold


The last exhibit we saw was Nathan Sawaya’s Art of the Brick. I’m sure many of you have come across images of some of his lego creations, probably the first image below.

There were many more pieces than I expected. Some lego reproductions of famous works of art from Michelangelo’s statue if David and God touching Man from the Sistine Chapel to Munch’s The Scream. There were reproductions of the Parthenon and one of the statues from Easter Island.

Some of what I saw you can see below. I was most impressed by the lego T-Rex, though my image doesn’t do it justice. The lighting left a green cast on the image and it’s hard to take the whole thing in, but hopefully you get the idea. I think 80,000 or so lego pieces were used in its creation.

Lego man pulling open his chest
Lego painting of a woman
Lego reproduction of a cave painting of a Chinese Horse.jpg
Lego reporduction of a figure at Easter Island.jpg
Lego figures
Lego v

What struck me about the exhibit (aside from always thinking any lego creation about the coolest thing there is) was how anything can be used to create art. Curves are created with rectangular blocks. A few different colored blocks can be used to create dramatic lighting effects. And most importantly if you can envision it you can create it. Many of us grew up playing with lego blocks, but none of us saw the potential of lego as art until Nathan Sawaya showed everyone the way.

Happy Thanksgiving

I’ll leave you with a couple of images of Christmas trees. The first is from the Public Library and the second is from The Met. We didn’t get to see the big one at Rockefeller Center because of the rain. I assume it’s there, though probably not decorated yet, but we didn’t get to see it.

Christmans tree at the New York Public Library
Christmans tree at the  Metropolitan Museum of Art

Once again have a Happy Thanksgiving, a belated Happy Thanksgiving, or just a as good a Thursday as you can have.

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