What does a Columbia SC Photographer do when she takes a NYC vacation?

April 22, 2011


Well, she makes photographs, of course!!! It’s been some time since my last post. April showers and waiting for the first steps of some of my little subjects have pushed back 4 appointments since my NYC vacation. Looks like next week I am going to be a VERY busy newborn and family photographer, so I guess I’d better share now if I am every going to do it:)

So, this post is about the trip my dear daughter and I took to New York City recently to visit my sister. It was my daughter’s very first trip and my first in way longer than it should be. I can’t begin to express to you how exciting this trip was for me. My daughter is a preteen (gulp!) and truly is one incredible kid. She was so full of wonder and totally threw herself into the total NYC experience. She didn’t want to miss a thing. And listen……my sister was not fooling around when she planned the itinerary! We crammed a ton of “experiences” in during our just over a week trip. Here is the quick 411 on what we did while there, as copied from her Facebook stream:

Empire State Building
Times square (wax museum)
Walked brooklyn bridge
Katz deli
Tomkins square park (dog park and squatters)
Washington square park (watched those dudes that flip over people)
Dinner at Cowgirl Hall of Fame
Shopping and walking
More Shopping and walking
And shopping and walking
Pedi cab ride in central park
Tea at the plaza hotel
Fao swartz
American Girl Store
John’s Pizza
Pearl River
China town (lunch)
Little italy (cannolis)
Grand central station (Juniors Cheescake)
Saw “Wicked” on Broadway
Mood fabrics
Museum of Natural History
NBC Studio Tour
Late Night With JImmy Fallon Taping (with backstage perks and picture with JF)

OK yall, that’s not even all of it. Because of course the shopping and walking and shopping and walking and shopping and walking……well, it covers a lot of stuff. Watching my daughter’s joy with each new experience and sight was just priceless. I was so proud of how positive and agreeable and grateful she was during the whole trip. Sigh…….makes a mommy so proud and so happy. That’s the stuff, yall. That’s it. The best life has to offer:)

OK, sorry for the mush! If you know me at all, you know I am a big ole sap:) So, anyway, as we were planning this trip I was wondering how I was going to handle the “photographer” side of me. To be honest, my own personal photographs have declined since starting my photography business years ago. My newborn photography and child and family photography have kept me busy. I find it hard to look at pictures I took where I wasn’t focused on the art, but rather it was secondary to experiencing the moment myself. I want to pick it apart afterwards and say, “oh now why didn’t I use a higher shutter speed” or “what a boring composition!” Ha! I wonder if any of you other photographers can relate to this? Anyway, I wanted to capture some of this trip and had to decide to make peace with my inner perfectionist. I had to tell myself that if I studied every photograph I took on my vacation, while taking it and later while processing and then enjoying it, I would drive myself crazy and MISS MY VACATION. And miss this joy that I was able to witness in my daughter! I told myself that it was fine to stop long enough to really focus on making an image occasionally, but I would also need to be OK with the fact that some of my images are just snapshots! And that’s OK! I love my old snapshots and I should love these too:) It was liberating. There was no stress about the photos. I occasionally took a little more time…..like when crossing the Brooklyn Bridge or at the top of the Empire State Building. But most of the time I just happily snapped away, and felt more a part of what was going on around me than just an observer. I even set up some shots and put my gear in my sister’s hands every now and then so I could have some more images of me with my daughter. Sadly I do not have enough snaps of us together. This year that has to change.

Anyway, this is getting rambly:) Just to say that not every image here is portfolio worthy…….it wasn’t the intention while I was shooting either. But I think they are fun and exciting just the same and I hope you like looking:) I would love to tell all the details of our trip but I think it would probably be enough info for at least 5 blog posts. We are already getting pretty long here. How about I just stick to the highlights?

First subway ride for my daughter. She grew to love it and blended in and looked like a real New Yorker by her second ride. No joke! This was the first image I took in NY.

And here are a few more:

And by the end of the trip, you couldn’t tell her from the other New Yorkers. Here she is looking very “pippencoop”! That is a word borrowed from my sis which basically means stylishly and creatively mismatched in a fabulous way…haha!

The first day we rode into the heart of the city and here is what we saw when we came up from the subway:

We quickly made our way over to the Empire State Building……something my sister had not done even after almost 20 years in the city:

That is one beautiful building. I kind of fell in love with it. I am a sucker for art deco and I wonder how many people actually look at and appreciate the details of the building itself. Even the store fronts on that block on the backside of the building had an impressive art deco style and I imagined how grand they were back then:)

Wow am I glad it wasn’t the busy season. You take the elevator up 80 floors and then you have a choice…..wait 20 minutes for another elevator to take you another 6 flights or hoof it up the stairs. Hey, no problem, right? That’s what we thought. No big deal. Only I still don’t think that was only 6 flights of stairs, yall! And also, after that speedy trip up 80 stories, I think something happens to you. It’s the altitude or something, I swear! Well, that’s my story and I am sticking to it. That was a S-L-O-W walk up 6 (yeah, right!) flights. But we made it! And I did take just a few minutes to take some images that I like. A couple are looking up from the observation deck to the needle, and then a couple are looking out at the city. Can you pick out the Chrysler building?

We ate some awesome NY pizza for lunch and made our way down to one of my daughter’s favorites for shopping, Sanrio. Hello Kitty heaven!!
So my daughter had money she had been gifted by grandparents and her auntie that she had been saving for the trip and I told her it was completely up to her how she spent it. She did so well! She found something she really wanted here but it was a little more than she expected it to be so I told her to just think on it while we traveled across the street to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. We love this kind of touristy stuff. It did not disappoint! So much fun!

My daughter decided that she did want the metallic blue, large HK bag so we went back to the store and picked it up and then headed to Sephora for some girly make-up fun before a delicious dinner at Ruby Foo’s! Amy’s hubbie Mike met us for dinner and it was Oh so delicious! Here is my sister and the dear daughter all made up and ready for dinner. Note the awesome new bag:)

That was a really big first day! I promise not to bore you with the details of the whole next week……let’s try to just hit some of the hightlights with pics:) The Brooklyn Bridge was definitely a highlight. Walking it’s length from Brooklyn to Manhattan and the view of the city was awesome. A wedding was even taking place on the bridge as we crossed! Regrettably I could not get close enough to get any decent images and only had a standard and wide angle lens along. But the bridge itself was fantastic and definitely satisfied my urge to take a few photos I could focus on. Here we are crossing the bridge:

And yeah, the sky could not have been more amazing than it was this day. I so rarely shoot inanimate objects at this time of day. It was pretty exciting to break out and do something completely different with the camera……..just for fun.
This day we basically walked all through Manhattan’s east and west village. We did lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen. Have you seen “When Harry Met Sally”? The scene where Meg Ryan impresses Billy Crystal with her, uhem, “acting” was shot here. I’m told it’s a very famous place that has been around for a long time. It was my first encounter with matzo ball soup. Yummy!

Lots of walking this day! But we did stop and sit for a while in Washington Square Park and watched these unbelievably flexible and strong guys do some pretty incredible things. One of the guys jumped over a girl standing up…….flipped right over her. Then he lined up 6 girls and one very lucky little boy and flipped over all of them!! He was a real showman. I wish I had been using a little faster shutter speed for these images…….Oooops! There I go! Eh, I still love looking at these!!!
Can you see what is happening in that last group?! The guy ran 20 feet and jumped – the first image catches him just as he is bending his knees to jump, then flipped over the group and as you see in the second pic he just barely touched the side of the kid’s head, then came down on the other side without touching anyone else!! Amazing what people can do!!!!

My sister and daughter and I laughed so hard when we saw these images too because we had an encounter with the large man with the bright red cap who appears in the background of the flipping images. As we were walking down the street, not far from the park, we passed this man and as we did he said to us, in a very large bellowing (but not threatening in any way) voice, “Stop looking for husbands!”. We laughed so hard. Really? What does that mean? It’s just me and my sister and my daughter walking through Manhattan exploring and talking and enjoying the adventure. We decided to take it as a compliment. We must have looked awfully pretty that day!

Wow this is the longest post in history. Ok, faster……
We took a pedicab ride in Central Park. It was only an hour and we didn’t see even half of the park. But it was a new experience and we had such a wonderful time, despite the dreary weather.

Another highlight for little/big girls (because my sister and I loved it just as much as Riley), we had tea at the Plaza, just like Eloise! We visited the Eloise gift shop, which is just incredible, and my daughter picked up a game of French Bingo here, to help her with her French classes next year:)

I have the itinerary above so I won’t detail anymore. Let’s just say everyday was perfectly full and wonderful. I wish I had some images from our night out to see Wicked, which was spectacular. If you care about musicals/theatre at all, DO NOT miss the opportunity to see it!! I loved it sooooo much…….we all did.

I met three friends I have known online from my business and that was very special to me. They are all awesome peeps and I was so glad to have time to visit with them: Joel Meisels of Adorama Camera, Zoe Berkovic of Zoe Berkovic Photography, and Carolina Nicasio of Carolina Nicasio Photography. Zoe was even kind enough to snap two quick images of me and my daughter at Grand Central Station. Certainly not the kind of lighting we are used to and no time for set up. But I can’t tell you how much I love having these, Zoe! Thank you!

But let’s skip on to the last day because I have some pictures to share……even though some are quite pitiful. We passed by beautiful Saint Patrick’s Cathedral:

on our way to the NBC studios at Rockefeller Plaza. My sister, who is a talented singer/songwriter, has some wonderful connections and signed us up for a small tour. We saw the Saturday Night Live cast in rehearsal – although we couldn’t hear them. Helen Mirren was the guest host that was in rehearsal with them and they all graciously waved hello to our little group. Then we were special guests at a taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon! My daughter was so excited to be able to be a part of the audience that day. She was so cute and was an excellent audience member. After the show was done, my sister took us backstage and we were introduced to Jimmy’s warm-up comic, Seth Herzog, who was SO funny and very nice. We were introduced to Ahmir “Questlove” and bassist Owen Biddle. And then we met Jimmy! This was actually my second time to meet Jimmy and he is such a nice guy. When we met with him, they had already covered up the set where he talks with his guests, but he was so kind to uncover it all and have my daughter sit in his guest chair and talk to her as if she were a guest on the show and let my sister snap away with the camera. Look at that grin!

One more thing before I sign off on the novel this evening! While I was there, I took just a few minutes to do some “child” photography. My sister and her husband have three fur babies that they love dearly. I hope they love the images too:)

Meet Nosferatu. And don’t let the name fool you…..he’s a lover, not a biter:)

This is LeRoy – pronounced as le ROY, not leroy. He was at the door every morning when we woke, ready for a morning cuddle.

And this is the ever elusive, Pearl. You can only get so close with a camera before she starts to look petrified!

I hope you enjoyed the post! I had a few clients and friends who really wanted to see and hear about the trip so I thought this could be fun. Let me know if you enjoyed the post and if you would like to see a personal post like this every once in a very great while. And thank you so much for visiting my blog! I hope you’ll be back:)

Michelle Geis posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 12:39 am.

Oh Ashley! I love your longest post in history. You, your sis and your daughter are gorgeous beautiful. (Love your daughter’s scarf!) And your images… So beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Gail posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 1:09 am.

LOVE the longest post ever! I feel like I was right there with you – thanks for the tour of the city – LOVE NY!

Tiffany Bender posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 4:54 am.

What a fun trip..I felt like I was there with you! So awesome that you have it all documented with your beautiful images!

Carrie posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 4:58 am.

Awesome images Ashley!!!!! A perfectly documented trip!

Liz posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 6:03 am.

Ashley! What an amazing trip you and your daughter had! I really enjoyed reading this and loved every single photo!

beverly wright posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 6:45 am.

how FUN!! and these are sure to make a beautiful album of memories!

sharon posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 7:11 am.

Love this post Ashley. Well documented… I nearly feel like I’ve been there now. (This is most likely the closest I’m going to get anyway! LOL ) TFS your trip :)

Rachel Aberle posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 7:11 am.

Thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to take my daughter to NYC someday!

Karen posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 7:59 am.

Gorgeous photography and wonderful story telling. I almost feel like I was there, too. Loved your post, Ashely! Thanks for sharing it with us.

amy lenhart posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 8:17 am.

wow what an adventure!!!! i loved taking this peek into your life and your amazing vacation with your daughter!!! gorgeous images and it looks like you had a fabulous time!

stephanie posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 8:47 am.

so fun!! what amazing memories…love your photo chronology.

Terry posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 9:02 am.

Ashley, looks like you had a wonderful time in NYC! Amazing photos!

Julie Wagoner posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 9:12 am.

Oh, I loved this post ashley!! Your images are amazing and the trip seems like so much fun! I love NYC and now have a need to get back there soon!

Kristin posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 9:14 am.

Fabulous! Thank you for sharing your trip in words and in pictures!!! I want to visit NYC!!

Claire Hunter posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 9:54 am.

Great post Ashley. Looks like you both really got to see the NYC life!

Amy Miles posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 10:03 am.

AHHHHH!!! This made me weepy with joy!! The pics are incredible ash!! wow. you are just so good. And I still can’t believe we packed all that in and survived. We are awesome. and of course I for one love the personal blogs. But I’m related…so

Susan posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 10:06 am.

What a great experience. Thanks for sharing!

Donna posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 11:17 am.

It sounds like you had an awesome time! I loved reading all about it! :)

Kate Craft posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm.

Amazing Thankyou for sharing all of that with us

Tara Zornow posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 12:55 pm.

Ashley I LOVED reading/seeing your adventures in NYC! It looks like you had an amazing time! You looked beautiful, your daughter looks so grown up and your sister is a DEAD ringer for Uma Thurman! That first photo I was like umm…who is that? It took me a second to realize who she looked like, gorgeous!

Shelby posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 12:57 pm.

Wow! What an amazing trip you had. Thank you so much for sharing your journey though these wonderful photos!

Ashley posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm.

Thanks so much for all the love ladies! I’m so glad it was an interesting post for yall. I loved writing it….was kind of like journaling:)
Tara, yes, my sis gets the Uma comparison ALL the time. Funny enough, she was the guest on Jimmy Fallon’s show when we were there!

amy b posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm.

LOVE. now I want to go there even more. the bridges. oh the bridges. and you and that 14mm. nice moves girl. nice moves. ;)

Nicole Z posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 2:38 pm.

Ashley, looks like you had an amazing time! Love looking at all of your images, and hearing all about your fantastic time in NY! Your daughter is so gorgeous and looks like she had a really great time too!

Kathleen posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm.

Great shoots!!!! Looks like such a fun trip.

Cherise posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm.

Love the recap and pictures! Looks like y’all had a wonderful time.

Kelly G posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 8:30 pm.

Awesome, awesome post, Ashley! Looks and sounds like an AMAZING trip!

Dori posted the following on April 23, 2011 at 10:36 pm.

oh what a wonderful trip that neither of you will ever forget! It looks like you had such a wonderful time. I loved lots of these images. what fun sharing your vacation through your pics. You and your daughter are both so darned cute…and your sister is a cutie pie too. your family obviously has loads of ‘beauty’ genes. what fun you and your daughter must have had with J. Fallen.

Kara Layfield posted the following on April 24, 2011 at 7:49 pm.

Oh my what a fun trip! I’ve never been to the big city so thanks for the tour. Looks like you all created lots of fun memories.

Lina posted the following on April 25, 2011 at 7:13 am.

Gosh, Ashley, you are amazing! I felt like I was there with you. Seems like such a great time with your sister. Great shots, especially JF interviewing your daughter :)

Julene posted the following on April 25, 2011 at 9:42 am.

Awesome pics and I think personal blogs are a great thing to do once in a while. It showcases your skills as a photographer (and writer). Not only can you snap a great pic of a bitsy baby, but you can snap a great pic of a bridge. I’d buy one of those as a print you know. : )

dale posted the following on April 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm.

loved!!!!!!!!! what a fabulous trip! ;)

Sylvia Borgo posted the following on April 29, 2011 at 1:03 am.

ooooh, how marvelous! ooooooh! what a great trip!!!

Laura posted the following on April 29, 2011 at 10:05 am.

I LOVE this post!! What an enjoyable read along with my morning mug of tea. I want to go to NY now too! What a great mother/daughter trip. Thanks so much for taking the time to describe the details. What delight to read. :-)

Leya Stefanski posted the following on May 23, 2011 at 12:59 pm.

How did I miss this???? Soooo fantastic!!!! Felt like I was with you both. :)

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