High on the High Line

Lower Manhattan from the High Line © 2012 Rona Dacoscos Macias

The Trailing Edge of Digital Photography. This February, Rona Macias spent a week in NYC and shot pictures from the High Line. The High Line, if you are not familiar with it, is a long and narrow public park built on the site of the historic elevated freight train line. It runs North/South two stories above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side.

High Line, Winter 2012 © Rona D. Macias

I asked her what’s so special about this place?  “From the High Line you can see HOBOKEN! ” writes Rona. “The Statue of Liberty! You are high enough to see architecture from a different level without being inside.”

Hoboken from the High Line (detail) © 2012 Rona Macias

She continues, “Anytime of the day is good, but I was surprised how beautiful the light was in the morning with the mists over the river almost covering up the Lackawanna train station. And, the best part is it’s near Chelsea Market where you can pick up something to eat along the way.”

Grand Central Station © 2012 Rona Macias

Naturally, Rona took shots of the Empire State Building and Grand Central Station. She also visited some lesser known sites, like Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. According to Rona the temple below is the final resting place of German immigrant Charles Feltman. In 1870 Feltman put a sausage in a horizontal roll and invented the Coney Island hot dog. The rest is history.

Tomb of the Inventor of the Hot Dog. ©2012 Rona Macias

Rona recommends searching the web for the latest in tilt-shift photography. Here is one site with over 80 examples and links to tutorials. And amazingly, Rona doesn’t use a pricey camera. Her Canon A1200 HD can be found on Amazon or Best Buy for as little as $80.

Hate Trolls, Love ELPHS

Strrets of Moyogolpa, Nicaragua, ©2011 Shelley Seale

My next camera will be a Canon ELPH. The wonderful photo above is by Austin-based travel writer Shelley Seale. She captured the colorful street in a small town on Ometepe, a volcanic island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. Oddly enough, Shelley doesn’t think of herself as a gifted photographer. Do check out her ‘Trading Places Global’ travel blog to follow her adventures and see more of her work. Josh Berman, co-author the The Moon Handbook: Nicaragua shared Shelley’s picture (above) on Facebook. I wrote to her to ask about this eye-popping image, and if she had any photography advice to share.

Volcano, Ometepe, Nicaragua photo © 2011 Shelley Seale

“I assure you that was all the work of my fun, fantastic ‘miniature’ setting on my little Canon ELPH 500 camera. I don’t know if I would have any real tips for newbies; I can only say what I do, which is have my camera ready at almost any given time to snap that quick street shot or something happening in the moment. This is why I like having such a small camera.  – I even shot photos and video from the back of a motorcycle with it! I let the camera do the work and experiment with the fun settings and unusual angles or eye levels.”

Street scene, Luang Prabang, Laos, © 2012 Shelley Seale

Looking at Shelley’s Trading Places Global blog, I noticed she takes advantage of the magic of early morning light for her most dramatic shots, as in the Laotian street above. Canon’s ELPH 500, the model Shelly uses, can now be found online for about $220. Canon’s ELPH 300 is a slightly cheaper alternative: refurbished units go for under $150.

On a tighter budget? Rona Dacoscos, a San Francisco friend, uses the Canon’s A1200 HD. It has the same miniature setting. Canon’s A1200 can be found on Amazon or Best Buy for as little as $80. However, Rona recommends finding time to test every possible effect as soon as you unpack your camera. She sent back 2 lemons before she got one that was fully functional. Next post I’ll share some of Rona’s images.

Speaking of Scenic Nicaragua: My brother lives there part of each year and I’ve visited twice. Nicaragua is a colorful place to sketch, paint, or photograph. My friend Gerald Pavon is a great guide, and fluent in English, German, and Spanish. His Eco-Camp Expeditions, based in Leon, leads treks to Nicaragua’s highland coffee country, Ometepe, and other parts of Central America. Info: www.ecocampexpeditions.com