Last year, I had so much fun attending the Streets of New York Workshop with Hugh and Claudia Brownstone that I jumped at a chance to join a second group for the workshop again this past October. Prior to attending, I really knew very little about New York City, or at least Manhattan. But now after two workshops and one personal trip I feel pretty good about navigating the city, and I look forward to return trips in the future.
This year Hugh and Claudia took the same thoughtful approach to choosing locations and helping us come together as a group to discuss developing our own artistic vision. As before I valued my fellow attendees a great deal. You make friends at these workshops, friends that you can remain in touch with long after the workshop concludes.
We were based in the Bowery for this visit, and our hotel had a rooftop bar with spectacular views of the city. The image leading this post was captured from the rooftop bar during an early-morning shoot. We spent the rest of our time either wandering the streets of New York or meeting as a group to review images and for class discussions. As part of their presentation Hugh reviewed the history of photographers who have contributed to the genre, starting with Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson. As we walked the streets I was mindful of the paths that those pioneers blazed before us.
In terms of gear I really worked to control how much I packed on this trip. It helped a lot to walk the streets unencumbered by too much equipment. I use the Nikon Z7ii as my main camera. It is light, and has a 45.7 megapixel full-frame sensor. That allowed for extensive cropping of images where necessary, while still retaining a lot of detail. I really feel a large sensor like this one is a minimum requirement for street. You just have so many more options in post.The Z7ii also has image stabilization, which again is of substantial benefit, and for me a minimum requirement.
As far as lenses I made the decision to bring the Nikon 24-120 F/4 S as my primary lens. Last year I used the 24-70 f/2.8 as my primary. That is a spectacular lens and I will never part with it, but it is large and somewhat bulky. The 24-120 loses one stop over the 24-70, but that is about it. You get an expanded focal range, and it retains the same level of sharpness as the 24-70. I also brought two inexpensive Nikon primes – a 28mm f/2.8 and the 40mm f/2. As it turned out I never used them, which I regret to some extent, as I have since seen some impressive work captured by both lenses. They are very light, small, and easy to pack. I will continue to take them with me on future shoots.
Finally, my backup camera this go around turned out to be the new iPhone 14 Pro. Along with exceptional video features you can now capture 48 megapixel RAW images with the primary lens. The images are then easily uploaded to the Adobe Creative Cloud server and then edited right on the iPhone. It is an amazing improvement in workflow,. You can also capture 12 megapixel images with the wide and telephoto lenses. I expect that in future iterations of the iPhone those lenses will also be able to capture 48 megapixel images.
Street photography is a great passion, one that I will continue to pursue going forward. Please enjoy the images below that were captured during the walks around New York City. I also look forward to continued contact with my fellow attendees, as that is again one of the great benefits of these workshops. And special thanks to Hugh and Claudia Brownstone for pulling these workshops together. It is truly a labor of love and we all benefitted from their guidance. Check out their YouTube channel to learn more about them, and their company Three Blind Men and an Elephant.
These are some of the RAW captures from the iPhone 14 Pro. I really prefer processing these captures in Lightroom as opposed to letting the phone do it’s computational HDR stuff. I was pleased to see the iPhone manages RAW so well now.