Best Travel Photo Essays Of Brooklyn

A glimpse into Central Park

If an effort to explore my home like a tourist and really take advantage of the fact I live in one of the greatest cities in the world (in my opinion, anyway), I’ve started letting my camera be my guide and going on photo safaris in different locations around New York City. Today’s journey took me to Central Park, as I realized despite having wandered through the natural attraction many times I rarely bothered to take notice of all the details. High 60s and sunny without a drop of humidity — it was the perfect (and rare) morning to take my Nikon on a park date.

Photography Tips For Photographing Central Park

  • If you photograph a performer or artist, leave them a tip. Some of them will outright say you can’t photograph them without leaving a tip, but even if they don’t it’s the right thing to do.
  • Don’t take shots of children without permission. Parents are very protective of their kids — as they should be — and many will not be happy with strangers snapping pictures of them.
  • Use your imagination and get creative. Instead of just photographing the skyline or The Lake, try to frame the scene in a unique week. Also try different angles and perspectives. It’s amazing how just the slightest change in eye level can make a big difference in a photo.
  • Play with exposures. Try exposing for the highlights (the bright part of the frame, like a sunny sky) then the lowlights (the darker part of the frame, like a shady tree) and compare. When exposing for the highlights your photo will appear darker — great for creating silhouettes against backlight — and when you expose for the shadows your photo will appear brighter. The tunnels around Central Park are a lot of fun for experimenting with this.
  • Remember reflections. Central Park has some serene bodies of water that make for great skyline and tree reflection photos.
  • Get closer. Many novice photographers have great ideas for shots but they are too far away for the viewer to focus on the subject.
  • If you have certain attractions you’d like to photograph, click here to download a map of Central Park so you know where you’re going. It’s not hard to get lost in this huge park, encompassing over 843 acres (341 hectares).

Need A Guide?

Looking for a New York City tour guide? I’m a certified tour guide and photographer leading custom and private tours — all of which include a gallery of high resolution images of your group — as well as photo safaris. If interested please email me at jessieonajourney (at) gmail (dot) com or use the form below and let me know what kind of experience you’re looking for and when.

Without further adieu, here is how I saw Central Park on a sunny NYC morning:

Note: All photos were taken by Jessica Festa with a Nikon D5100, with no filtering or hard editing (some photos have light highlights added). All Rights Reserved. If you would like to use the below photos in a high resolution version for marketing, publication or to print and hang in your home please contact me for details. Frames and canvas available.

Entering Central Park

Sunny skies and rainbows against an NYC skyline in Central Park

Around Central Park you’ll find a few of these trees where lovers and individuals scratch their initials into the bark

Pure serenity at The Pond in Central Park

Bright flowers abound in Central Park in summer, while in fall this is an excellent place to photograph the colorful foliage

Cyclists, taxis, joggers and horse-and-carriages all share the same roadway in some areas of Central Park, although in separate lanes.

Supposedly, these thin wispy clouds mean fair weather is ahead

Concrete jungle meets natural paradise

This bubble artist is just one many talented characters you’ll meet in Central Park

“The Mall,” littered with artisans and performers

Watching the Peace Industry Music Group perform for free in Central Park. They’re there every Friday afternoon and are seriously amazing!

Central Park can be odd sometimes

Row boating on The Lake in Central Park, the skyline looming behind

Another perspective of row boating on The Lake

Bethesda Fountain

Another view of Bethesda Fountain

“You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one, I hope someday you’ll join us, And the world will be as one” – John Lennon, “Imagine”

And on your way out near Columbus Circle you can $1 original jokes!


Marvelous. Incredible. Spectacular.

Until I started researching the Brooklyn Bridge before I attempted to cross it last week, I’d never thought about what a feat it was to build. In NYC, surrounded by marvels in every direction, it’s easy to overlook one that’s 125 years old and that blends so seamlessly with all the other buildings and structures that make the Big Apple so big.

Last week while I was in NYC for meetings (and a little bit of fun), I spent some quality time downtown where I finally wandered under, around and on top of the Brooklyn Bridge.

How I ever managed to overlook this area’s particular charms defies explanation.

After almost two decades of construction and some freaky, curse-like mishaps on the Roebling family who designed the bridge, the New York and Brooklyn Bridge, as it was then called, opened to much fanfare on May 24, 1883

It was the largest suspension bridge in the world at the time and the only link aside from the ferry from Manhattan to Brooklyn. More than 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists every day cross the Brooklyn Bridge.

The bridge’s main span over the East River is 1,595 feet 6 inches (486.3 m) and the crossing is a must if you’re visiting. It’s free, there are no lines and there are some amazing photo opportunities.

Chinatown, Manhattan

Chinatown, just a few minutes from the Brooklyn Bridge and my home base during my visit, is home to the largest enclave of Chinese people in the Western hemisphere.

A glimpse into the downtown of 1883

The Roeblings built the bridge 6 times stronger than it was required to be and many suspect that’s why it’s outlasted many other contemporary structures.

There’s no shortage of vantage points if you want to go on a little photo walking tour.

Early 1900s ships at the South Street Seaport

Also steps from the Brooklyn Bridge is the South Street Seaport and the surrounding streets featuring some of the oldest architecture in downtown Manhattan, including the largest concentration of restored early 19th-century commercial buildings in the city. I spent a few hours shopping, lunching and photographing before scaling the bridge…

After 5 years living in NYC, it might surprise you that I never attempted to cross the Brooklyn Bridge until my visit last week. I took the photos above while wandering from Chinatown toward the South Street Seaport, then meandered toward the bridge’s pedestrian entrance while Mister Softee trucks tempted me at every corner.

By the time I went from the Seaport to the Bridge, the spot where I’d been standing and taking photographs had gone up in flames and the entire Seaport had to be evacuated. Downtown was thick with smoke and sirens. Fortunately no one was hurt and the NYFD was able to contain the fire with not too much damage to the Seaport.

Once the smoke cleared, I experienced the Brooklyn Bridge, finally, for myself. And it was worth the wait.

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