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France through the Lens

I spent the afternoon going through photography from my adventures in France this year since I am preparing for a few different presentations right now (information about those events below!). I love reliving moments through photography.

When I look through my photography, I can feel everything about the scene I was photographing: the scents in the air, the way the light fell just so, the anticipation of the moment, and every emotion that was welling up inside.

I have seen and read a lot of articles denouncing the ubiquitousness of cameras in all of today’s moments as if cameras are over-peppering a perfectly balanced and flavorful landscape.

But, I have always felt that the camera has allowed me to live in the moment more. And I relive the moments I capture after the fact, relishing everything I felt in that split second of time.

Travel is all about these moments.

Like how the light bathed the history-worn walls in Aix-en-Provence.

Or how the shadows fell on the stairs in Marseille.

The way Carcassonne sleepily overlooked the countryside.

While cats nuzzled each other next to croissants at Café les Chats, Paris.

Hotel Negresco’s Dali-esque interiors spun me round and round.

And the light in the south of France sprinkled itself over Marseille like fairy dust.

It was during that one dusk in Montpellier I felt my heart swoon.

And it filled with magic at midnight in Marseille during Fete de la Musique,

As I explored every alley I could the next day.

As storm clouds gathered above Paris,

Gustave Moreau’s house whisked me into the past,

while Montpellier’s rich golden walls held my heart in its hands.

And when this scene stopped me in my tracks,

I knew my heart would never beat the same way again.

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Upcoming events and appearances:

1. I will be speaking on a panel at French Affairs Las Vegas this coming weekend. French Affairs Las Vegas is an annual travel B2B conference hosted by France’s official tourism agency Atout France and focused on travel topics with a focus on France and Paris.

My panel topic is: Social Media and Millennials in the Travel Industry. This is topic near and dear to my heart so I am looking forward to the panel discussion.

2. I will also be presenting all three days of PhotoPlus Expo in New York City on the Sony stage about travel photography. My presentation topic is: Traveling with Sony Mirrorless Cameras.

I will discuss the social aspects of sharing with Sony’s mirrorless cameras as well as the reasons why travel photography has gotten a whole lot more delightful for me. PhotoPlus Expo is the largest photography and imaging event in North America.

If you will be at PhotoPlus Expo, please come and say hello and if you have time and feel like gazing at my travel photography while I talk about my experiences photographing France come have a listen to my presentation. I will try my best to be entertaining. Promise. :)

3. I also have news to announce about my NYC photography book like info about signed copies as well as potential book-related events and appearances. I will do an update about all of this soon.

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Looking for these (and more) France photos to view larger? Here you go (click or tap on each photo to view larger):

France Photos

Interested in viewing all of my France posts so far? Here they are:

France Through the Lens

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Incredible amounts of gratitude to:

France’s official tourism agency who you can find here on Facebook France Guide. They made my entire France photography adventure possible and went above and beyond in making sure I was well taken care of everywhere I went (truly).

*All photos taken with my Sony A7R and Sony A6000.

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View: My travel photography portfolio, My Photography Book Releasing in Autumn, 2014, My NYC Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

Travel New York City in photos….

nythroughthelens:

All about my New York coffee table book via Tumblr’s official Books Tumblr (a great one to follow!). Thanks Tumblr! ♥ you.

nythroughthelens:

NY Through The Lens - The Book!

I am super excited to announce this news!

My New York City photography book is currently available for pre-sale.

Will the book be releasing in physical stores as well?

Yes! It will be at major retailers like Barnes and Noble here in the United States as well as many other retailers in the US and UK.

Here is a new page with an ongoing listing of physical retail and online locations to purchase the book:

NY Through The Lens - Book - Retail Locations

Travel Guide to New York City autumn views in Central Park

nythroughthelens:

New York Autumn - Central Park’s Most Beautiful Views

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Around this time every year, I get a ton of messages and emails asking me when the leaves are changing in Central Park and what the best places are to soak in the best of Central Park in the autumn.

Central Park turns into a magical autumn wonderland in the fall.

Let’s explore:

What’s more romantic than 2 bicycles waiting next to trees dripping with autumn foliage? This photo was taken on the east side of Central Park near the East 70s. I usually enter the park in this area. It’s full of rolling hills. If you wander around during the peak of autumn, you are bound to catch views like this in quite a few places in this area:

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If you happen to be in Central Park when the fall foliage is at its peak, make sure you stick around for an autumn sunset. This photo was taken adjacent to The Mall in Central Park. No, The Mall is not a giant shopping center. Rather, The Mall is a section of Central Park that runs from 66th to 72nd Street.

I usually enter Central Park from the east side of the park and follow the signs to get to The Mall. This is a pathway that is right next to The Mall. It has an abundance of trees that turn red in the autumn which makes it ideal for sunset gazing.

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Right next to the Loeb Boathouse which is on the east side of the park near 72nd Street, is one of the most beautiful parts of Central Park in the autumn. The willow trees here turn the most vibrant shades of yellow and orange at peak foliage and you get a perfect view of San Remo (the two-towered building in this photo) as well as people in row boats on The Lake enjoying the last vestiges of nice weather.

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Another favorite spot which I mentioned above is The Mall and Literary Walk (also known as Central Park’s Poet’s Walk). Central Park’s gorgeous elm trees form a giant canopy above the bucolic landscape.

This is Central Park’s Mall at dusk on a gorgeous autumn evening.

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Adjacent to Central Park’s Mall are a line of protected elm trees. The elm trees in Central Park are some of the last remaining American elm trees in the world. Make sure you explore the area around the Mall and you will be rewarded with this amazing view of the elm trees whose leaves turn the most vibrant yellow and gold at peak foliage.

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After you admire the elm trees, take a walk around the benches that surround the Mall on the side of the Mall leading to Bethesda Fountain. I love this area because at autumn’s peak, the leaves carpet the ground.

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Bow Bridge is always my main goal when I go to Central Park to view the peak fall foliage. It’s a fairytale setting that seems to have made its way into reality. It’s also made an appearance in a Dr. Who episode and a ton of films (Spiderman 3 being one of them). Bow Bridge is located right in the middle of the park overlooking The Lake.

It is between 74th and 75th Streets and the easiest way to find Bow Bridge is to head to Bethesda Fountain and then follow the path from there to the Bridge. Central Park is an easy place to get lost in (even I get lost there on a regular basis despite going there often) but there are signs everywhere and I have never failed to find a knowledgeable NYer who is willing to help with directions (and who isn’t directionally challenged like I am!).

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If you walk south away from The Mall on the East Side of Central Park and you are in the vicinity of the Alice in Wonderland sculpture (which is near 74th Street), there are a series of large rocks that people love to climb. The light is absolutely stunning there during the autumn especially when the leaves are covering the ground.

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If you decide to follow the perimeter of The Lake instead of going south after gazing at Bow Bridge, you will be greeted with views like this.

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Bow Bridge is also beautiful to view from the other side of The Lake. If you wait until the hour before sunset, the sun tends to set almost directly above Bow Bridge when you are standing (or sitting) at this vantage point.

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If you are feeling slightly adventurous, definitely explore The Ramble. The Ramble is in the middle of Central Park between 73rd and and 79th Streets. It is 36 acres of something known as a “wild garden”. It was designed as a total escape from the city proper and has many winding paths through a gloriously rugged landscape.

In the autumn, it comes alive with color.

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The rustic bridges in The Ramble are also beautiful when surrounded by fall foliage.

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And finally, do not forget to walk down Central Park’s Bridle Path. The Bridle Path is runs adjacent to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. The reservoir runs from 85th Street to 96th street on the east side of the park.

During the autumn, the trees perfectly frame the skyline of Central Park West.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

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Are these the only beautiful autumn landscapes in Central Park?

If you notice, a lot of my top views are near the east side of the park. This is because for about 7 years I lived on the border of the Upper East Side and Harlem and I would walk down to this area to acquaint myself with Central Park. Familiarity breeds unabashed love.

Are there gorgeous areas of Central Park on the west side or further north and south? Of course there are. Central Park stretches across 840 acres of Manhattan. I just happen to be extremely enamored of this particular area due to my familiarity with it and my love of Bow Bridge.

Quite honestly, at the peak of autumn, you can’t really go wrong with most parts of Central Park. It’s basically an autumn wonderland full of fall foliage and piles of leaves.

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When do the leaves change in Central Park?

Great question! I can give you only an approximate answer though since the peak has varied wildly over the last few years due to extreme weather (Hurricane Irene and Sandy).

Usually peak fall foliage in Central Park occurs towards the beginning of November. If New York City gets a lot of rain though, the quality of the fall foliage will vary. Lots of rain means less leaves on the trees and a less lush appearance during the peak. Also, if New York City is incredibly dry, the peak can take longer to occur.

Some years, peak foliage has occurred early towards the middle to end of October. The 2014 autumn season looks like it is starting a bit early. I have seen leaves changing already and the weather has been cool. These signs lead me to believe that we will see more color in October this year which is exciting!

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How long does peak fall foliage last?

Not long enough.

No really. It’s only vibrant like in the photos in this post for around two to three weeks. Sometimes that time is cut short by rainfall and/or early snow. I wish it lasted for a month or two!

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I hope you have enjoyed my autumn tour through Central Park :).

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Looking for these (and more) New York City autumn photos to view larger? Here you go (click or tap on each photo to view larger):

New York Autumn

Looking to buy any of these autumn photos as prints? Here they are in an autumn gallery over in my online print portfolio:

Central Park Autumn

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* All photos taken by me with a variety of Sony cameras over the years.

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Information about my New York City photography book which is releasing in stores and online in the autumn of 2014 (including where to order it):

NY Through The Lens: A New York Coffee Table Book

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View: My photography portfolio, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

Shangri-La Hotel Paris - A Photo-Tour

There are places that are talked about on late nights with friends. They are the places where you would stay if you were lucky enough; the type of place that you describe which causes everyone to wistfully nod their heads in dreamy agreement. When you come across such a place and find out that it exists in reality, it’s a beautiful moment. I feel fortunate to share my experience at such a place.

I knew I was about to embark on an epic experience when I was offered the opportunity to stay at Shangri-La Hotel Paris during my stay in Paris a few months back. But I don’t think I fully grasped the enormity of the experience until I walked up to its exterior, set my bags down, and laid my eyes on its grand entrance.

The Shangri-La Hotel Paris is a 5 star hotel that was just recently awarded Palace status which puts it in an elite group of hotels in Paris that uphold extraordinarily high standards of excellence and luxury.

Built in the late 1800s as a residence for Napolean Bonaparte’s nephew Prince Roland Bonaparte, the residence was restored to its former glory from 2006 to 2010 when it opened as the Shangri-La Paris Hotel. It is also a historic monument.

Richard Martinet directed the architectural renovations of the hotel and Pierre-Yves Rochon directed the interior refurbishments and renovations.

This is the grand entrance of the hotel located at 10 avenue d’Iéna.

As you walk inside, it’s hard not to get caught up in the romance…

All 101 rooms and 36 suites are decorated in shades of blue, white and ecru, in keeping with both European Empire and Asian aesthetics. Textures and colours are harmonious, from silk-threaded wallpaper, textured wall panels and refined crystal hardware on custom-made furnishings.

The majority of rooms feature windows with views of the Eiffel Tower.

And these aren’t run-of-the-mill views of the Eiffel Tower either. The views are some of the best, unobstructed views of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

I read a while back that Prince Roland Bonaparte didn’t enjoy the Eiffel Tower and so his own private residence in the palace faced the street rather than the Seine.

I am not sure how true that anecdote is but I can definitely say that I love the Eiffel Tower. And so, I couldn’t contain a huge grin when I walked towards the window by my bed and opened the doors to the balcony which featured this view:

If you follow my Twitter, you may recall a now infamous photo that I posted within the first few hours of entering my hotel room at Shangri-La Hotel Paris. For reference, here is the photo on Twitter.

I can now elaborate on the story behind it. My publisher had just informed me a week earlier while I was in France that my New York City photography book was being finalized for printing.

I told someone on the phone about that emotional moment and they told me to savor every moment and to make sure I jump on every bed that is worthy of jumping on.

As soon as I saw the view from my room and then looked at the bed, I knew what I needed to do :):

But seriously, the view from my room’s balcony was so ridiculously incredible that I had a hard time pulling myself away from it. This was a view of the Eiffel Tower from my balcony at dusk:

And I was so enamored with the view, that I took a video of the Eiffel Tower’s light show with my phone (not zoomed in at all! so close!):

Eiffel Tower Light Show

Every room and suite has a marble bathroom with heated floors, a separate bathtub and rainfall shower, and double sinks above which a flat-screen television is integrated into a large mirror:

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If you look closely at the photo above, you will notice a little something in the mirror.

That’s right, even the bathtub features a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower:

Something that really stood out to me while I explored the hotel is the incredible attention and devotion to the history of the palace. The hotel has quite a few event spaces that are used for various events like weddings. This is a ceiling in one of the event spaces:

A walkway between rooms reveals elegant ornamentation:

As you walk from room to room on the main floor, it’s hard not to fall in love with the enormous stained glass touches on the windows and the generous amount of natural light that flows into the space:

Through an archway, an exquisite scene unfolds…:

…revealing a grand staircase fit for royalty:

As you ascend the stairs, light pours through the large windows ornamented with stained glass:

Descending the stairs, another entrance comes into the view. It’s the entrance to the heart of the hotel, one of its restaurants called La Bauhinia:

La Bauhinia features a charming dining area that is flooded with natural light making it a comfortable and comforting place to enjoy a meal or snack:

Looking out over La Bauhinia’s main level and grand piano:

Le Bar is the hotel’s bar and features an Empire period equestrian theme:

I was fortunate enough to get a peek at the view from the hotel’s most prized suite, La Suite Shangri-La. It’s one of the best and most expensive rooms in the hotel. The views of the city from the balcony of the room are spectacular.

Here is the Eiffel Tower view:

And a sweeping view of the city:

The night I stayed at the hotel was one of the most magical and unforgettable nights of my stay in France.

As I stood on my own balcony watching the night sky fall over Paris, I took a deep breath and inhaled the essence of a perfect night into my lungs as I watched the gleaming lights dance along the Eiffel Tower.

I hope you enjoyed a journey through the Shangri-La Hotel Paris.

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Looking for these (and more) Shangri-La Hotel Paris photos to view larger? Here you go (click or tap on each photo to view larger):

Shangri-La Hotel Paris Photos

Interested in viewing all of my France posts so far? Here they are:

France Through the Lens

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Incredible amounts of gratitude to:

Shangri-La Hotel Paris who let me stay as a guest of theirs in exchange for photography and took amazing care of me during my stay.

And, the official French tourism agency, who you can find here on Facebook France Guide. They made my entire France photography adventure possible and went above and beyond in making sure I was well taken care of everywhere I went (truly).

*All photos taken with my Sony A7R.

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View: My travel photography portfolio, My Photography Book Releasing in Autumn, 2014, My NYC Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

Paris - Summer in the City of Love

Paris blossoms

in the summer.

Trees,

heavy with leaves,

shimmer in rare bouts

of sunlight

that pours

over the city streets

like white gold.

And even

the rain

shimmers against

history-bleached architecture,

as the days linger long,

like trailing words spilling slowly

off the phrases of lovers.

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A motorbike drives down a street in Montmartre.

Sacré-Cœur Basilica and Montmartre street.

Paris rooftops as seen from the top of Montmartre through a TimHotel window

Frame within frame.
Rain-soaked street on a rainy Paris afternoon.

Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre Metro Station

Sacré-Cœur Basilica as seen from the top of Montmartre through a TimHotel window.

Sunlight pours over a street in Montmartre.

A shared umbrella in a Paris rainstorm.

Sunlight and shadows along the curved streets of Montmartre.

Flower boxes and quiet streets on a Sunday.

Along the Seine.

Walking in the rain.

Rooftops and a distant Eiffel Tower from high above in Montmartre.

Where hearts dream.

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Looking for these (and more) Paris photos to view larger? Here you go (click or tap on each photo to view larger):

Paris Photography

Interested in viewing all of my Paris travel posts so far? Here they are:

Paris Through the Lens

Interested in viewing all of my France posts so far? Here they are:

France Through the Lens

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*All photos taken with these cameras: Sony A7R, Sony A7, Sony A6000

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View: My travel photography portfolio, My Photography Book Releasing in Autumn, 2014, My NYC Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.