On The Way, My Blog



I went to my college reunion this spring and  I was amazed that the place was busting with a kind of spring beauty that almost made me dizzy. Of course it’s possible that the weekend-long heat wave was also a factor.  Many of my memories of college are of the mental acrobatics required  just to keep up my end of the conversation, with my amazing and challenging classmates and professors. To this day I have anxiety dreams about exams at that place! but I actually loved burying myself  in my books and so I was in the right place.  I guess that’s why I completely forgot to bring my camera. But, I always think of my photography as coming from my gut; and  I usually shoot what is around me, making chance, and dealing with what you are dealt, a part of how my photos are created.  Luckily I had my trusty iPhone; so I was able to record what today’s me saw, where yesterday’s me didn’t have the time to look up from her book.

Warm Glow


Here is my version of hope.  While walking down a quiet street I came upon this honeyed light, and for a moment I felt the warmth of  unexpected beauty.  My realist side has been vacillating between horror and hopelessness these days; but when I saw this, I let the idealist in me take over and just breathe in the beauty.  So Happy New Year everyone - here’s to hope (however you find it) and peace in 2016!

Night of the Eclipse


The night of the Lunar Eclipse we got take-out from our favorite burrito place and walked towards Prospect Park to try and find a spot of darkness where we could see nature's show.  As many of you know, I've lived in Brooklyn for 26 years. I moved here because I couldn't afford Manhattan anymore; but I really came to love it because it was an escape from the crowds and the stress of being in the middle of it all.  I used to walk the streets, of my then semi-safe neighborhood, at night with my Cannon AE-1 Program and hand hold my camera to get the blurred, dark, moody images that I loved.  Since then, Brooklyn has become the epicenter of all I was fleeing when I left Manhattan and finding quiet, or darkness, or tranquility, is rare here.  But on that night I saw people pausing and waiting, and even stopping, to look at the shadow crossing the moon. You could feel everyone holding their breath each time lines of clouds blocked our view and then exhaling when they passed and the moon reappeared redder and even more remarkable than before. We were sitting on the lawn in the Park when the whole thing turned that warm and spooky red and for just a moment it felt like the small town it used to be, where people might come out at night to just quietly look at the sky.  Of course, once the clouds came and covered the moon for real, we looked around and realized that we were sitting in field of smart phone screens - one of which was mine since I shot this with my phone.  No filter here, but it is printed on a special paper where the fibers are visible.

Blue Skies


Don't worry it's not a summer snow storm! Just the view through the Long Island Rail Road car window.  I spent so much of my childhood looking through these windows on my way to the beach;  and when you're a kid on the way to the beach, anything you pass looks good 'cause you know it's getting you closer to the ocean.   Somehow this fairy-dust effect, of the sun hitting the  window coating, really captures that hopeful feeling for me.  Here it even transforms this drab monolithic apartment building, with a bad case of  1970's design, and makes it look beautiful.  Looking through these windows now, as an adult,  I also wonder how much of my abstracted photographic style came from looking at the world through those scratched and dirty old LIRR windows.

Green Light in Snow


The snow was certainly not welcomed by anyone today. But it came down wet and sticky and so it worked a little magic on everything it touched. All day I saw tree branches covered with movie-snow, making the whole city look like it was inside a souvenir snow globe.  But then this evening I saw this  traffic  light, it's bright green light piercing the snow to signal "go!" to those in the  jail looming just behind it. I had forgotten that this city always has something unexpected to show you; when you can block out all the noise, you can see it.

Quiet snow


I took this photo from my window,  in the wee hours of the morning,  as I was waiting for the  promised  huge snowfall.  (I kept telling myself that I'd go to bed as soon as I couldn't see out the window.)  This picture ended up reminding me of the city, as I knew it, when I was a little girl.  I grew up on Amsterdam Avenue and it was noisy - constant traffic, a fire house nearby, and the other creepier nighttime sounds of the city that New York was in the '70s.  But when it snowed it all went quiet, and I could look out on a street that looked a lot like this picture.  Now my, once quiet, Brooklyn neighborhood has become a noisy one and I am so grateful to the snow for quieting it all down.  Even if only those of us up too late, too excited about the snow to go to sleep,  witnessed it. 

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Happy New Year!!  Back with more in 2015!

Canyons of Steel


Marching down 6th Avenue, in the climate march this past Sunday, I looked up to see these buildings that make up the so-called canyons of steel. And as a photographer, I must admit, I love the look of them. Especially in the beautiful fall light that we get here in NYC.  This is the cool hard edge of New York. But at the moment that I took this what I was feeling was the warm embrace of everything else that makes New York well,  New York. And that is the strong people who live here, who care about community, fairness, and the hard truths that affect our city, our country and our planet.  

Nature Reflected


The wetlands in New Jersey have been almost entirely destroyed by development. But the egrets and herons, who still live there, have gotten so used to the train barreling through that you can often spot them fishing right by the edge of the tracks. Coming home from a day-long photo shoot in New Jersey, I looked out the train window to find this beautiful landscape; where, reflected in the water, I got a glimpse of nature’s former majesty there. 

Summer Green

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I finally figured out how to trick my iPhone exposure meter - no app or filter used.  (As those of you familiar with my photography know, I figured out how to fool the focus long ago.)  I'll bet the technicians, who spent so much of their lives making the tiny camera work flawlessly, would NOT be pleased.  So here it is, that deep and powerful, almost overwhelming, green of summer.  It's that color that makes me walk more slowly, inhale more deeply,  laugh more frequently, and feel the pull of the outdoors morning, noon and night -  all summer long.  

Brave Spring

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Eight stories above one of the busiest streets in this city this single tulip blossom bravely poked up out of the window box.  Only this one tulip left the protection of the green leaves far behind as if it was daring the cold to come back.  There's something about spring in New York that seems so miraculous;  maybe because it's hard to imagine color having the audacity to appear in the fields of gray that define winter here.  

Where You'd Least Expect It


In a bus, half asleep, because I'd been up since 5:30 to get to my location on time, was where I was when this beautiful light drew my eyes out the window.  You just never know when or where you'll look up to find the most ordinary day transformed.  I still can't believe that I almost slept through this picture.

Brooklyn Spring

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Even though most people think of  artificial city lights when it comes to New York;  the natural light here, as the seasons change, can really stop you in your tracks. Sunday was the day that happened to me, on the Brooklyn side of the East River;  as these cranes reached for the perfect blue spring sky like some kind of crazy futuristic giraffes.

Moonrise over traffic


A clear night in between snow storms, and the moon surprised me by rising up almost full,  just as traffic amped up on Atlantic Avenue.  Only the coolness of its white gives it away as not just another headlight or street lamp.  It is amazing that as cold and colorless as a New York winter seems,  I can still find myself in moments like this.  I thank the ice and sludge, that I was cursing all day,  for these glowing reflections.

Dripping Snow


Winter, really, truly, cold, snowy, winter.  From inside my bus window;  warm, dry,  and thankful once again that I was not in the driver's seat.  The snow was heavy and white and wet, sticking to anything that would have it; and there I was in my own personal snow globe.

A Different View


Sitting in a car one evening, on my way home from Jersey, I finally saw how this new behemoth fits into my city.  The sun crept out from a break in the clouds and created this graceful, even delicate, shape on the surface of the new World Trade Center building. The glimmering  upside down shape made me remember how turned around and unbalanced that day in September made us all feel.  So maybe it's not a behemoth after all  but a mirror to reflect all the strangeness  of that day. And something about that soft glowing light gave off  a little comfort too.

Remembering Heat


Tonight, as the temperature plummets, I'm trying to remember how heat feels.  Not the kind that comes out of your radiator, or even cozily radiates from your fireplace; but the kind that surrounds you and saturates you, so that your whole being slows down to accommodate it's weight. That was the day I took this shot in Miami. And I remember momentarily escaping the overly air-conditioned studio I was working in to stroll in it. Now if I could just crawl in there now

Dreaming of Spring


I know it's only January but I already miss this fresh spring green. Something about the way the sunlight hit these plants in the window box  pumped up  the green so they demanded my attention. I know they look a little sci-fi menacing, but  spring always feels a little surreal like that to me.  The plants seem like they must have otherworldly power to be fierce enough to  tear  through cold dirt and find the sun.  I just wish it would happen sooner.

city lighting


The combination of  artificial and natural light  in this city often gives the early evening a surreal quality. Here, the leftover holiday light hangs seemingly magically;  it's surrounded by the cooler light of the newly fluorescent street-light bulb, all set against the beautiful bright blue of the winter evening sky.  And I thank goodness for  New York's  stubborn imperfection, the street light on the left is not working,  creating a nice asymmetry to put you a little off balance.

Frozen Still

3rd post OTW blog

Something about this cold today brings with it an amazing stillness.  It's the same stillness I found in this puddle in a parking lot in Milwaukee. Puddles always get to me because they force your to stop and look into them to see reflected there precisely what they do not contain.  The tree and the leaf were trapped together on the still surface - without the puddle they would have had nothing to do with each other. 


Cold Light


This blast of cold, clear light is what the New York City skyline was made for;  and the drips of caked-on old snow and freezing rain, on the bus window I shot through, is what reminds you that you are looking at New York.  When you live here you know that  dirt is part of the deal; and as much as it can make me crazy to get out from time to time, at the moment I shot this picture it made me so happy that I couldn't imagine the world without it. 

First Post

My day job takes me to so many places that most people never see. I'm not talking about glamorous or exotic locations, but about the roads and train tracks leading out of New York;  to the suburbs or to to the airports where being stuck in a bus, in traffic, in the rain, with my iphone can mean the discovery of  an image that  takes my breath away.   Since I'm really not a driver (translation - I grew up in New York City and didn't get my license till I was 25!), I'm always on public transportation or in the passenger seat, where I have my hands free to capture my own version of what I pass on my way to my day.  My photography has always been about taking pictures  where I find myself, not going to a specific place to make a preconceived image.  This blog is about teasing the art out of the everyday - I hope you enjoy it!

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© Meryl Salzinger Photography 2016