Conservatory Water in Central Park

A friend of mine worked on the project to rehabilitate the Conservatory Water in Central Park and has been wanting some photographs for his portfolio, specifically of the marble that is installed around the perimeter of the water. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to shoot the space, but I felt that to make really beautiful photographs of the marble I needed some really beautiful light. I really lucked out this week and was able to shoot the installation on a lovely summer evening in New York and despite the heat I’m really pleased with the photographs.

The project was a challenge because I wanted a sense of elegance in the photographs, rather than a simple documentation of a tourist spot in Central Park. I didn’t want crowds of people around which is tough for summer in Central Park. I found that even when I got wide shots of the whole pond I wasn’t getting the detail and ambiance that I was looking for. There was too many things going on in the photo, and the stonework wasn’t getting it’s fair due.

Then I switched to a long lens, one which I normally use for portraits and snap! I started getting the look I was going for. I was able to get amazing results, using the marble and water as graphic elements. I’m really excited about what I came home with that day. Here are a few samples from the session.

Conservatory Water Masonry

What made this shoot a success was three things: timing, patience, and experimentation. I made sure to shoot at a time when the light looked the way I wanted it to, I took my time waiting for the crowds to clear and to think about my options, and I experimented with wide and long lenses until I was able to capture the sort of images that I wanted to get.

Plus I didn’t drop any gear in the water, which I consider to be a success for any shoot.