Citifari Photo Tour – Landmarks of NYC

This isn’t exactly a food related post… but I wanted to share my experience with Citifari photo tours – and share some of the photos that came out of the experience.

The basics:

  • Tour: New York Landmarks Photo Tour
  • Company: Citifari
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Cost: $50 + tax + tip

The good:

  • You set your camera to manual and go for it.  I had never done this before – so it was good to have some practice with a professional who could coach me on the settings required for different light.
  • After the tour we were sent a summary of focus, aperture, shutter speed and ISOs – it would have been better to have this beforehand.  Technically it was only a definition of each – so not exactly comprehensive, but it was helpful.
  • The tour does cover a lot of ground and a lot of good locations (although the starting point in the west side seemed a little seedy). Wear good shoes and keep hydrated.

The bad:

  • Our guide wasn’t familiar with my camera – which was disappointing because it’s a Canon 60D, not unusual by any stretch of the imagination. When I was having trouble finding various settings – he was no help to me.  Someone else on the tour had to help.
  • There was no preamble about the significance of the sites we visited – which would have been nice.  After all – we were all tourists, so it would have been good to understand more about the landmarks and why they were considered iconic or important.
  • One lady had brought a wide angle lens along because the tour blurb said the guide would show us where to use it to the best advantage.  When she asked about it, his response was: Well it depends if you want distortion or not.  And that was about it.  Not exactly instructional.

The ugly:

  • Safety appeared to be a low priority.  Because the tour occurred during peak hour (4pm to 7pm), it was naturally incredibly busy.  Our tour guide’s solution – walk in the bus lane with our backs to oncoming traffic!!  To me this was a considerable breach of any safety protocols and put us at considerable risk.
  • On top of this – our guide would walk off presuming we were all following him. Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers. On more than one occasion I was left behind (too busy getting the perfect shot), but a non-photographer in the group was watching out for me and guided me to the rest of the group.

Overall: This is a relatively cheap tour – $50 for 3 hours.  However, I would definitely say it’s a tour where you get what you pay for.  Next time I do a tour – I would pay more to have higher quality tutelage and hopefully with a tour company that does not compromise on safety!   Having said that – I learned a bit and got some good photos (at least I think so… let me know what you think!!). Without further ado… here they are….

Location: Corner 33rd & 8th, New York City Post Office, Madison Square Garden, Views of the Empire State Building

Street Scene at 34th

Subway

Madison Square Garden & Penn

Street Fruit

Empire views

Water towers of NYC

A man, a pigeon and a flower

American Flag and the roof of the Post office

Streets of New York

Location: Macy’s, Broadway and 34th

shopping mecca

Broadway views

Framed Empire State

Location: New York City Public Library

Library - outside and in

Photography class

This is our photography group.

Library windows

moving at the speed of light

Location: 42nd Street, and Grand Central Station, views of the Chrysler Building

Seeing double - Chrysler

Pershing Square

Grand Central roof

Grand central rush

This last photo is actually my favourite – and I learned it from a photographer who was already on the scene when our group turned up.  He was basically setting his camera up to do time lapse, and because it was at a slow shutter speed, he had taped his camera to the balustrade.  I decided to see if I could do the same thing.  I set my shutter speed to 1 second, and rested my camera on the balustrade to keep it as stable as possible.  I’m very happy with this result.  Ironically – it was not our tour guide that taught me this – but a fellow, random photographer. I love the kindness of strangers!

Overall, I’m not sure I would recommend this tour – I think I got some good shots, and I definitely learned some nice techniques.  I wouldn’t do this tour again – the next time, I would spend more money and see if a better tour was a result. Happy to hear from anyone on good tour companies either in New York or Melbourne.

The next feature of our New York itinerary… a quick bite at Morrell Wine Bar.  Stay tuned…

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