New York City Revisited: World Trade Center

I made it home from my trip to France without too many difficulties.  Luckily I still had my passport, prepaid airline tickets and hotel rooms.  If you’re wondering why, see my last post on Paris and a Lesson Learned.

Anyway, I’m going through my photos from this adventure, and I decided to post some about every part of this trip (this is what happens when there are over 3,000 photos to sort through).

On arriving in New York City, it was decided to store our luggage so we wouldn’t have to drag it around the city all day.  After negotiating the subway system (and seeing a string trio playing beautiful music at a station, another station had a rap performer), we made our way to the World Trade Center Memorial.

I know I briefly touched on this in a previous post, but I wanted to give this some more time because it is a significant place of honor in our country.  Standing at the memorial was humbling and moving experience and a privilege to witness what these people went through on that fateful day. It must have been a harrowing experience for them knowing they might not survive the day, and many did not. To the families of those who perished and to the survivors, you have my deepest respect and sympathy.


The second image shows a special tribute to some firefighters that gave up their lives to save others.  Thank you for your service, you will never be forgotten!

Not far away is the World Trade Center 1, aka, The Freedom Tower.


The other buildings surrounding the Freedom Tower are also part of the World Trade Center.  It’s quite a complex.

Nearby is St. Paul’s Chapel, where George Washington dedicated America on 30 April, 1789.   This church survived the attacks on 9/11/2001 when many buildings were damaged or destroyed by the falling towers nearby.

I found it interesting that the World Trade Center complex was built on land that once belonged to St. Paul’s parish.

On a plaque in the chapel above George Washington’s pew, it reads “Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that you will keep the United States in Holy protection.” source


Standing here in the shadows of these buildings made me realize that it’s important to remember George Washington’s plea to keep our hearts and minds in tune with Almighty God and to serve those around us with love and peace.




A Different Perspective: NYC

Growing up and living in the desert Southwest where the tallest things you see are mountains and desert in between, it’s hard to fathom anything else until you actually see it for yourself. I’m on my way to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and I was able to have a 36 hour layover in New York City. I pent the day yesterday with my traveling companion wandering around Manhattan sightseeing.

On arrival at JFK airport, the terminal was filled with rows of American flags and all the military branch flags as a tribute to our military. It was impressive and heart warming.

After breakfast at the airport, we looked for the subway station nearby. According to the transit app, it was was within walking distance. Turns out it was a 20 minute bus ride and 2.5 miles away. It was a 45 minute subway ride to downtown Manhattan. There was a guy sleeping on the bench across from us, and at one point another person got on the subway with a large subwoofer blaring rap music. I thought that only happened in the movies. Our first stop was the 9/11 Memorial (photos coming soon). Before we got there, this guy presented us with a tour package to see the local “attractions” of the 9/11 Museum and Freedom Tower Observation Deck. Turns out, it costs $35 to get in the museum and $45 for the observation deck. He offered us a pack of both for $57 each. I don’t know how many hundreds of people were there experiencing these two venues, but someone is making a boatload of money off of this tragedy.

Nearby the memorial is Trinity Church (more in another post) and it’s currently being renovated. Actually hundreds of buildings in Manhattan are getting renovated right now. Also, nearby is St. John’s church that survived the 9/11 attack.

I’ll do another post on St. John’s Church after my trip, along with Trinity Church.

Walking around in a large city sometimes the strangest things can appear around a corner. Take for example a parking garage. A vertical parking stall, actually.

Not sure how this works, but I can only guess.

Do you remember Sesame Street on PBS? And the song how to get to Sesame Street? Well, I found it! It’s near the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts.

In our wanderings, we came across Strawberry Fields in Central Park. It’s interesting that it’s a designated quiet zone, because it was anything but quiet. Hundreds of people were there getting their photos and selfies of the Imagine memorial, and a guy was there playing a guitar singing Beatle’s songs (he wasn’t that good either).

I got other photos of Strawberry Fields, and I’ll be making another post later on it as well.

We’ll be doing more sightseeing today before our flight to Paris tonight.



The 500mm Lens, A Work in Progress

It’s been about a year since I upgraded my camera equipment, and I’m still a bit frustrated with my 500mm lens.  It’s a fixed f8 refracting lens, similar to a telescope.  Until recently, I’ve had absolutely no luck getting any workable (or viewable) images from this lens.

The other day, I read a blog somewhere giving a review of this lens, or one similar, and the qualities that it has.  In the article it mentioned that the lens and ISO should be about 1:1.  In the comments, there was someone who mentioned the best way to use this lens was to use Aperture priority, and to set the ISO to 400 and then go have some fun.  So I did.

Following are some images I took this afternoon with this advice in mind.  I also noticed inside the camera the speed of the shot that was automatically set by the camera, which helped a lot, especially with the low lighting here in Zion Canyon.  When the speed became low, I upped the ISO until the speed became comfortable enough to get a decent image without using a tripod.

Just so you know, all of these images were taken free hand (no tripod), so they are still a bit blurry.  Camera shake is easy with slower speeds and slower lenses.  I just need to work on the focus (or use a tripod).  Hopefully the new glasses will help.

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This is on the cliff above the employee area.  It looks like there is a remnant of some old power lines in this tree (either that or it is a ham radio antenna, hmmm, gives me an idea).

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This is Horse Pasture Plateau, which is slightly visible here in the lower canyon.  If you look on the right side of this image towards the top, just above the white section, there appears to be a straight line in the red formation.  If I’m not mistaken, I would say that’s the West Rim Trail, one of my absolute favorite trails in Zion National Park.

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Here is the view of Angel’s Landing, at least the top of it (which is about 1 mile from the lodge, and taller than the new Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan, approximately 1500 feet above the canyon floor). I took this from a bench on the front lawn of Zion Lodge.  If you were on the top of Angel’s Landing on Sunday, October 11, between 4:30pm and 4:45pm, you are in this photo!

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Did you know that Zion Lodge has its own gargoyle?  Here is a closeup of it.  It is a popular climbing route (I don’t know the name of it off hand) that goes up to this cliff from the Lodge.  Someone told me it looks like a Mayan serpent, like you would see in the Mayan ruins in Mexico.   There are a few of these in the Park, who knows.

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Later this evening, I was sitting at a quiet spot and I heard a noise, so I looked up and was surrounded by mule deer.  This fawn was up the hillside from me (it’s hard to get a good shot of deer with a 500mm lens when they are just a few feet away).

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Here is the mama deer to the fawn above.  They were eating grass just a few feet away.  They are gorgeous animals.