"If you can't beat 'em..."
This time I am even closer...at the Top Of The Rock at 30 Rockefeller Center.*
Before, I was up higher, on the observation deck of the Empire State building.
Now, that's behind me - literally - and it's crowded here right now on this sunny afternoon.
Tourists usually do not know that if you get very close to the glass, you can avoid reflection and glare in your pictures. Also, often the auto focus beam hits the glass instead of the scene.
But, I don't think these people are that discerning.
I mean, they are using a "Selfie Stick."
Don't try that on the roller coaster at a theme parks. Disney has outright banned them as "dangerous to others."
I have mixed feelings. Dislike seeing them at music concerts.
I often would like to be framed by an iconic background and my arm just isn't long enough.
Handing my camera to a fellow traveler in Washington, D.C. years ago in front of the White House, I learned NOT to assume everyone speaks English.
Then it was easy to understand their non-verbal wish when they handed me their camera and posed.
My older daughter surprised me with a terrific Selfie Stick for Father's Day.
I came back from traveling to NYC, Quebec and Raleigh and found the long thin box on my front porch.
The monthly meeting of my photo group was an opportunity to check it out - and its fancy Bluetooth operation - with some fellow photographers.
We are a shy bunch...yeah, right..but several agreed to pose with me.
I wanted to make sure it functioned properly with my Android phone's camera.
It does a fine job.
I used its height to "hover" over the heads of others during the meeting and am pleased with the function and the quality of the photos.
You have it either look down on you or, reverse the camera, and it's like a camera on a boom.
Well, it IS that.
You soar above the subjects, somewhat like a drone would do. A different perspective from on high.
It also can capture low angle shots without me getting down on my knees as I did in New York to get all - top to bottom - of St. Patrick's Cathedral.
They've seen it all.
Probably thought I was just some ultra-religious guy on a quest or a mission.
Or a homeless person with a camera.
So, I probably will take along my "Steeck" for my next trip.
Sort of defeats my goal of traveling light with no additional camera bodies, an array of expensive interchangeable lenses and bulky flash equipment.
Even my tripod is a miniature one that stays attached to my small camera.
Both fit easily into a pouch on my belt that also has room for an extra memory card and several charged-up spare batteries.
All of my photo stuff fits in one hand.
A welcome relief after starting out in photography, lugging around a 4x5 Speed Graphic and a heavy fiber case.
It was filled with large format film holders and cartons of flash bulbs, with a strap cutting into your shoulder
I found there is a surprise factor too when the Steek is holding the small, thin phone camera up in the air.
It's different from standing there with a camera and aiming it at eye level.
I foresee even more candid shots.
Have to remember to check out the background...when it is behind me.
I'm used to moving my camera to eliminate telephone poles from sprouting from a subject's head.
But - case in point - I did not envision the gaudy party room table cloth cover behind me as part of the picture.
So, things are looking up and extra chins will be less of a portrait problem for me...of me.
(Click on the photos and links for more information.)
Looks like I'll be "..joinin' them" with my Selfie Steek.
Oh, here's another view of the church from above.
*30 Rockefeller Center the 1st of July ,has just been renamed "Comcast Building."
Wonder if visitors will be told they can visit "sometime between 10 am and 5 pm." as such Comcast cable appointments are done.
That approach of having a very wide-range time targeting ties you up most of the day, of course.
It has been mentioned as one of the faults when speaking of the huge cable company.
Maybe the building will be re-named again as Xfinity to make it less obvious.
It's what they've done with cable.