Pangkalan Bun is the closest town to Tanjung Puting National Park with an airport. Its riverfront is full of life. Den, our klotok guide through the national park, took us on a river walk that ended with a long motorboat ride downstream at sunset.
I'm still drawing down my backlog of images from New York this past summer. As I mentioned in August, I've discovered that the iPhone is my secret weapon for sneaky street photography, especially for subjects who are close by and sitting down.
New York might not sleep, but for everyone overwhelmed by frantic sidewalks, it becomes refreshingly desolate at night.
This past summer I took a 10-week design course at General Assembly, a tech bootcamp in New York City. Staring at a computer all day can be numbing, so everyday I went outside, crossed Fifth Avenue, bought a spicy lamb gyro from the nearest halal vendor (what my classmates liked to call “street meat”) and went and sat on the same open bench in the shade between 21st and 22nd Street. This is what I saw.
It was a cruel summer for those who believe in the goodness of humanity. Hundreds killed internationally by terrorist attacks in Bangladesh, Belgium, France, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and the U.S.; Donald Trump imagining that walls and insults are effective barriers to violence; and American police who seem unable to unlearn a shoot-first mentality.
I was on a train on June 12 when I read the news that a gunman had opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando. It was the country’s deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter, the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in U.S. history, and the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. since the September 11 attacks in 2001 (Wikipedia). Like many others, I walked to Stonewall Inn, the site of the 1969 riot that radically accelerated the gay rights movement in the United States.
Weeks later, on Independence Day, I learned some good news about Stonewall, some news that made me proud to be an American. On June 24, Stonewall Inn was named the first U.S. National Monument dedicated to the LGBTQ-rights movement.
Every year, about three weeks on either side of the summer solstice, the setting sun lines up with the grid of New York City's numbered streets. American Museum of Natural History astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson popularized the term "Manhattanhenge" to describe the event, and it has enjoyed a surge of popularity in recent years. This year Manhattanhenge occurred on May 30 and July 11. These are four images from St. Mark's Place in the East Village.
I returned to New York for 10 weeks this summer, renting a room from the same Gramercy nonprofit I ran for 6 years, and walking four short blocks to a design course at General Assembly, a tech bootcamp in the Flatiron District.
Classwork took most of the day and part of the evening, but in between I reveled in beers in Madison Square Park and walks to the High Line.
I've always loved street photography, even as I stew about the ethics of taking sneak shots, or the mutual discomfort of being caught in the act. This summer the iPhone became my secret weapon. I learned to hold it upside down and shoot backwards from my thigh, using my thumb on the volume buttons as shutter release. If I needed a horizontal, I would raise the phone to my forehead as if to scratch my scalp or shield my eyes from the sun.
It would be interesting to know how many people noticed me or suspected what I was doing. Since smart phones and photographers are everywhere, perhaps it doesn't matter.