Note: this photo was published in a Feb 8, 2010 blog titled "Best of Personal Finance Roundup: 14 Great Ways to Be Miserable." And it was published as an illustration in an undated (Feb 2010) Squidoo blog titled "Best Guess Handbags Shopping Lens." It was also published in an Oct 16, 2011 blog titled "Nice umbrellas, photos," with the same caption and detailed notes I had written on this Flickr page.
Moving into 2012, the photo was published in an Oct 31, 2012 blog titled "Yes You Can Improve Your Personal Finances! Try These Ideas Now! " It was also published in a Nov 29, 2012 blog titled "Managing Your Personal Finances Can Be Stressful. Learn How To Reduce The Stress Today."
Moving into 2013, the photo was published in a Jan 5, 2013 blog titled "Personal Finance Advice That Will Make Sense." It was also published in a Jan 6, 2013 blog titled "Live The Life You Imagined With Quality Finance Information." And it was published in a Jan 27, 2013 blog titled "Get Your Personal Finances In Order With These Excellent Suggestions." It was also published in a Mar 25, 2013 blog titled "How To Solve Your Financial Problems With These Simple Ideas." And it was published in an Apr 9, 2013 blog titled "Learn How To Juggle Your Personal Finance."
Months from now, if people stumble onto this set of Flickr photos, they won’t know or care when the photos were actually taken. After all, rain is a fairly universal phenomenon, and it can happen in any of the four seasons of the year.
Still, it’s an odd experience to be writing these notes a week after the photographs were taken — at an altitude of 35,000 feet, on a flight to Miami that lifted off from JFK airport just as the first snow flurries hit the runway at the beginning of what promises to be the first major snowfall of the 2009 season. Twelve inches of snow are expected by the time the storm stops, which makes this collection of water-soaked individuals seem like they got stuck in the wrong place and the wrong time.
But a week ago, the temperature was about ten degrees warmer — and what could easily have been a foot or two of snow was instead just a couple of inches of cold rain. Rain, of course, brings out the umbrellas; and on a couple of earlier occasions this year (which you can see here and here on Flickr), I began to see that — notwithstanding the typical stories about New York fashions — people were not restricting themselves to black raincoats and black umbrellas. My winter coat (courtesy of North Face) is black, and just about every umbrella I’ve ever owned has been black; my suitcases are black, my backpacks and briefcases have always been black, and even my camera bag is black. Since it’s promising to be a cold winter, I just bought a new pair of gloves and a new woolen cap … in black.
But that’s apparently not true for many other New Yorkers. While you’ll see a few black outfits in the photos collected here, the range of vivid colors continues to surprise me. Somehow, it’s something you would expect to see at the beginning of the spring season — signifying the rejection of the dark gloom of clouds and rain, and celebrating the imminent arrival of flowers and blossoms, of emerald-colored trees and thick green grass and the chirping of birds. But this collection of photos was taken in mid-December, only a week before the official beginning of winter. You’d think that people would be carrying black umbrellas and somber raincoats that marked the season of death and darkness, but I guess that’s just not the way things are here in New York City.
On the previous occasions when I’ve photographed umbrellas in the rain, I’ve deliberately used a "pocket camera," albeit a fairly sophisticated one such as the Canon G-10. I wanted something that would be compact enough that I could stick into my jacket pocket if the rain got heavy, and I didn’t want to risk damaging the electronic components a really expensive, sophisticated camera by getting it wet. The results were usually fairly good, but I always wondered if I could do a better job with one of my high-end DSLR cameras…
… so that’s what I used for this collection of photos: my Nikon D700 camera, with a big, heavy 70-300mm zoom lens. I attached a lens hood to the lens, to minimize the chances of raindrops falling directly onto the lens itself; and I stood beneath the awning and overhang of various storefronts and buildings along Broadway as the rain poured down steadily all around me. Next time, I might be even more adventurous, since I’ve got a professional waterproof bag-thingy that should keep the camera dry even if I’m standing out in the middle of a torrential downpour. But for now, this was a good start.
Because of the rain, most of the people I photographed paid no attention to me at all; they were too busy concentrating on where they were walking, where the puddles were deepest, and whose umbrellas were about to poke them in the face. On the rare occasions when they did see a crazy guy standing under an awning, pointing a camera in their general direction, they frowned or gave me a quizzical look, and just kept going…
So that’s the way it was, on this rainy Sunday afternoon. At this point, I’m going to assume that winter has officially arrived, and that the precipitation during the next few months will take the form of snow, not rain. I don’t know how well it will turn out, but one of my future projects will be a series of photos during a blizzard. Stay tuned … and in the meantime, stay dry.
Tagged: , New York , Manhattan , Upper West Side , Broadway , umbrellas , rain , peeps , iPod , purse , polka-dot , miserable