by Lindsay Silverman
This past June my wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. We wanted to mark it in San Francisco, where we’d spent our honeymoon, but with work schedules and two teenagers at home we chose a long weekend in New York City instead—but a weekend with a difference. We live only an hour from Manhattan, and we’ve visited innumerable times, but this time we’d try to experience the city as tourists.
Of course photography was on my mind, but I knew I couldn’t let it take over. So here was the deal: one camera, one lens and no more than one minute to make any one picture. How many pictures I’d make…well, let’s not go there.
The camera was the D7000—perfect size, easy handling, superb image quality, lots of versatility, including video capability and auto bracketing for HDR shooting. The hardest part was choosing a lens. I wanted to be able to go wide for street scenes and have a moderate telephoto reach for isolating people and capturing details. No tripod, of course, so I wanted VR. I decided on the AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR.
To make the tourist idea as realistic as possible, we decided to stay in lower Manhattan, away from the midtown crowds, and we’d avoid the familiar attractions and sites. We found a wonderful hotel in the financial district, right near the site of the new World Trade Center. It’s a location that has special meaning for me as a New Yorker, as an American and, not the least, as a photographer who documented the twin towers from the time of their construction.
The location proved perfect. We made discoveries—like a beautiful walking path that took us from the financial center to the South Ferry terminal—and we explored the area at our own relaxed pace, as if it were a neighborhood; and in fact, that’s the way it felt.
I found that the limit of one lens was a creative spark because whatever I saw that I wanted to preserve had to be framed in the context of what the 16-85mm could do. It could do a lot, but what pleased me most was how much I could do with it. Want to be a better photographer? Limit yourself to one lens for a day or so.
What also helped was our relaxed attitude. Not being in a hurry, just casually exploring an area of the city, we saw views we’d never before seen. And a New York minute was plenty of time for me to capture them.