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Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

Part 2: The Elephants Come to Town

In NYC Today on March 26, 2010 at 1:19 pm

There is a movie called “The Paper” which reminds me of what I experienced this past Monday night while shooting the elephant walk.

The movie is about a typical/hectic day at a New York City newspaper.  Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Glenn Close, Robert Duvall are a few actors in this film.  It’s a crazy story, very energized, very funny.  Mainly, there is a battle between two editors vying for a front page story-one wants to go for sensationalism the other wants to run a correct story.

The only staff photographer available to shoot the art for the front page is very new, very green.  She is sent out into the jungle where the seasoned press photographers know how to maneuver for a great shot in less than ideal circumstances.

The exciting part for me is that after she is elbowed and knocked down, she still manages to shoot the action.  When she gets back to the paper and develops the negatives, what she has is a great shot.  She got it!

In my previous entry I mentioned I had two camera’s with me on this rainy Monday night, the night the elephants came to town.  You saw what I was able to capture digitally in The Elephants Come to Town (part 1).  I was hopeful camera 2 (b&w film) would deliver me the shot I really wanted.  When I saw my negatives today I felt like the young photographer in this movie.  I was hopeful that one image on that roll of film would be of the circus elephants.  And there it was, the lead elephant of the procession as it walked into Manhattan.

I GOT the SHOT!

Enjoy.  Until next time!

Teresa, 51art

adventure is life, live it! ®

The Elephants Come to Town

In NYC History, NYC Today on March 23, 2010 at 11:53 pm

As a photographer, I look for new ways to document New York City life.  To discover moments that may be overlooked as we hurry along with our days; to share the unexpected.  Tonight was one of those occasions.

A year ago in March there was a news story that intrigued me.  Every year, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey marches their elephants through the city streets when the circus comes to town.  Since elephants don’t usually wander around Manhattan, I knew this was a spectacle that needed to be photographed.  Planning a year out, I put this on my calendar to get the details.  In February I contacted customer service. They told me “The elephant walk is scheduled for Monday, March 22 @ 11:59 PM”.

I tried to gather information from past events, but very little existed.  The Mommy Poppins Blog had a possible explanation/origin of this walk:  “the circus elephants can’t go up the Penn Station escalators, they need to get off the circus train a stop early in Queens and walk through the Mid-Town Tunnel, and straight across Manhattan to Madison Square Garden”.

So based on this information (or lack thereof) I envisioned a slow moving, large animal procession that would last at least 30 minutes.  I prepared my two camera’s and waited on 34th Street near the tunnel exit.

It was a rainy night, so from time to time a downpour would break up the waiting/anticipation.  There were a few people in the crowd that had contacts on the Queens side and were giving status reports of the elephant progression through the tunnel.

About 1:00am the Elephants Came to Town!  There were 6 baby elephants with their handlers that moved like horses trotting down the lane.  It took me a moment to realize that what I expected to happen and what actually happened were two very different things.   The shot I was dreaming about, planning for days was not going to happen!

The elephants were followed by a group of small circus ponies and then some bicycle riding clowns.  POOF! it was over.  In less than 5 minutes the circus passed me by…

Aside from the long wait in the rain, it was a great experience.  Next year I will know better, and be ready for those quick moving pachyderms.

Until next time!

Teresa, 51art

adventure is life, live it! ®

March 17, 2011:  Due to construction at MSG, the circus will not be in NYC this year.