"X Factor"

Sometimes what we personally want out of our photography cannot be satisfied by shooting for a particular audience. Many times it is simply a personal aesthetic. I must admit that ever since I got an iPhone nearly five years ago, I have loved taking photos with my "pocket" camera. It's fast, easy and very self-satisfying. I capture moments that I would miss if I had to race and find my big camera or lug it around with all the other crap I schlep on a daily basis. I'll cop to having far too many editing apps on my phone and of course the pixel quality is nowhere near the same as my Canon; but for my personal pleasure and a daily need for a creative "fix", I love taking photos with my smartphone. Plus I can easily share favorites, like the image below of my oldest son taken this past week, with family and friends on social media. Crouched in the corner forming the perfect human "X", I quickly snapped his pose before he was off to the next thing.


[Below is a gallery of some of my favorite photos taken with my iPhone. Click on any image to enlarge]

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A Christmas Tradition

Every year around Christmas time my oldest son and I go to Grand Central to see the Lionel holiday train show, riding as many different subway trains as possible to get there. We arrived just as they opened this year and practically had the whole exhibit to ourselves. He ran in circles watching the trains go in and out of tunnels, over bridges and along the elevated tracks.

"There's the MetroNorth train! ... The 1 train! ... Look Mom! There's the Polar Express!"  

Right across from the train show is Zaro's bakery where we get our favorite New York classic - the black and white cookie. We always get the mini 2-pack to share before heading to our next destination, the real tracks of Grand Central.  

A very favorite things to do is go from track to track, finding out where the next train is going and when it is leaving. Will it take people to New Haven, Connecticut?  Upstate New York?

We hang around as a couple of trains pull into Grand Central, opening its doors and delivering its cheery passengers into the heart of the city. 

After watching the trains and strolling through the holiday market in the terminal, we head out onto 42nd street to begin making our way over to Rockefeller Center.  

Once there we brave the mighty crowds, but still manage to snag a prime view of the big tree and the skaters below. Even Santa was doing a few laps on the ice. 

Our last stop is Magnolia Bakery for some of their amazing hot chocolate topped with big homemade marshmallow squares. There's no better way to cap off our day. With tired feet and happy hearts, we wait for the D train to take us back up to Harlem.  

It's no secret that New York City does Christmas better than anywhere else.  And lucky for us, it happens to be the place we call home.    


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!  Wherever you are, may your season be merry and bright.