A World from my Balcony

Thank you Ruth Orkin.

In her now out-of-print book ‘A World through my Window’, photographer Ruth Orkin showcases pictures taken from her Century Park West window, facing New York’s Central Park. Taken over many years and seasons they are an eloquent testimony to the fact that it’s the person pressing the button that matters, not the subject, and that you do not have to travel to exotic locations for great pictures. After all, isn’t New York exotic to anyone not from New York?

I have long been a believer in Orkin’s philosophy and never hesitate to rush to the window with my camera when the opportunity presents itself, wherever I may be. The other day found me in Surfer City, also known as Santa Cruz, a beach town in central California where seemingly 99% of the residents surf and 99.5% are teenagers. The accommodations available are mostly suited to this cross-section of the population but if there is one standout it’s the Dream Inn at the foot of Cliff Drive which is not only the single hotel actually on the beach it is also probably the tallest building in town, at ten stories tall (that’s nine to UK readers).

As luck would have it, not only was the view from the ninth floor window spectacular beyond words, I also just happened to have that little wonder, Panny’s 45-200mm lens for the G1, with me. And cranked out to full extension (equal to 400mm on full frame) you get a myriad of photos presenting itself to your lens. This is a very long focal length lens fully extended so even though there’s shake reduction built in a solid support makes sense to avoid motion blur. I used the balcony’s hand rail!


Yacht and wharf.


Yachting on the harbor.


Is that single ….


…. or double occupancy?


Prayer group? Russian spies? Coven?


Beach sweeper. Only in California ….

More of this sort of thing at my photoblog, Snap! over the next few days.

Meanwhile, if you want to travel light and still have access to a real honker of a long lens with decent large sensor quality, I can recommend the Panasonic G1 and the 45-200mm lens without reservation.

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