2014.02.03.Snow.Storm

Just another mild snow storm in NYC. It was just the perfect combination of new snow, temperature, and partially melted/frozen ice. There was a nice thick coat of fresh snow over the city. It was the ideal condition for photography and I definitely took advantage of it. I was not the only one. On my little photo tour I saw other people taking photos as well. I saw kids playing in the snow and MTA workers clearing the subway platforms. City life continued as normal as it could be on a snow day.

Here are some photos (5d Mk 3 + 70-200 f/2.8 IS II):

Snow covered soda can
Snow covered soda can
Snow covered basketball court
Snow covered basketball court
Snow covered leaves
Snow covered leaves
Framed Lamp Post with snow covered leaves
Framed Lamp Post with snow covered leaves
Snow covered exit at Hoyt Playground
Snow covered exit at Hoyt Playground
Close up of snow covered branches
Close up of snow covered branches
Photography at Hoyt Playground
Photography at Hoyt Playground
Snow covered Hoyt Playground
Child plauing in snow covered Hoyt Playground
Snow covered Hoyt Playground
Snow covered Hoyt Playground
Snow covered Staples sign
Snow covered Staples sign
Snow covered Trees at Hoyt Playground
Snow covered Trees
Snow covereted trees at Hoyt Playground
Snow covereted trees at Hoyt Playground
Framed USA Flag
Framed USA Flag
MTA Worker
MTA Worker
Snow covered trees at Astoria Blvd
Snow covered trees at Astoria Blvd
Astoria Blvd snow covered tracks.
Astoria Blvd snow covered tracks.
Snow covered subway tracks
Subway tracks at Astoria Blvd.
Astoria Blvd Platform
Astoria Blvd Platform Tracks
Subway at Astoria Blvd
Subway at Astoria Blvd
Astoria Blvd Platform
Snow covered Astoria Blvd Platform
Astoria Blvd Platform
Snow covered Astoria Blvd platform
Astoria Blvd Platform
Snow covered subway stop.

2014.01.05.Peanut.Leap.Cascade.Snow

Came here with a group of people (6 + 3 dogs). It was amazing. The weather was amazing. A nice cool 32F. No rain or snow. Just some overcast clouds. The snow that had fallen days before made the hike that much more enjoyable. The dogs loved it as well. They were running constantly! Again we hiked all the way to the rock scramble but did not attempt it because of the dogs and there was not enough snow to cover the rocks for us to just walk over it all. I have decided to rename the rock scramble to “Boulder Scramble”. That’s what it really looks like when you reach the starting point of the scramble. In any case, it was a fun hike. Had great company and we were all able to enjoy some snacks at the Italian Garden.

Some photos (5d Mk III + 16-35mm f/2.8L II + Gitzo GT3541L + 580EX II):

Long Path Sign
Long Path Sign
Trees right of the long path sign
Trees right of the long path sign
State Line Lookout Cafe
State Line Lookout Cafe
Peanut Leap Cascade
Peanut Leap Cascade + Frozen water
Frozen Peanut Leap Cascade + Frozen Water
Frozen Peanut Leap Cascade + Frozen Water
Runoff of Peanut Leap Cascade
Runoff of Peanut Leap Cascade
North View in the garden
North View in the garden
Frozen Hanging Branches
Frozen Hanging Branches
Frozen Water Runoff
Frozen Water Runoff
Frozen Water Runoff
Frozen Water Runoff
View Upstream
View Upstream

2014.01.04.Mu.Ramen

A group of 4 of us came here the other day to try their ramen. We originally attempted to come here a week ago but they were catering a private event so the store was closed at the time. One weird thing about this place is that in the day time, it is a bagel shop. At night, it is a ramen place. They only have 14 seats so the wait time can easily be 1 hr. I would not come here with a big group. I’d recommend max of 4.

As for service, the wife is really friendly and nice. She definitely can handle the patrons and whitty enough to make the appropriate twists to the comments I made. Definitely capable of working the front of the house. Her husband is the chef and you see him every now and then. This is a small operation, husband and wife and the dish washer person. I can understand why it is cash only. I just hope that in the future when they have their own store front they will accept credit cards.

Onto the food, we tried both of their steamed buns (pork belly and short ribs), U & I, and Tonkotsu 2.0, and Spicy Miso. I’ll start with I think needs more work. The pork belly. Definitely not enough sauce and not very tender at all. Kind of dry if you ask me. It was a real let down. The second part was the Spicy Miso ramen. It wasn’t spicy and not enough miso. The noodles were exceptionally thick in my opinion. It felt more like udon noodles. The diameter of the noodles should be cut in half. In addition, the noodles were very al dente. If I had only these 2 things, I would have given this place 3 stars but since I had other things that were top notch, giving this place 4 stars overall.

The U & I was delicious. Good balance between wasabi, warm rice, uni, and maguro (genus of tuna), and fish eggs. I would have definitely preferred eating it with a small spoon because using chopsticks is extremely difficult to get all the ingredients in a little bite. The uni was sweet and the rest of the ingredients were spot on. The short rib steamed buns were amazing. They were so amazing that we ordered the pork belly to try. But to our disappointment, it was night and day. The pork belly fell short on a lot of things. The ribs were extremely tender/soft and had tons of flavor in it. The tonkotsu 2.0 was definitely version 2.0. The meat melted in your mouth. I couldn’t believe it. Yes some of it was fat, but the meat was extremely tender. The noodles were not overly al dente. Perfectly cooked in my opinion. Only thing I recommend is for you to swirl your noodles in the soup to break it up. Mine was still clumped together when it arrived. The broth was rich and had tons of flavor. It was salty and I did have to drink lots of water but bottom line, it was delicious. Much better than the Spicy Miso. Spicy Miso needs a 2.0 or maybe even a 3.0.

Overall, I’d recommend the tonkotsu, U&I, and short rib steamed buns. I’ll definitely come here again and recommend it to others. You just need to come early so you don’t have to wait that long.

Some photos (5d Mk III + 100mm f/2.8L IS macro):

Chopsticks
Chopsticks
Chopsticks & Chili Powder Holder
Chopsticks & Chili Powder Holder
View of kitchen
The Kitchen
Front Door of Mu Ramen
Front Door of Mu Ramen
Chandlier
Chandlier at Mu Ramen
Short Rib Steamed Buns
Short Rib Steamed Buns
U & I
U & I
Spicy Miso Ramen
Spicy Miso Ramen
Spicy Miso Ramen
Spicy Miso Ramen
Tonkotsu 2.0
Tonkotsu 2.0
Pork Belly Steamed Buns
Pork Belly Steamed Buns

2014.01.03.Hercules.Winter.Storm

Hercules came and started snowing on the 2nd and into the late morning of the 3rd. I wished it had snow more but we only got about a foot of snow. I knew the next day would be much warmer and that some of the snow would melt away so I purposely woke up a little earlier and walked around to snap some photos before getting into work. It was windy and still snowing at the time I took the photos. You can still see some of the snow coming down in my photos. I wish I had time to go to central park. Perhaps the next snow dump I’ll go there.

Some photos (5d Mk III + 16-35mm f/2.8L II):
Snow covered parking lot

Snow covered parking lot
Astoria Blvd Subway Platform
Astoria Blvd Subway Platform
Astoria Blvd Subway Platform
Astoria Blvd Subway Platform
Astoria Blvd Subway Platform
Astoria Blvd Subway Platform
Lone Passenger on Astoria Blvd Platform
Lone Passenger
St. Catherine's Park
St. Catherine’s Park
Playground at St. Catherine's Park
Playground at St. Catherine’s Park
Playground and Benches at Playground at St. Catherine's Park
Playground and Benches
View of Zuckerman from the park.
View of Zuckerman from the park.
View of Zuckerman
View of Zuckerman
Benches
Benches

2014.01.01.New.Years.Fireworks

For New Year’s Eve, had nothing planned. I decided to go with Nitro to our friends’ apartment and just go to his rooftop and attempt to take photos of the firework display at midnight. We got to his place around 9 o’clock and just watched CNN and watched House Hunters HGTV. Never knew something like that existed but it was interesting to see what the market is like for that particular area. After killing time watching TV, drinking lots of carbonated beverages, we decided to head up to the rooftop 15min till midnight. I brought up all my gear and Nitro happily came along with us. When we got to the roof, it was surprisingly very windy. It wasn’t windy when I was walking on the streets. Combination of wind and freezing temperatures made it very uncomfortable up there. We counted down to midnight and I started taking photos once the fireworks started. Shortly after, I decided to go inside because my hands were in pain because it was so cold. I got some photos and that was good enough for me. Next year, I’ll have to find a different vantage point and hopefully we’ll get go be inside.

Some photos (5d Mk III + 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II + Gitzo GT3541L w/ARZ1 Monoball Z1 with Quick Release):

RFK/Triborough Bridge
RFK/Triborough Bridge
New Year Fireworks 2014
New Year Fireworks 2014
New Year Fireworks 2014
New Year Fireworks 2014
Empire State Building 2014
Empire State Building 2014

2013.12.28.Astoria.Park.Christmas.Tree

After a wonderful meal with friends in LIC, we decided to come here with Nitro. This is the first year that Astoria had a Christmas tree. I don’t know who brought the tree and decorated it but it was really nice of them to do so. Definitely gave the park some character for the holidays. I hope next year they will have an even bigger one and with more lights :)

Some photos (5d Mk 3 +16-35mm f/2.8L II):

Astoria Christmas Tree 2013

Astoria Christmas Tree 2013
Hell Gate Bridge and Astoria Christmas Tree
Hell Gate Bridge and Astoria Christmas Tree
Astoria Christmas Tree
Astoria Christmas Tree 2013
Close up of tree
Close up of tree
Hell Gate Bridge
Hell Gate Bridge

2013.12.21.Points.Woods.Loop.and.Sea.Haul.Trails

Went to Montauk State Park for a hike this past weekend. Came here with a group of friends and 2 dogs.Online information for the start of the Point Woods Loop Trail was lacking. Here are the coordinates of the start of the trail:
Good maps coordinates: 41.067931,-71.878987

As you drive on Camp hero Rd, you will see a shoulder on the right hand side and that’s where you can park. Then you walk about 30 feet and you’ll see a sign post directing you to the trail. You just follow the trail and you will see lots of historic stuff. You will see where the weapons used to be and see a sign not to touch military equipment/ammunition if you find any. As you continue walking, you will come across another sign for the Bluffs Overlook. I highly recommend going to the overlook to the ocean and the cliffs. Be very careful not to stand too close to the edge of the cliffs. We thought this was a good place to stop and eat lunch. An amazing view. As you continue back onto the trail, you will eventually walk near the coast line and head towards the lighthouse. On the way to the lighthouse, you will pass a parking lot on the left hand side. You can definitely skip the hike and just drive to the location =P After you get to the lighthouse, just find the concession stand and head down onto the beach and head West. You have to walk for quite a bit before you hit the seal area. We never made it to the seal area but I hope to come back to see them.

The trails were very easy to hike. We encountered some patches of mud but other than that, no rock scrambles or steep cliffs to hike up or down.

Even though we came here during the winter, I couldn’t believe how many ticks we found on the dogs. Luckily none latched on to me but a friend of ours had an unexpected passenger.

This place is also great to see the winter birds if you’re a birder.

I would definitely come back here again to see the seals and birds. I’m just not sure if I’ll bring the dogs back again.

Links to our trail.
MyTracks:
Montauk State Park – Points Woods Loop & Seal Haul Trails

MapMyHike:
Montauk State Park – Points Woods Loop & Seal Haul Trails

Photos (5d Mk 3 with 50mm f/1.2 L or 16-35mm f/2.8 L II with/without Lee Big Stopper filter):

Scenic view over the bluffs.
Scenic view over the bluffs.
View of the lighthouse from overlook bluffs on Point Woods Loop Trail in Montauk Point State Park, NY.
View of the lighthouse from overlook bluffs on Point Woods Loop Trail in Montauk Point State Park, NY.
Silky smooth ocean
Silky smooth ocean
Silky smooth ocean
Silky smooth ocean
Resting on the beach
Resting on the beach
Resting on the beach
Resting on the beach
Montauk Point State Park Lighthouse
Montauk Point State Park Lighthouse
Montauk Point State Park Lighthouse
Montauk Point State Park Lighthouse
Purple sand
Purple sand

 

2013.12.14.Peanut.Trail.Hike

 

We came here today again with the pup and it was beautiful!! It was snowing but that didn’t bother us. The trails were clear, nobody else was on the trail with us so our dog was able to be off leash. The trail markers were easily seen and lots of photo opportunities. Unfortunately, there was heavy fog/clouds so we couldn’t clearly see the NY side. Getting down to the base of the mountain was easy. They had steps for you. We then ran into the large rocks where we had to scramble. We weren’t sure if we were at the right place but we went up the mountain. We got about half way and decided to turn back. Only reason was because it was still snowing, our dog was having some difficulty, and we didn’t know how long we would have to scramble for. Next time, we’ll go without the dog and when it’s not snowing and once I know what to expect, we can do it again. I even got a chance to test out both GPS tracking softwareL MapMyHike and MyTracks. I’m not sure what happened but MyTracks was more accurate. It seemed like MapMyHike lost GPS tracking for awhile. I’ll just have to double check next time instead of letting the software run on its own.

MyTracks Hike:
Link

Here are some samples from the hike (5d Mk3 + 16-35mm f/2.8 II)

Italian Garden _CP_0039 _CP_0040 _CP_0042 First Bridge _CP_0048 _CP_0051 Trail Sign _CP_0055 Zoomed in waterfall photo Frozen Peanut Leap Cascade Nitro & Waterfall View from shore of Italian Garden Frozen Temple _CP_0077 _CP_0079 _CP_0084 _CP_0088 _CP_0095 Proud Nitro _CP_0102 Serenity

2013.11.28.Macy’s.Thanksgiving.Parade

Lived in NYC for a little more than 5 years and not once have I ever gone to the parade. This year however was different. We got there at 6:30AM and found a spot at 240 Central Park South. This is about 200 feet from where the floats turn around at Columbus Circle. The weather was a cool 25F with winds up to 15-20 mph. We just waited and confronted each gust of wind that came at us. We were relatively close to the sidewalk and nobody in front of us to shield us from the winds. As usual, got a chance to mingle with the people around us, even the cops. Once the parade started, I think everyone forgot about the cold and just enjoyed the festivities. A few of us got lucky and the cops let us go into the paid area and that’s how I got a lot of closeup shots! I would only do this again if the weather was warmer next time around :)

Here are some photos from the event: (taken with 5d mk 3 + 50mm f/1.2L)

_CP_9239 _CP_9261 _CP_9399 _CP_9439 _CP_9455 _CP_9491 _CP_9540 _CP_9574 _CP_9600 _CP_9629 _CP_9649 _CP_9679 _CP_9779 _CP_9787 _CP_9802 _CP_9861 _CP_9886 _CP_9923 _CP_9962 _CP_9971

2013.11.23.Bushkill.Falls

 

Came here with some friends and our dogs. All of us had an amazing time except for the dogs. The dogs had to be on leash and the walkways were quite narrow. A lot of people come here and you can easily see why, it’s a very easy hike with a lot of waterfalls to see. The red trail is not difficult at all. All the trails are well maintained and hardly no rocks at all. This is a great place to practice your waterfall photos, even during bright midday sunlight. This place also charges an admission fee of $12.50. Driving there is very easy.

 

Here are some sample photos (all taken with 5d mk3 + 16-35 f/2.8L II or 70-200 f/2.8 IS II):

_CP_9034  _CP_9071 _CP_9081 _CP_9108 _CP_9169 _CP_9181_CP_9058