Newsletter Issue 2 (1:1 Interview with Corey Ford @flightlevelfoto) (August 6, 2020)
Welcome to the sequel issue! Take a dive into my recent Maine trip, learn about NYC’s best skyline vantage points, and check out a new Creator Spotlight.
Michael Silverstone is a photographer based in New York City. He specializes in train, landscape, and city photography. Michael currently shoots with a Sony Alpha A7RII, alternating between four lenses. On any given day or night, you can find him capturing one of NYC’s iconic landmarks, or shooting from a subway platform deep in Brooklyn.
A hiking trip to the Canadian Rockies in June 2017 (specifically a starry night over Pyramid and Patricia Lakes in Jasper, Alberta) was the inspiration for Michael’s photography journey. Upon returning to NYC, he purchased his first camera the very next day.
Michael’s work has been shared by the marketing organization NYC & Company, and has been featured on multiple local cable news outlets, including Spectrum News NY1, FOX 5 New York, and ABC7 Eyewitness News. He also serves as a mod for the popular Instagram photography hubs @NYCPrimeshot and @USAPrimeshot. These hubs feature the work of local and national creators, and organize and run photography meet-ups/networking events around NYC in collaboration with other hubs, and with the participation of sponsors.
Michael enjoys playing guitar, attending concerts, and studying New York City’s bizarre and captivating history.
Sony Alpha A7RII
Tamron 17–28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD
Tamron 28–75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD
Sony FE 85mm f/1.8
Sony FE 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6 G OSS
The easy highlight of these past two weeks was an impromptu trip up to Portland, Maine with my friend Rex (@shadyblackdog). Rex actually hit me up on Thursday afternoon and said he was driving up to Portland the next morning. I happened to be on vacation, so I agreed to go.
Our sole goal was to catch the sunrise at the Portland Head Light Lighthouse, but the sky conditions also necessitated a detour to capture the Milky Way.
Upon checking into our hotel, the front desk employee noticed our camera gear. Turns out he shoots as well! He introduced himself as Cole, and was gracious to show us some epic Milky Way locations in the area. He even came along with us shoot the night skies. His local knowledge was super clutch, because we otherwise literally had no clue where to go. Follow him on Instagram (@colesheets27).
In the summertime, capturing the Milky Way requires being out very late, and capturing the sunrise requires getting up VERY early. So, after a solid TWO hours of sleep, Rex and I headed to the Portland Head Light Lighthouse where we met up with another photographer friend, Don (@everydayimshuttering). The sunrise DID NOT disappoint.
Despite the two hours of sleep (and a long drive back to NYC), I had to keep the momentum going. That meant a 3:00 am wakeup on Sunday to schlep out to Weehawken, NJ for sunrise. That too, did not disappoint.
After a combined 6–8 hours of sleep over the entire weekend, it was time to give myself some rest, right? Well, unfortunately for me, Sunday night presented quite possibly the best sunset since I moved out to Brooklyn. Luckily, I was able to get out of bed, step out onto the balcony, shoot, and then go back to sleep. Here’s the result.
That was my adventurous end-of-July weekend, so I’ll end this section with a train shot.
Seeing the R32 trains back in service never grows tired. Here’s a showcase of the ‘old’ versus the ‘new.’ I’ll probably share this again on Michael Jordan (MJ)’s birthday!
To see all prints for sale, check out my shop site!
Best Skyline Views in NYC
The ever-changing NYC skyline can be admired from many different vantage points. These are my favorite spots:
Brooklyn Bridge Park (DUMBO/Brooklyn Heights, NY)
Here’s the spot that every tourist has on their NYC itinerary when they go to Brooklyn. Whether it’s the view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the skyline from Pebble Beach, or every photographer’s favorite long exposure spot (The Pegs), Brooklyn Bridge Park is a must.
Best way to get there: Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge! If you want to avoid the crowds, walk across the Manhattan Bridge.
Pier A (Hoboken, NJ)
Okay, this one was really a toss-up. Any spot from the Hoboken waterfront will yield fantastic results.
Best way to get there: Pier A is right next to the Hoboken NJ Transit station, but is also a quick walk from the Hoboken PATH station.
Weehawken World War I Memorial (Weehawken, NJ)
High above ground/river level, this spot offers the most panoramic view of Manhattan.
Best way to get there: By car.
Smith-Ninth Streets Station (Carroll Gardens/Gowanus, NY)
You don’t even have to be a train buff to like this one. At 87.5 feet above ground level (that’s the highest subway platform in the world), and with hardly anything matching its height anywhere nearby, Smith-Ninth Streets Station offers unobscured views of the Statue of Liberty, Lower Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn, and Midtown Manhattan. If that’s not enough, you’ll also have a great view of the Verrazano Bridge, and if you’ve got a good eye, you can see the top of Barclays Center.
Best way to get there: F/G trains. You’re literally going to be on the platform!
Recently Sold Prints
Featured Creator Spotlight
I spoke with Mr. National Park himself, Corey Ford (@flightlevelfoto)! Corey was the first photographer from Instagram who I met in person. Much of what I’ve learned (manual focus, focus peaking, bracketing) is thanks to him.
Take us back to the moment you started photography.
I’ve always had some sort of camera in my hands since my mid 20s, though it was always the point-and-shoot variety. Then we entered the smartphone era, and I really thought I was saying something with my HTC Evo (throwback) photography skills. Then, once I got an iPhone, you couldn’t tell me anything! I thought I was really saying something.
But I’m sure you’re asking about when I REALLY got into photography with a serious camera like an SLR. Back in 2016 I made an impulse buy of a Canon T5 Rebel, but I didn’t take the time to learn how to use it for another year.
You’re kinda known as the national park boss on Instagram. Let’s get some quick answers for all these questions.
I’ll take that title!
(1) Your favorite national park.
Favorite National Park is easily Yosemite National Park.
(2) The most overrated national park.
It’s going to be hard for me to give a park an overrated title. There are some parks I’ve enjoyed more than others, but the parks that come with high acclaim (Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion, Denali…amongst others) have all lived up to their billing in one respect or another.
(3) The most underrated national park.
I can give you an underrated park though: Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. I thought that place was fantastic! It really caught me off guard.
(4) Which park have you visited the MOST, and how many times have you visited it?
I’ve visited Yosemite the most. I think it’s 13 visits and a total of 20 days in the park. I’ll probably get in another 5 days before 2020 is out.
(5) What’s the longest hike you’ve ever done at a national park?
My longest hike is in Yosemite. That hike was the combination of El Capitan, Eagle Peak and a side trip to Upper Yosemite Falls.
What’s your favorite photography spot in or around NYC?
Tough question. I’ve always loved shooting the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee historic Park. But shooting from the Roosevelt Island Tram May be right up there with the GWB.
Care to share some secrets about your epic waterfall shots?
Carry a good ND filter. Extremely long shutter speeds are not always best. Carry a cloth to wipe your lens if misty. Don’t be afraid to get up close, but be responsible and respect the rules of the land.
You founded the light trail feature hub @traillumennation on Instagram. How’s that page going, and do you have any long term goals with it?
We are growing albeit slowly. It’s been a fun little community to start. We are trying to do things “The Right Way” in a very competitive field. The long term goals are to provide a place where folks can have their great work showcased and also learn from others. But most importantly…to have a little fun.
Citi Field or Yankee Stadium?
When Citi Field opened, I thought it was rushed and it showed. I didn’t like the color of the fences. I didn’t feel like that park paid homage to the strong history of the Mets. But after the improvements…Citi Field is really fantastic. As for my Yankees’ home, I have a unique perspective on it. I worked at the stadium as a vendor from 1996–1999. I saw just about every home game during those years. I knew the good, the bad and the ugly about the old Yankee Stadium. The Yankees got rid of all the negatives and turned them Into positives. New Yankee Stadium was meant to blow the old one out of the water with improvements. And they did that ten fold. It’s a fantastic park. I give the nod to Yankee Stadium. Call it biased, but IM . Hey by the way…did you know my Yankees have 27 championships?
Where can the people find your work, and do you sell prints?
I post all my stuff on Instagram under the IG handle: @Flightlevelfoto. My uncropped gallery can be found on Smugmug where prints can be purchased as well. I’m in the process of updating the site with my entire catalog. Smugmug: core4d.smugmug.com.
Thank you Mike.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!