When I saw that Rick Gerrity, a professional photographer extraordinaire, had offered to take any TravelingMom willing to make the trek into New York City and give them a lesson in taking better photographs, I signed on without hesitation.   If you read our article, Taking Creative Action Shots That Wow,  you will recognize his name as one of the contributors.  I first met Rick at a TravelingMom retreat at Disney World, as a representative of Panasonic.  I knew it would be a day well spent.

There would be a nice, small group of students – besides me, Gina Vercesi and Shari Balter Von Holten, so plenty of time for personal attention.  We all met at Penn Station and headed to the Brooklyn Bridge.  Photo opportunities abound as you walk across the bridge and from both sides.  From street performers at the entrance to the Freedom Tower to the NY skyline, you’ll have your choice of vistas.  There’s also the Statue of Liberty in the distance, for which you definitely need a zoom lens.  Rick spends a lot of time just walking the city for any photo opportunities from dawn to dusk – this is a good thing!

Collage of photos taken on Brooklyn Bridge.

Collage of photos from Brooklyn Bridge.

Crossing the Bridge, you land in Dumbo, a cute little area of Brooklyn with nice shops and restaurants and again, multiple photo opportunities.   After walking around and stopping for lunch at Dumbo Kitchen, we were right back out there, practicing what we came for.  We hit the Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is a nice little respite in a land surrounded by tall buildings and bridges.  There’s even a carousel for the kids or the kids at heart.  You also come to the base of the Manhattan Bridge, which gives you a very different perspective.  Certainly no time for shopping…

Collage of photos taken in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

Collage of photos from Dumbo, Brooklyn.

Our final leg of the journey took us back into NYC across the Manhattan Bridge into China Town.  The bridge is super noisy as the subway trains pass right over it.  We would have to get in any conversation quickly, before the next train passed.  It is also covered in graffiti, which provides for unlimited photos, each marking so unique in color and shape.  Should I be concerned what it says?

Photo collection taken on the Manhattan Bridge.

Collage of photos taken on the Manhattan Bridge.

After reaching China Town, we all thanked Rick profusely for a perfect day and all the photography tips.  We made our way back home, happy, so much more adept in the use of our cameras (we all had Panasonic DMC-ZS40), but TOTALLY EXHAUSTED!  So, here is what I learned…


  • For normal photos, set your aperture to F8.
  • To blur the background, set the aperture at F6.3, zoom in as you need the object close, but take a step back.
  • Here’s my FAVORITE TIP:  Use the rule of 1/3’s to get creative shots.  Your camera should have a grid with 9 boxes for ease of use.  On my camera, it’s under function.  For all of you taking shots of your triathlete – Take a shot of a swimmer or cyclist in the right 1/3 of the screen, so you are taking a shot that will show the viewer where they are going, not where they are.
  • To freeze the frame, you need to use a shutter speed of 1/750 +.
  • When you find a spot you like to photograph, go back at different times of days for different shots.  Everything will have changed, from the scenery to lighting to people.

For people with the Lumix DMC-ZS40 camera:

  • If you want to use the One Point Color creative feature, find that color somewhere, zoom in, and press shoot.  It will be locked in and then you zoom back out and can take the picture you want.
  • You can use the artistic modes in video format and upload via the wifi to your blog.
  •  To do video, use MP4 and HD 30 frames per second.
twcphottipsPicMonkey Collage

Practicing what I learned at Greenwich Triathlon. Is the main photo 1 or 3 people?

All of these tips from both articles require practice on your part, seriously.  The main point is just to get out there and fun with your camera, so come race day, you’re the professional photographer!