Friday, November 25, 2011

PhotoPlus Expo 2011 and New York City

During the recent PhotoPlus Expo in New York I was privileged to spend three days with Jorg Muhle and Julian Buhler of Germany; and Devon Bell of California. My publishing company, Rocky Nook of California, had a booth at the Expo and I had the privilege of being one of the hosts.

The booth presented Rocky Nook's books for photographers,'s Fine Art Photography, and c't Digital Photography magazine, which Rocky Nook is co-publishing. Here's a picture of the crew in our booth at the Expo:

Left to right: Darrell Young, Jorg Muhle, Devon Bell (and baby), Julian Buhler 

Since this blog is about both the PhotoPlus Expo and New York, I'd like to discuss a couple of favorite companies of mine in the early part of this blog (part 1) and later show you some pictures from two enthusiastic Nikon photographers—my wife and I—as we experience the fast times of New York with our cameras up to our eye (part 2).

Part 1 – PhotoPlus Expo 2011

There were a lot of people at the Expo and hundreds stopped by our booth to get discount coupons for Rocky Nook books (including mine),'s Fine Art Photography, and to see the newly introduce c't Digital Photography Magazine. I had the opportunity to meet several readers of my Mastering the Nikon DSLR books, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Darrell and Brenda Young at the PhotoPlus Expo Booth

Left to right: Brad Berger of, Hendric Schneider of, Jorg Muhle and Julian Buhler of c't Digital Photography Magazine

Darrell Young and Brad Berger of Berger Bros Digital Photography & Video 

I was pleased to meet Hendric Schneider of and Brad Berger of Berger Bros Digital Photography & Video of Long Island. I have spoken to these friends on the phone but was especially glad to see them in person. I buy all my Nikon cameras and accessories from Brad Berger, so he made a special trip to meet me when he heard I was going to be at the Expo.

Each morning of the Expo hundreds of people assembled just outside the main entrance. As soon as they dropped the rope the mad rush began:

Attendees waiting patiently for the rope barrier to be removed.

Here they come! See all the new Nikon bags, ready to collect goodies?

The Nikon booth was very popular

People lined up all day long at the Nikon booth to see presentations and experiment with all the current Nikon DSLRs, Nikkor lenses, and the new J1 and V1 ILC cameras. It was gratifying to see all the interest in Nikon.We had a great vantage point being just across the hall from Nikon's huge area.

Nikon didn't release any new DSLRs at the Expo, although I can understand why due to the massive flooding in Thailand and recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Nikon did have up for display their new Nikon 1 (J1 and V1) Interchangeable Lens Cameras (ILC). I recently blogged about this new line here. Although not DSLRs the new Nikons are an exciting addition to the line for Nikon shooters. The cameras are small, high quality, and have interchangeable lenses. They ought to make excellent party and vacation cameras for those times when you don't want to carry a larger DSLR.

Devon Bell and Brenda Young prepare the Nikon bag full of hundreds of entries for the Rocky Nook and c't Digital Photography sweepstakes drawing. Expo attendees wait in hopes they will be the winner. (You didn't have to be present to win.)

Rocky Nook and c't' Digital Photography held a drawing on Saturday at noon for some nice items. Here is the winner announcement from c't' Digital Photography's Facebook page:

"Congratulations to B. Carmine, the winner of the Sigma Corporation of America 50mm lens and Lowepro Pro Runner 200 backpack as well as other goodies from Rocky Nook, photography, and c't Digital Photography."

Overall, PhotoPlus Expo 2011 was a great success and a really good time for all involved. I can't wait until next year!

Rocky Nook Publishing Company

Rocky Nook's books are very popular with photographers. They are very high quality in print, and many come in eBook formats too. The authors publishing with Rocky Nook are some of the best and most experienced authors and photographers around.

I've been writing for Rocky Nook since my first book, Mastering the Nikon D300, was released in October 2008. The company is rare in its concern for both authors and readers, in my opinion. The staff at Rocky Nook—including Joan Dixon, Managing Editor; Gerhard Rossbach, Publisher and CEO; and Devon Bell, Sales and Marketing Manager—are all exceptional people.

My experience with the company has been a pleasurable one. If you really want to learn the deep techniques of excellent photography, buy a few Rocky Nook books. Download their 2011 catalog (PDF), and from the subject matter you'll see what I mean:

The visitors at the Rocky Nook booth were many and varied and, in addition to the Rocky Nook books, seemed especially interested in c't Digital Photography magazine.

Devon Bell discusses c't Digital Photography magazine with an Expo attendee

A local New Yorker examining a c't Digital Photography Magazine.  Many people subscribed on the spot!

c't Digital Photography Magazine

Let me tell you about the new c't Digital Photography magazine. They are a quarterly German magazine brought over to English, new to the USA, and somewhat different from most American magazines. You are familiar with the German attention to detail, I am sure, and the magazine is no different from other fine German creations. It is a physically larger magazine than most, along the size of the photography magazines from the UK. It is also much thicker than most magazines, with extremely in-depth articles. For instance, the article on 3D photography in the 5th issue goes out to 35 pages, with several sections. In fact, the magazine averages about 20 pages per article, which is unheard of in American mags.

When you sit down to read c't' Digital Photography you'll feel more like you are reading a book. That's been my experience, and I'm totally hooked. I am keeping each magazine on a shelf, sort of like a reference book. It costs a little more than many American magazines at US$14.95 per issue, but there is so much more reading material that I would dare say that one issue of c't Digital Photography magazine is equivalent to three or four issues of most American magazines.

Each issue of the magazine comes with a DVD including video tutorials, software, and sample photographs. Here's a PDF file showing the contents of the DVD from issue six, which includes a complete eBook copy of Torsten Andreas Hoffmann's new Rocky Nook book The Art of Black and White Photography, not even released until January 2012 (a US$44.95 value). The DVD by itself is worth the subscription price!

This is no light weight, advertising filled, fluff magazine that is encouraging you to feel good about the latest camera release (buy, buy, buy!). Instead, it is designed to actually teach enthusiast photographers several new things in each issue. In fact, it is billed as an "in-depth quarterly for the photo enthusiast." I heartily agree! I just got an email from Devon Bell about a special subscription offer for the magazine, good until December 31, 2011 (I get no commission). Here's what she wrote:

Subscribe now through December 31st and get a 5th issue free - a savings of over 30% off the newsstand price! 

Please enter Offer Code 1104DD05 in "Comments" field of the online order form to receive your 5th issue. The Comments fields is found at the bottom of the order form here:

Subscriptions are $49.95, with 4 Issues per Year – Offer Expires 12/31/11

Learn more about c't Digital Photography by visiting them at or joining them on Facebook or Twitter:

I highly recommend c't Digital Photography Magazine to my enthusiastic photography friends. Its value exceeds the cost of the subscription. You'll prize each issue like a book and keep them for future reference.

Special note: I need your help! I really want to see c't Digital Photography Magazine survive and thrive here in the USA. Subscribe, or at least pick up a copy on the newsstand. If you like it (I know you will), please let other photographers know about the magazine. Word of mouth means a lot for the success of a new magazine. Will you help spread the word, please? As photographers with Facebook, Google+, and blog accounts, we are a force to be reckoned with. Please help me take this viral. Thanks!

Part 2 – Touring the Big Apple

Moving on to some experiences with the incredible New York City. My wife, Brenda, and I enjoyed Wednesday October 26th and Sunday, October 30, 2011 in the Big Apple. We traveled around New York on the subway and had some great experiences.

Here is the camera equipment we were carrying for the New York excursion. Brenda packed light, I had a lens in each coat pocket to keep from attracting any attention to myself with a camera bag:

  • Nikon D300S body
  • AF-S Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens
  • AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G lens (Read my review of this lens here)
  • Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX lens
  • 32 gig memory card and spares

  • Nikon D7000 body
  • AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens
  • Nikon SB-400 flash unit
  • 32 gig memory card and spares

Our first stop in Manhattan was the World Trade Center site and the new enormous World Trade Center buildings. Here is a picture of them under construction. They are standing in the original locations of the former Trade Center buildings:

World Trade Center Buildings under construction on October 30, 2011

If you want to visit the actual Trade Center Site you must arrive early or schedule in advance. They only allow a limited number of people on the site each day. You can get more information about visiting the World Trade Center site here:

Here are a couple of pictures of the World Trade Center Memorial Center on 20th Avenue with one of the new buildings in the background and inside the memorial center:

The World Trade Center Memorial Preview Site on 20th Avenue in New York with one of the new Trade Center buildings in the background.

Inside the World Trade Center Memorial Preview Site on 20th Avenue

I saw something inside the memorial center that was quite humbling to me. They have a piece of one of the beams from one of the towers that fell.  It is warped and twisted like molding clay from the intense heat and pressure:

A piece of a supporting beam from one of the collapsed World Trade Center buildings. It is warped by the heat and pressure of the collapse. Very humbling when you realize what this beam represents.

New York Subway

My wife and I had never ridden the subway before and it was quite an experience. Sort of like riding on a flat roller coaster with very fast starts and stops that will knock you down if you are not prepared. I now understand why the subway cars have hand rails all over the place. You need them!

11-year old subway dancer makes $200 per day

Here is a young lad that we met on the subway. He waited till the cars were rolling, whipped out a boom box, and proceeded to lay some cool Michael Jackson dance moves on us. Of course, everybody in the vicinity added a dollar bill to his cap afterward. We asked him how much he makes per day and he said, "about $200." Not bad for an 11-year old! My wife asked him about school and he said his mom won't let him subway dance unless he is regular at school. His brother makes about $300 per day doing something similar on the subway. New York natives!

We learned all kinds of cool terminology that New Yorkers must know, such as "Uptown, Midtown, Downtown, what a borough is, and how to figure which subway train to take." We found out that if you stand around looking dumbly at the signs saying A,B,C, 1,2,3 that New Yorkers ignore you soundly but other tourists walk up and ask if you know how to interpret the signs. You can tell the tourists by their open maps and confused faces. After a few trips uptown and downtown, we got the hang of how things worked and lost our fear of being trapped forever on a moving subway train going who knows where. If confused, take the A train, it'll get you somewhere eventually!

Central Park

We next toured Central Park only to find that the snow storm from the night before had done some major damage to the trees. I heard there were over 1000 big limbs down in the park. Trees and branches were down everywhere from the high winds and heavy, wet snow.

Here's a picture of the Maine Monument at the entrance of Central park near West 59th street. This monument was created for 260 mariners that lost their lives in the harbor of Havana, Cuba on February 15, 1898. Their battleship exploded and sank. Spain declared war on the USA in April of 1898:

The Maine Monument. The gold sculpture on top was cast from the metal of the Main battleship that sank in 1898 killing 260 mariners. This monument was built from donations over a period of time, including lots of pennies from school children.
Read the story of the Main Monument and the events surrounding the sinking of the Maine Battleship at this website:

We strolled around the partially snow covered grounds of the park. Here is my wife Brenda, with her trusty Nikon D7000 on the famous Pine Bank Arch cast-iron bridge you see in nearly every TV show and movie shot in Central Park:

Pine Bank Arch cast-iron  bridge in Central Park, notice the tree on the left is down across one end of the bridge. We had to climb through the tree to get on the bridge. Brenda is in the middle for this picture.

Brenda with her Nikon D7000 in Central Park on the famous bridge

Central Park with downed tree limbs all around

Staten Island Ferry

After leaving Central Park, we headed back down the subway (downtown) to take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry and get a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. Here are a few shots of the ferry ride. It was windy and fun!

Entrance to the Staten Island Ferry

Looking back at the end of Manhattan Island from the outside deck of the Staten Island Ferry

One of the Staten Island ferry boats returning on its round trip from the island to Manhattan. Two ships passing at sunset.

The Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry at sunset

Times Square

Next on our tour is the world-renowned Times Square. It's a place of people, noise, movement, and lights; especially at night! As Tennessee hillbillies (Jed Clampett and I are cousins), we just stood around with our mouths hanging open looking at all the lights. People never stop on the square, 24-hours per day. Weather doesn't matter either. New York and Times Square never sleeps! Look at these pictures and a four minute video I shot with my Nikon D300S:

Brenda and her D7000 at Times Square. There is no need for flash here at night, except for a little fill!
Cars and people and bicycle buggies, all night long!

Time Square and New York Never Sleeps!

My Nikon D300S Video of Times Square at night on YouTube (Kindle Touch and Keyboard viewers do not show this video. See it here: online instead)

Empire State Building

Our final event before leaving New York was a trip up the Empire State Building. You can go up to the observation deck on the 86th floor at a cost of US$22 adults and US$15 children. For an additional US$15 you can go even higher to a deck on the 102 floor. Brenda and I dutifully paid our US$44 to go see the sights from on high. We were hearded like cattle around and around, back and forth, floor after floor, multiple elevator rides, metal detector, empty your pockets and remove your belt, x-ray machine of your items in baskets, explain the lenses in your coat pocket, and finally to the 86th floor. Whew! However, the trip was worth it once we got there. Here are a few pictures and a video to see what I mean!

The Empire State Building in New York City

Nikon D300S and AF-S Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR lens handheld shot from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building at Night

Chrysler Building, Nikon D300S and AF-S Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR lens handheld shot from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building at Night

My Nikon D300S Video of Manhattan at night on YouTube (Kindle Touch and Keyboard viewers do not show this video. See it here: online instead)

We greatly enjoyed our trip to New York City and the PhotoPlus Expo and would like to thank Rocky Nook and c't Digital Photography magazine for letting me be a host at the booth. It was fun and exciting to meet so many nice people and even some of my book readers. It was also great to discover what is now my favorite digital photo magazine.

New York was an experience of a lifetime. Everyone should go there at least once. I've never seen anything like it! I can't wait to take my wife and my Nikon back to New York again. Let's hope we can do it again in 2012 at the next Expo. Thanks for reading my blog. I hope I've captured a tiny bit of the flavor of New York and allowed you to take a short trip of your own.

Keep on capturing time...
Darrell Young
See my Nikon books here:


  1. Darrell it was great meeting you there. I enjoyed it very much.

  2. We are considering a trip there this winter - I've never been! Fun shots, Darrel.

  3. Great Pics, Darrell !!! But these Germans just can't smile... ;-) Was a great time with you at the booth - thanx a lot! Cheers, Julian