The fi­nal word

Joe cel­e­brates find­ing quiet, nat­u­ral beauty in some sur­pris­ing places

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Fol­low­ing a re­cent job in Mon­tana, Big Sky Country, I re­turned to New York City to teach two work­shops in

the con­crete jun­gle. There are no big, open skies in the city, just masses of big build­ings, all com­prised of un­feel­ing steel and cold glass.

You wouldn’t think the pic above would be, well, avail­able in the Big Ap­ple. But, wait­ing for my Nat Geo Ex­pe­di­tions group to show up at Bethesda Foun­tain in Cen­tral Park, I turned and saw a sprin­kler, spray­ing into back­lit trees. I’ve been to the Red­woods a cou­ple of times and this came damn close. Okay, I ex­ag­ger­ate. Those trees are big­ger. But such a syl­van scene, in the heart of the city? Made me smile.

And of course, this was just af­ter teach­ing for Nikon School, which worked to cre­ate a truly spe­cial pho­to­graphic op­por­tu­nity on El­lis Island for a small, lucky group. The Save El­lis Island foun­da­tion, work­ing hard to pre­serve the essence of that his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant por­tal to the new world in NY har­bour, gave us ac­cess to the old hos­pi­tal wing of the island, aban­doned since the ’50s. An­other qui­etly beau­ti­ful, evoca­tive place, within the bustling, tu­mul­tuous bor­ders of the city.

El­lis is a truly haunt­ing lo­ca­tion, filled with mem­o­ries. The aban­doned rooms stand as tes­ta­ment to the brav­ery, for­ti­tude and daring of all those who came seek­ing free­dom, and a new world. Quiet beauty, right in the hus­tle of the city.

For the tech­ni­cally minded, both of the above were made with the Nikon D500 cam­era, sport­ing the 16-80mm DX lens. It has be­come my carry-around, photo walk­a­bout main­stay.

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