Looking for a Perfect Group Activity?

Give yourself and your friends, family, and colleagues a unique experience -- a photo hunt -- a private group activity for a street photography experience. During a hands-on technical and compositional photo walk, learn some practical tips and tricks for improving your images of people, places, and things to get in the zone and have some fun. Visit Spark Your Creativity photo experiences to customize your group photo hunt, day or night.

Holiday Photo Experience | Christmas in New York City

Reach Out

What are your dreams and aspirations? 

Looking forward to curating a group photo experience for your group. Click the links for our favorite programs:

Commit to yourself eepurl.com/bqFXmv
Disruptive opportunity eepurl.com/bnUBND
Light a Creative Fire eepurl.com/bnMCJf
Happy Spring! eepurl.com/bllM3P
new Kodak moment eepurl.com/bkNI-1
Now is better eepurl.com/bhUhjL
Be, surprised eepurl.com/bfomT9
Surrender, actively eepurl.com/bdgyEL
Commit to yourself eepurl.com/bckGzj
Refresh bit.ly/2queKZn
Holiday Treats eepurl.com/_VhLH
New York Stories eepurl.com/-a8m1
Fire up your creativity eepurl.com/4xQPP
rootless cosmopolitans eepurl.com/18p-z
NYC Spark Your Creativity eepurl.com/NRCcf


The Personal Project

To expand the imagination we recommend the personal project. The goal of which is to discover what you have inside you. You'll learn to flex creative muscle and start aligning your mind with your heart, and intuition for powerful results. Taking some time out of your multi-tasking crazy-busy schedule and by focusing 100%, even if only a few hours a week, on a personal project, whose goal is perhaps aesthetics, may lead you to keeping your creative thought process fresh going forward. In other words treat your personal project as an adventure - or a mini vacation. 

As to the personal project of the creative behind SPY, she is presently working on printmaking. From thousands of archived images, a visual notebook, she sources and draws upon iPhone digital files, selected and then exposed to plates for photopolymer intaglio printmaking. To translate the visible and invisible world, literally and metaphorically, the resultant images registered via the intaglio press are not at all that random. The collage work entertains a sliver of consciousness—awareness—and translates how the mind filters out and integrates past and present.

Ideas for art making for the personal project / Mixed Media | Image 1

image_4, photopolymer intaglio monoprint, 2014 by roberta fineberg

In response to the quote No art exists that isn't  autobiographical (from Quaderni Azzurri, or Blue Notebooks, by Aldo Rossi, the Italian architect and poet of the visible), Ms. Fineberg explains her collage project: "Oh, the webs we weave, the title of the series and a double entendre, which references an expression and pokes fun at our collective experience today spent, perhaps too much so, on the Internet or Web, is the jumping off point for exploration and problem solving. The iPhone images that I take and use in my art beg the question: What kind of art can I make with images exclusively shot with a basic technological device - a smartphone?"

Ideas for art making for the personal project / Mixed Media | Image 2

image_6 photopolymer intaglio monoprint, 2014 by roberta fineberg

What is your personal project? How may SPY enable you? 

In Search of an Original Idea?

An idea is never new. It's usually as old as time. But a good idea reveals what is true and great ideas vary in representation. So for creative inspiration I suggest look at art, look at what you like, look at what you don't like, look at everything, and after a while you'll instinctively reach out for what moves you and probably what moves other people. Our emotional brain sets our motor cerebellum in motion so that power of reason is tripped.

In a good way we learn, emotionally, to become more discriminating about what we see. We could say that we are what we see and that our pictures become representations of what we feel too. Photographers are sometimes called to break down barriers between themselves and the 'other' when photographing, say, people. Yet creatives have always needed to maintain a veritable space (emotional space) to create - to create at all - especially an orginal work.

"Ladybird” (1936) on view in 'Drawing Surrealism' at the Morgan Library, in my estimation, supports a compelling left brain/ right brain argument as well as maintains that both art and science coalesce to produce originality in photography. Is Eileen Agar's mixed media, photograph and painting, straight from the unconscious or does reason have its hand in its originality too?

 Eileen Agar's "Ladybird” (1936) 

Take an Art Photo Walk with NYC Spark Your Creativity | Pierpont Morgan Library 


Is the iPhone 5 capture, 8 Megapixel, aka 'badass camera' (as per Tom Cheredar from VB), as good as it gets? Most agree that the iPhone 5, a fast-growing camera of choice for prosumers, is convincingly replacing the need for most point and shoots...and beyond;

Could a future version replace a dSLR? Well, let's wait and see... 

In the meantime, the major improvement of the most recent iPhone camera is its capacity to shoot in low light and have files that look decent - not looking like they did formerly, say, shot in low light and in short digital files from hell. Yet, there is a new problem associated with the iPhone 5 - camera flare - resulting in fuschia light - creative capture or not?

In Camera+, the app with which I have conducted my first iPhone 5 tests, I noticed that the files interfaced in a more streamline fashion with the app's corrective filters and offered an aesthetic difference. Counter intuitive? To my eye - and I don't know if there is any science behind this - observation is a solid means to forming hypotheses - so I contend that Camera+ app updates now offer more of the homogeneity we find when using Instagram. Are Instagram look alikes a good or bad feature? You decide. And try out your own tests.

First, let's observe one of my tests: ROTC officers lineup at Columbus Circle. Please let me know how the iPhone 5, Camera+, and I did.

Photographing the decisive moment | people, places and things, street photography class 


High ISO Photography

High ISO settings are generally used in low light situations – however the cost is digital noise (grainy looking files). So goes common wisdom. It's clear that technology is advancing and it's never too late to play catch up with what high ISOs can do for you. High ISO photography works safely in situations where bright lights (artificial) meet the night. In other words, just because the ISO is 1600 doesn’t mean you see more noise (especially true for the latest digital cameras). As long as you don't underexpose you can get good results with even older cameras (if your histogram is dipping equally to the right, you're probably getting the right exposure). The lesson here? Don't be afraid of digital noise. Think differently: High ISO photography may lend itself to your producing the best images you've ever made plus independently it is a compelling technology to follow, even for daytime use.  


Photographing People | Trapeze artist, South Street Seaport 

High ISO photography (shot at 1600 ISO) | photo: (c) 2012 roberta fineberg | South Street Seaport 

People, Places & Things

Looking at life up close and personal with an eye on storytelling is always a good assignment. What stories can be told about the 25th St Market muses in New York? Starting at the north end of Madison Square Park (25th & Fifth) in front of the statue of admiral David Farragut, go west to the West 25th St Flea Marketbetween Broadway and Sixth Ave. The Market is filled with ephemera, paraphernalia, nostalgia, objects, jewelry, and colorful characters. It rivals the best marches aux puces in Paris with its random treasures and idiosyncratic vendors. A camera exercise becomes how to capture all the details? I like to use a 50mm macro lens; but before you run out and spend too much money on a new lens your long lens at a focal length at 55mm and above will do to capture the ecclectic array of memorabiia, antiques, and other vintage goodies here and down the block at The Antiques Garage. Enjoy the natural lighting -- and with the strong sunlight -- a polarizer might fit the bill to render balance to highlight and shadow at the outdoor market. For the indoor garage space, make use of your white balance -- experiment with all the settings. Maybe the perfect moment to test out high ISO photography -- maybe just the time to rethink high iso images? Keywords: dare ... play ...contextualize

 photo: (c) 2012 roberta fineberg

Street Photography Workshop | Downtown Flea Markets 

Intentional Camera Movement (ICM)

The photo experiment in Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) was conducted along the East River behind Gracie Mansion in Carl Schurz Park in Manhattan's East 90s.

Another name for this phenomenon is a happy accident -- ... or otherwise a photographic oxymoron?

Experimental Photography Workshop | Creating a personal project 

The RFK Bridge | (c) 2012 roberta fineberg        

The evening classes now include additional light experiments: High ISO photography (shooting at high ISOs above 1600), ICM or panning camera at a slow shutter speed, shooting with flashlights (light source aimed at camera lens during long exposure), and the self-portrait by night.

Self-Portraiture II

At the end of many of the evening sessions at NYC Spark Your Creativity participants try exercises in light painting. It's a method of turning the camera onto yourself, making yourself the subject of the photo while embracing chance -- with the camera on a tripod, you release the shutter (self timer) while the sensor records how fast or slow the LED light is waved in front of the camera lens. The results range from ribbons of fine light and largish glowing orbs to abstract brushstrokes of ephemeral light.

Self-Portrait / Night Photography with tripods / Bryant Park | Midtown, Manhattan 

The upcoming class Shot in the Darkplanned for occasional Saturday nights (8-10PM) this fall and beyond is for those who want a photo workshop as catalyst to reflect, to be present, to be in the moment, to give in to emotion and mood, to create, and lastly to record the passage of time -- at a 30 second exposure or less to either immortalize or remain, at best, shots in the dark --. Email us

The Power of Imagination

New York City will forever remain an island and when I trace the pathway from the East River, close to my home, to the Long Island Sound and beyond, to the Atlantic Ocean, my world becomes big enough to encompass a wild natural habitat. I spent some time trying to unwind the waterways, my physical surroundings, that I took for granted as a backdrop for relaxation, an excursion, or vacation instead of a source of imagination. Namely the Long Island Sound, I followed this estuary as well as the bays, such as the Great and Little Peconics to name two that meet and lead to the Ocean.

Smartphone Photography session | West Hampton Beach, Long Island 

                                    iphoneography at the beach | (c) 2012 roberta fineberg

This summer on the beach two young boys and their baby sister built a sand castle city, surrounding towns, wading pools, an ocean, levees, a highway, a Dune Road along the Atlantic Coast, and funny enough -- an evacuation route should the waters flood their territories. With the real ocean physically at their backs, the children worked tirelessly to build and protect the property against the impending tide -- their imaginations keeping the project going. Knowing instinctively that in a few short hours their City-State would be flattened and rinsed clean by rising waters only added to the game -- in part a race against time. Their love of play put them in the zone  -- a privileged place where no concern or fears exist about making an ephemeral product. Only doing matters -- a commitment to be and to do is enough to feed the imaginations and make the effort worth it long after the sand castle disappears. 

This Fall let's pick up our cameras, ask 'what if?' and shoot for the sake of shooting.

Photography as an Art, Science & Memoir

Experiments in 'Saper Vedere' (knowing how to see) in NYC's Central Park during which, the goal, the refinement of the senses, especially sight, becomes a means to heighten personal vision. It is always a playful session; no doubt a tribute to the raccoons at the Harlem Meer that enjoy visitors even on a rainy evening in late summer.

self portrait (c) 2012 roberta fineberg

Magic in the Moonlight, Night Photography with tripods | North Central Park 

iPhone as Sketch Pad

With the iPhone as sketch pad, the assignment becomes to capture mood to tell a story about the relationship of people, places, and things.

En route to Bethesda Terrace (NYC) the iPhoneography group at the Conservatory Pond in Central Park continues to encounter many great subjects simply by looking up, looking down, and looking all around. True, true -- a sound and simple piece of photographic advice to encourage the creative process.

Spark Your Creativity uses Camera+ and PS Express (for iPhone) among other tools to expand creative reach and tell the story. And there are stories everywhere, all over the world, just waiting to be told.

photos (c) 2012 roberta fineberg

Iphoneography / Photographing people in Central Park, Sailboat Pond | Image 1

Iphoneography / Photographing people in Central Park, Sailboat Pond | Image 2

Iphoneography / Photographing people in Central Park, Sailboat Pond | Image 2

Iphoneography / Photographing people in Central Park, Sailboat Pond | Image 3

Iphoneography / Photographing people in Central Park, Sailboat Pond | Image 3

Architectural Form at Lincoln Center

Creative doing leads to creative thinking: In August a Saturday morning group photographed Lincoln Center’s Revson Fountain at high and low shutter speeds, the architectural forms and leading lines of the Met Opera, Avery Fisher Hall, New York State Theater, and more while practicing deep depth of field. 

photo (c) 2012 roberta fineberg

Workshop in photographing places | Documenting New York City Architecture 

Shot in the Dark: Night Photography

Light trails, light painting & self portraits at night: all shots in the dark.

I found the inspiration for self-portraiture in front of the Metropolitan Art Museum on 5th Avenue in New York City. When making the portrait I merged with the classical (dating to 1880) architecture -- an enduring work of art -- with myself and it perpetually evolving. In the photograph I can fly through time -- from the 19th to the 21st century -- while forever remaining whole.

I can fly photo: (c) 2012 roberta fineberg

Photo Hunt | Long Exposure Photography at iconic New York City locations 

South Street Seaport

What happens when you shoot an image you like but it is, say, overexposed? Overexposed digital files are a nightmare because when you lose the highlights (white) the image has no definition. I was about to send the image of the seaport performer (below) to the Mac trashbin when I decided to see what I could do to it in Photoshop...to save the day.  

Solution? At the photoshop menu bar go to 'filter' and select -- trial and error -- any one of the filter options. Apply and see what effect it has on your art. In short, in the spirit of invention play around until you get get a look that you like. Repeat process of experimentation: Record how you got the effect so, yes, you can repeat it. 

South Street Seaport | (c) 2012 roberta fineberg

Downtown Photo Hunt | Experimental Day Photography


Summer in the City necessitates a quest for sanctuary. Finding hidden gems of peace in the urban landscape is easier than you think. In the East Village there are 40-some-odd gardens alone, translating into an urban oasis. Names like Le Petit Versaille and The Secret Garden may lure you--but some of the most enchanting sanctuaries are named after avenues, such as 6BC (for 6th Street btwn avenues B and C) and Sixth Street & Avenue B (the precise location). In these spaces you may dream of faraway places or you might just enjoy the zen of being in the moment, right where you without having to go very far at all ...

6BC Botanical Garden | (c) 2012 roberta fineberg

East Village Community Garden Photo Hunt, NYC

Spark Your Creativity

Spark your creativity with the personal project: tell the story that you want to tell. Make emotional connections with your work and the viewer (audience); shoot 

nouns: people, places, things, and/or ideas. 

Ask 'What if?' and see what happens photographically ...

Street Photography, 42nd St 

Street Photography, 42nd St 

iPhoneography Times Square | (c) 2012 roberta fineberg

Summer in the City & Beyond

When not leading photo safaris, I am doing research on the waterways whether Manhattanbound or to the Long Island Sound on the trail of the Great Gatsby -- Sands Point, LI -- or to a specific geographic coordinate, say, where the Long Island Sound meets the Connecticut River -- in short, scouting places of great traditional beauty. As to water -- that precious and mysterious resourse -- Manhattan remains surrounded on all sides by both the East River and Hudson River, destinations which offer respite from the dog days of July-August. 

RFK Bridge from Wards Island in the East River / July 2012 | photo: (c) 2012 roberta fineberg

Photo Hunt | Capturing New York City Bridges 

Photo Hunt | Capturing New York City Bridges