Lush and Faux

In New York’s Central Park the lush—but artificial—landscapes make the cityscape look almost pastoral in its beauty. Central Park is the landscape architecture masterpiece of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, created in the mid 1800s.

Central Park by Harold Davis

Central Park © Harold Davis

Almost everything about the landscape of Central Park—lakes, meadows, hills, and rocks—was artfully and artificially created and placed. The result is an apparent pastoral paradise in which glimpses of the city only seem to enhance the lush natural landscape. The building shown reflected in the man-made lake in this image is the tower of the luxury Sherry Netherland Hotel, located along Fifth Avenue at the southern end of the park.

When designing Central Park, Olmsted and Vaux turned to the Yosemite Valley floor as a source of inspiration (Olmsted had visited Yosemite a few years before beginning the Central Park design). Compared to the wilderness landscape, Central Park seems faux (if you’ll pardon the rhyme with “Vaux”)—but certainly a wonderful enhancement to life in New York.

How the image was made: This is five exposures taken with my camera on a tripod. Each exposure was shot at 18mm, f/13, and ISO 200. Shutter speeds ranged from 1/2 a second to 1/320 of a second. I used Photoshop and Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 to create a single composite High Dynamic Range (HDR) image.

This entry was posted in HDR, New York, Photography.

One Comment

  1. Roger Lambert October 2, 2012 at 7:23 am #

    Gorgeous composition!

    Too much vibrance in this version for my tastes, though, with some blues and the green foliage quite oversat’d. There is a swath of foliage by, and some branches on, the tree trunk on right margin that looks too light, like a wee dodging mishap.

    I really like the photo, though – if you don’t appreciate the critique I’ll shut up in future. Does it work in B/W?

    Best regards,


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