Order your prints by Sunday 12/12 at 5 p.m. for delivery by Christmas!

If you're still looking for that unique, beautiful gift for your friend or loved one, visit my online store by Sunday evening. Fine Art America's order deadline for standard shipping delivery by Christmas is this Sunday, December 12th at 5:00 p.m. (EST). Each item is printed and shipped on demand, so you can impress your recipient by telling them that their gift was truly made just for them.

My prints start at $19 for items in the 10" x 10" range, and go up to $65 for a 36" x 24". I've also added three more recently taken images to the store, shown below. Should you miss ordering by Sunday, the overnight shipping deadline is Friday, December 18th at 5:00 p.m. (EST).

For details on the shipping deadlines, click here. As always, if there's a print you're interested in that isn't on the store, contact me at robnguyen01 at gmail dot com and I'd be glad to help figure out how we can get it to you.

Best regards,

- Rob

It's Christmastime in the City

Walking around New York City attractions during the holidays is, to use a phrase from The Fantastic Mr. Fox, a bit of a clustercuss. Consider Times Square. Even during the rest of the year, for people who live here, the pedestrian traffic frustrations alone make it a place to be avoided at all costs. On the one hand, you have visitors to this great city, looking up that the giant electronic billboards and lights that are, admittedly, quite impressive. On the other, you have the office worker trying to cross the street without colliding with said tourist, another person inviting them to see a comedy show, and at least one Elmo.

The holiday sights and decorations around the city take this scene and multiply it in some form or another in more locations. Grand Central Terminal, always a bustling place, has a larger number of visitors than usual, staring up into the great ceiling during rush hour, like anchors in the floor as waves of commuters rush around them. The main thoroughfare of Rockefeller Center is now a channel filled with humans taking pictures in both directions- East, towards the Saks Fifth Avenue light show, and West, towards the great big tree.

As with many things about this city, it's easy to get jaded. I've never been a big fan of crowds, and it often seems preferable to stay clear of the city's holiday scenes altogether. But after running  around town the past two weeks snapping photos, I'm reminded just why it is that these attractions draw visitors in the first place. Grand Central Terminal celebrates with traditional wreaths, garlands and lights, adding holiday cheer and warmth to an already breathtaking space.

The Time Warner Center's 'Holiday Under the Stars' display is quite a bit flashier, but has a beauty all its own. These are certainly giant stars, with internal lighting and music, but in its essence, there's something simple, too- twelve hanging stars, reflected into 24 by way of the glass facade overlooking Central Park South.

My family often visited Rockefeller Center at Christmas when I was a kid, and though I'm sure bits and pieces of it have changed, the heralding angels, the tree and the skating rink all still evoke that same feeling in me- that, upon seeing this place, it is officially, bigly and publicly, Christmastime.

A few days into this project, I realized that I'm not familiar enough with the rights and usage rules regarding these attractions to feel 100% confident that I can put them up for sale. So unfortunately, I'll need to postpone my plan of making these available for ordering prints. I'll hopefully have this figured out one way or another in time for next year's holiday season. I hope you enjoy these photos nonetheless, and I wish you a very merry Christmas and happy holidays.

Following my every-other-week schedule, my next post will be Monday, December 21st. I'm not sure if I'll have more holiday photos to share then, but I've accumulated a small handful of street photography shots between the Central Park series and this one, so I may be able to put those together into a post by then.

- Rob

Window displays at Saks Fifth Avenue

Light wrapped trees on 58th Street

Lights in the trees at 50th Street and Sixth Avenue

The Time Warner Center, Columbus Circle

The Shop is Open.

I'm pleased to announce that beginning today, prints of select photos are available for purchase on my online store.

After looking through various online print-on-demand suppliers, I settled on FineArtAmerica.com. Their pricing model is straightforward and easy to manage, it's easy to embed their shop widget on my site, and they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on every order. Though I had set up my account weeks ago, I held off posting about it until I had been able to complete a test purchase myself. I wanted the chance to look at the product first hand.

The default option is printed on acid-free paper, and shipped in a 1" mailing tube. However, for my purposes, I wanted to not only test the service, but also have something that would arrive ready to hang, so I upgraded to canvas. It arrived on Friday and I'm pleased to report that it came out very well:

Once you've selected a print and size, you can customize your order with options like custom framing, a matte, or printing on canvas or metal. Note that the custom options can shoot the price up quickly (e.g. selecting canvas for this print brings the price up to $61.40, not including shipping). For future images that I add to the store, I'll try to stick to conventional frame sizes so that they can easily fit in something off-the-rack.
  
I placed the order on November 19, it shipped on the 24th and arrived at my apartment on the 27th. According to the site, prints usually ship within three to four business days. If you're interested in purchasing a print in time for delivery before Christmas, please refer to FAA's holiday shipping schedule.

Here's the package as it arrived:

The scale is difficult to see here, but that box is roughly 20" x 20", twice the size of the piece itself. There's a small indentation near the closest edge that occurred during shipping. The piece was undamaged, and once I saw how it was packaged inside, I could see why:

It had been immobilized by every means short of a passenger side airbag.

I opened it up, and of course, scrutinized it at a nose-to-canvas distance.

It's a faithful reproduction of the original. This is perhaps to a fault, as the limits of the iPhone 5S that took the shot are evident. There's a brushstroke like quality to the detail in the cars and barricades that's also in the original image, though it's debatable whether this is a good or bad thing. While I think it holds up well, I'll stick with 10" x 10" as the maximum available print size for this shot.

The canvas print option allows you to have a white or black wrap along the edge, or the "mirrored" option pictured below. An inch of the image is mirrored and printed along the canvas's edge. I think this look is part of the fun of having a canvas print, so I chose that one.

The backing includes a wire and felt pads for the corners. A hook and nail is also included.

And here's what it looks like on the wall of the apartment that's decorated like a 1990's T.G.I. Friday's. So for a few moments yesterday morning my print took the place of a Guinness tchotchke:

I'll be roaming New York City this week taking photos of some of the holiday decorations, and hope to add some seasonal shots in time for Christmas. Please feel free to browse the store in the meantime. In the event that you find something you like, I'd be glad to hear about your own purchase experience and any comments or suggestions you might have. Note that FAA does not provide me with customer names or contact information, so if you do choose to make a purchase, please know in advance that you have my sincere thanks!

- Rob

A Morning in the Park

It's been a long while since I dedicated some time to shooting photos. In one sense, I dedicate tiny bits of time to it every day- taking a quick shot with my phone, editing it and then posting it to Instagram. But there's a difference between doing that and spending a real chunk of a few hours to go out, shoot and try to improve. So as part of an effort to make photography a bigger, more central part of my life, that's what I set out to do when I had a free morning a few weekends ago.

Amidst the daily hustle and bustle, it's sometimes too easy for me to forget some of the beautiful and iconic parts of New York that are easily accessible to me. It was nice to look at Central Park from a different perspective than I usually have the opportunity to, entering around 96th street, slowly working my way down to Central Park South, and shooting photos all along the way.

I hope to complete shoots and blog posts like this one at least every other Monday. Upcoming posts will include some street photography shots from around the Fifth Avenue Apple Store, and an unboxing of my test purchase from an online print-on-demand store. If it comes out well, I'll build into the site an option for purchasing select prints. In the meantime, if you've enjoyed what you've seen here, please share this post and Like my page on Facebook.

Thanks!

- Rob

Tree in Fall.jpg