I tend to avoid Airbnb when I go on a vacation since its risk is always higher than chain hotels, but after my
recent airbnb trip I just
realized how much fun I had missed because of this.
Two weeks ago we (me and my friends) spent a fantastic weekend in Newry, Maine where we
rented an Airbnb house and drove all the way from Boston for 3 hours - just to taste a
bit of nature.
This place, although in Maine, was actually quite close to the White Mountains area in New Hampshire. Acadia was naturally our initial plan,
as most of us had never visited this famous national park, but it was too touristy (and far and expensive) for a group
of 10 who spend most of the time together playing board games. Yes, we drive more than
200 miles to find a place for playing board games!
The house was recently renovated so it looked incredibly new. Unfortunately, it had irritating chemical smell upon our arrival.
We opened all windows and doors for a while, then the odor was gone and we did find this place
quite cozy and interesting.
After our house tour, the living room immediately became our favourite spot. Great
view and light, large space and fireplace, lovely furniture, we could really see ourselves sitting here
playing all day - and we did!
We played Splendor, Risk, and Mahjong (麻将) and it was all fun and games until someone
finally got hungry. In fact, cooking could be the biggest problem here - you had to drive a dozen miles
to buy materials. Luckily we brought whatever we need for a two-day trip - all we ever needed was
just drinks and noodles!
We cooked the delicious 炸酱面 (noodles with soybean sauce) and it was a treasure.
We did go hiking around in the day and it was also much fun. Overall this airbnb experience
was extremely wonderful and we unanimously agree that we would do a similar trip to Vermont
in the foliage season this year.
On a warm Saturday in April I visited Woonsocket, a small town in north Rhode Island where
the film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale was filmed. I’ve been wanting to go there because it’s really close to
where I’m living now, plus a group of fans and dog lovers even made a Hachi Trail(see below) that has all noticeable filming places in it.
Following the trail map I was astonished that the town even put a Hachi statue in front of the train station, and I was able to rebuild the image and establish a connection to this touching film. Here is what I got:
That’s even more true if you’re coming to NYC for a couple of signature, iconic pictures — whether it’s Grand Central, DUMBO,
Manhattan skyline, Brooklyn Bridge or the Statue of Liberty, they’re all free to visit. The only one
that’s gonna cost you any money, for picture purposes, is the Top of the Rock, the top of 30 Rockefeller Center in Rockefeller Plaza.
You may recognize the address, 30 Rock, from the TV show that was about a comedy show being filmed at NBC. This is that place.
From the top of this building, right in front of you is going to be the Empire State Building. And all around it is gonna be this beautiful
three-dimensional skyline of New York. You’re not looking at the skyline, you’re in the skyline.
It costs 34 bucks (adult) to go up. Do it, it’s totally worth it. But you want to go up at the right time, which is probably 1-2 hours before sunset.
Another thing you should know is that there are no tripods allowed. At first I wrestled with that, but when you think about it, it’s actually a great thing because with tripods, people would just lock down, everybody would grab the good spots and there wouldn’t be enough room.
Thank you for not allowing tripods. I can’t believe I just said that. I used my Sony a6000 with the pricey F4 16-70 Zeiss zoom lens, which is not very good for night shots. The good thing is, it’s got
an optical image stabilization in it. You may want to use lenses with similar focus length or simply a wide angle lens.
You’ll play with that a bit because when the light looks pretty, there will not be very much of it, and I do hope to shoot fully into nighttime because it would be like 20 different pictures when you’re up there.
It’s the sunset picture, it’s the blue hour picture, it is the mix picture.
Just don’t go in winter…
*Update: If you are a stock photographer, please note that photos taken on the Top of the Rock are unsuitable for commercial use without permission.
Below is a screenshot of the reason that GettyImages rejected my photo: