Photo Walk in Albany, New York

Albany New York

 The New York State Capitol building. Architects were Thomas Fuller and Henry Hobson Richardson

The New York State Capitol building. Architects were Thomas Fuller and Henry Hobson Richardson

I'll try avoid making the joke that it's a "capitol" idea! (But then I just did, didn't I?!) But Albany had more to offer than I was expecting!  Albany is the capitol of New York, but of course New York City is the largest city by a huge margin.  Albany, with it's population of less than 100,000 people (according to the 2013 census) is really a small town with big architecture.  In the 19th century and the turn of the 20th century, when it was popular for capitol cities to show off with architecture and hold expos, some of the country's best architects came to Albany flex their muscles.  With the city was growing, banks and other industry booming, beautiful buildings went up trying to mimic iconic avenues of NYC.  Of course the city suffered in the middle and end of the 20th century, and buildings sat empty.  The advantage of this stall in Albany's fortunes was that the old wasn't cleared away for the new and now that things are on an upswing again, the gorgeous architecture remains, waiting for a responsible hand to return them to their former glory.

Although more than a few gorgeous buildings sport "available" signs, many developers have renovated buildings with respect for the original architecture. These renovations have married some modern "cool" (in particular with lighting and interiors; there seems to be a lot of neon lighting accents) with the traditional. The over all effect is that State Street is a delightful place to see some incredible architecture,  in just over an hour, we did a short photo walk up and down State Street and the area. It would also be a good place to spend a relatively inexpensive weekend. (To see our Trip Report for Albany click here

Note: As is often the case, Jeff decided to share architectural photos in black and white to better highlight the architecture

 A view down State St Albany to the SUNY Administration Buildings

A view down State St Albany to the SUNY Administration Buildings

 View up Washington St towards the Albany City Hall

View up Washington St towards the Albany City Hall

 This little building on State St is available, with incredible details, it sits all alone!

This little building on State St is available, with incredible details, it sits all alone!

 This Philip Hooker building houses the Bank of America today

This Philip Hooker building houses the Bank of America today

 A beautiful trio of organ pipe buildings on Eagle St housing shops and an Irish pub our concierge recommended. 

A beautiful trio of organ pipe buildings on Eagle St housing shops and an Irish pub our concierge recommended. 

 At the far end of State Street, the SUNY Administration building dominates, it was a former railroad building opened in 1913.

At the far end of State Street, the SUNY Administration building dominates, it was a former railroad building opened in 1913.

Our experience during our short visit is that Albany is full of architecture that lives larger than the size of the city.  As such, it's a fun architectural museum to take a photo walk. Here are some of Jeff's tips for an architectural photo walk.

Some  photography tips for shooting buildings:

-Shoot (or process) architecture in black and white to highlight the architectural details. On an overcast day the sky isn't an interesting color in any case.

-Get low, and shoot up; it cleans up the clutter on the street (cars, parking meters) and the sky gives creates a clean background. 

-Be patient, wait for cars or pedestrians to walk by- although this is a rule to be broken if you see an interesting pedestrian walking by, it can give the photo a sense of place.

-Take some close ups of interesting details in the architecture. 

-Take the "post card" picture first, you can't move the building, but if you move YOU, you might get a better shot! "Work" the building by moving around it for other interesting angles or frames and to remove distracting details like poles and wires. 

-With all urban photography its a good idea to have a partner to watch your back for traffic or street thieves (we encountered very little of the first and none of the latter on our weekend trip in Albany!)