A New York Times Adventure: A Travel and Photography Workshop In N.Y.C.

 photography workshop

A Travel and Photography Workshop ~

We traveled to New York City this past weekend in order for me to attend NYT Journeys Travel Smarter Weekend: Food and Photography in New York City. Sounds like my kind of adventure, don’t you think? I honestly did not know what to expect exactly, but knew that I would come away with lots of inspiration and definitely a few handy tips and tricks for successful and enjoyable travel.

photography workshop

Sitting in the offices of the NY Times, listening to Times Travel Editor Dan Saltzstein, Photo Editor Phaedra Brown and Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Josh Haner was such a treat and felt like an out-of-body experience. We also heard great stories from food and travel writers Seth Kugel and Julia Moskin as well. I felt like such a fan-girl, but kept my cool on the outside.

Here is a peak inside the offices ~


Where would you have the opportunity to hear these personal travel anecdotes (which were crazy amazing) learn from their years of experience and hear their answers to many questions you were dying to know the answer?

A few meaty tidbits from the experts ~

Why Travel?

  • Discovery – That feeling you get when you come across something instead of planning for it
  • Go for a break in your routine
  • Pursue personal stories
  • Tourist vs Traveler – What are you?

Packing Tips from the Experts

  • Bring extra lithium batteries
  • Check for local holidays – Don’t land in a city to find it is unexpectedly extra crowded or businesses are closed
  • Get mobile app for Google
  • Use a travel journal
  • Travel cubes are quite the revelation and much easier for travelers making multiple hotel changes

Photography Tips from Josh and Phaedra

  • If your shadow is longer that you are, this is the best light
  • Typically, morning and late afternoon are the best times to shoot
  • Look for a pop of color
  • Layer your photos
  • Look for pattern and texture
  • Frames within frames
  • Remember the rule of thirds
  • Leading lines
  • When taking portraits look behind the subject – make sure there are no trees coming out of their heads
  • Look for great light reflection

After the Saturday morning session all one hundred thirty of us broke up in to smaller groups and set out in to the streets of New York on a photo safari. Our group walked about colorful Chinatown and had a lot of fun finding just the right shot in just the right light.

photography workshop

photography workshop
On a quiet side street I found this spot to photograph.

It was a busy Saturday and the local shoppers were crowding the streets and tourists by the thousands filled in the gaps. It was nuts. Somehow we managed NOT to get hit by cars and came away with some terrific photos.

On Sunday morning, the second day of the photography workshop, Phaedra and Josh critiqued our photos for the group. Are you kidding me, how awesome is that? If we chose to, we could turn in up to three photos and they picked the best ones to talk about. Of course they were quite kind, but the photos were so fantastic! They pointed out the strengths of each photo and at times how they could be slightly improved.

photography workshop

This is the photo they chose of mine. Phaedra said – “This is the perfect Travel Section photo that you would see often published in the Times.” I knew that light was a huge focus of these two experts so when I took this photo with such incredible natural light, I knew it was a winner. So fun!

Oh and there was FOOD!

photography workshop
The Times asked us to taste our salad without seeing it. Hmm? The aromatic herbs and vegetable texture was certainly much more distinctive but eating this way is quite messy!
photography workshoop
Locally made burrata with spring peas and tendrils
photography workshop
Spring salad with sprouted lentils, radishes, carrots, fennel, dill and a light buttermilk dressing
photography workshop
A lightly constructed and interesting dessert made with sorrel mousse*, merengue and perfectly red ripe strawberries.Simultaneously sweet, savory and lovely! *Sorrel is a perennial herb that is packed with nutrients and has a lemony taste.


We were fortunate to hear many interesting foodie gems from Julia Moskin about her food and travel philosophies, food writing, and overall passion for global cuisine. She was actually named after Julia Child, sounds like she chose the correct profession!

The luncheon was prepared by Chef Christina Lecki, at Reynard in the Wythe Hotel, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “The Wythe hotel is located in a 117 year old factory building that has been meticulously converted into a 70-room hotel – with King Kong skyline views from many rooms”. Chef Christina led April Bloomfield’s Michelin-starred kitchen at The Breslin for several years. Lunch was superb.

Final thoughts ~

I didn’t know a soul that attended, but met many interesting travel and photography fans from around the country and a few from outside the U.S. Another NY Times Journeys workshop is scheduled for September 29-30 in Vermont if you are interested in attending.

Do you know other travelers who would enjoy the post? Please forward to them!

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18 thoughts on “A New York Times Adventure: A Travel and Photography Workshop In N.Y.C.”

  1. This looks to be what you thought it would be and even more! I’m jealous, as I know many of us would love to have this opportunity. You have definitely earned this spot!

  2. I was waiting for your review as I was shut out of the workshop. It would have been a blast to have taken it together. Glad to hear you enjoyed it! What a great experience, I will look into the one in Vermont. Thanks for the tip!

    • I would have loved to go with you!! Since you live closer to Vermont than I do, I definitely would go. They have some other fun Journeys Weekend planned as well.

  3. The workshops are always useful not only to learn something new, but also to meet great people. When I see your photos, I am sure you can teach photography in one of them:) your pictures are great! Thank you for sharing.


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