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Category Archives: assignments

Photographing New York’s Newest Architectural Landmark

A few weeks ago, I was given a photo assignment at New York’s newest architectural landmark…the otherworldly Oculus at the World Trade Center. My client, Post Road Iron Works, manufactured the miles and miles of railings throughout the complex.

Completed in 2016, this architectural wonder is the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub. It is the most integrated underground pedestrian network in New York City.  The controversial building, designed by Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava, has been described as a “bird taking flight”  and as the “inside of a whale.”

Serving over 250,000 commuters each day, the Oculus connects 11 New York City MTA subway lines and the PATH  train system.

Photographically, the place is a dream. Everywhere you look is a great shot. The repeating “ribs” made for dramatic compositions. The strong contrast between the ceiling skylights and the structural elements created ethereal opposites.




The freestanding staircases and balconies undulate sensuously over the main floor, which is filled with high-end retailers and eateries.



At each end of the giant hall is a stair structure, nicknamed the “diving board,” that connects the second and third levels seemingly floating in the void without cables or other support.






A different kind of Board of Directors


This week I photographed the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Board of Directors at their headquarters in the historic Darlington Schoolhouse in Mahwah, New Jersey. No suits or ties for this Board…think hiking boots, Tilley hats, t-shirts and shorts…North Face, not Nordstroms.

As a longtime member of the Trail Conference, it was my pleasure to offer my services to document the board members in front of the shiny, old headquarters.


Though the temperatures were well into the 80s and the air thick with humidity, everyone was a trouper and we made a ‘family portrait’ of a great group of volunteers. These people can clearly withstand the elements, even when conditions are brutal! I would expect no less from an organization dedicated to creating, protecting, and promoting a network of over 2,000 miles of public trails in the New York-New Jersey region.

Following the Board portrait, I took a photograph of the professional senior staff members on a trail right next to the front door of the HQ. I am not kidding, but 10 feet to our left was a very calm deer grazing for a while as we set up for the portraits and then decided to walk into our scene.



If YOU want to be a part of this rugged group of individuals, become a member! Your membership to the Trail Conference supports the work of the organization, gives you opportunities to take part in volunteer projects and training workshops, and entitles you to discounts at many local outdoor stores. What more could you ask for?

Check out the NYNJTC website for more information on their work & how to become a member.

And if you’re looking for MORE adventure in the NY-NJ area, be sure to check out the online series Unboring Exploring by my Studio Manager, Krysti Sabins. She’ll take you on some of the Trail Conference’s top hiking trails, while entertaining you every step of the way! Watch an episode featuring Jersey’s own Norvin Green State Forest below:

The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference’s NEW Headquarters!


©Phil Cantor 2015

The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference officially moved into their newly renovated 1891 stone schoolhouse in Mahwah, NJ. The Darlington Schoolhouse is an amazing “adaptive re-use” project that stabilized and saved one of the most beautiful and historic public buildings in Bergen County. This historic building was renovated and revamped so the Conference could have a new and improved place to call home.




Darlington 2013-01-09 2

As a longtime member of the Trail Conference, I wanted to help out so I organized and photographed the official ribbon cutting ceremony with senior staff members, board members, elected officials and public land advocates.

The NYNJTC is a volunteer-based organization,  founded in 1920,  and responsible for creating, protecting, and promoting a network of over 2,000 miles of public trails in the New York-New Jersey region.  With the help of over 100,000 active, outdoor-loving members, this non-profit does wonders for these glorious trails and parks, and publishes amazing maps and guidebooks to help you discover them for yourselves.

Membership in the Trail Conference supports the work of the organization, gives you opportunities to take part in volunteer projects and training workshops, and entitles you to discounts at many local outdoor stores.

As the Conference says, “Don’t take your access to nature for granted. Join the Trail Conference today.

P.S. For a firsthand look at the NYNJTC in action, check out my Studio Manager Krysti’s video on one of the most popular hikes on the East Coast, Breakneck Ridge!

For more from Krysti Sabins and her series, Unboring Exploring, visit her website.

At the NY-NJ Trail Conference HQ

The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference is one of my favorite non-profit organizations.  If you hike anywhere in New Jersey, the Catskills, Shawanagunks, or the Hudson Valley in New York, then you know that their maps are the best and they do an amazing job creating and maintaining all of the great trails and promoting the Great Outdoors.

DSH oldlight

This year is an important milestone for the Conference. Construction is almost complete on their new headquarters in the repurposed 1891 Darlington Schoolhouse in Mahwah, New Jersey. A superb example of restoring an architectural landmark, the new headquarters will house a training center and meeting space in a “green,” energy-efficient building.

new-york-new-jersey-trail-conference-phil-cantor photography

This spring, I’ve volunteered to photograph their board of directors at their May board meeting. This morning, while dressed in my Pillsbury Doughboy jacket,  I met with Ed Goodell (right), the Executive Director to plan the location shoot. I’m planning on updating the old photograph with the current Board in front of the new building. Hopefully, the Port-o-Johnny will not be in use on the day of the shoot.


Business as usual

I got a call today from a New York City law firm interested in updating their website photography. Corporate photography is an animal unto itself. You have to be creative, you have to be quick, and you have to understand the corporate culture.law firm photography