61 thoughts on “tracey tomtene – empire state building”

  1. Speaking of content… This strikes me as all composition and no content. A really nice spot photo. Great composition though.

  2. what a symbolism.
    only one real leg left.
    standing on the edge
    looking back at us – shall I jump?
    Well, and still it can fly!
    and the whole thing on a morning in New York.

    What more content do you want?


  3. What? Another ” find the caption” contest…. What do we ALMOST win, this time? :-)))) (n’ est ce pas?)

    All light, no flight (fly, flew, flown)… Nice!

  4. cut me some slack…..your bag IS in the mail

    PS be unrelentant, never give up, stay on it….. We learnt that from you, David! :-))))

    and here is my caption from the pigeon: “you want content, I give you content, gimme a few seconds….”

  5. Valery, thanks. I did not see the foot (I have a feeling I am not the only one). That calls for another caption:

    “Taking off is no problem, it’s the landing that hurts!”

  6. I have been broken hearted ever since my pigeon, James, flew away after he grew angry with my cat, Jim, because he bit off and ate his foot.

    Every day since, I have been worried sick, wondering what happened to poor James. It got so bad that for the past month, I have lost five pounds every day – just from the worry.

    Now, at least, I have the comfort of knowing that James is alive, well, and living on the sadly tallest building in New York City.

    Why a pigeon would choose to leave Alaska for life in New York City is beyond me, but, as they say, to each pigeon his own.

    Thank you, Tracey, for letting me know that James is okay. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for you.

  7. I have been doing the happy dance all morning (including high kicks) and have now finally collapsed in front of my computer in elated exhaustion. Thank you David for putting ol’ Stubby up on Burn! :-D

    I myself haven’t quite decided on either the caption or the title for this image so am very open to hearing all the differing perspectives. This was my first trip to NY (I live in Vancouver, BC). I was on my way to B&H Photo to purchase my very first pro lenses. I did not know that doing this on a Sunday morning would land me in what felt like a Boxing Day FRENZY, so opted for a much less stressful jaunt up the Empire State Building instead.

    I sprang for one of those listening devices so ‘Tony the Cab Driver’ could tell me all about the various ‘hoods of of New Yawk City from above. When I arrived at the south side of the building, I decided that a token pigeon photo was in order. Apparently, I caught Stubby’s eye as he turned to give me a very obvious, intriguing stare. This bird had personality. We bonded. And his image stuck with me for the duration of my trip.

    I look at Stubby now and can hear him say in a thick NY accent (similar to Tony the Cab Driver’s), ‘Hey take a pictcha sweetie, it’ll last longah.’ I’m sure he is quite sensitive about his missing limb. Or, as a polite tour guide pigeon saying, ‘Welcome to NY…here we have a bird’s eye view of the Flatiron Building to your left…’

    When people ask me where this was taken, I tell them that if the Twin Towers were still standing, they would be right about there (pointing to the Financial District) and I would never have to explain where Stubby is from.

    So yes. There is something missing from this picture.

    I’m sure Stubby misses his foot. A deep loss indeed. But yet, he still goes on…with character and panache. And New York does too.

    @Frostfrog..James says hi and doesn’t want you to take his sudden exit personally. He is enjoying city life and prefers being a skyscraper pigeon (less cats up there).

    @Burnians…thanks for the comments, the captions (seriously laughed out loud) and having a look:) So completely thrilled to be able to contribute to, and be a part of this community.


    well, yes, the pigeon kinda is looking at us the way you look at me..90% of folks who look at this picture get a chuckle..but , well, not everyone laughs at the same jokes…and i normally HATE alleged funny pics…but this one struck me..maybe the look and the one foot combo…damn dude, i can just see you scratching your head…frankly, i would not think about this one too long…we got bigger fish to fry…

  9. OK dude you got me. Packing for Rio in the morning..long flight…lots of production hassles this end(aint that always the way)
    ..always thought I had quite a good sense of humour..if a bit dark :))

  10. I first saw this print in a gallery in New Zealand.

    To me, the image invokes multiple layers of response, in particular, a gritty feeling of survival and commitment in a challenging environment. The streaking rays of light in the distance add an essence of revelation – like all of this (the lost foot perhaps) is worth it in some way…it is, after all, New York. The missing twin towers reinforce this feeling. The pigeon looking back at the photographer, saying, “Yeah, this is true. But I’m still here.” And we’re not going anywhere.

    To me, this image is a statement, a reflection. I love it.


    damn, hope you know i am teasing..you and i laugh the whole time we are talking, so yes of course you have a sense of humor….but you packing for Rio will take away most folks sense of humor anyway…you got work to do…contact Beto?? please call me for any last minute help and i will get right on the phone to whomever can help you..no joke…..too bad we miss..i will not be far behind you….safe travels and good shooting my friend…

    cheers, david

  12. MARCIN…

    Anton is moving offices etc and is unavailable…so i am the only one…sorry…but i looked inside and there are no pending comments from you, so nothing to delete or release…i cannot quite imagine the problem you are having…sometimes there are weird tech glitches i guess…i wondered where you were hiding….anyway, welcome back…

  13. Actually, for me as a New Yorker who is often in tourist areas, the humor for me was just in the fact it was a picture of a pigeon. I’m always seeing tourists with expensive cameras chasing pigeons or squirrels as if that will be the highlight photo of their trip to New York (Tracy actually pulled it off). The other day I was trying out a pocket camera in Battery Park and saw a pigeon in interesting light, so I chased it around with my little point-and-shoot. It was great fun. I was half hoping some tight assed photographer such as myself was watching and going “tut tut.”

    On a related note, that day playing with the pocket camera made me see the great attraction you all, particularly frostfrog, are talking about. People who would get hostile over the big camera don’t pay much attention to the small one.

  14. A noble bird…
    the most successful animal pictures tend to be ones where we , as humans , can see something of ourselves in the animal…some glimpse of a common experience…here with one of the worlds greatest views in front of her, she is looking the other way (the pigeon I mean)

  15. Tracey – I can remember seeing this at the workshop – I can’t believe I missed the stumpy leg!
    Congratulations on the publishment here on Burn!
    I hope all is well with you!

  16. This is an amazing shot, the detail is great, and you’ve captured a great expression on the pigeon’s face! The detail of leg is great too – many a pigeon has miraculously escaped a near death experience. All in all a wonderful capture, I like it in every way!

  17. You have to be kidding me. A tourist snap like this is a selected photo. I am sure there must be many much more deserving photographs and photographers out there you could have chosen. Am I missing the joke?
    I registered and created my account just to leave this comment. If you are willing to publish it I will at least admire Burn for that.

  18. Appalled,
    there is better reasons to admire Burn than just having your comment published…:)
    Go find the Burn 01 book, for example , and i promise u , you’ll discover a brand new world..;)
    And regardless of u missing the joke or not ,all im saying to you is “welcome”, although im not the hotel manager over here:)
    Stick with us for a minute and i promise you “horizon expansions” and good magic of all kinds…
    U just opened the Pandora’s box..Lucky u!

  19. Hey all, appreciate the feedback..thank you! Yes, you too ‘Appalled’. I, like Panos, do hope you stick around and not be so disenchanted based on one image you deem a ‘tourist snap’…you will admire burn for a lot more than just allowing a dissenting opinion to be published. Cheers!

  20. Though that is not one, I can like tourist snaps. They are as much photography as anything else, if not quite meant to emerge in the field of professional/serious photography.

  21. Appalled

    While my comments about this photograph were light-hearted, “charming, quirky, fun”,..this is in no way meant to minimise or dismiss the power of this delightful photograph. Photographs that make us smile, that present a visual joke, that poke fun, are rare. Elliot Erwitt is the only photographer I know of who seems to know how to do it with any consistency, he is one of my heroes.
    This is one of those rare photographs that achieves humour. And while the reaction has been one of fun, and sillyness, humour is serious business, and much more difficult to achieve than the somber documentation of the worlds woes.

    In any case, welcome to Burn, dissenting opinions welcome. I encourage you to use your real name, and a link to your own view of the world.

  22. Fantastic shot. It’s great because it works on so many levels. I was immediately reminded of the nearby Chrysler building, which has Art Deco eagle heads looking out in all directions… this lowly, crippled pigeon seems to aspire to being an eagle, and the camera’s point of view (subject above the horizon) gives the form a “monumental” feeling. Incidentally, I believe the pigeon is actually observing things on the ground, but its opposing eye necessarily has to be directed in the other direction.

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