Bekka Palmer

New York City

Summer Photography Course

Photography, New York CityBekka Palmer

This summer, I will be teaching a photography intensive course in Brooklyn. Details below.

In this course you will learn from start to finish a professional photography process which you can repeat over and over again to get professional level photos on your own. We will start with taking photos on manual which gives you control over your images to importing, organizing, backing up, color-correcting, retouching and exporting. The course spans several weeks and gives you the chance to practice between classes. You will walk out with an advanced set of skills, it’s up to you to continue your practice to gain more experience. The class includes time in a classroom setting and time practicing taking photographs together.

June 29

Classroom: Camera setup, manual settings and importing
Practical: Spend time outside shooting on manual
Goal: Comfort with manual settings and importing photos.

July 13

Practical: Photographing people
Classroom: Lightroom basics
Goal: Master talking to real people and using Lightroom for color-correction.

July 27

Practical: Shooting still life
Classroom: Going from Lightroom to Photoshop for retouching.
Goal: Proficient in arranging a still life and retouching blemishes, trash, etc.

Add-on Class August 3

Classroom: Advanced Photoshop techniques
Goal: Proficient in more advanced retouching techniques such as combining multiple photos, masking, cloning.


Dates: June 29, July 13, July 27, 2017 6:30 - 9 pm
Cost: $1250
Add-on Advanced Class: August 3, $300
Requirements: Must bring your own DSLR, memory card and lens Rental information available Must bring your own laptop with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop installed (you can get a trial version)

Payment is due in full to reserve your space, class is limited to 6 participants. 

Check out the Workshops tab in the shop to reserve and for more dates.

Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn

Made by Hand, New York CityBekka Palmer

You may or may not know that I will be participating in Renegade Craft Fair on December 10th and 11th in Industry City.

I have been working hard to make nearly 100 necklaces like the ones in my online shop, plus a few new colors and some one-of-a-kind items, too.

I would love to see you there in a few weeks.

When: December 10th & 11th 11am - 6pm
Where: Industry City 233 37th Street Brooklyn, NY 11232
Visit the Renegade website for more information!

What to eat in Chinatown, NYC

New York CityBekka Palmer

Chinatown is by far one of my favorite food destinations in New York City. It is packed with amazing food in the tiniest hole-in-the-wall places. While this list is in no way comprehensive, these are the places I find myself going back to time-and-time again. Several of these restaurants are cash only, so plan for that if you head there.

Address: 199 Grand Street
Specialty: Malaysian
Not to miss dish: Roti Canai or Roti Prata

Pho Grand
Address: 277C Grand Street
Specialty: Vietnamese
Not to miss dish: Pho, duh! 

Jing Fong
Address: 20 Elizabeth Street
Specialty: Dim Sum
Good-to-know: $3 dim sum plates on weekdays.

69 Bayard WK Restaurant (aka 69)
Address: 69 Bayard Street
Specialty: Chinese
What to order: Noodle anything

Shanghai Asian Manor
Address: 21 Mott Street
Specialty: Shanghai style
Not to miss dish: Soup dumplings and rice cakes

Wo Hop
Address: 17 Mott Street
Specialty: Cantonese
What to order: Fish Kew

Golden Unicorn
Address: 18 E Broadway
Specialty: Dim sum
What to order: All dim sum is amazing, but my favorite dish is a shrimp noodle roll

Lam Zhou
Address: 144 E Broadway
Specialty: Hand-pulled noodles
Not to miss dishes: Beef noodle soup, minced pork noodle and pork chive dumplings
Good-to-know: They sell frozen dumplings in bags of 50, get a bag and boil them at home for a quick dinner.

Lazy Sunday

New York City, WritingBekka Palmer

I worked a kind of hectic week and was looking forward to a lazy Sunday, but at some point in the day I decided it felt wasteful to sleep all day. I was tired, but I wanted to pack my whole weekend into a single day.

Brian and I rode bikes to Red Hook. We popped into Pioneer Works for a few minutes to explore their current time capsule. It just made me feel hot and sweaty. 

Once we felt hungry we went to Hometown for the best barbecue in Brooklyn. Really our only plans for the day were to ride to Red Hook and eat lunch, and I made a request to watch the sunset, but the massive cloud cover had other plans for our evening.

We decided to get on to the next Water Taxi that showed up. Bonus: it is free on weekends. I could not have been happier than I was leaning over the railing to catch the cool breeze. The ferry landed at Pier 11 near Wall Street. After a frightful night in the city it felt good to be there facing fears. The streets were lined with police and firemen. 

We dozed on benches in Battery Park, using our backpacks as pillows. Occasionally I would awake to the sound of someone commenting, "Are those people sleeping?" Yes we were. Exhaustion is never convenient. 

In a last effort to see the sunset we boarded the Staten Island Ferry and once again felt the cool breeze. We stood at the back watching Manhattan shrink in the distance. Sometimes it is good to get a new perspective on the city.

My aunt texted, "You weren't anywhere near the bombs last night were you?" In fact, I was just a few blocks away when the first one went off. I felt and heard nothing at the time. When I rode home that night the city felt charged in a way I hadn't felt in months. I blamed the (almost) full moon. 

Once we arrived in Staten Island we immediately boarded the ferry back. This time sitting at the front to watch the Manhattan skyline swell in our vision. I watched the tourists on the ferry enchanted by the sight of it. They seemed completely unaffected by the events of the night before. 

It was time to join in their delight and feel nothing but genuine happiness about heading towards this city. Two feet back on the ground in Manhattan I felt a surge of unexpected energy and rode home with my regular sense of awe at the greatest city on Earth.

From one end to the other

New York City, Photography, WritingBekka Palmer

This Labor Day Weekend, I decided to stay in town and make it a real New York City weekend. It's a good weekend to go places that are normally busy because the city really empties out.

On Thursday night we had a little weekend preview by stopping at Prince St. Pizza for a pepperoni square and then going to a horror film at Williamsburg Cinema. Friday night we ate at Brooklyn Crab in Red Hook and then popped into Sunny's bar and Bait and Tackle for drinks. Saturday we had some emergency bike repairs then took a group ride to The Cloisters. We had beers in Harlem before eating burgers at Corner Bistro in the West Village. Sunday I had to work a little in the morning before heading to The Rockaways to watch the big waves roll in from tropical storm Hermine. We made a pit stop at Rippers for some beach joose, then went into Chinatown for dinner at 69 Bayard. Monday we returned to Chinatown for dim sum and then took the ferry to Governor's Island. We ended the day with a burrito picnic in Prospect Park. We hit all of my favorite kinds of food in four days and did a whole bunch of very New York things along the way. It was a good mix of old hits and first times. I would say it was 100% more fun than getting stuck in holiday weekend traffic.

5 years in New York

New York City, WritingBekka Palmer1 Comment

It's been five years, I still remember the exact place I was standing the moment I decided to move here. I pass by that spot from time-to-time, almost always on accident, but I like to pause and take a moment to remember what it felt like that day. It was miserably hot, I remember feeling a sweaty armpit graze me on the subway, and I thought, "this is what it is like to be a New Yorker, and I want that."

New York is the place where I truly grew up. I learned to stand on my own, make mistakes, more mistakes, and also celebrate small successes. It is the place where I learned to say no, but also to say yes even when it doesn't fit in my best laid plans. 

It is a hard place to live. The weather is rarely ideal, it smells bad, there is traffic (both underground and above), it's too crowded, it's expensive, but I would still rather be here than anywhere else.

I was attracted to New York since my very first visit. I always knew I would move here; its magnetic force pulled me in. Ask anyone who lives here, and those who have merely visited, what it is about New York. Almost anyone will say, "I felt an energy there." All of the forces that make it tough to live here, make the people here that much better. New Yorkers have grit, and I like that.

This isn't the type of place that comforts you when things get tough. It trains you to roll with the punches; don't make too many plans, as they will surely get derailed. But, I think, the longer you stay the better you get at it, the less you take it personally when things go wrong. Once you accept the tough stuff as part of the deal, the good things are that much sweeter. 

So, here I am five years in, those years were the worst and best of my life so far. And now that I am finally starting to understand this place. Starting to understand that in order for it to give something to you, you have to give something to it. And I am ready for another five years, when I can finally call myself a New Yorker.

// photo from my first trip to NYC over 15 years ago, taken atop the World Trade Center in 2000.