Olympus PEN x NYC

Jay McLaughlin Olympus PEN F NYC Yellow Taxi Photographer

Back in May I found myself ticking off the number one place in the world I’d never been... New York City! People were usually shocked when I told them I’d never visited NYC. It was always somewhere I’d longed to see, but the opportunity just never came around until recently.

Fortunately Olympus decided to use New York as the backdrop for promotional images for the new blue version of their E-PL9 camera, along with a whole host of other content they were looking to capture. To say I jumped at the chance would be an understatement!

After getting off our British Airways flight, we took a cab to the hotel, when the epic idea of getting massages was floated. I might make this a post flight habit, as it was much needed!

We were all pretty tired, and it was going to be a hectic few days, so we headed off to bed pretty early. 


I don’t usually eat breakfast, but I absolutely love American breakfasts, especially pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, so I allowed myself to cheat whilst I was away. Calories don’t count in other countries right?

The trip, shoots, and styling was all organised by fashion designer, Deborah Lyons, who had created a packed itinerary. 

Day 1 started with shooting models in the street. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t made aware of this, and I was given my first experience of New York rain. I’m British though, and we don’t let a bit of rain stop us! 


Shooting on my Olympus PEN-F, I got completely soaked through. Our models from State Management were all up for it and I love what we managed to achieve in less than ideal circumstances.

The afternoon was spent with our travelling blogger companions from the Czech Republic. We had Lucie and Nicole from A Cup of Style, and Nikola from Shopaholic Nicol. I’d shot the sisters before in Greece at the launch of the E-PL8, so was a nice little reunion.

Capturing some of the cutest and colourful creations I think I’ve ever seen in a cup, the afternoon was about as sugar filled as anyone could ever deal with! My favourite was the cereal blended ice cream at Milk & Cream. I went with ice cream blended with fruit loops, topped with gummy bears and fruity pebbles... I had a good time! 

You can’t visit New York City without having a slice of pepperoni pizza, and after everyone descended into a sugar coma, a couple of us popped out to the pizza place at the end of the street to tick another thing off my list.

Day 2 and we were joined by Zara Martin as we headed to Harlem. After shooting in a few of the side streets, we then grabbed a table at Sylvia’s for some chicken and waffles. Apparently I was the only person on this trip with a ridiculous appetite for food... plus I hate waste, so as usual I ate a lot!

Zara Martin NYC New York City Harlem Olympus PEN E-PL9

After lunch, we jumped on the subway, and did some more cheeky photos with Zara en-route to our next location.

Deborah had seen a photoshoot in Paper magazine with Rihanna, and managed to locate the actual deli they used. It was amusing listening to the shop owners recanting stories of Rihanna while we did our thing.

Zara Martin New York Deli NYC Olympus PEN E-PL9

As touristy as it is, you have to visit Times Square if you’re in New York City. I was completely blown away at the sheer amount of light. Despite being fairly late, it was like daylight! I did use the opportunity to play with some on-camera flash and slow shutter though, which is something I don’t get to do often.

As a fan of the 80’s seeing a guy dressed as Dr Emmet Brown driving the Back to the Future Delorean was a highlight. It looked insane under all the Times Square lights! 

Zara Martin Times Square New York City Yellow Taxi Night Time Flash Photography Olympus PEN E-PL9

The next morning I headed out with Zara to get the last few shots we needed, including the one Olympus chose for the ‘denim’ E-PL9 campaign.

Zara Martin NYC New York City New Olympus PEN E-PL9 in Denim

Back at the hotel and I was having yet more carb loaded breakfasts, with added sugar, and judgement from Tanja from Olympus Europe.

French Toast Bacon Strawberries Maple Syrup New York City NYC Breakfast Pour Pouring

It was now my turn to be in photos for a change. Malcolm Webb, Deborah’s creative director was given the task of capturing me, so we headed out into the city. Our first stop was Burger Joint, because I love burgers, and New York does them so well! I then had the idea to go to a tourist shop and get me a cliche outfit before we headed to 5th Avenue. I actually really like how these photos came out and I still wear both the tshirt and hat often... although not together so much haha.

The last thing on our itinerary was to shoot 3 New York based bloggers. Starting with SimplyCyn on the rooftop of our hotel, we then went out on the street with Fakerstrom and ASliceOPi and a couple of the guys from Olympus USA to show them how it’s done.

ASliceOPi Andrea Pion Blogger New York City NYC Olympus PEN E-PL9

Waking up early on the final day with all the work stuff done, I had the morning to see as much of NYC as I could before leaving to come home. I started with the Ghostbusters Firestation (I told you I loved 80’s films!), before getting to the Rockefeller Centre as it opened to take in some epic views.

I was yet to have New York cheesecake, so I stopped at Juniors in Times Square for pancakes with bacon and maple syrup with a side of cheesecake. It was huge, and epic, and I ate it all! The waitress even high fived me for finishing it! 

From there, I headed to the Flatiron building, and then grabbed an Uber to the 9/11 memorial and took a trip to the top of the World Trade Centre Freedom Tower.

That was about all I had time for, but I definitely think I saw a good chunk of the main tourist sights before jumping back on a plane to grey London. 

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Check out the video I made from Malcolm’s footage. All the images and video content was created using either the Olympus PEN-F or E-PL9. Amazon links for both are below. The blue E-PL9 is an exclusive to John Lewis.

Have you been to New York City?  Is there anything I need to do next time I go back? Where’s the best place for cheesecake? Let me know in the comments below!