Lone Tree

Trees in a field are usually found in clusters. So when and I see one I might stop suddenly to take a photo, hopefully without causing an accident.

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Lone Tree

A lone tree that I found on a drive on Sunday afternoon.

In this case, I saw the tree and continued driving until I could safely make a U-turn and park along the highway. But if there are no cars nearby, I may just hit the breaks and back up along the curb. That’s a bad idea if someone is in the car, but by myself, it works.

more from the landscape gallery

Lone trees are an easy subject. There are (pardon the pun) the low hanging fruit of landscape photography. Just find an angle that frames a solitary tree in its surroundings, and you have the makings of a good photo. In this case, I also have foreground and background elements that provide a sense of placement and perspective. And to top it off, no one was harmed in the making of this photo.

Oscar’s Swells

This simple image is a long (one second) exposure from the side of a ship. These are swells from hurricane Oscar that was over a thousand miles away.

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Oscar's Swells

A one-second exposure of large swells in the Atlantic ocean.

The captain took us south to avoid the worst of it, but for about two days we saw some impressive swells, more massive than these. Even the largest cruise ship in the world will rock in these conditions. The swells hitting the side of the boat sounded exactly like waves crashing on the shore. It was relaxing, and for two nights we slept with the balcony door open so we could hear the soothing sounds.

To make a one-second exposure in daylight, I set the aperture to f40. That’s a tiny aperture, maybe the smallest I’ve ever used. An F-stop higher than 20 does not have a lot of practical uses, but long exposures are one. One second is long enough to make an in-camera motion blur effect without resorting to photoshop tricks.

more minimalism from the gallery

Maybe this is a dull image without a central subject. It’s more texture or pattern than a photo. Even so, it reminds me of the gentle sounds the waves made all through the night.

Symphony Sunrise

For a photographer, crossing west over the North Atlantic has its advantages. For one, the sun always rises from the stern. Knowing which way to walk on a ship this big is a good thing.

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Symphony Sunrise

Sunrise over the North Atlantic on RCCL’s Symphony of the Seas

The Symphony of the Seas is such a big ship that at first, it can be difficult to get oriented. The first few days I’d walk to the Windjammer only to find I’d gone the wrong way. But then, walking an extra half mile before hitting the buffet didn’t hurt.

more cruise photos

Another advantage is that the days have twenty-five hours. Each night we would set our clocks back one hour. And because we were sailing during the daylight savings cutover, we had one additional long day. As a result, I found myself getting up earlier each day with enough time to walk to the back of the ship without getting lost.

Water and Clouds

My favorite thing about the trip across the Atlantic was the open sea. For over a week there was nothing but water and clouds.

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Water and Clouds

This is the main sight in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

When we booked the trip, I wasn’t sure what eight days at sea would be like. Now, I would do it again in a heartbeat. The entire time we did not see land, another boat, or a plane. It was an opportunity to detach from all land-based frames of reference.

more seascapes in the gallery

On the final day before arriving at Port Canaveral, we began to see planes in the sky and seabirds. It was the first signs that home was not far off. It’s nice to back on the ground, but at the same time, it was nice to have a glimpse of a perspective where all the familiar references were not there.

Colors on Deck

The Symphony of the Seas has a bold color palette. There are vibrant, saturated colors in outdoor spaces and stairwells; so if you’re sensitive to that type of thing, you might need to wear sunglasses, even at night.

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Colors on Deck

Nighttime view of the deck of Symphony of the Seas

It’s a lot of fun, and I enjoy the tapestry of hues hitting my retinas at each turn. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not gaudy, rather a tasteful sampling of one-of-a-kind art, murals, and tiles. In my photography, I’m a reformed over-saturation addict. The colors on board this ship are a real temptation for me.

main gallery

I’ve desaturated the colors in this image. The original is so loud it looks fake. Anyway, I even considered a monochrome version. But, this is a post about colors so the monochrome version will have to wait.

The Rain in Spain

Last week we were in Malaga for a day as our ship made it’s only port of call before crossing the Atlantic. As luck would have it, it rained cats and dogs, which was perfect for my purposes.

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The Rain in Spain

A rainy day in Malaga, Spain

I like shooting at night, but if I have to take photos in a European city during the day, rain is my next best friend. It puts everyone a little out of sorts as they rush to and fro with umbrellas. It also creates that nice sheen on the ground to add a little extra something to the image. The only catch is you have to be willing to get wet, which I did, beyond a reasonable doubt.

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I had been here previously when I was about eleven years old. When I saw the section of the city that faced the port, little bubbles of long lost memories began to percolate. My conscious mind has long folded over those early years, but it would’ve been nice to have an old photo to help free more bubbles. Nevertheless, I was struck with the desire to return and explore a little more. So I will plan on that, and when I do, who knows what I might uncover.

Evening in the Park

The other night we hung out in a tree-lined park with outdoor cafes and listened to live music by candlelight. And to top it off, we were a thousand miles from land.

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Evening in the Park

The scene at night in the Central Park neighborhood on board Symphony of the Seas

The Symphony of the Seas has six neighborhoods, and Central Park is my favorite. There are upscale restaurants with outdoor seating. At one end is Vintages, a wine bar where somehow, I end up at least once a day. In the afternoon, there might be one or two patrons, and you can sit at an outdoor table, and watch folks stroll by.

more night photography from the gallery

There are way too many choices; neighborhoods, restaurants, nightclubs, sports, shopping, and bars. Speaking of which; there are at least sixteen different bars, and I had a plan to try each one. I’m only halfway through, and it’s not looking like I’ll hit the goal. But rest assured, it’s not for lack of trying.

Morning Topside

As I write this, I’m crossing the Atlantic on Royal’s Symphony of the Seas. The ship is large enough that despite the number of people, you can find quiet spaces all over the boat.

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Morning Topside

Morning on the top deck of the Symphony of the Seas

During the day, the topside is filled with people and music around the pools; personally, I like hanging out by the reggae band. But if you come up in the mornings or evenings, it’s a whole different world. You are left with the sea, the clouds and only the sound of the ocean.

more cruise photos

I’m a reluctant cruiser; I like the experience, but I get a little claustrophobic around large crowds. However, it seems some thought was put into the design of these ships so someone like me can find quiet spaces to recharge. Anyway, despite the eight thousand people on this ship, right now I’m sitting in a quiet wine bar writing this post. Not exactly sailing, but hey.

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Last Bit of Sun

This photo is created with the 2019 version of AuroraHDR. Skylum, the company that creates AuroraHDR, has outdone themselves this time.

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Last Bit of Sun

A scene from Neil Preserve in Bradenton, Florida

That’s good for people like me that take a lot of bracketed shots. This is a three frame HDR that I processed with both Aurora and Luminar. Luminar is the other software from Skylum that is a lot like Lightroom, only easier to use and, in my opinion, better. In truth, I use a lot of different tools including Lightroom and Photoshop; it’s all good.

check out the sunset gallery

I ran into a guy today that showed me some jaw-dropping photos of Iceland he took with his phone. The colors and detail were so amazing that I thought they were processed; no, straight-out-of-camera. That just goes to prove that the processing is not everything. Placement, composition, a sense of balance can produce better photos than all the processing in the world. All this hocus-pocus is just icing on the cake, so to speak.

Chill Time

With the pace of things being what they are, a little chill time can be a good thing. It’s something we all probably need a little more of. Sometimes I try to meditate, but often I end up falling asleep.

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Chill Time

A quiet evening in Bradenton Florida along the causeway.

I took this photo of myself on a quiet evening in Bradenton, but I wasn’t really relaxing, I was setting up the shot, setting the timer, clicking the shutter and then running up to sit in the shot. But if we ignore all that, its a pretty chill shot.

more in minimalism

This morning I took a yoga class that ended with a few minutes of meditation while laying on our backs. I became aware of my breathing and let my thoughts go. A few minutes later when we were all standing the instructor walked over to a couple of people still on the ground to wake them up. I had to laugh inside because that’s precisely what happens to me most of the time.