Salt Lake City

Rick panorama, photography, saltlake, SonyAlpha, TheGreatSaltLake, travel, unitedstates, urbanexploration, utah 0 Comments

A few months ago I was in Salt Lake City visiting some close friends. I am not Mormon but my ancestors were and so are my close friends. So while there I took the time to visit the temple grounds and took a tour of the convention center. This panorama I took while standing on the convention center roof.

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Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City panorama

My ancestors were the original settlers of Salt Lake City. So we also visited the cemetery to see where they were buried. Through help from my friends and a little sleuthing we found the graves where my great-great grandparents were buried. They’re in the Salt Lake Cemetery, which is the resting place of many of the original pioneers.

It was for me an amazing experience because I came away learning about my heritage that heretofore I’d only heard from my grandmother before she died. It goes without saying the Mormons are big on ancestry and so they were more than happy to help me fill in the gaps. I am fortunate to have such a recorded history and now that I know a little more I’m eager to share it.

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Back home the other day I was taking some photos along the waterfront. Two Mormon missionaries approached me and rather than ignore them I engaged them in conversation. I pulled out my iPhone and shared this photo and told them about my experience and ancestors. They seemed genuinely surprised to meet me and equally happy to see a picture of their main temple. It was a fun encounter. While I am not planning to convert to the Mormon faith, there are many things we share in common. And for that connection and fellowship I am truly grateful.

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Cloud Cover

Rick beach, clouds, cloudscape, drone, Florida, Manatee County, Nature, Sunset 0 Comments

Here’s drone shot from a familiar pier that I like to hang out at. I thought we’d get a nice sunset but the sun peaked for only a few minutes and the rest of the evening was gray and cloudy. But it was not a big surprise; cloud cover is a common, especially when we have afternoon storms.

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Cloud Cover

Cloud cover over Bradenton Beach

I had the drone sitting stationary in this location for about five minutes. As soon as I saw the sun pop out I snapped a still. Then, while leaving the drone hovering in place, I reached for the camera in by bag but I was too late. By the time I pulled it out the sun was already gone. They say the best camera for the job is the one you have with you. In this case the best camera was the one hovering fifty-feet up.

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I just returned from a couple of trips and I’m happy to be back here where I can walk along the beach and take photos. Sometimes I get to the point where I’m a little complacent about living near the beach. But when I go on a trip I realize just how fortunate I am. Then I return with a newfound appreciation for the scenery where I live. But I think that’s normal; you walkaway for a spell and then realize what you have in your own backyard, even if we do get a cloudy day every now and then.

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Panorama of Eastern Vancouver

Rick Architecture, canada, panorama, SonyAlpha, travel, Urban, urbanexploration, Vancouver 0 Comments

This is a panorama of eastern Vancouver taken just after sunrise. It’s a perspective I had from the twenty-second floor of the Vancouver Delta Marriott. Actually I took this through windows next to the elevators. I was waiting for the elevator to go down to the lobby. When I saw this I decided not to get on, instead I went back to my room to grab a camera. Hopefully the people in the elevator didn’t mind too much.

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Panorama of Eastern Vancouver

Panorama of eastern Vancouver that I took from the Delta Vancouver Marriott

If I’m not mistaken the big building in the foreground is called The W. If you zoom in you’ll see a big sign of the letter W to the right of it. Several years ago I went to the top with a friend of mine, Andrew Gerrard. Using his magic he got us access to the top where much to my surprise there was a W-shaped hot tub full of beautiful women. But of course I was only there for the scenery.

Speaking of which, the view from the W is amazing. Here is a link to one of the images from that night.

On the left side of this image is Gastown and one the right is Chinatown. And off in the distance are the towering apartment buildings of Burnaby. It seems every time I come back there are one or two new towers on the skyline.

more panoramas from the gallery

This image is comprised of about six high-resolution photos so it contains an amazing amount of detail, especially a full resolution version that’s nearly seven feet wide. I love looking at the details in images like this; I can spend hours in a gallery exploring all of the interesting little facets. Wouldn’t it be ironic if we hung this on the wall of that elevator I walked away from? At least those people could have something pretty to look at when someone decides not to get on.

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Slightly Different Perspective

Rick beach, clouds, Florida, Landscape, Manatee County, minimalism, people, SonyAlpha 0 Comments

Continuing with the theme yesterday of repetition and practice, this is pier I have taken many times. It’s a slightly different perspective simply because each time I come here I look for different compositions, or maybe similar compositions but in different light and conditions. So even though the location is the same, the image is new.

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Slightly Different Perspective

Slightly different perspective of the same scene at Bradenton Beach

It’s a little like taking pictures of clouds, no two will ever be the same. I go back to the same places for two reasons; one, I like the scenery, and two, I’m practicing the art of capturing perspectives. The scene may be similar but the details are different.

In some respects photography is no different then other pursuits in that it takes repetition and practice, and for the most part that is done in our own backyard. That is how we hone our craft so that when we do travel we’ll have perfected not only the mechanical aspects but also the subtle and infinite variations that go into composition. Not everyone will notice but some will, you being chief among them.

more images of piers

I do photography to satisfy my own longings and passion. So by practicing over and over at home not only am I getting better, I’m enjoying something I like to do. To be sure, I’m not always satisfied with the outcome, but the effort is never lost. Even failed efforts lead to new understandings and help avoid mistakes. We learn by doing and by doing something we love, we are simply adding to a big circle of happiness in our lives. And for me, that’s as good as money in the bank.

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Study of Light and Impressions

Rick bridge, Florida, Manatee County, nightphotography, photography, SonyAlpha, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

This is a study of light and impressions from familiar scene; it’s a public boat dock along the river. Folks sometimes dock their boats here and walk over to the nearby restaurants. In reality it’s not used all that much. More often people come here to sit and watch the water. It’s a regular stop for me when I’m out walking with my dog Mr. Wiggles.

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Study of Light and Impressions

Study of Light and Impressions

I’ve taken a lot of pictures of this location at various times of the day and night and from different angles. So I guess you could say this is a study of how the scene changes each time. It’s also how I practice, by shooting the same subject slightly differently and then working with it in post. In this case I noticed the lights just as dawn was breaking from the east. It was a quick shot that I hadn’t preplanned.

But later I’ve spent hours working on this. As you know, images out of the camera do not always reflect the mood or scene as we remember it. Our images seem to come out flat and a little boring. So I’ve done a lot of things in an attempt to being back that feeling. I’ve enhanced the lights from the lampposts and I’ve saturated the colors to accentuate the reflections on the water.

More images from Riverwalk in Bradenton

So does it work? It’s all completely subjective; I’ve created something partially resembling what I saw yet something completely different. In the end it is what it is, a study of light and impressions from a familiar scene.

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Central Park South

Rick clouds, cloudscape, long exposure, Macphun, New York City, nightphotography, SonyAlpha, travel, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

My last night in Manhattan I spent exploring Central Park and taking a lot of photos. The park is well lit with street lamps along the paths and people milling about just as they do during the day. This is in a section known as Central Park South, which is bordered by the towers of midtown to form a surreal backdrop.

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Central Park South

Central Park South at night

This is thirty-second exposure and it appears a little brighter than it actually was. As a result I didn’t notice the people to the right until about halfway through the exposure. I think they had the perfect setting for an evening picnic.

I rented a bike so I could cover more ground and even at midnight on a Sunday there were people riding bikes alongside me. Maybe I’m naïve but the park seemed safe. Historically the park has had a bad reputation after dark, but it seems to have shed some of that that over the years. There are lights everywhere and paths filled with people enjoying the setting, not to mention an abundance of security.

more New York City photos

If the park didn’t close at one in the morning I could have stayed all night. There are endless compositions for photography. But alas I had a plane to catch in the morning so it was just as well. But now I know that the next time I come back I can plan on getting very little sleep, at least at night.

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Palmetto and Bradenton Panorama

Rick Bridges, clouds, cloudscape, drone, Florida, Landscape, landscapephotography, Manatee County, Sunset 0 Comments

Now that I’m getting a little better at flying the drone I’m starting to make panoramas. It’s basically the same process that I use on the ground, which is to shoot vertical images and stitch them together. One of the options on the drone is to shoot in portrait mode. So once I’m in position I switch the drone camera into portrait mode and take several shots side-by-side.

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Palmetto and Bradenton Panorama

Palmetto and Bradenton panorama taken with a DJI Mavic Pro

This is one such panorama over the neighboring towns of Palmetto and Bradenton. I live in Palmetto on the right and Bradenton is just across the river on the left. In this you can see a couple of bridges that cross the Manatee River, which is almost a mile wide at this point.

This image has more resolution than a single shot from the Mavic because it’s several shots combined. The camera on the DJI Mavic is fairly small compared to that of my main Sony camera. It’s roughly equivalent in resolution to some of the better smartphones. That’s not bad but I still prefer a higher resolution for landscape images. So for now my best option is to make panoramas. However in the future I expect manufacturers like DJI will give us better sensors for the drone cameras.

more panoramas

That’s okay because I’m still in a learning phase and I really like how I can use this in photography. I’m a little late to the game because these things have been out for a number of years. But having waited I now have the advantage of all the safeguards that are built in. Someone like me is less likely to lose my investment due to pilot error. And as Martha Stewart would say, “that’s a good thing”.

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A Recent Trip to the Beach

Rick beach, clouds, Florida, Landscape, landscapephotography, Manatee County, SonyAlpha 0 Comments

I took this photo on a recent trip to the beach. It was right after a tropical storm and the waves were a little larger than normal. Mind you, they are small compared to other places but still fun to watch.

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A Recent Trip to the Beach

A Recent Trip to the Beach on Anna Maria Island

I know an emergency responder who works at the beach and there is no shortage of stories about people miscalculating the waves. Even though they look small there are rip currents just like everywhere else. Normally the waves are so small it looks like you could swim way out, but apparently that’s not a great idea.

I cannot get enough of the beach. When I visit places away from bodies of water it seems something is missing. Of course that’s not true, it’s just a perspective I’ve acquired by living so close. Yet there is something in our psyches that’s attracted to bodies of water and we feel that with images like this. For some reason we like pictures that include water. It could also just be our primal need for it.

more beach images from the gallery

There is something rejuvenating about oceans, lakes and rivers. Why else would we spend our money traveling to these areas for vacation? We have holidays at a cottage on a lake, go for cruises on a boat, or just hang out at the beach. I am writing this on a Friday, all of those things sound especially good to me right about now.

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Two Bridges to Brooklyn

Rick B&W, Bridges, monochrome, New York City, SonyAlpha, travel, urbanexploration 0 Comments

This is a view of two bridges to Brooklyn I took from the One World Observatory. I thought it was called the Freedom Tower but I guess the name was changed a while back. Nevertheless it’s a great place to visit when you’re in town. And if you’re a photographer, the sky is the limit, literally. It probably took me an hour and a half to walk around the main observation deck. I stopped every few feet to take photos of some different angle on the city. I can’t help it; I get carried away.

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Two Bridges to Brooklyn

Two bridges to Brooklyn as taken from the One World Observatory at the World Trade Center

I used a lens skirt to block the reflections you normally get when taking pictures through windows. I mentioned this a few days ago on another post. It takes a little extra time to get it all setup but it’s worth the effort.

I’ve been on the other side of those bridges shooting back at the tower, but this was my first experience shooting towards Brooklyn.

With shots like this there is so much detail packed into the image. When I’m there I’m concentrating on focus and composition. Only later when processing the image do I really get a chance to take it all in. Thanks to the high resolution of the Sony sensor I can zoom in and examine all kinds of interesting details.

more bridges from the gallery

I was shooting in the middle of the day so I had no need for a tripod. However I’d like to come back in the evening for images with city lights. Hopefully I’ll be allowed to bring a tripod then. My fingers are definitely crossed on that one.

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Bayfront Park on Longboat Key

Rick bridge, clouds, cloudscape, Florida, HDR, Landscape, landscapephotography, Macphun, people, Sarasota, SonyAlpha, Sunset 0 Comments

Here is a shot of my wife Crystal and our dog Wiggles at Bayfront Park on Longboat Key. The few times I’ve been here it’s usually empty. It’s a nice place to visit if you’re looking for that kind of thing. We stopped in on the way to dinner at St Armands, Circle; a little village just south of here. A few minutes later when we got to St Armands, the sun was setting so I quickly double-parked and ran out on to the beach to grab a few shots. That’s the problem with sunsets, they always occur around dinnertime. It helps to have a patient family.

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Bayfront Park on Longboat Key

Bayfront Park on Longboat Key

Back here at the park we were watching a manatee just off one of the piers. He was just resting in the water, blowing bubbles and coming up for air every few minutes. Manatees and dolphin sightings are common in this area. They’re fun to watch but I’ve not had a lot of success in capturing them in images.

more images from Longboat Key

I took a lot of pictures in the few minutes we were here, including some from the drone. We were just heading back to the car when I noticed the long shadows. This is an example of just trying to be aware of scenes as they unfold and going with the flow. I had other shots in mind but this ended up being my favorite. It was completely unplanned yet somehow wins the day. That’s pretty much how every outing goes, I may get several shots I like, but usually there is just one that stands out, and this is that one for me.

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