Daylight Savings

Rick beach, clouds, Florida, landscapephotography, Sarasota, SonyAlpha, Sunset 0 Comments

Here is another sunset from Lido Beach in Sarasota. I took this a few months ago around eight o’clock but now that it’s almost winter the sun goes down three hours earlier. If you ask me that’s a big change to adjust to. Part of it is due to the seasons but it’s also due to daylight savings that we have here in the US.

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Daylight Savings

Daylight Savings at Florida’s Ledo Beach

Why do we change our clocks twice a year? As far as I can tell it’s based on an outdated notion of efficiency. In this era of automation I think that daylight savings may have outlived its usefulness. One thing it succeeds at is confusing our bodies twice a year. Wouldn’t it be more natural to just stay in one time zone? Other countries do it without problems.

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If the sun set a little latter then we could enjoy longer afternoons. In Florida it would make a difference for folks who come down in winter to go to the beach. Anyway, I’m not the only one thinking about this, the idea is picking up traction. Maybe we can do away with daylight savings soon. Something tells me this might be one thing we can all agree on.

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A Rainy Day In Rome

Rick europe, Italy, people, SonyAlpha, streetphotography, Topaz, travel 0 Comments

I took this while walking around in the rain in the middle of summer. Even though it was raining it was warm and humid, not unlike Florida. However unlike Florida the energy of the city was entirely unique to me. I was very happy to be here, especially in the rain, because of the atmosphere it created.

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A Rainy Day In Rome

A Rainy Day In Rome

For each image this week I’ve used Topaz to render part of the scene in an impressionistic style. In this scene all but the central subject has been “painted” by the software while I blended in the original image of the lady with the umbrella.

Having the ability to blend photos opens up choices in terms of artistic expression. I combine renderings of the software with realistic aspects of a photo. Then I work with color, saturation, contrast and shadows so I can re-create a scene more from my mind than actual event. In some cases that suits my preferences as it relates to photography.

the full gallery

I’ll continue to use this technique here and there. It’s all part of a creative process enabled by a fusion of technology, personal expression and photography.

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Agbar Tower

Rick Architecture, clouds, europe, Macphun, SonyAlpha, Spain, Urban 0 Comments

This is an artistic rendering of the Agbar Tower in Barcelona. A few days ago I posted a section of the tower at night. The tower is so fantastic to look at that I couldn’t help but take a bunch of photos. Also, I was staying at the hotel right next door.

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Agbar Tower

Agbar Tower in Barcelona

I worked a long time on this in post-production. First of all it’s a vertorama of three stacked images. I was standing about block away yet it was too big to fit in the frame with my 35mm lens. Later I rendered the sky in Topaz and masked in the tower and the people. That’s a quick description of a long but enjoyable process I used to get to the final image.

Speaking of final images, I worked so long on this it feels incomplete. Whenever I perform any kind of detailed work I have a tendency to want to keep fiddling with it. That also applies to other areas, not just photography.

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In any case, at night this tower is lit and can be seen from all around Barcelona. Figuring it would be a challenge I wanted to create a daytime impression as well and this is what I ended up with.

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Impression of a Random Canal

Rick Architecture, canal, europe, Italy, panorama, SonyAlpha, travel 0 Comments

Here is another scene that I rendered with Topaz Impression. It’s a photo I took of a random canal in Venice and later blended with an impressionistic rendering from Topaz. I’m experimenting with this technique and I am intrigued by the possibilities it presents.

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Impression of a Random Canal

Impression of a Random Canal in Venice Italy

When you visit Venice one of the first things you’ll notice are the artists everywhere. It’s easy to understand because of the abundance of inspiration. If I was a painter I could see myself on a random bridge of a canal painting a similar scene. As a photographer / technologist I use software to get the effect of a painting to create an impression of the place, which is sometimes more satisfying than documentation.

canada gallery

The way software and computers are going we will one day simply look through glasses and have any scene rendered the way we want to see it in real-time. It will be a form of advanced augmented reality and it’s probably not too far off. That, and who knows what else.

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Night Scene in Lepetane

Rick cruise, europe, Night Photography, nightphotography, SonyAlpha, travel 0 Comments

This was the night scene in Lepetane Montenegro as we passed by on a ship. We were leaving the port at Kotor and passing through a narrow channel lined with houses on each side. We could see people sitting on their balconies watching as our ship passed by on a warm summer evening.

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Night Scene in Lepetane

Night Scene in Lepetane Montenegro

To me the scene was like a painting; so I decided to process the photo with that idea in mind. I used Topaz Studio to create an impressionistic rendering and then blend it with the original photo. While the image now looks like a painting, in some places it’s more realistic. It plays a little trick so we are not sure which it is, however it’s a little of each.

It’s amazing that software can “paint” a scene from a photo. But course its called digital rendering and not painting. Yet the software can be configured to use all manner of brush strokes, paint volume and even mimic styles of the masters. This is a case where computers are approximating art; which for me is amazing.

more night photos

The image represents an impression of a small coastal village at night, which for me is how I remember it. In my mind this type of rendering creates a feeling of the place that is easier to recall than with the unaltered realism of a plain photo. Stay tuned, I’ll be experimenting more with this amazing technique in the coming days and weeks.

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Village of Dobrota

Rick cruise, europe, Landscape, landscapephotography, SonyAlpha, travel 0 Comments

This is a photo of the village of Dobrota in Montenegro that I took from a ship in the Bay of Kotor. We spent an amazing day in Kotor and were leaving when I took this. The geography of the area reminded me of fjords. There are narrow inlets surrounded by towering peaks and the view is amazing.

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Village of Dobrota

Village of Dobrota in Montenegro

In Kotor we rode in a bus up an impossible single lane road to the top of these mountains. Even though the bus drivers are some of the best in the world half the passengers were praying fervently. It’s said the bus drivers in Montenegro bring more people to religion than the priests. After twenty-nine hairpin turns, I believe that to be true.

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I also have some images looking down at the water from these peaks. Either way you look at it this is one of the most scenic areas of Europe.

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Old Section of Salerno

Rick Architecture, B&W, Italy, monochrome, SonyAlpha, streetphotography, travel, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

When I was in Salerno it rained like cats and dogs. Italy had been in a drought that was just broken with a few days of heavy rain. Despite that I was happy to walk around looking for compositions while sheltering under entryways.

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Old Section of Salerno

Old Section of Salerno Italy

I took this during one particularly heavy downpour. I was forced to stay in one spot for an extended period, which in retrospect was a good thing. It’s sometimes better to pick a spot and let the world come to you. If you wait patiently, all kinds of interesting scenes will appear no matter where you are.

This is in an old shopping district of Salerno. The buildings and shops looked like they haven’t changed much in a hundred years. I got the sense that some shop keepers carried on traditions from one generation to the next.

more monochrome images

As the rain let up I continued to walk and eventually the narrow streets opened up into a newer section of town. The shops there were brand-name boutiques you’d recognize in any mall. As for me I preferred the character of the old section much more.

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Night Scene of St Marks Square

Rick Architecture, europe, Italy, SonyAlpha, travel, Urban 0 Comments

This is another night scene of St Marks Square. There were a lot of people here and I wanted to capture the energy of it. There are so many different perspectives you could take of this place, but this time I chose to include the crowds. The architecture makes the scene but I find it more interesting with people.

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Night Scene of St Marks Square

High-resolution photography creates an opportunity to go back and people-watch. Often when I’m reviewing photos I’ll zoom in to observe some detail that was lost on me at the time. When taking photos I’m composing so even though I’m recording a scene I’ll miss a lot of details. Through the image I can go back and revisit much more of what was going on at the time.

architecture photography

In that respect photography is a little like time travel; it takes us back to an event in a vivid way. Reviewing photos is not for our memory, but it fills in details we may not have been aware of at the time. In the end I’m left with a richer experience altogether.

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Inside Le sette Chiese

Rick Architecture, europe, Italy, people, SonyAlpha, travel 0 Comments

I took this inside the 8th century Le sette Chiese at the center of Bologna. It’s a complex of buildings including a seminary, cathedral and museum. It’s worth a visit if you’re in the area.

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Inside Le sette Chiese

Inside Le sette Chiese in Bologna

I will say that Italy has a lot of is Catholic churches and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with so may. Before you know it they all start running together and you can’t remember one form the other. At least that happens with me, so I look for things to take pictures of to remind me of something unique. In this case there were monks walking around attending to duties and I thought that was interesting.

more images of cathedrals

I try to be as discrete as possible in situations like this by putting the camera into silent shutter mode. That’s a camera setting and a way to take photos without any shutter noise. More and more cameras have that these days because it’s useful in a lot of settings, not just churches. Think for a moment of a golf swing or a recital and you can imagine how any sound might ruin the moment. Anyway, I’ve even set a button the camera to turn on silent shutter mode so I can quickly and quietly capture moments like this.

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Section of the Agbar Tower

Rick Architecture, europe, Night Photography, nightphotography, SonyAlpha, Spain, travel, Urban 0 Comments

This is a small section of the Agbar Tower that I took one night while in Barcelona. I wasn’t even supposed to be there but the flights got cancelled due to weather back home. The tour company picked up the tab and I was fortunate to have a few extra days.

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Section of the Agbar Tower

Section of the Agbar Tower in Barcelona

Something I love about Barcelona is that people are out at all hours of the day and night. This was taken after midnight on a Sunday. No matter where I went I found people out walking or just hanging out.

The colorful Agbar Tower is an iconic landmark and we stayed next-door at the Diagonal Barcelona. You can see it to the right with the Barcelona sign. It’s a hip hotel with nice spaces to chill like a rooftop pool and bar that provided great views of the city.

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Being so close to the tower made it easy to get back to the hotel. Whenever I took a taxi back I could just say, take me to the Agbar Tower. I’d definitely stay here again on my next visit, because even with three extra days it’s not nearly enough time to take it all in.

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