Heading Out to Sea

Rick Schwartz california, Landscape, san francisco, SanFrancisco, SonyAlpha, Sunset 0 Comments

A ship heading out to sea from the San Francisco Bay. I have been fortunate in that when I come to this spot there are colorful clouds at sunset. As I live on another coast I know that it’s not always the case and sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw. I’m not adverse to a little luck.

Daily Image
Heading Out to Sea

Heading Out to Sea from San Francisco Bay

There are places known for sunsets and this spot at at Lands End is one. From my own experience it seems the conditions are conducive for colorful displays like this during the golden hour. Another place that comes to mind is in Texas. I’ve not spent a lot of time in Texas but the few times I’ve been there I noticed colorful sunsets.

Not to be outdone, we too have sunsets in Florida, but often there are no clouds so the colors can be limited. We do get spectacular sunsets, it just seems maybe fewer than California, but I could be wrong, it might just be a matter of my luck.

I noticed this ship close to the Golden Gate Bridge earlier and I was surprised to see it still heading out to sea an hour or more later. These large vessels seem to move very slowly, but could just be an illusion created by their size and the distances involved. This is zoomed in almost 200 mm, so it is a long ways out.

seascape images

Once I was at the waters edge at the entrance to the bay in Vancouver BC. It was late at night and otherwise quiet as I watched a large container ship pass under the bridge into open waters. It passed close to where I was standing and the vibration of the engines left an impression on me. For whatever reason I am struck with fascination whenever I see these lumbering giants.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

Like So Many Grains of Sand

Rick Schwartz beach, california, Nature, san francisco, SanFrancisco, Sunset, travel 0 Comments

People dot the beach like so many grains of sand. A few weeks ago I was looking out over Ocean Beach from the Cliff House in San Francisco. When I first looked I was met with this spectacle. That got me thinking about the age old adage about grains of sand on a beach. And from that my mind took off on its own, not waiting for me to catch up.

Daily Image
Like So Many Grains of Sand

Like So Many Grains of Sand on the Beach in San Francisco

It seems people and technology have been recalculating the size of the universe lately and we now know its much bigger than we thought. To put it in context I’m not even sure our planet would amount to a single grain of sand on this beach.

According to estimates there are about 200 billion stars in our galaxy. That would mean our star was one of the grains of sand on this beach. But that’s just referring to our galaxy, the Milky Way. Now scientists say there may be one trillion galaxies in the universe. That basically hits it out of the park, so to speak.

It stands to reason then that there might be as many stars in the universe as there grains of sand on Earth. So that is even remotely true, then what’s the point of ever trying to comprehend it? Just trying to fathom the grains of sand on this one beach is futile to say nothing for the number of stars in the universe.

beaches in the gallery

So, for me, the only thing left to do is turn away from the beach and eat a bowl of soup. That’s the one thing I can handle.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

Interesting in Some Way

Rick Schwartz beach, Florida, Landscape, Tampa 0 Comments

Sometimes I’ll take a photo and then look at it a year later only to find it interesting in some way. Case in point, I was looking through my viewfinder when this boy ran across the field of vision with a bird looking down at him. It’s easy to get these kinds of quick vignettes when you are prepared. By just being somewhere where things happen you will see unexpected scenes and events. This is not an unusual scene yet it reaches a certain threshold of interest. The setting, people, bird and pier all combine into a story somehow.

Daily Image
Interesting in Some Way

Boy on a pier in Florida

In truth there were a lot of people here, but by narrowing the view the lens the scene is simplified. Simplified scenes leave more room for imagination. That’s not so say that scenes filled with a lot of details are’t interesting as well, there is a place for everything. For instance big cities scenes often contain a wealth of detail.

A painter makes these choices and so do I as a photographer. Choices like simple, complex, action, atmosphere are all things to consider while composing. I’ve had this image in the back burner for almost a year before I decided to explore it in my digital darkroom.

more shots with piers

My creative decisions are as fickle as the wind, and what I decide today will be forgotten tomorrow. That’s the enjoyment of what I do. I can explore a new aspect every day and never repeat myself for the rest of my life.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

Photos from Amsterdam

Rick Schwartz amsterdam, bicycle, bikes, europe, netherlands, streetphotography, travel, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

It seems every time I look at my photos from Amsterdam there are bicycles. Any direction you look people are going this way and that on bikes. It’s refreshing to see especially from a North American perspective. The only way I can relate to this is having grown up in suburbia where, as kids we rode bikes everywhere. Here, they just keep on doing it as adults.

Daily Image
Photos from Amsterdam

Photos from Amsterdam

From a photographic perspective it creates ideas for images. One of my favorite is riders in motion. To do that you have to pan the camera along with the rider. If the shutter speed of the camera is set slow enough you get a blur like this. It’s an effect that evokes a sense of motion.

This is a type of street photography that I practice when in urban settings. Photography is the art of noticing things. When you have a camera and are purposely looking for scenes you notice more. On the other hand, if you are walking to the store and have your mind on what to eat for dinner you might miss a lot. Photography is a practice of being present in the moment and open to things going on around you.

Amsterdam gallery

In this case I was standing around and noticed the stairs and horizontal motion of cyclists which created an idea in my mind. I took several shots panning my camera right and left depending on the direction of the cyclist. This was my favorite of the bunch.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

Chandelier in the Cathedral

Rick Schwartz Architecture, california, photography, SanFrancisco, SonyAlpha 0 Comments

This is a large chandelier in the Cathedral of St Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco. Without a doubt it is the first think you notice when you walk in. It’s positioned above the alter and reflects the light from the windows of four corners. When I walked in it was all I could do to stand there and look up. I imagine that’s the intended effect; to give pause and a feeling that this is an extraordinary space.

Daily Image
Chandelier in the Cathedral

Chandelier in the Cathedral of St Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco

My Sony A7rII camera has a silent shooting mode. I turn that on whenever I enter a house of worship or any place where the sound of a shutter might break the mood. I try to respect places like this even though I want to take photos. My desire to get a good photo does not trump my manners or sense of reverence. As much as I love to get a good photo, I’ll walk away if I feel I’b be crossing some line.

That’s not to say that happens a lot. In the vast majority of cases its cool. Even if I have to take a few chances, sometimes it’s better to get forgiveness than permission. But invading someone’s space when taking photos is not cool. If I find someone in contemplation when I walk up with my camera, I’ll walk away if I cannot capture the scene without disrupting it.

abstract gallery

For me it’s as much about the presence of mind as it is about the picture. That sometimes involves being respectful of other people’s space.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

City Across the Bay

Rick Schwartz bridge, california, Landscape, san francisco, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

Here is an image of the city across the bay in California. If I recall I took this from a spot just below the Golden Gate Bridge. But I could be mistaken, it could have been from Sausalito, I’m not sure. Normally I use an app on my iPhone to geotag images so that I won’t forget when writing about it later. In this case I forgot to do that or was just lazy. It doesn’t matter that much, it’s a picture, not a survey.

Daily Image
City Across the Bay

City Across the Bay in California

Speaking of surveys, I met a retired surveyor a few years back who now lives on a sailboat in Florida. He used to do arial surveying with a medium format camera. That’s because back in the day’s of film, the highest resolution images came from medium format cameras. Today that’s still the case except everything is digital and hundreds of times more resolution. Anyway, the guy was selling his old Hasselblad cameras and lenses. The only problem was, nobody wanted to buy them. I think he ended up donating them to a film school.

california gallery

So while I was here in San Francisco I was walking near Union Square and a photographer was setup in a mini street fair selling his prints. He still took all his pictures with a film Hasselblad camera. I told him the story of the surveyor in Florida and he understood exactly. Film photography is a dying art and the equipment, if you can find it, is dirt cheap. Of course, you still need to develop the film and process it in a dark room. And that, is something of a lost art these days.

Having said that it seems there is a small renaissance in film photography. I’m curious to see where that goes.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

Skyline Reimagined

Rick Schwartz canada, composite, nightphotography, Urban, urbanexploration, Vancouver 0 Comments

This is a symmetrical image of a skyline reimagined. It’s an abstract treatment of a nighttime urban scene. There is careful work lining things up and I made several mistakes on an earlier attempt. On a cell phone you’d never notice but blown up on the wall everything needs to be exact.

Daily Image

Skyline Reimagined

Making kaleidoscopic images out of everyday scenes is like a meditation for me. It’s taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. It makes me think of the mesmerizing power of patterns. Why is it that are we drawn to symmetrical patterns in art, nature and religious iconography?

I think they resonate with something deep inside of us. Archetypical patterns represent something sublime and beyond the everyday experiences. I wonder if this is one way to communicate on a higher level, in patterns and symmetric complexity. Is it possible that an alien race communicates in symmetric patterns of light and color?

Given the size of the universe is not out of the question. The universe is so big that our galaxy is but a grain of sand. And so perhaps another civilization does communicate in patterns of light, sound, color, …the possibilities are endless.

other abstract images

It’s a thought experiment and in the end its fun to consider ideas like this. It can be just as fun as making patterns out of a cityscape photo.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

Photographic Angle

Rick Schwartz canada, Night Photography, nightphotography, SonyAlpha, travel, Urban, urbanexploration, Vancouver 0 Comments

A photographic angle of a modern building caught my eye while walking through a big city. It’s at the foot of Telus Gardens which is a new building with innovative architecture and is supposedly one of the most energy efficient in the world. The image is a little confusing. The translucency and reflections of the elevator on the left create a little perplexity.

Daily Image
Photographic Angle

Photographic Angle of Telus Gardens in Vancouver

I took several identical frames hand held using a high ISO setting. Normally I would use a tripod but this time I was trying a different technique. I used Photoshop to combine the identical images and eliminate the noise. I learned the technique from this tutorial by Serge Ramelli.

Because I live in a small town walking around a big city is an experience for me. Sometimes I think I’d like to live in a large city. I love the energy, especially the creative inspiration I get for photography. I get a lot of that when I’m in a place like Vancouver.

favorites gallery

Later when I get home I’m happy for the quiet and relative calm of a small town. It’s not a contradiction, just a matter of being happy where I am. No matter where I end up, I’ll always be looking for a photographic angle.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

More Alike than Unalike

Rick Schwartz amsterdam, B&W, bridge, Bridges, canal, europe, monochrome, SonyAlpha, streetphotography, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

This reminds me of the saying that we are more alike than unalike. While in Amsterdam I took a ride on a boat through the city canals. It’s a perspective that had me looking up at the houses, streets and people above the water level. It was a covered boat but sat outside the whole time taking photos. Being a foreigner I find it particularly interesting to watch people. I think that’s a natural reaction to a new place, maybe because we relate to people more than surroundings.

Daily Image
More Alike than Unalike

People are More Alike than Unalike

I think people in most places around the world have a lot in common. Where we live is part of the equation, but not the most important part, at least that’s my theory.

People here seem to be happy. There is a sensibility that’s rarely found in North America, we have it but in isolated cases. What is it? It’s hard to put my finger on it. Folks are content to ride bikes instead of cars. People spend quality time together rather than work all the time. It’s a sense of identity of a small country that is sometimes lost in a large country. And then of course there are the laws, they are very different.

All that aside, at our core we are more alike than unalike. We think about many of the same things, we feel the same, we react to the same things. By experiencing and learning from each other we become wiser. When we look closely at people we realize we are not so different.

monochrome from the gallery

Photography is sometimes an opportunity to meditate on these ideas, to cut through the exterior and make a connection. That may sound counter-intuitive, but I think there’s something to it, at least for me. But then, if we’re not all that different maybe it is for you too.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

Out Over San Francisco

Rick Schwartz california, san francisco, travel, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

Looking out over San Francisco from the top of Coit Tower there is a lot to take in. It’s a good good I was here in the morning because this is popular and at other times there are¬†be lines to get up. But on this morning there were only a few people on top and the view in all directions was unobstructed.

Daily Image
Out Over San Francisco

The View Out Over San Francisco

San Francisco is hilly enough, but when standing up here on a tower everything is accentuated. I used a wide angle lens to pack in as much as possible, but of course this is only looking in one direction; it was like this all around.

I think living up on this hill and then taking a walk everyday would ensure you are in pretty good shape. And that’s exactly what you see, people walking up and down the hills. I get a little winded on just one hill but if I did it everyday maybe it would be different.

Cityscape Images

I was born and raised in California but I have never been up here. I’ve seen the Coit Tower countless times, I’ve been to the base of it, I recognize it as part of the skyline, but I’ve never been to the top of it until now. In my opinion its well worth the visit if you’ve not done that yet.

San Francisco is full of architectural landmarks but this ranks in the top two or three.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon