Ocean Drive

When I was last in South Beach, I hung around Ocean Drive. This is one of the many spots where they serve those half-gallon Margaritas. Only in Miami.

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Ocean Drive
A night scene on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach

This colors on this were so loud and crazy that I opted for monochrome to focus more on the people. These kinds of street scenes are fun to look at later, away from the sounds and heat of the moment. It’s taking a glimpse into a snap of time and spinning a tale in our mind of what was going on.

more from Miami

Sometimes, I get looks from people that make me a little self-conscious. I don’t mind if it’s just people looking at me and wondering, but in places like this, there are quite often celebrities. I’m not into the whole celebrity thing and am really bad at recognizing faces. But I do occasional snap a star, so I hope they will realize that I’m just some guy without an agenda that probably just finished one of those half-gallon Margaritas.

River Storms

This is looking up the Manatee River in summer. After a few minutes we got a thunderstorm for about twenty minutes, then a crazy sunset; every day like clockwork.

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River Storms
Typical summer day as a storm travels downriver.

The one-second shutter speed makes the water smooth, like the calm before the storm. I’m nervous when out in these conditions, the air is thick, and it’s only a matter of time before lightning strikes. We get more lightning than anywhere on earth because of the geography. My heightened state of nerves battles it out with my need to get a good picture.

more from the Manatee River

The thunder clouds always come down the river, from east to west. Often, if we’re at an outdoor restaurant along the water, we can watch the clouds heading towards us. The river is about a mile wide, so it has its own micro-climate. After the storm passes, we brush the water off the table and, enjoy the rest of the meal, just like clockwork.

Rocks, Pier, Water and Sky

This is a near reproduction of an image I did a few years ago. The angle is different, but the story is the same; rocks, pier, water and sky.

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Rocks, Pier, Water and Sky
A dramatic sunset from Fort DeSoto Pier in St Petersburg, Florida

I’ve changed the way I take and process photos so this is perhaps the upgraded version. Everything else in life gets updated, why not pictures? I must have deleted the first one because I can’t find it. But it’s not just my imagination because I printed it and sold a few copies. But now, I prefer this version.

more from the sunset gallery

As time goes on, I see many more things in a photo, some good, some so-so. Much of my earlier work I would like to redo, a 2.0 gallery if you will. And eventually, I will because I keep going to the same places. And if I think about it, I’ll probably never stop doing that. Just going back to the same areas, and taking upgraded photos until we get to version X. At least that’s the theory.

Park View

I suppose these cabins are the equivalent of the apartments that surround Central Park in New York City. Only, this namesake park is floating thousands of miles away.

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Park View
A wide-angle view of Central Park onboard Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas

I used a 12mm wide-angle lens for this shot which it makes the foreground appear bowed. I also used a Platypod to anchor the camera to a railing for a long exposure. This is the first time I’ve not taken a tripod and relied solely on the Platypod. In retrospect, it was a good call.

more night photography

These spaces on the boat were designed to resemble neighborhoods. It’s obvious a lot of thought was put into it because, at least for me, that’s what it felt like. You could hang out in a different one depending on your likes. For some reason, this one, surrounded by apartment-like cabins, was the one I hung out in. It created a perfect illusion that, for the length of the cruise, kept reality at a safe distance.

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.

see the European gallery

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.