That Evening in Venice

Rick canal, europe, Italy, Night Photography, SonyAlpha, travel 0 Comments

Because I did not set the shutter speed correctly this image came out looking double exposed and blurry, like an impressionistic painting. This is not something I intended but looking at it now it feels a little like my memory of that evening in Venice.

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That Evening in Venice

My impression of that evening in Venice

In my short visit I experienced sights, sounds and feelings. The more I go back to look at the photos the more my memories are formed. But it’s totally subjective and what I remember is unique to me alone.

There is much in life I don’t remember because I never took the time to. If we don’t think about something it may not make an impression and is soon forgotten. However when we do, we build memories from our impressions.

Memories are like paintings, they are renderings, not true recordings. In the case of art, impressions are more important than fact.

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The sounds of the oars in the water, the chatter of the gondoliers, the lights of the overhead windows and the evening shadows across the buildings; all of these combine into an impression that is so perfectly preserved with a simple camera mistake.

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Architecture and Frescos

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

I’m embarrassed to say I have no idea where in Rome this is, nor the name of it. I ran in here to escape the rain and was astonished by the architecture and frescos, not to mention the silence as compared to the busy street just outside.

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Architecture and Frescos

Architecture and Frescos from a church in Rome

A vertorama is like a panorama, only vertical. I took three images, the first at eye level and the third straight up. When they are stitched together they create a perspective that shows more than you normally see at a glance. It’s a little disorienting but fun to look at just the same.

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There were no signs warning against photography so I felt free to take my time and compose the image. Some churches will charge a small photo fee that I’m more than happy to pay. These churches are studies in architecture and art, it seems to me the more they are shared the better. I’d like to think I’m doing my small part to share this amazing cathedral with the rest of the world, completely free of charge.

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This Spot at Bradenton Beach

Rick beach, Florida, Manatee County, SonyAlpha 0 Comments

I take so many photos from this spot at Bradenton Beach they may as well name the pier after me (no, not really).

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This Spot at Bradenton Beach

This Spot at Bradenton Beach

Piers make great leading lines and they always attract people. So if you’re a photographer and you sit near one long enough you’ll see all kinds of things to take pictures of. And, by the way, this pier and several others nearby were recently built to replace old piers destroyed in storms. I’m happy to say that after a recent hurricane the new ones had no damage at all. Yay!

This spot is popular with surfers and sometimes they use the pier to launch. When I took this, another offshore storm was creating waves, which in turn brought out the surfers and photographers including yours truly.

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The pier is made of massive concrete blocks attached to pilings. It took about a year to construct and I remember wishing it would be finished. The day finally came and now they’re magnets for everything from surfers to seabirds, not to mention photo guys like me.

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What I Saw in My Mind

Rick canada, clouds, cloudscape, cruise, Macphun, photography, SonyAlpha, travel, Vancouver 0 Comments

Walking to the train one morning in Vancouver I noticed this cruise ship at dock. It arrived a few hours earlier and was preparing for another voyage to Alaska. A common site in the summer but nonetheless it looked awesome in the morning light so I took a few photos; this is what I saw in my mind. Let me explain…

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What I Saw in My Mind

What I Saw in My Mind – From Vancouver BC

I spent a lot of time on this photo to make it look like what you see here. The original photo didn’t look so pretty. It had a lot of distractions, including other boats and a parking lot in the lower right. So I manipulated it to make it look like what I thought I saw. What we perceive is usually different than what we see. In other words, we perceive what we want to see and have a tendency to screen the rest; so this image is now closer to what I thought I saw.

At the time I only noticed the boat, it stood out because it wasn’t there the day before. I also noticed the soft light of the morning sun reflecting on the side. I thought to myself that it was an awesome scene, but when I looked at the image later there were other things I didn’t remember seeing, like the parking lot for instance. Rather than get disappointed and throw it away, it became a challenge for me to see if I could replicate my initial impression.

more images from Vancouver

To my way of thinking the practice of photography is an expression of art. If I just want to record an event I snap a photo with my phone. But “photography” can be more than that. That doesn’t mean it should always be manipulated, but it should tell a story. In this case I did indeed manipulate it so that I could convey the story what I perceived in my mind on that summer morning in Vancouver.

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Hotel W Barcelona

Rick Architecture, beach, europe, SonyAlpha, Spain, Urban 0 Comments

One evening in Barcelona we walked along the beach from one end to the other. At the far end is the Hotel W Barcelona, where we stopped for a drink before heading back. I took this as we walked away just after sunset.

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Hotel W Barcelona

Hotel W Barcelona

The architecture is unique but also bears a vague resemblance to Dubai’s Burj Al Arab, I think that’s why it caught my attention.

For miles along the beach are juice bars, ice cream shops, bistros and restaurants. Just a few minutes after taking this we stopped at an open-air bistro on the beach. Sitting next to us was our United Airlines flight crew from the day before. What was surprising was that they even recognized us; nevertheless we struck up a conversation and had a bunch of laughs as we enjoyed a fun evening with our friends.

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Europeans eat late and so as we walked back the hotel, the restaurants were still packed. It was fun to see and experience all of this and it’s something I could go back and do again in a heartbeat.

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Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey

Rick Architecture, europe, panorama, SonyAlpha, Spain, travel 0 Comments

This is a panorama I took of Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey. The abbey is high up on a mountain known as Montserrat, which is the highest point in this section of Catalonia. Here I took five photos side-by-side that are stitched together, this is just the central section.

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Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey

Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey

The first thing you notice when you approach the area is the unusual shape of these rock columns on the mountain. Some people in Barcelona told us that there are faces in the rocks and I’ll admit I started to see them also when I stared for a while.

It is a working monastery with over a hundred monks in residence. We saw several in full robes as we walked around and explored. The abbey has been in operating for over a thousand years so the monks are maintaining a long tradition.

One of the most spectacular things to see is the inside of the basilica, however they don’t allow photography; notwithstanding that it’s still a must see with it’s ornate adornments and frescos.

european gallery

We drove a car up here but only later did I realize there is also a train and gondola from the bottom. In my opinion those are better options than the narrow hairpin road. There are also hiking trails up so if you prefer to walk up you’ll have no guilt consuming extra calories in the restaurants and cafeterias. No matter how you get here, you’ll not be disappointed.

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Near the Old Cathedral

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

On my last night in Barcelona I walked around the gothic quarter until quite late. For some reason I always find cool things to see near the old cathedral.

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Near the Old Cathedral

Near the Old Cathedral in Barcelona

In this case it was some guy with a guitar singing classic ballads from Bob Marley, Tracy Chapman and others. He had a full voice and his melodies echoed against the walls of the ancient cathedral. When I first came upon him there were only a three people listening, but within fifteen minutes he had gathered a crowd of thirty.

He was so good that it left an impression on me and I can still hear him in my head. But I think it’s not unusual for a summer nights in Barcelona. That’s why it is one of my favorite places to hang out.

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Scenes like this are very much why I like street photography at night. There is a completely different atmosphere and mood, and when that is combined with amazing architecture and music it’s irresistible.

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Panorama of Anna Maria

Rick beach, clouds, cloudscape, Florida, island, Landscape, landscapephotography, Manatee County, panorama 0 Comments

This is a panorama of Anna Maria Island taken with a drone the other day. To get this I took seventeen images and re-combined them in post-production. It’s not as difficult as it sounds but the results can be stunning. This is a perspective I’ve never seen; I come here all the time but like everyone else I see it from the ground.

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Panorama of Anna Maria

Panorama of Anna Maria Island from the air

I like to think that I’m not afraid of heights, but when I fly the drone and look at the live view on my iPhone I get a little queasy. It’s a form of virtual reality, almost as if I’m in two places at once, simultaneously on the ground and in the air. From the air I look straight down and think to myself, it’s a long way down.

Phobias aside, the island is very low-key as compared to other places in Florida, it reminds me of Hawaii. The beaches are almost always filled, yet there are no flashy or tall buildings, just relaxed places to hang out and chill. I recall that in certain parts of Hawaii the building codes don’t allow for anything taller than a palm tree, I think it’s the same idea here.

more from anna maria island

The only way you’ll ever see this view for yourself is if you take a parasailing ride up and down the beach; or, if you happen to have a drone and can virtually fly with your feet still on the ground. In either case, it’s a long way down.

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Hilton Molino Stucky

Rick europe, Italy, Night Photography, nightphotography, SonyAlpha 0 Comments

This is the Hilton Molino Stucky in Venice. I took this in the evening from a water taxi as we passed by. The moon was full and I managed to snap this just as it appeared over the spire. The clouds created a dramatic effect and I was actually surprised this turned out at all.

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Hilton Molino Stucky

Hilton Molino Stucky in Venice Italy

I used an aperture of f1.8 and an ISO of 10000 and a shutter speed of 125th of a second. All that translates into an ability to take hand-held photos at night from a moving boat. I’m still amazed that this is possible even though I’ve had my Sony camera for a couple of years now; compared to what was possible just a few years ago it’s phenomenal.

the european gallery

The hotel is on the island of Giudecca and there is a lot to see here including art galleries, ancient churches and, of course, the city of Venice right across the water. I can imagine that the night view of Venice from the roof top bar is well worth whatever they charge for a gin and tonic. I think the hotel also has its own water taxi for guests.

As for me, it’s all on my list for the next time I return.

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Better Than a Good Day at the Office

Rick beach, Florida, Manatee County, SonyAlpha, sports 0 Comments

To borrow a saying from golf, a bad day at the beach is still better than a good day at the office. On the weekend there was a storm in the gulf, and whenever that happens it pushes waves into the coast. That’s a queue for local surfers, and me, your intrepid photographer, to show up at the south end of Bradenton Beach for a little action.

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Better Than a Good Day at the Office

Better Than a Good Day at the Office – Bradenton Beach

The waves may not be big compared to other places like California, but big enough to get the job done. Hurricane Nate was about four hundred miles east of here, but even at that distance it managed to create a nice little swell.

This is the first time I intentionally came to the beach to photograph surfers; at other times I’m usually shooting something else and just happen to get a few shots. This time I came prepared with a long lens to get in close.

I’ve photographed other sports and each type has a different set of tricks. The first thing I learned this day was that the angle of the waves dictates the direction of the boards. Basically it meant that from my angle the surfers would have their backs to me. There are little nuances to know about photographing each sport that never occur to you until you’re there. I learned a few things for the next time so it’s all good.

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Lucky for me I live in a place were I’ll have plenty of opportunities. However just standing on the beach with the waves at my feet, taking pictures of anything is a lot of fun. It was way better than even a great day at the office.

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