I love the Barcelona’s streets at night, full of lights, cafes, and music at every turn. We walked through the narrow alleys amazed at how many people were out having fun. I don’t think the place gets going until at least ten. Tapas bars are full of people talking and enjoying local cuisine and beverage. I got the sense that everyone feels safe at all hours, such a nice contrast to other cities I’ve visited. We were out most of the night despite having to get up to checkout the next day. My idea of a good time here is to stay out all night taking pictures and stopping at tapas bars along the way to refuel. I’m not sure how these people get to work the next day, but then maybe that’s for them to know and me to wonder. In any case, in case I didn’t mention it, I really love Barcelona’s streets at night, as long as I don’t have to work the next day.
I got up early one summer morning and caught this rainbow along the gulf coast as I walked the trails at DeSoto National Memorial in Bradenton. In summer we have thunder clouds that change from one minute to the next. They combine the energy of the warm air and gulf waters to become powerful and, if I might say, rambunctious. By that I mean loud, dramatic and fun to watch, especially from a photography perspective. On this morning I also caught a rainbow as the clouds were breaking apart. This is an area were thunderstorms and rainbows are common as the waters of the Manatee River meet the Gulf of Mexico. The storms like to follow the path of the river and I’ve taken a lot of photos rainbows around here. In real life they are beautiful to look at yet don’t always translate into a good picture. One morning I watched as a double rainbow formed over the river in the soft light of morning. Many people were stopping to look at comment, it was amazing to witness. I took a bunch of photos yet when I got home and looked at them they didn’t look all that special. I think that in most cases, rainbows are meant to be enjoyed in the moment and trying to capture their beauty can be as elusive as the pot of gold at the end.
This is the Remarkable Mountains as viewed from Kelvin Heights above Queenstown New Zealand. Kelvin Heights is the name I get when I Google it, however the locals call it Deer Park Heights. There is some kind of family dispute over this land, maybe that has something to do with the names, but I digress. I posted this image about a year and a half ago without the clouds but I thought I’d update the image because I prefer clouds in the sky. That morning the sky was rather dull, it was just after sunrise and it had snowed the day before. So, as I do with many of my images, I made it look a little different, the way I wished it had looked. Its like doodling with an image to see what works. For me this is better than the original. At the time I was in New Zealand on a workshop with Trey Ratcliff and I was just beginning to learn how to work with new tools for this kind of thing. I made many friends there as we all practiced composition and post processing with beautiful landscapes like this from all around Queenstown. Since then I’ve learned quite a lot and have developed a preference for a more imaginative style that at times is not at all realistic. If you’ve followed my work you know what I mean. I’m more into creating images from my minds eye, using photography as a tool. So, having gone back to this image I think I like it better than the first version which was more true to life. You may not agree, but that’s okay, on any given day I might just change my mind and agree with you.
This is the view of Mount Edith Cavell from Jasper Park Lodge that I took one summer evening before sunset. I think it’s pretty amazing how long the days are in the summer up here. Its kind of hard to fathom, especially now that I’m writing this in winter when it gets dark many hours earlier. In the evening the angle of the sun is low enough to cast a soft light on everything. I understand that Iceland can be like that for months, I guess that’s next on my list. In any case, Mount Edith Cavell is one of the more iconic landmarks of the Canadian Rockies and having hiked up along side of it, I can say it is indeed massive, even when viewed from twenty kilometers away. A couple of days ago I wrote about the age of the trees in British Columbia. Well, these mountains are millions of years old. That really impresses me because just like the size of these mountains, their age is something I can never really wrap my mind around.
At times we need to be alone with the elements. Something about that reminds us that, in fact, we are never truly alone.
I recently read a book called The Light Between Us by Laura Lynne Jackson. It’s basically an autobiography of a person who grew up with a special gift to communicate with the “Other Side”. In it she details the struggles she overcame learning how to deal with that without having someone to help her. Nonetheless, she is one of a handful of scientifically certified psychics in the US and has helped many people bridge the gap between this world and the next as it pertains to bereavement. So, the moral of the story is we’re never really alone. The world we live in is just a subset of the real world and we are surrounded by many who love us all the time, whether we are aware of it or not.
I took this iPhone photo of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona rather than with my normal camera. It was the day before I went inside and was traveling in an open roof tour bus. I used photoshop to remove the construction cranes towering above. I did it as an experiment to see what it would look like without the distractions. Little did I know the cranes have been there for years and will be for about another ten years until construction completes in about 2030. In the meantime this is my idea of what it might look like when complete.
Sagrada Familia Wikipedia
According to Wikipedia the chief architect Jordi Fauli announced in October 2015 that construction is 70 percent complete and has entered its final phase of raising six immense towers. The towers and most of the church’s structure are to be completed in 2026, the centennial of Gaudí’s death; decorative elements should be complete by 2030 or 2032. That is one long construction project. But perhaps, compared to some of the great cathedrals of old, it’s right on target.
Last year I stopped here at Cathedral Grove just outside of Nanaimo British Columbia. These are towering Douglas Firs, the oldest at about eight hundred years old though most are around three hundred years. Even with visitors, the lush vegetation dampens the sounds to provide a quite walk through the old forest. There are a lot of must see places on Vancouver Island, this is at the top of the list. I was here in summer when it was hot, even so the cover the canopy creates its own micro-climate and the whole place is about ten dregs cooler. The grove is reached by a highway leading over the mountains to the pacific coast. I was on my way there to Ucluelet, but even so when I came back I stopped here again. I took a ton of pictures both times.
Walking around the beaches of Anna Maria Island you’ll find houses along the water with a view of the gulf. Some are located on relatively isolated stretches so that even if there are a lot of people at the beach these sections are quiet. Walking past this area the beach was was quiet and undisturbed as evidenced from a colony of skimmers that nest and feed here. As I walked past they paid me little heed as they rested on one leg. I live only twenty minutes away but I keep telling myself that one day I’ll just rent a beach house and do a staycation. I think this remote strip suits me just fine.
On Anna Maria Island I have some favorite spots to hang out that are a little bit hidden and frequented more by the locals. This is opposite Coquina Beach and it’s a little dock where fishermen come to launch their boats around dawn. I was here walking around and noticed this guy casting his net and so stood a ways back trying to capture him in mid-throw. I think he noticed me and stopped throwing the net, maybe he was self conscious. I wandered off to leave the poor soul in peace. Hopefully he caught something because there were a couple of egrets waiting for anything he might pull up.
This is the village of Gigondas which is in a mountainous area in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur northeast of Montpellier. Like many places in this part of France, Gigondas is known for its wine. Some of the vintners here refuse to change the methods of production that have survived hundreds of years from generation to generation. The town is on a hillside over looking the vineyards and these narrow streets climb up to a church overlooking the village. I took this on the way back down after surveying the surroundings and wondering how it is that these people manage to live apparent tranquil lives without all the big box stores and high tech gadgets. I think I know the answer to that.