This is the end of Lake Wakatipu in Glenorchy. I was here a couple of years ago on a Trey Ratcliff photo adventure. I had just switched from Nikon to Sony and so was still struggling with the placement of the buttons and menus. Sometimes I go back and look at my settings and wonder what I was thinking, like this one, my aperture was f10; seems a bit high. Maybe I should just forget about that and just enjoy the scenery. Forget I even mentioned it.
I was going back to look at my New Zealand photos and found this sitting in the bit bucket. I started working on its just out of curiosity and then got carried away. All the while I was thinking I’d seen this before. Sure enough, I’d processed and posted this same picture. My techniques and eye are constantly changing and this time the result was different. So maybe I should have titled it Glenorchy Part 2, …or some such thing.
Boy, if I could go back in time and make different choices. Well, just a few. Like buying a certain company stock when it was really cheap. Oh well, until I invent a time machine I’ll just live in the present, learn from the past, place one foot in front of the other, you know the drill. Actually, I’m kind of glad I can’t go back, it seems the longer I live the less confused things are. So going back and buying that stock might just put me into a place I don’t want to be. Hmmmm, … tis a bit of a conundrum.
A street scene as I was approaching Howe Street on a Saturday night in Vancouver. I’m waking along Robson which is where a lot happens, it’s the nerve center of shopping in Vancity. The rain is never a reason to stay indoors and from what I can tell people ignore it. That’s a good policy and it will serve you well. If you can’t beat it, join it with a raincoat and umbrella.
It was kind of funny actually. I found myself here with these amazing conditions early in the evening and got pretty excited. This is a street photographers dream because of the lights and rain slicked surfaces. I shifted into the zone as I looked for things to unfold all around. At one point I walked up and down this block several times just taking photos.
To get these street scenes at night it takes a very high ISO, especially if I’m shooting without a tripod. I used my Sony A7RII and set the ISO to 10000. That’s a lot of zeros and up until recently, this just a dream and nighttime photography like this was not even possible. Thanks to the advances from Sony new possibilities have opened up for people like me that like shooting in very low light.
Tech talk aside, just getting out with my camera on a raining day, no matter where, is likely to provide a lot of subject matter to explore. Fortunately for me there is no shortage of rain in Vancouver and, I have both a rain coat and an umbrella.
This is a random beach shot I took last year at Bradenton Beach, Florida. I was standing alongside this old broken down pier, one of several which has since been demolished and removed. I don’t know the county’s plans but it would be nice if they built a new one so I could take pictures of that too. It’s all about me.
I work during the day and spend much of my time at a computer. So when I write my blog I get to stare at something other than documents for a spell. I remember back when I took this I was standing in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. That’s about as far away as I can get from meetings and status reports. This picture shows where and how my batteries get recharged so I can do the stuff I have to do.
I think that looking at photos at the end of the day activates different centers in my brain. I have no idea which ones, just that they have nothing to do with computers. It has more to do with where I want to go. Wouldn’t it be cool if I could just look at a photo and then enter a dream of that location? I’ve heard that some people can do that, and for all I know so can I, the only problem is I rarely remember my dreams. I’m going to hope that when I go to sleep this evening this is where I end up. Whether I remember it or not.
The Foreshore Trail follows the shoreline around UBC in Vancouver. I walked several miles of it recently and took my time while I was at it. According to the map it was only three miles, but it took me two hours. I can be real slow when I have a camera in my hand. It’s a good reason to go it alone.
These people were jogging in the same direction, but as the trail became nothing more than big rocks on the beach they slowed down which allowed me to compose this shot. Soon they were off and I was composing other shots, with other people. If you are ever in the vicinity of me when I’m taking pictures, chances are you’ll end up in one of my images. Placing people in a landscape adds a human element, I find it allows me to project myself into the scene. I still shoot landscapes without people, but less and less these days. With people its like mixing street and landscape photography, two favorites of mine, a cross discipline of sorts. Mixing photography styles gives me more ideas and options with respect to the final image.
There is a very steep set of stairs to climb up to the road from this trail. If you walk straight up it will have you gasping for breath and wondering why your legs won’t move. But of course I didn’t go straight up. I stopped several times along the way and surreptitiously took pictures of the stairway through the forest with, you guessed it, people.
This is a small section of the front facade of Catedral de Barcelona. I could stand out front of this building and stare at the details for hours. Judging by the other people standing here, some did. I’m easily impressed, which is not to say this isn’t an amazing work of architecture, it’s just that I rarely get a chance to see buildings like this, so when I do I’m usually overwhelmed.
I think that if I see beautiful things often it helps boost my sense of esthetic. That’s true about anything, the more we do the better we get, so on and so on. That’s why I think public art is vital to a city. When it’s always there it strikes a cord, albeit subtle or even unconscious, but vital nonetheless. I just returned from Vancouver where I spent some time downtown. They have a lot of public art on display. I would say the people who see that art have a higher sense of aesthetic whether they realize it or not.
Barcelona has a tonne of public art, everywhere you look. And according to my theory, the residents of that city have a very high aesthetic IQ. That goes for a lot of like minded european cities where art is central. Of course I just stated what any european, and any art lover, already knows; that art is good for us and adds to the vitality of a city. Stating the obvious is just how I roll.
Keeping it real can be harder than it sounds. Putting aside all the things that we think are important, a little quality time is a pretty good way to start. In the end all we really have are connections. The rest can come and go, it’s connections that define us, or so I think. But when I think of the people that have made an impression on me, it was their gift of time that made that possible.
This is another photo from Fort Lauderdale Beach. I could just stay at the beach and take photos all day long, it’s a natural place for images to just happen, especially if you know what you’re looking for. I take a lot of photos of people walking on the beach. The initial snapshot is a reminder of what I saw in my mind and the idea that I had. Only later when the time is right do I express it, sometimes artistically like this. This image conveys the idea I had in my mind. I never really know how the image will turn out, but if I work at it enough I get close. Close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades. Bad reference, scratch that.
I’m going to go back to the beach sometime this week. Who knows what I’ll see or which beach I’ll go to. The main thing is to go and then just let the rest happen; kind of like keeping it real. I think that a lot of things can happen if we just let them. I rarely know what way the wind will blow, I just keep doing my thing and somehow it all works out.
This sea of glass is the Coal Harbor Section of Vancouver. In the center sits the Olympic Cauldron and all around are the towers of downtown Vancouver. I came down here for a few minutes as my hotel was just a block away. It had just been raining so it was mostly deserted, the perfect time to capture the architecture of the place without the pressing crowds normally found here.
It’s amazing how many people work in these buildings. But if you get on the subway in the morning you’ll see waves of people coming to work and filling these offices. This time of year the daylight is short, so its possible that you never see the light of day unless you work near a window. If you work standard hours from 8 to 5 you’re lucky to see any daylight during the work week.
I’m used to a little more light and so I found it a little disorienting. I was in my hotel one evening and looked out a window to see a gentleman working late at his desk. I thought it was so strange that he was at work so late in the evening. Then I looked at my watch and it was only a little after six o’clock. For some reason I thought it was much later because I hadn’t seen much light that day and it felt late. I’m sure people in Scandinavian countries deal with it all the time. I’ve heard you can even get light therapy to help supplement sunshine.
For some reason this made me think of the other side of the rainbow. Maybe because we had nothing but rain before I took this, only there was no rainbow afterward, just clouds. The kind of rain they get here in Vancouver in the winter is not conducive to rainbows, the leprechauns get out of town and winter in Florida. It’s too bad, I would love to set the pot. That didn’t come out right.
To create this image I stood on the shoulders of giants. This is an HDR image which means I combined three exposures to get the maximum amount of light, more than I could get with a single shot. I combined the images in AuroraHDR Pro which is one of the latests products from Trey Ratcliff in collaboration with MacPhun. I created four layers with varying degrees of detail, radiance and color enhancement. I then returned the image to Adobe Lightroom where I used one of Trey’s presets. So, final result was a collaboration of sorts with the creative genius of Trey.
When I create images I use a lot of tools to create something beyond the ordinary. Sometimes I have an idea of what that is when I take the picture, other times after. It’s a highly subjective process and I never know where I’ll end up. Sometimes I struggle, other times it just flows. This image is one of the latter. I knew when I took it what I wanted, and then creating the final result was just a matter of sitting down and letting it happen. It just so happened that this time, I used Trey’s software for most of it. It was easy, fun, and I got where I needed to go. Thank you Trey!
Earlier this month I captured this before sunrise in Ft. Lauderdale, which is on Florida’s Atlantic coast. I was hoping to catch the colors at dawn but there was too much of a marine layer and it wasn’t to be. Nonetheless the city lights cast a glow on the low clouds in this long exposure. I kept the shutter open for about eight-seconds which makes the ocean appear smooth.
This was taken from in front of the Marriott hotel where I stayed. I had never been there before and had to follow the GPS to find it the night before. I didn’t really know where I was or which way it was to the city. My room was set back from the beach so I could only see the beach, not up and down the coast. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when I walked down here early in the morning to find that the main city was just a short walk north. I’m glad I woke up or I would have missed this scene, it’s not easy to take a picture of a deserted beach in Ft Lauderdale.
I walked up and down the beach taking all kinds of pictures, several I’ve recently published on the blog. It was a fun experience in the predawn hours with just my camera. Due to the soft sand it took a lot of effort to walk, but that’s how a beach is, sandy. When I walk on the beach I normally just pick a direction and start a slow plod, stopping to take pictures, slowly making my way until its time to turn around. And so that pretty much sums up this morning, a slow Sunday plod.
I took this at a Skytrain station in Vancouver. It’s called the Skytrain because most of it is above ground. I’m not from around here so I still call it a subway, but when I do I get glances. The kind of glance that says you’re not from around here are you? Maybe one day I’ll get it right, but its kind of low on the priority list.
That aside it’s the best run transit system I’ve seen outside of Disney World. There are no drivers and everything is automated, a little like Tomorrowland. However as a programmer it gives me just a slight amount of concern, like that glance I get when I say the word subway. It’s subtle but there is a difference. I know what happens when there’s a bug in the code and if my program controls a train, well that opens up all kinds of scenarios. Even so I ignore the thought because the train seems to have been running very well for years, so perhaps the code is bug free. I wipe the consideration from my mind, just as quickly as it enters. I’m getting a little off track.
Skytrain just added something new called a Compass pass. Long story short it’s a convenient way to buy a fare, transfer to a bus or ferry and possibly save money at the same time. Without going into all the details it seems to work pretty well, just as well as the trains run without drivers. Did I mention that? One thing seems certain to me; someone is writing a lot of good code and as a result the whole system seems to run quite well. Now if I could just reprogram my brain to not call it a subway.