Towers Across the Pond

Towers Across the Pond
Towers Across the Pond known as Lost Lagoon in Vancouver BC                              Purchase a fine art print

Here are some apartment towers across the pond at the edge of the Vancouver downtown facing Stanley Park. Both the towers and trees cast a reflection on Lost Lagoon as I walked by here not too long ago. Lost Lagoon is a funny name for a pond in the middle of a big city, it conjures up images of a tropical island in the middle of the pacific somewhere, yet here it is in a big city. Maybe they figured no one would think to look for it here.

More images from Vancouver

I once made up a rule about landscape photography, that the more elements a photo has the more interesting or impactful it becomes. By elements I mean fire, air water and earth. So…, the idea is that the more I incorporate in a photo, the more it resonates. Take this for instance, it has water, earth and air. There’s a hint of fire on the right from the setting sun. I have no idea if any of this is true, but it’s an idea and I kind of like it.

Speaking of lost, I wish they’d make another series like Lost. I was hooked on that real bad; wouldn’t it be cool if they did another one? Lost 2, or Lost Again, or better yet, Lost lagoon. I have the perfect location.

Riverwalk in Bradenton

Riverwalk in Bradenton
Dusk at Riverwalk in Bradenton                        Purchase print

Riverwalk in Bradenton is where I go to walk and get a little break in the evening. Usually it’s filled with people doing the same, but every now and then I’ll have the place to myself. On this occasion the weather dropped below room temperature which is too cold for thin blooded Floridians. As I write it’s winter in Florida which is really the best time of year. The climate is moderate and everything is in full swing on account of the tourists.

See more images from around my home

Last week I went to a restaurant to order take-out. I arrived at six o’clock, ordered and sat at the bar while I waited. Twenty minutes later there was a line up out the door. This is the season many businesses make it big, the time of year when revenue pours through the front door non-stop . Tis the season to be merry. Ho ho ho.

Actually, now that I think about it, winter is like summer here, everyone is out and about, enjoying the outdoors, beaches, restaurants and sports. All the local events are planned for winter; fairs, shows, circus, you name it; everything happens in winter. Summer is our winter because we get tropical storms and torrential rain almost every day. When I first came here it took about three years for me to figure that out. I may be a slow learner but now but now I’m wise to the ways. Ho ho ho.

Midday in Sarasota

Midday In Sarasota
A daydream of midday In Sarasota Florida                                          Order a print

I took this at midday in Sarasota while driving around last weekend. For me this is more of a daydream than a real picture. I daydream when I drive sometimes. Some things are so automatic that they get relegated to the autopilot side of the brain while the other side goes in a different direction. I’m headed that way right now.

When I look at a scene I look for an impression. We’re each so different no two impressions are the same. For some reason this takes me back to when I was about five years old and our family went on a road trip to San Jose. I remember the hotel and that it had a pool. I have no idea why this reminds me of that, it’s not logical. The blur in this image represents my faded memories of my five-year-old self; looking through a glass darkly.

Isn’t it a paradox that some people revert to their childhood memories as they grow older. I think something gets inverted. Maybe memory is like a fabric we can fold in or out and expose different surfaces. Not that I have a clue, but I think it’s a little different then I might think. Anyway, this has been a little trip down memory lane. Time to stop the daydream and drive.

High Vantage

High Vantage
High Vantage in Les Baux de Provence                                  Order a fine art print

I took this from a high vantage point in Les Baux de Provence where there was once a castle occupied by a king. This is one of the battlements perched on a ridge that defended the fortress. I’m amazed at how they used to build these castles high atop mountains back in the day. No cranes or Caterpillars yet they built sturdy lodgings whose remnants are still partially standing. So much for drywall and stucco.

More images from Europe

The valley below this spot is filled with rolling hills of endless vineyards and the only invading is done by visitors like me looking for good wine. I say that as though finding good wine in France is a challenge. The only challenge I had this day was climbing to the top of the mountain to survey the surroundings and then looking for a refined refreshment afterwards. A tough day to be sure.

There were many medieval weapons of war like this on the mountain. I think there are reenactments from time to time. In the US we have civil war reenactments by history buffs, in France it seems they do the same. What better way to keep history alive then to dress the part and participate in an epic battle. Assuming we regroup to discuss the results with numerous bottles of wine from the valley below, count me in.

Another Backyard Sunrise

Another Backyard Sunrise
Another Backyard Sunrise over central Florida                                        Click here to purchase a print

This is another backyard sunrise from home. I don’t really have a backyard and this is not “my” backyard but, it’s in my hometown so figuratively speaking it’s “in” my backyard. Having said all of that, and having said that this is sunrise, you know I’m facing east. For some reason we get a lot of amazing sunrises happening in the east due to the way the clouds form in my backyard. Let me explain.

More images of Florida sunrises

The geography and weather patterns of central Florida are such that the clouds often park themselves over the land, not over the water. For instance, on this morning while we had a brilliant sunrise to the East; to the West there were no clouds, only clear blue sky. I’m not complaining, just making an observation. Well, as a photographer maybe I’m complaining just a little.

If you think about it, Florida is one big peninsula with oceans on both sides. Somehow that creates unique weather patterns which most of the time I ignore. But one of those patterns is that clouds will hang over the land and stop at the coast. So when they do that in the morning this is the result, a backyard sunrise. Actually my backyard faces the West and, ….oh good grief, there I go again.

Beach Sunday

Beach Sunday
Beach Sunday at Bradenton Beach in Florida                                     Purchase a fine art print for office or home

Today was Beach Sunday in my town. It’s not a holiday, just the day after Saturday and the day before Dreaded Monday. And I know it was Beach Sunday because when I got into my car to drive to the beach at 12:15pm, I hit traffic. It seems everybody got the same idea at the same time. A lot of great minds thinking alike.

When we get perfect days like today I have to pinch myself and remember how lucky I am to live here. It’s a twenty minute drive to some of the best beaches on the planet. Today I was with a couple family members who had just flown down from Canada. So I have it on good authority that today scored high on the awesomeness scale. They made sure they sent pictures back home just to rub it in. Of course I had nothing to do with that.

Check out the beach gallery here.

I love it when people come here from somewhere cold and get to experience days like today. It makes all the planning and waiting worthwhile. For me, I’m glad I have family that comes down so that I can have an excuse to go to the beach. Whenever someone comes to visit, I always bring them here on the first day, just to feel the sand and water and get in the right frame of mind for the rest of their stay. As far as that goes today the mission was accomplished.

Gardens Sunrise

Gardens Sunrise
Queenstown Gardens Sunrise in the heart of an amazing little city                                            Buy a fine art gallery print

A couple of years ago in New Zealand I was here for a Queenstown Gardens sunrise. It’s an oasis of nature in the middle of the city, except for one thing. The city is an oasis in the middle of the wilderness. If that sounded like a contradiction it is. Queenstown doesn’t need an oasis, it’s already surrounded by beauty and awesomeness on all sides. This park is just the cherry on top.

I was here on one of Trey Ratcliff’s photo adventures. This was our first day. There were about twenty of us and I really didn’t know anyone except one other guy I met on G+. So here we all were on our first morning doing our best to capture the light and such. Now fast forward to the end of the week. Now we are all best friends and feel like we’ve just been through the most amazing experiences together. Big change from beginning to end.

I’ve had this image in my backlog for almost two years. I tried a few times to process it but wasn’t pleased with the results. This time I have some new software called AuroraHDR made by MacPhun and the very same Trey Ratcliff. Now, what was once a challenge has become easy. For HDR images like this, I find it much easier to get the results I want. I guess the moral of the story is, the longer you wait, the better the software gets, the more you can do. That sounded kind of lame, but you know what I mean.

More photos from New Zealand

La Promenade du Peyrou

La Promenade du Peyrou
La Promenade du Peyrou in Montpellier France                                                        Purchase a fine art print

La Promenade du Peyrou is next to the old city centre in Montpellier. Bordering the promenade on two sides are these tree lined walkways. I was here on a rainy day but on a sunny day they provide shade and a place to sit. By using a telephoto lens I created compression in the scene which adds to the sense of a tunnel or covered walkway. In situations like this where there is a line of repeated elements this technique can work pretty well.

I had been walking for hours when I got here so I was happy to sit on one of the benches. The city itself is quite busy but this spot was a nice respite from the commotion. Right next to where I was sitting there was a British rock band packing up their van. From the look of the equipment they must have been filming a music video. The scenery here must be popular as a film location for all kinds of productions; from music to feature film. It’s the perfect european backdrop.

Actually, now that I think of it, this would be a good location for a photowalk. The Promenade is a good meeting point and from here you could walk through the old streets and alleyways of the ancient city. In the other direction is an old Roman aqueduct and plenty of other architecture. In any case, I was on my own one man photowalk, stopping only to rest on a park bench or sip a cappuccino at a bistro or have a glass of wine in an outdoor cafe. That’s the typical pace of a Rick photowalk, slow and easy wins the race.

Check out my European gallery.

Tower View

Tower View
Tower view of Robinson Preserve in Bradenton Florida                                        Purchase a framed print

This is the tower view from Robinson Preserve in Bradenton Florida. It’s on a trial about a half mile from the parking lot and a good place to get some perspective on the land. In a way this is a poor mans drone shot without the drone. These are inland marshes and salt flats that attract all manner of wildlife. The waterway on the right is a popular place to kayak and further up are mangrove tunnels to be explored.

For this composition I deliberately ignored the rule of thirds because I felt the sky is just as compelling as the ground, they hold the balance in equal measure as a kind of yin and yang. I’ve starting doing that sometimes when using a wide angle lens, here I shot at 14mm.

Normally I am alone here and the last one to leave the park, but just as I ascended the tower about twenty people approached along the trail and ascended the stairs of the tower alongside me. It’s a big tower so it can hold a lot of people. Turns out they were on a guided tour of the park to observe it at dusk and evening. With all the nocturnal animals I’m sure there would be some interesting sounds as well.

More landscape photography

North Vancouver

North Vancouver
North Vancouver as seen from across the bay.                                      Obtain a gallery quality print

North Vancouver is across the harbor from Vancouver. It’s actually a separate city with its own city hall. There are a lot of ways to get over there but the easiest is to take a ten minute ferry across the bay. I did that once and then walked up the streets from the water. They don’t look that steep from here but by the time I got to the top I was huffin and puffin like a Choo Choo train. When I turned around I had the opposite vista of Vancouver on the South side of the bay. Either way you look at it it’s a nice view.

I used my telephoto lens fully extended for this so the field of view is rather narrow. I could have done a panorama and it would have extended to the left with more tall buildings dwarfed by the mountain peaks and ski resorts. Skiing? No problem, hop in a bus, it’s right there in town. That’s just downright awesome.

I showed this image to some people in Florida to see if they could tell where it was. Everyone thought it was in Europe somewhere. I think most people don’t know what Vancouver really looks like except what they might remember from watching the Olympics. I’m the same way and when I first saw this in person I was hooked. Still am.

Here are a few more images from Vancouver.