This is the Casa Batlló Stairwell in Barcelona. This house is a work of priceless design by the famed architect and designer Antoni Gaudi. I took this while climbing the stairs to the roof. It’s a narrow courtyard of sorts with the house surrounding this central core. As I recall there were about five flights to the roof so on my way up I had plenty of opportunities to stop and gawk at the design.
This is a very big house, I could live comfortably on just one floor, even less. But if I did own the whole place I’d be sending texts to the kitchen to order meals, that would save a bunch of trips up and down the stairs. Then of course I’d need a Stair-master to get some exercise. I never said I was brilliant, if it was my house I really would have more money than brains.
I took a ton of pictures throughout the house, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Actually everyone takes pictures inside. There’s a nautical theme going on and it reminds me of a ship, or maybe something out of Jules Vern novel. When I Google other photos of this a few of them have an under water effect. Perhaps that was intended. In any case, here is a link to a search of stairwell photos from the house on Google: https://goo.gl/JW1jqj
Here are some more images from Barcelona: https://justenoughfocus.smugmug.com/keyword/barcelona/
A view at dawn across the pond at a development known as Riviera Dunes.
This morning I was driving around at dawn and noticed this scene, I’d seen it before but this time I had my camera. The pond is home to fish, egrets, herons and of course ducks. I’ve also seen water moccasins along the edges and, there may even be an alligator, if not in this pond another one near by.
Alligators are common here in Florida, the ponds are not for swimming. They’re known as retention ponds because their purpose is to retain the water from the rains. They allow the silt and particles from the roads to settle down at the bottom before the water washes into the mangroves and river beyond. Retention ponds are everywhere in Florida. Thats one of the reasons alligators find it so easy to live in populated areas. They find a nice retention pond to settle down to raise a family, or eat one (just kidding). They lay around eating fish or ducks or poodles on a rope. You need to be alert when walking small dogs next to the water here, just a fact of life. Alligators will migrate from one pond to the next depending on their needs and availability of food.
I didn’t see any alligators this morning and truth be told I rarely do. Even though they’re around they are wary of humans and stay out of sight as much as possible. If you really want to see an alligator in a pond I recommend playing a round of golf. Golf courses always have a lot of ponds and you will usually see them sunning on the edges. Many have pet names and their pictures posted on the club house walls. Bottom line is that most locals respect our alligators and we all do out best to coexist, each keeping our distance.
A couple of nights ago I ago I went to Sunset Beach (yes, its a real place) to capture these waves at sunset. The wind off the gulf whipped up some wave action that provided a little more drama than normal. Despite the blustery weather the conditions were good for a sunset. Waves look awesome when you are on the same level. In this case, my camera was slightly below which allowed me to catch the sun on the wave top. Grody to the max.
The beach was deserted yet there were a few diehards walking the shore. I think some people walk the shore no matter what the weather. I can understand that. If I lived here on the beach I’d probably do the same thing. How awesome would that be; can you imagine? In the summer you’re barefoot in shorts, in winter maybe you wear a coat, but so what, you’re by the water. Awesome possum.
Did you know orange and blue are complimentary colors? I’m not sure how that happened but mother nature seems to have it all worked out, especially at sunset near the ocean. I suppose that fires some ancient memory buried deep in our DNA, but for whatever reason it just works. So here’s a toast to ancient DNA and the awesomeness of Mother Nature’s color wheel.
This is from the rainy predawn hours of a winter day at Science World in Vancouver. It’s one of the more iconic buildings in the downtown core and at this hour seemed to me like something out of Blade Runner. Actually is wasn’t that early, only about 7:30 but the sun only shines for about four minutes in winter. That’s not true, but it feels like it.
I think that Canadians are a productive lot. With so much time to spend indoors they channel their energies into solving all kinds of problems. I think in general that’s true of countries with long dark winters. On the other hand, in places where it’s always warm, people seem less inclined to spend all that time indoors. Of course this is just a generalization and more than likely I’m wrong. There are a lot of productive people in India and it has a warm climate. Anyway…
Actually, this building is known as Telus Science World. Telus is one of the big phone companies in Canada. If you live in Canada or visit there, you will at once recognize Telus advertisements. They use all kinds of little furry cute exotic animals on posters and billboards. As an animal lover I like the ads and when I’m on a subway I spend a lot of time looking at them. I guess that means they work.
Here I’m standing on a hill at Emerson Point which is a preserve not far from home. The funny thing about it is this is the highest point around. Can you imagine living in a place where the ground rises no higher than a palm tree? Having grown up in California I can say it takes some getting used to. For one, I find it a little disorienting when I don’t have a mountain range for bearing. The only thing I have is the direction of the sun, but that only works when it’s low in the sky. When I get turned around I always repeat in my head, “The sun rises in the East”. I’m a modern day Daniel Boone.
These hills along the coast are referred to as dunes. They don’t look like dunes because they is typically only one by it self and covered with plants. Also, to me they seem to be made of dirt, nonetheless they are referred to by the park rangers as dunes. Perhaps they have a high concentration of sand.
So unless I stand on a dune, I don’t have a strong idea of what the land looks like. That probably adds to my challenges with orientation, but I’m getting better at it. I can always use the compass app on my iPhone, not to mention Google Maps. So as long as I have cell converge I’m good.
Here I’m facing south looking at a taxicab on Thurlow Street in Vancouver. This is where there are a lot of the towers of the financial district. It’s a section of town near the Marriott where I stay, you can see it to the right. For some reason this exact spot is a popular film location, it seems every time I come here a crew has setup shop with equipment trailers and catering vans; especially so on the weekends. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this spot in a car ad back in Florida; kind of cool, reminds me of LA in that regard.
All of the taxis in Vancouver are small hybrids like this red Prius. That’s an economical way to go however it might look a little strange if you’re coming from New York City. Also, the colors of the cabs are a mixture of different primary colors, so it takes a little more concentration as opposed to just scanning for a yellow car.
Are taxicabs a thing of the past? With Uber I wonder if cabs are going the way of the dinosaur. Vancouver seems to still have a lot and I’ve never tried using Uber here. Most large cities have regulations with respect to who can drop-off and pick-up at an airport so taxis will probably never go away for good. For me it’s more convenient to just wave down a cab, less guesswork involved, especially if I’m in a busy area. But outside of the central core of a city, Uber is the only way to go.
The sun rises on a new day on North River across the Manatee. The river is about a mile wide here but only goes upstream for about ten miles. The land of Florida acts as a large catch basin for the tropical rains. We don’t have long rivers as compared to other parts of the country, but they can carry a lot of water nonetheless. The water empties into the ocean and so where I’m standing rises and falls with the tide.
I took this with a wide angle lens because I wanted to show the expanse of the river, it’s nearly a mile wide here. This area is a bird sanctuary, which means a lot of migratory birds come here in the winter. At this spot there is a great Heron that can be seen every morning. I suppose they are territorial because he is always here. He’s quite skittish so when I show up for sunrise he usually flies away. But this is his spot all the same and sometimes I see him when I drive by on the bridge just behind where I’m standing here.
Whenever this section of the country gets a cold snap, we get a lot of birds that fly down from Georgia and the Carolinas. They’ll end up staying for only a week or so until it warms up and then head back north to their own home. I suppose the birds that live here full time might get their feathers ruffled with all the visitors, and of course, the short timers need to get back to their own territory. But in the meantime, this is the view all the birds and a few of us humans see, even if it’s not our territory.
These are houses in the old city center of Collioure. I am aiming up with the lens to get the colors and sky, but just below the field of view is a busy marketplace with all manner of shops. While my wife bought a locally made dress I walked around the square taking it all in. In the end we both left happy.
These houses remind me of California or even Florida. In warm climates homes are painted and colorful. In cold climates we make houses out of brick and the effect is completely different. Of course houses don’t look just like this in California, but the colors remind me of how varied they are when compared to the east coast of the US.
We had just finished having a drink at a cafe by the water and were meandering among the shops. I think the atmosphere of the place got to us because we lingered way too long. By the time we got back in the car we had many hours of driving to go. However I wouldn’t change a thing, in fact I plan to come back here and stay a little longer. These mediterranean costal villages are worlds unto themselves.
The Pacific Centre in Vancouver seems to be into the post holiday colors with a vengeance. There’s an enclosed bridge that goes over the street and it was all lit up in red. Add to that the reflections from the wet street and city lights and its too much for me to pass on. It looked like holiday lights but that was weeks before. I stood in the middle of traffic waiting for someone to cross the setting. Eventually someone did but by that time my camera and I were completely soaked. The things I do for a shot.
This was at the end of a mega-walk day, over 25000 steps according to my watch. But I was stoked nonetheless. By the time I got back to the hotel my camera started complaining and doing a funny things, I’m sure because it was so wet. I laid it down on the desk and went for dinner and by the time I got back it was fine. I suspect perhaps some moisture on the hot shoe. All in all I was pretty impressed that the SonyA7RII put up with the abuse I put it through this day.
I took a lot of photos from this spot, some I intentionally blurred. However this one was not blurred, I added the zoom effect in post production. I did that using both Photoshop and MacPhun Focus 2 Pro. For me the image is all about color and energy. The idea I had I’m my mind when I took this was a cacophony of colors all blurred together. The motion represents the energy of the city. This is just one of the many faces of Vancouver city life.
These people are on a brisk morning walk along the river a couple days ago. We don’t get a lot of cold days in winter, but when we do we wear sweatshirts and jackets that sit in the closet most of the year. Having endured the long hot seasons of Florida, you won’t hear me complain about a spell of chilly weather. Bring it on baby.
This is taken in Bradenton and that’s the Manatee River. It’s a half mile wide here and a couple miles downstream it empties into the Gulf. It’s not uncommon to see dolphins or manatees around here.
I live on the other side of the river in the little town of Palmetto. Locally the towns across the river are known as north river; simple enough eh?
I was walking my dog this morning as I took this image. He sits patiently as I crouch down to get this low angle and perspective of the brick walkway. I take my camera on many of our walks and he’s gotten used to my stopping at the oddest times. But come to think of it, this is probably the same view that he sees all the time. Hmmm, maybe I’m on to something.