Château des Baux de Provence is a medieval structure overlooking a valley of farms and vineyards. There is a lot to take in from the scenery to the village and all it contains. This is only halfway up the hill, the fortress and ancient armaments are further up on the left.
For whatever reason I had a lot of energy and limited time. I climbed past this and further up to the very highest tower of the castle ramparts. It was an amazing climb with some sections of the path resembling a ladder. A little winded and heated I was glad for the cool breeze at the very top. I could see for miles in all directions and took a bunch of photos. I then began the climb back down. As I entered the village about halfway down it was warm and people were walking around with ice cream cones. I almost stopped for one but continued down back to the car where my friends were patiently waiting.
There really is no such thing as time when I’m taking photos. It’s wonderful for me but maybe not so much if I’m with others. I suppose that’s true about most artistic pursuits. Time melts away and the moment is like a bubble. Fortunate for my friends the bubble popped and I showed up in just enough time for the next adventure.
This sunrise view is from the roof of the Grand Hotel Central Barcelona. I found the hotel somewhat last minute on hotels.com. What caught my eye was the rooftop bar and infinity pool. It’s an amazing hotel located in the gothic quarter of the city within walking distance of nearly everything. For me the best part is this rooftop view in the morning. Later in the evening we would sit here with a plate of Tapas and glass of Sangria watching the lights of the city. Not a bad way to spend a few days.
I took this with the camera just above the water so that it takes up half of the frame. I’m not sure what that big building is, though everyone else in Barcelona surely does. That’s because there are only a few tall buildings in the city. If I recall this pool was on the 10th floor of the hotel. At that height you can see over most of the rooftops of Barcelona. So much of the population of the central city live in apartment buildings that are no higher than about eight floors. Of course that’s a lot of living space regardless.
When I walked around this part of town I was impressed by the eclectic combination of apartments mixed with gothic cathedrals mixed with shops mixed with dabs modern architecture here and there. Everything is close together in neighborhoods that feel distinctly local and reflect values of the residents. At least that was my impression looking at it as an outsider.
I remember taking this because it was on my birthday last December. The conditions looked good and I thought, hey I can do whatever I want today so I headed out and caught this amazing display. Not a bad present.
We get these sunsets quite a bit, the trick is knowing when to show up. Of course there’s an app for that, it’s called Sky Fire at http://www.skyfireapp.com. Basically it looks at the atmospheric conditions near you and produces a probability of a good sunset or sunrise. I’ve used it once or twice and it works about seventy percent of the time. Close to home I’ve learned to read the sky but my own success rate is only about fifty percent. On the road it’s a good tool to have especial if you are not familiar with the conditions.
I like living near the water as its become a central theme in many of my landscape images. Most of our planet is covered in water and I think I heard or read somewhere that there is more water below the earths surface than all the oceans. That’s mind boggling if it’s true. Nonetheless water in an image is a strong element that resonates with me at some level. Maybe its because our bodies are mostly water and there is some elemental attraction. You never know.
The Victoria’s Secret store in Vancouver has these big billowy pink satin windows. Because I’m using a Sony A7R2, I cranked up the ISO to 10000 and still was able to handhold street shots like this. I was shooting in aperture priority and this image ended up having a shutter speed of 1/1000. That’s impressive when you think about the opportunities it opens up for low light street photography. I like doing street photography, but doing it at night is like another world.
I am not so bold when taking pictures of people on the street, I’m really quite furtive and do my best to not attract attention. In a busy area a person with a camera does not stand out. Having the technology that allows me too be quick at night is an advantage over what was even possible a few years ago.
This was taken with a telephoto at 31mm, so I was fairly close, just at the edge of the sidewalk where people were walking in front of the window. In the last few months a few prime lenses have become available that allow wide open apertures which come in handy for scenes like this. I take a prime, but I find that when I have a zoom I use it more. I should just try leaving the big boy at home and using just the prime for a few days.
Wreck Beach is in Vancouver at the bottom a set of cliffs. To get here you have to walk down about 500 stairs. I recently mentioned I had been here and was informed that this is a clothing optional beach. I had no idea because I was here in January and clothing was anything but optional. Maybe next time. Just to be clear, these people are not naked.
If you’ve followed my work you know that I experiment with blurred images from time to time. The idea is that when we are not given all of the information, our imaginations fill in the void. Very much like radio, what we don’t see we imagine. This scene is an impression of walking along the shore in the afternoon of a winter day, at least that’s my impression.
I’ve heard it said that due to the age we live in we may be loosing our ability to think critically and concentrate on any one thing for very long. I wonder if exercising our imagination might be one answer to that. It seems to me the more time we spend building constructs in our minds the more we develop perspective that is unique and durable. I’m no psychologist but I like to think about these ideas. When my mind is freed from details I fill in the void with musings like this. In any case, this image one part hint and two parts imagination. On that note you may take it away from there.
Here is another shot from the evening I walked around in the Ribera district of Barcelona. This is in front of a small restaurant called Bastiax which is just opposite the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar. I didn’t eat here but I made a mental note to come back and try it out. I just looked it up on Google and the ratings are pretty good, here’s the link: https://goo.gl/Hp8qdH
In fact I began touring the area with Google maps and there are a lot of highly rated eateries around here. That was my impression when I was here but this just confirms that I’m not the only one. I may have to pop back over for a few days to hang around this area and get another infusion of the Barcelona atmosphere soon.
This was late on a Thursday night and it seems the area really gets going after about 10pm. There are ancient street lights and torches which together with the narrow streets gives the place a feel you can only find in Europe. There were people walking, musicians playing and generally just a good feeling permeated the whole area. That could just have been me but I think it too was felt by everyone around.
Lido Beach is at the southern end of Lido Key in Sarasota. This is more of a dreamscape that I made from a normal photograph, all the elements are real, the beach, light in the sky, sand and the couple. I just blurred everything a little to give it an ethereal quality which most approximates the feeling I get when I’m actually here at sunset. This is a typical Friday night at the beach, with nothing more to do than soak it in.
As I write this its spring break in Florida and most people equate that with rowdy crowds on the beach. There is another type of crowd found here in the more secluded beaches of Sarasota. Secluded is a relative term in the sense that if you compare this area to Clearwater or Ft Lauderdale it is downright quiet.
For whatever reason there was a bit of a chill in the air this day, not enough to wear a jacket, but enough to wrap in a towel while watching the sun go down. That was a week ago and now the temps are back up and the only thing with a chill is the ice in my glass; that’s an attempt at some worn-out Florida humor. But there’s a bit of truth to it especially as winter recedes and ice is a hot commodity. That’s doesn’t sound right either.
This is the ancient village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert in southern France. Walking the cobblestone streets I was stuck by how old everything was, yet the people living here seemed quite normal. That sounds ignorant of me, but it’s hard to imagine this setting in the modern world, yet here it is and people live their lives here, one foot in today and another in yesterday. A paradox of sorts I suppose.
For instance some people have satellite dishes and iPhones and MacBookPros. Yet the door to their home could be three-hundred years old. I saw a doctor riding through the streets on a motorcycle making a house call. I saw chickens in a coup, there were children in school on a treasure hunt; all normal things for sure. It’s a product of having been raised in North America, where the entire country is younger than the doorframe to one of these homes.
Maybe our modern cities will look like this in three hundred years from now. Not likely, our homes are not made to last longer than fifty years or so. But this is what happens when you build structures to last, you create a link to the past that people like me can stumble upon and end up wondering about the intermingling of centuries. Your thought for the day.
This is a I275 rest stop near Tampa just before the Skyway bridge. Its one of the most scenic highway stops in the state, especially at sunset. Truckers know this well as I see them all lined on break with this scene out their windscreens. Moments like this, especially at dusk, have me longing for the open road; next life perhaps.
In this life I’m a software architect by day and a photographer by night. It keeps me home yet longing for the road. I spend more time pining for a journey than the comfort of home. If I was a trucker it would be the opposite, longing for home on long lonely highways. The best solution for me is to live in the moment, be thankful for what I have. I am thankful for what I have, but in my next life, …
Speaking of the next life, if you could choose to come back as an animal, what would it be? I have so many ideas it would be hard to choose. Living here in Florida I’d want to be an Eagle or Osprey, I like the thought of flying high and surveying the landscape, although I’m not sure about eating my prey while it’s still alive. Another idea; my own pet dog, his name is Wiggles, he gets a tonne of love and has a good life. But he is a rescue, and I wouldn’t want to go through the abuse he did before we got him. On second thought, I guess I’m happy just being me for now.
This is a long exposure of the San Francisco Bay Bridge I took last year. I was with about three hundred people on a Trey Ratcliff photowalk. The problem with me and photowalks is that I’m a straggler. I see so many things that I want to take pictures of that I end up at the back of the pack, I can’t seem to keep up.
This is one of many thirty-second exposures I did while standing here with a tripod. If you do the math that puts me in this spot for about ten minutes. By the time I had enough presence of mind to look up the end of the pack was hundreds of yards down the road. Time to run.
Now, many months later, I just happened to look at this and remember that evening. I met many people and had a blast. Also I just noticed the V-shaped light in the distance between the two leading lines. I don’t recall seeing it that night. Anyway, now this is one of my favorite shots from the photowalk.