Here is another simple image from inside Barcelona’s Casa Batlló. I love these irregular “organic” lines of the walls and molding that are found throughout the house, it’s as if the only rule they followed was there should be no right angles. Also, if you look closely you’ll notice the walls have a mosaic pattern reminiscent of scales.
This is more than a house, it’s a study in the blending of art and design to create a habitat. Imagine if all homes were built as works of art, it would be a much more interesting world don’t you think?
It seems whenever I’m taking photos near the water here in Florida, herons are never too far away. They’re skittish to be sure so you can’t just walk up to them and expect to get a picture. Having a telephoto lens helps a lot, with this shot I was back a ways and still able bring the bird up close. I’m not a wildlife photographer, but once in a while if the opportunity presents itself I’ll go for it. Real wildlife photographers have a lot of patience, and work long and hard to get a good image. In this case I positioned myself so the heron was framed by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and fired away.
While I was here a couple of serious or “real” wildlife photographers walked up. They had big heavy long lenses and tripods that looked like something I’d expect to see on an African safari. They were here taking photos of the birds including this one. They had serious looks on their faces to go with the equipment they were carrying. Anyway, I got my shot, nodded to them and left the bird in their expert care.
Even today, a couple of weeks after I took this shot, I was by the water again and another Heron landed right in front of me. Again I tried to work him into the shot from a good distance so as not to spook him. Not always do the shots work, but it never hurts to try. When I take photos I try to keep my eyes open for any happy coincidence that might happen. Sometimes it helps to add another element to the story, sometimes it might even become the main subject. Anyway, in this case it just seemed to work, thanks to buddy bird here.
Clay Gully is a little creek in Myakka State Park. One of the claims to fame here is the alligator population, this is a sanctuary for the Florida reptiles. I’ve been here at this exact spot during the rainy season when the banks were flooded and the alligators were not just in the water, but along the path. However when I took this a couple of days ago they were all the alligators where in the water, it was a little less nerve wracking than the last time.
The green vegetation is very much like a jungle. As I walked along the path I could hear all kinds of animal noises from within the trees. Of course it only gets louder at night when many of the nocturnal creatures come out.
Spring is a relatively dry season here, but as summer approaches we get the afternoon showers and storms that keep these waterways alive and vibrant. This creek is full of fish as it opens into Myakka Lake where Eagles, Hawks and Osprey can catch as many fish as they like. Often enough the eagles will wait until an Osprey catches a fish and then swoop in and steal it. One of the benefits of being at the top of the avian food chain I suppose.
I live next to this abandoned housing development, I can see it out my window. The development was abandoned before the houses could be built so there are roads and a harbour but nothing else. Sometimes I’ll head over to take photos, especially if the sky has nice clouds. This was early on a Sunday morning and its safe to say there was no one else in sight.
I’m always a little cautious when I come here since it’s basically a wild area save for the construction remnants. I’ve seen alligators in the creek and we found a fourteen foot snake skin on the fence. At night I’ve seen a fox and we hear the coyotes as well. Given the lack of human traffic here it’s likely I could startle a creature as I walk around, so just being aware of my surroundings and keeping my eyes open is probably a good idea.
Anyway, this is an HDR image that I processed in AuroraHDR Pro. The way you can tell is that I not only can we see the sun but the green color of the plants from the perspective of the camera. I combined five images (-3, -3,-1,0 and +1) to get the full dynamic range into the image. I didn’t have a lot of great composition choices so I just started playing around with the idea of the sunset from behind the weeds. I can’t tell you why but I like how it turned out. Maybe one day there will be a house right here and this is the view someone wakes up to each day, minus the weeds of course.
This is taken In Venice Florida at a jetty leading into the intercostal waterway. This is the South Jetty, the other side is the North Jetty. I’ve always gone to the North Jetty to take pictures, it’s a little hard to find but I know the way and it’s one of my favorite locations. I’ve always looked across to the South Jetty and wondered how to get here. I’ve tried a few times and always ended up in dead ends. So a couple of weeks ago I finally figured it out and I couldn’t be more embarrassed. It’s way easier to get to than the North Jetty, just drive through Venice, take a right, and you’re here.
How did we get ever along without a GPS. Does anyone read maps anymore? They still sell them but I think map reading is becoming a lost skill. Pretty soon we’ll just talk to our self driving cars and Siri will drive us. I could have said, “Hey Siri, drive me to the South Jetty” and I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have ended up in a dead end.
That day when Siri does the driving is coming soon. I think all the technology is in place and it’s now just a matter of the laws and regulations catching up. Our cell phones are extensions of ourselves, why not our cars? Hey Siri, drive me to the map store. I wonder if she knows what that is?
The Banff Spring Hotel in Alberta is one of the more amazing places I’ve stayed at. It was built to resemble a Scottish castle as it sits within the majestic landscape of the Canadian Rockies. The inside spares no detail and I spent hours walking the hallways taking pictures of the architecture.
We started in Jasper and drove down the Columbia Ice Fields Parkway which is probably the most scenic highway on the planet. Everything about this area is so beautiful that you gladly forget the world you came from, at least I did. I am glad I took a ton of pictures to remind me of that trip. I’ve been itching to go back ever since.
This is a tricky image produce. The hallways were basically dark except for the lamps along the way. I ended up combining five different exposures in AuroraHDR Pro to bring out all of the shadows without blowing out the highlights. I then processed in Tonality Pro for monochrome and then back in AuroraHDR for some finishing touches like radiance and glow. I never know how the image will turn out and I ended up doing about three versions, in the end I preferred the monochrome. It seems to be a good balance of all the detailed aspects of thus scene. Now with all that behind me, time to start thinking about a plan to come back here.
I live in an urban area so landscape photos require a little driving. In the afternoon I watch the clouds and if I think they’ll be favorable for a good sunset I may get in my car in time to drive to a location. However when aIl else fails and I only have five or ten minutes, this is where I go. It’s a little park by the water about two blocks from home. This is my go to location for emergency close-to-home sunsets.
Landscape photography gets me out and allows be to experience some beautiful settings. When I do, it becomes addictive, I want more. And in a way it allows good things to fill my head. Of all the things that can fill my head, I could do worse than scenes like this.
The days are getting longer now and sunsets are happening later and later. That makes it easier for me to get my act together for golden hour.
I’m lucky that I live in Florida, there are a lot of scenes like this that include the sky and water. Nonetheless, I think it’s important to be practiced at images close to home. I repeat a lot of local locations and each time I improve a little. Then when I travel I bring all that experience which helps tremendously with all kinds of situations that come up. Moral of the story? Practicing landscapes is kind of like tasting a good wine, the more you do the better you feel.
This is an image I took on my first day in New Zealand about two years ago. As you can see from the colors it was autumn in the southern hemisphere. If I recall I was so happy to see all the fall colors that I quickly processed the photo and posted it a few hours later.
Now when I look back on that image I realize my tastes have changed. That’s a nice way of saying the other picture makes my eyes bleed. The colors of the original are amped up quite a bit and appear too bright and unrealistic.
And so as I was looking at some of my old photos the other day and I thought to myself, why don’t I reprocess this? Since I have the original RAW files I did, only his time I used different tools and techniques I’ve acquired over the years.
This is a three image HDR that I originally combined in Photomatix Pro, this time in AuroraHDR Pro. Last time I wanted the colors to blast so I oversaturated them, this time I wanted it to be a little more realistic. I think both versions have their pros and cons, (I’m being kind again). The old image looks pretty good as a thumbnail or on a phone, this one looks better on a large screen or print.
Each image has its place, but as I continue to evolve as a photographer and artist my taste change and so do my techniques. This is just another example of that. I plan on reprocessing a few more from that trip so stay tuned.
This is one of two bridges that connects Bradenton to Palmetto. I live in Palmetto which is a small town so I take a lot of photos of, on and around these bridges. Bridges are a persistent theme with me as I’m sure you already know. To get these long exposures at night I use a tripod to hold the camera steady while the cars drive past creating long ribbons of light. In this case it was a thirteen-second exposure. Normally I’m freezing an instant of time however in this case thirteen-seconds. Freezing time is a funny concept, but don’t think too deeply about it, I wasn’t really going anywhere.
Back to the bridge, I said there was two bridges, but this was taken from a third bridge. It was the original bridge that crossed the river and was built maybe a hundred years ago, it now serves as a fishing pier. What’s left of this original bridge stretches about a half mile into the river so it allows this close perspective which might have required a boat.
Urban landscapes are interesting to me, especially when I can portray a simplified scene like this. Shooting at night helps remove some of the distractions, processing in monochrome simplifies it even more. I also like how the pilings are a repeating pattern below the lit surface. There is some kind of message of strength in there I think, maybe. Again, let’s not get too deep, this is a small town and this is a simple bridge. End of story.
In the center of downtown Vancouver is an Ice rink at Robson Square. At night it’s an awesome place to hang out, there are food trucks all over and people come to shop, eat and just have fun. The lights on the rink are constantly changing colors so even if you don’t skate its pretty cool just to look at. Of course if you really want to see skating you should head over to the arena a few blocks away to watch the Canucks on home ice, but I digress.
Actually, regarding that, I just thought of something. Everyone knows how much Canadians love hockey. But if you want to see the local NHL team play on home ice it could cost you an arm and a leg and, they’re usually sold out. Canadians are serious about hockey, everybody knows that. The cheaper option is to come downtown and watch the game at a bar or, …something a little less obvious. I live in Tampa which is home of the Lightning, another NHL team. People like hockey down here also but not nearly as much as Canadians. So, if you’re a Canadian and you come to Florida you can get a ticket to see your team playing an away game for about twenty-five bucks. Big difference, eh?
A few Canadians I’ve talked to down here always make it a point to go to a game when they come down, they can’t believe how cheap it is. One guy told me it’s almost worth it for him to catch a cheap flight to Tampa to watch his own team.
I think this digression has completed its course, we started at a skate rink in Canada and ended up in Florida. The moral of the story is that if you like watching people skate, it might be cheaper to just go downtown to Robson Square, otherwise you might end up in Florida.