I read somewhere that (I’m paraphrasing) photography teaches us to see things without a camera. I think that’s true because I’m always looking up in the sky at the clouds or looking around for interesting sights. On this morning while walking the dog I noticed the early light on the bridge, the reflection in the water and the clouds that looked like a painting. While there were other people walking nearby, I might have been the only person to notice all these at once.
There was nothing special about the morning I took this, a typical morning by all accounts. Yet I’m always looking for compositions even when I’m not taking photos. It’s the practice of being present in the moment. I don’t always succeed, but more and more I’m in the habit of being aware.
Also, just showing up at a location is half the battle. Not always but usually I can find a composition. It really depends but the more I try the more it happens.
Another thing I’ve read is that as a photographer you should be well practiced in your own neighborhood. That forces me to push and see everyday sights with new eyes.
Anyway, all of these things together and this is what my new eyes picked up while walking the dog.
I think the reason I gravitate to these types of images has to do with an idea. I imagine an ethereal world that coexists with the one we’re in. If more than one radio frequency can exist in the same place, perhaps it applies to other things as well. Images like this are like focusing an imaginary lens on a world nearly adjacent to our own. The image has parts of this world and parts in the next, a peek through the veil.
When I took this I was on approach to the ferry pier at Fort DeSoto Park. I sat at the front of the boat as we returned from Egmont Key. My idea was to capture the pier from the perspective of the water, yet I wasn’t quite satisfied with the result. That’s when my right brain took over and I imagined a world just out of vision yet overlapping with this.
I suppose another reason I gravitate towards images like this is the theme of simplicity. I’ve been posting about that recently. Living in a complex world I long for simplicity, so when I let go of critical thinking for a moment I gravitate to a more relaxed place. In that world the water is smoother and the clouds flowing. It’s a world that surely exists my mind, and for all I know, beyond that.
A snapshot of a moment in time from Montpellier France. Even in the middle of a city I look for water or glass and the reflections in it. This is part of an ancient Roman aqueduct. As I noticed the reflections in the pool I positioned myself and waited for the right moment.
I’m drawn to reflections in images and am always on the lookout for them. They can be metaphors for so many things, even life in general. When I see a reflection it immediately grabs my attention and sometimes I find it more interesting than its source. At a psychological level reflections are rich with meaning and fuel for interpretation.
Perhaps at the very core of it, many things in life are derived from reflections of ourselves. I attach meaning to things based on my own values and life experiences. What I think about things is a reflection of me.
This is from a couple of years ago in Vancouver. Normally when I stay in a big city the hotel looks out at the back of other buildings, but this time I lucked out. The room was thirty floors up and facing west so I could watch the sunset in the evening.
Getting access to a high vantage point in a big city is a big plus. Its a perspective I always find fascinating because of all the little details. Its a little like having a window seat on an airplane and watching the ground as you gain altitude, it’s all looks so different.
Nowadays drones provide these kinds of perspectives, at least they used to. Most cities restrict drone flights for number of reasons so short of that, getting access to a high floor is still the way to go. One of my favorite things to do is go the observation decks of well known buildings; Hancock in Chicago, Empire State in New York and the CN Tower in Toronto. But on this occasion all I had to do was open the curtains to my room.
The other morning I came here to the public pier. This is one of the best places on Anna Maria Island to start the day. There are three types of people that show up for sunrise; fishermen, photographers and early risers. Well, I guess the first two could be called early risers too, but that last group not are not here for any other reason than to watch the sunrise. What do we call them, sun worshippers?
Regardless, it’s not all that crowded. Later in the day it gets a lot more visitors because this is one of the main attractions in the area, a laid back place to pass the time.
This is a long exposure of fifteen-seconds using a tripod. In fact I used a neutral density filter as well. That’s a filter that blocks the light so the exposure takes more time. The result is the appearance of no waves in the water. I like this technique along the water and I find it works best when the light is low already. At night or before dawn the filter isn’t necessary, but as soon as the sun comes up it’s hard to get an exposure for more than a second or two, thats why I use the filter. Its a little like sunblock for the camera.