Acorn of Time

This is a panorama of Vancouver’s Coal Harbour. I took this from Stanley Park one night and I wasn’t alone. Not only is this a popular spot for photography, Vancouver has a lot of photographers. There were several other photographers out with their tripods composing their shots of this great city.

Acorn of Time
This image of Vancouver is like an acorn of time, it’s fun to go back and examine the details later.

In this case I used three vertical eight-second exposures that I stitched together. I enjoy making panoramas with a full frame camera because of the amount of detail in the image. Whenever I print these I marvel at the smallest details.

Vancouver from the gallery

One reason photography is so fun for me is because I get to go back and look at a scene in quiet contemplation. At the time there may be a lot going on and it’s easy to miss things. But I tend to see more things later when looking at images. I’m like a chipmunk gathering acorns of time, holding them and then enjoying them later.

Anyway, I almost didn’t take this photo because it’s been done so many times before. But I’m glad I did, if for no other reason than I get to go back and enjoy the scene now.

Skyway Rainbow

A couple of weeks ago after some afternoon rain I drove up to Fort DeSoto Park to take photos. As I looked back I noticed this rainbow over the bridge. From where I stood it appeared to span about 8 miles from one side of the Sunshine Skyway to the other. To get this photo I took four vertical images, from left to right and stitched them together to form a panorama.

Skyway Rainbow
A Sunshine Skyway Rainbow in Tampa Florida

I have mixed feelings about this image. On the one hand the placement of the rainbow over the bridge is nice and if you look close there’s even a double rainbow. If I didn’t know better I might think it was photoshopped. On the other hand the scene lacks drama. That aside I decided to keep it as is, an image of a rainbow over the bridge without much drama.

other skyway photos from the gallery

With some images I take a lot of pains to simplify them in post production. I feel it’s important to not have distractions in an image. This one however needed none of that, just water, sky, bridge and a rainbow. Sometimes images like this just demand to left alone because they have a voice all their own. In this case I suppose I have to agree with that.

Morning Ritual

First thing in the morning the water here is like glass. This is Benderson Park, an international rowing venue and I came here on Saturday hoping to find some athletes on the water. Save for the early morning joggers the place was deserted. That presented different opportunities on account of the clouds in the sky so I went with plan B.

Morning Ritual
I went about my morning ritual as I captured the sunrise at Benderson Park in Sarasota

Early mornings are not easy for me. I do get up and go out sometimes, but I can be a little grumpy; it’s a good thing I’m usually alone. It reminds me a little of my morning workouts. I, and about 20 others, show up at the gym several times a week for a bootcamp-style workout. Several of us are less than chatty at 6AM. However by the end of the workout we’re all smiles and high-fives.

That’s how I am with sunrise photography. I leave the house in my car fighting the urge to turn back. I’ll get a coffee at Duncan Donuts and proceed to a location. Once there I’ll look around and take a few shots. Maybe they’re not so great and again I begin to doubt the effort.

Sarasota County Images

But, if I stick with it and put one foot in front of the other, something might catch my eye, perhaps the light changes. Before you know it I am fully engaged in composition and capturing the light. Thirty minutes later I’m in the zone ready for more.

And that, in a nutshell, is my morning ritual.

Drifting Off

This was taken off the coast of British Columbia a couple hours out of Vancouver. I was on an Alaskan cruise and spending time on the balcony watching the scenery and drifting off. Its like soothing scenery overload. It puts you in a relaxed state of mind and before you know it, La-La land.

Drifting Off
Drifting off along the coast of British Columbia

Actually it was probably more a reaction to the massage. As we boarded in Vancouver the spa personnel were out offering first day discounts on massages. Having a sore back I jumped at it. After that I headed back to the room and sat on the balcony alternately snapping pictures of the coast and falling asleep. A good way to start the week.

full gallery

Many of us lead hectic lives and when we slow down our bodies use the opportunity to recharge. I wish I could do that more often, but then maybe I can on weekends or a little every day. In any case it was good to get away, watch the scenery go by and not think about a thing.

Mountain Tunnel

This is on the White Pass and Yukon Route railway outside Skagway. If you ever get a chance to visit this part of Alaska I recommend an excursion on the White Pass. It winds its way up a mountain range from the sea with spectacular scenery at every turn.

Mountain Tunnel
A mountain tunnel on the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad in Alaska

The best part for me is that each car has an outside platform where I could stand and take photos. I hardly sat in my seat the entire three hours. On the way up we were in the first car behind the engine. When reached the pass at the top of the mountain we pulled onto a siding where the engine relocated to the other end of the train. Now heading down the mountain I had an unobstructed view out the back of the train. This was one of a couple of tunnels high up the mountain.

Travel photos from the gallery

There’s nothing quite like traveling through a tunnel on a train. This one is near the top of the mountain so when you come out the other end there are amazing vistas. As we were on the last car I shot this looking back as the entrance receded into darkness. In the next moment we came out along a high slope where we could see dozens of miles out to the sea below. Put this one on your list of things you must do.

Pokemon Scene

This scene is a panorama from four images I shot handheld in Bradenton last night. Because I’d been away in Alaska it’s been a few weeks since I was here. So camera in one hand and dog leash in the other I proceeded down the riverwalk just before dusk. What I wasn’t expecting was the number of people out milling around, there were hundreds, much more than usual. In two words, Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Scene
This was the scene as people played Pokemon Go at Bradenton’s Riverwalk.

It was an unusual sight, I’ve never seen anything like it. I felt like I was in some sci-fi flick were everyone was connect to a central brain and I was watching from the outside. But, as I observed, people were talking, walking from place to place, and generally having fun. I thought to myself that these people would otherwise be at home watching TV yet they are out on the riverwalk in the evening.

 More night photography

When I stopped to take this picture, several others noticed what I was doing and turned around to take similar photos. They couldn’t have done that sitting at home. Maybe because of the game a bunch of folks got outside, mingled, and had a chance to see some things they don’t normally see. If it takes a game to do that then hey, why not?

Summer Evening

I noticed someone sitting on a rock at dusk in the warm summer air. I took this last week when I went to Fort DeSoto Park in St Petersburg. I can never get enough of this place, no matter how many times I come back I always find something to take pictures of. That’s partly because I live in an urban area and I seek out places with open spaces; this is one along the water.

Summer Evening
Summer evening in St Petersburg Florida

This time of year we get clouds every evening on account of the afternoon storms. It seems the more severe the thunderstorm the better the clouds afterwards. Even if I don’t have anything to take pictures of I could just focus on the clouds and the colors at dusk.

Images of solitude

When I took this I was standing next to the fishing pier about 50 yards away. It was dark enough that I couldn’t see the person sitting on the rock. That’s a testament to the Sony sensor in the A7RII camera that I use. I can take pictures of something I can’t actually see with my eyes and then bring it to light with post processing. That’s incredible and opens up all kinds of opportunities for photography. I’ve mentioned this before but I keep being amazed at the camera nonetheless.

All that aside, the weekend is coming and I’m looking forward to more thunderstorms, the bigger the better.

White Pass Summit

If you visit Alaska perhaps one the places you will see is Skagway. The biggest employer in that town is the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. It winds from the sea port up the mountains into British Columbia. If you like trains then add this to your list because not only is the scenery spectacular there’s a lot of history preserved in these trains and the rail museum in town.

White Pass Summit
White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad in Alaska

We took an excursion up to the top of the pass which takes about an hour-and-a-half one-way. On the way up we were in the first car behind the engine but on the way back the engine reattached to the other end and we were at the rear. That afforded me the chance to stand out the back and capture this other train as we entered the main track from a siding.

favorites from the gallery

This is a popular attraction and for good reason. When we booked the trip there were no more standard tickets so we booked the first class parlor car. Boy, that was nice, we had soft cushioned seats, an attendant and all the food and drink we wanted. However I couldn’t manage to sit still, I preferred to stand on the outside platform taking picture most of the way. When we finally got back to lower elevations I came back in the coach to find everyone asleep in their comfortable chairs. That was pretty funny, but I’m still glad I stood outside and enjoyed the scenery from the cheap seats, even if I did pay for a comfy chair inside.

Waves and Sunsets

This is a typical scene from the South Jetty in Venice Florida. People showing up to watch the sun go down is a Florida pastime. It’s a natural thing to do especially if you come visit from somewhere else. Most people in Florida are from somewhere else, even if they live here. Florida is one of those places where people are migrating to.

Waves and Sunsets
Waves and sunsets are common on Florida’s west coast

As for myself, I was born and raised in California. It used to be that everyone relocated to California from somewhere else. I was born there and relocated in the other direction. But California is a beautiful state to visit, I love going back and as a photographer I see so much more than I did growing up.

sunset photos

Other than the sound of the waves and the sunsets there is not much resemblance between California and Florida, they both have their own unique beauty. But waves and sunsets are a good thing to have in common.

Cedar Top Beer

I did a short hike through the Tongass National Park in Ketchikan Alaska. Despite the northern latitude this is a rain forest and Ketchikan receives the second highest amount of rainfall in the world, second only to the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. It goes without saying that the predominant color was green in all directions.

Cedar Top Beer
Cedar Top Beer is made from tops of cedars in Ketchikan Alaska

In fact it was raining during the hike, a light pleasant rain, however it was warm at the same time so a light poncho was all I needed. Tongass is the largest national forest in the US and I saw only a sliver of it.

These cedars are used for a lot of different things including the making of musical instruments. They are also used in the brewing of Cedar Top beer up in Skagway. Don’t bother looking it up (I just tried), it’s a local brew only. I know this because on advice of a guide I tried it at a bar in Skagway. It took a pint to get used to the flavor and after that it was smooth sailing on pint two.

Landscapes from the Gallery

Beer aside, I stopped on the trail when I came to a clearing and took this image. It just seemed kind of mystical with the low clouds over the mountainous terrain. And of course I was wondering how they got those cedar tops into the beer.