State of Mind

From a photographic sense I love the summers here in Florida because we get storms during the day. That means in the evening the clouds break and we have sunsets with a lot of colors in the sky. For this shot I grabbed my camera and headed over to a nearby rest stop along the highway. I’ve taken many pictures from here but each one is different in some way. I love gradients in the sky like this. I guess you could say this is a remake of a previous photo, it’s new perspective on a familiar scene.

State of Mind
Photos for me represent a state of mind – this is the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay

The other day I wrote something to the effect that photographs are not so much from a place as a state of mind. Each time I go to the same place to take a photo I see and experience it differently. Even if some of the same objects are in the frame, the image reflects a completely different experience. And of course, the time of day, weather and lighting all contribute to that. But the main thing is that if I’m aware of these things, each time they will combine in a different way.

Photo of or around this bridge

When I’m aware of what’s around me then each moment is different and so this is not so much a picture of the bridge but a snapshot of a moment when I experienced this scene. That’s why photography for me is a state of mind. It’s not so much the location but the things I notice and see when I’m present in the moment. Whether it’s something truly new, or something I just noticed for the first time, each time is a new experience and a new image, even if it has some of the same old things.

Idea in My Mind

Last Saturday I walked around Vancouver in the evening. As the sun was low it cast a glow on the towers of Coal Harbour and reflected in the harbour. I’d been thinking of walking over to the west end to get more of a sunset photo but am glad I stayed on this side. When taking photos, I think it’s best to have an idea and then be flexible. You never know which way the wind blows.

Idea in my Mind
This shot of Vancouver reminds me of an idea in my mind, to look for light everywhere, not just where the sun sets.

I have this idea in my mind about photography. It goes like this: the best photography is not from a place but a state of mind. Here’s what I mean, iconic locations don’t make a photo, being observant regardless of where you are does. I’m beginning to think magic happens everywhere, not just in Iceland. No offense to Iceland, you’re still on my bucket list.

more Vancouver from the gallery

I travel a little; I was traveling when I took this. And I like iconic scenes as much as the next person. I’ll be there snapping away with everyone else at the Eiffel Tower. But I think the more I pay attention to light, shadow and placement in my own front yard, the more I see. Its fun to travel for photography, but not necessary. Anyway, that’s my latest theory, and since I spend a lot of time at home, I’m putting to the test.

Unforgiving

This is another image I took with my Sony 70-400mm G lens fully extended. I almost didn’t bring the lens on the trip because of its size and weight but I’m glad I did. It was key in getting perspectives I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Of course, having a tripod to mount it on was key.

Unforgiving
The unforgiving landscape of Alaska

The features of the landscapes like this are amazing and, for me, a little terrifying. The elements are entirely unforgiving. When I look at this my mind projects me onto the slopes and once there I consider my prospects dire. There is no easy way up or down and survival is anything but assured. I’m a problem solver by nature, but when I look at this there are no easy options.

portfolio

Why I do that in my head I don’t know. Why is it that when looking at images like this my heart races? Yet despite my reservations, if given a chance I would probably climb. I would be terrified and on life’s thin edge yet continue nonetheless. Perhaps that’s why I get terrified when I look at this, because I’m already working out the route and know that this mountain is in fact, unforgiving.

Reflection Study

I drive by this pond quite a lot and this morning I happen to have my camera. As I passed I thought to turn around and get a picture. I’ve taken this before but no two days are alike and indeed it came out quite different.

Reflection Study
A reflection study near my home in Palmetto

This is a continuation of a study of reflections I’ve been doing. The study is to capture or produce reflections to add interest to an image.

I never get tired of reflections. In some cases they can be more compelling from than their source, at the very least they enhance it. Reflections resonate with us for reasons we can only guess. Perhaps it is a hint to how we perceive world.

more reflections

I used another photo of clouds and combined it for the sky. This is an example of using textures to enhance the flat section of an image.

I’ll continue posting these them in the days and weeks ahead as I continue to explore both real and artificial reflections in my images.

Arc of the Sun

I took this in Venice Florida when I came down to take pictures at sunset. This is a fun place to visit and if you like photography you’ll appreciate it even more. I always leave with some great shots in my camera. Mind you, I take a lot of bad shots but that’s not the fault of the scenery.

Arc of the Sun
The arc of the sun is high Florida as opposed to Alaska where is is rather low.

In this case I used a telephoto lens fully extended at 240mm. When you extend a telephoto lens it has the effect of compressing distances. So in this case the sailboat and the sun are more or less equal actors in the scene.

Speaking of the sun, I just returned from Alaska and up there I noticed a big difference in how the sun looks. First, it has a low arc in the sky as opposed to Florida where the arc is high. Second, in Florida it’s dark about 45 minutes after sunset whereas Alaska seems to have perpetual dusk during summer, I┬ánever once saw it completely dark.

more sunset photos

Anyway, I always like it when I can include the sun in my photos. Something about it just amps up a scene.

Eldred Rock Lighthouse

The Eldred Rock Lighthouse is somewhere outside of Skagway Alaska. On our cruise I spent a lot of time on the balcony just watching the scenery and taking pictures of peaks and land features. For this I used a Sony 70-400mm G fully extended and mounted on a tripod. Thanks to image stabilization this was possible despite the vibrations of the ship.

Eldred Rock Lighthouse
Eldred Rock Lighthouse in Alaska

One of the best things we did was to bring a set of binoculars which helped in a couple of ways. First we could see things along the shore up close, but perhaps more important, they helped provide a sense of scale. In Alaska everything is so large you easily loose all sense of perspective. The landscape tricks you into thinking things are not so large on account of the immense spaces. Upon closer examination with the binoculars the impossible size of slopes, cliffs, waterfalls and peaks become apparent.

favorite photos from the gallery

Like anyone else I’ve seen Alaska in pictures and television yet was still surprised at what I saw. Images will never do justice to Alaska’s landscape. Nevertheless it’s still fun to take them if for no other reason than to remind myself of the experience.

Hundred Miles Away

The thing about the Pacific northwest is that you can look for hundreds of miles in any direction and only see wilderness. When was the last time you did that?

Hundred Miles Away
The mountains of the pacific northwest as viewed from a hundred miles away.

This is the coast of British Columbia a few hours out of port on the way to Alaska. I’m on a boat spending a lot of time watching the scenery.

Its like looking back in time to a planet we once had and still do in this remote corner. I am left with the sense that this is one of the few places left where the earth still breaths.

One of the first things that strikes me is the layers to the ranges, one ridge, then another and another into the distance. There are forest, lakes, wildlife and, very few humans, the climate and terrain ensure that.

landscapes from the gallery

The mountains along the pacific rim are just as majestic as any I’ve seen, only more remote and, since there is nothing to obstruct the view, I can see them for a hundred miles away.