Manatee Memorial Hospital

This is the Manatee Memorial Hospital which is across the river from my home. I don’t normally take pictures of hospitals but this perspective across the water was hard to pass up. Reflections make anything look good, it could be a Walmart and if it was reflected in the water I’d probably take a picture of it.

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Manatee Memorial Hospital
Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton Florida

I am fortunate to live so close to a hospital, you never know when it will come in handy. Its come in handy a few times for family and neighbors since I moved here. My wife stayed here once and every now and then we would hear a lullaby over the speakers. Its what they do whenever a baby is born.  As I write this it’s just before New Years and they’ll play it again for the first baby of 2017.  I imagine it will draw applause.

Did you know the police tend to spend a lot of time at hospitals? There are many reasons but one is that sometimes people get injured as they try to flee. It seems every time I drive by there are patrol cars parked near the emergency entrance.

long exposure images from the gallery

It’s no wonder that police will often marry nurses. They meet in the line of work and it goes from there. They both work in public service so they have that in common as well.

I think its fair to say that hospitals, and the people that work in them have seen just about everything. I hope I don’t ever need to come here, but if I do I know I’ll be in good hands, and not far from home.

Redington Shores

This is from a few days ago in Redington Shores, a beach community south of Clearwater. People were out strolling along the beach at sunset. The water was cold to the touch but still some were swimming or smashing about nonetheless.

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Redington Shores
Redington Shores along the beach

I was visiting a friend who lives in a condo overlooking the gulf. The view of the beach at sunset is indescribable.

The last time I visited it was at the end of summer and an afternoon storm blew in. However not it’s winter and the water is calm, almost without waves. During that storm the waves were much higher and sand was deposited in to the pools of the condominiums.

Summer is like winter in Florida, and winter is like summer with the mild weather.

beach gallery

Now that the holidays are almost over, the snowbirds start to reappear. Southbound traffic on the interstate is full of cars, trailers and motorhomes as they make the yearly migration. This is good for the local economy. It’s also a time for people watching. You can’t help notice the relief of leaving the cold behind.

A’DAM Lookout

This is a three minute exposure of the EYE Filmmuseum and A’DAM Lookout. Below the lookout is a giant sign that says “I amsterdam”. The lookout is one of the few places in the city you can get high enough to see everything. It has a lounge below the observation deck so can view and remain cozy inside. I took this just after arriving from Florida wasn’t used to the cool air. I tend to block out the weather when I’m taking pictures. I stayed out for two or three hours before going back to the hotel. I needed of a hot bath to warmup. After that I was fine.

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A’DAM Lookout
A’DAM Lookout in Amsterdam

This is on a river and there is a constant stream of boats passing this spot. You can see traces of their lights as trails across the frame.

At the time I took this I didn’t know how to get across to the other side. I asked someone and turns out it was easy. Just hop on the ferry. There is no cost and it takes only a few minutes.

more night images

The tower is a tourist attraction. At the top is “Europe’s Highest Swing”. For a fee you can swing out over the edge of the building. Attractions are good if you’re new to an area. They help establish bearings. As I continued to explore the city, I could usually orient myself if I saw the A’DAM Lookout. And then before you know it I was walking around like I knew where I was, and relative to tourist attraction, I kinda did.

Fountain at Butchart Gardens

This is a dancing fountain at Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC. The gardens are carved out of an old quarry and have become a big attraction for the region. I’m not a gardener but this place was way better than I expected. I will go back without hesitation next time I’m there.

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Fountain at Butchart Gardens
Fountain at Butchart Gardens in Victoria British Columbia

It’s hard to imagine the amount of work that goes into maintaining such an expansive display. There are favorites like roses as well as exotic species I’d never seen. There are streams, brooks and ponds throughout. As well there is an outdoor venue for concerts.

It’s the kind of place you want to take a couple of days to explore, or maybe more if you’re interested in plants or gardening. If I lived here I could see visiting on a regular basis for no other reason than to soak up the energy. If plants have feelings then those here are very happy and being around happy plants might not be a bad idea.

more landscape images

There’s too much to take in all at once, though I tried. I took hundreds of pictures of flowers as well as the landscape. This fountain was towards the back. I recall thinking there couldn’t possibly be more to see and then came upon this.

Where the Land Ends

If you drive west in San Francisco you eventually end up where the land ends. Appropriately name Lands End is a required stop when I’m here. On Monday I had a red-eye back flight home and so that afforded me the perfect opportunity to spend a couple of hours here before heading to the airport. I am so glad I did.

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Where the Land Ends
Where the Land Ends – Lands End San Francisco

Staying in the heart of the city its easy to get disconnected from nature and the beauty that surrounds this part of California. I was feeling a little bit of that when I arrived. But as soon as I parked the hum of the city fell away and I was in a different world. Standing along the shore whales could be seen at the mouth of the bay, a common occurrence.

I almost didn’t recognize the scene because last time I was here you could walk out to the rock on the left. The tide had transformed the shore. Also I don’t remember the green covering on all the rocks, perhaps that’s seasonal. In any case, it goes to show that new things appear each time you revisit a location like this, especially when mother nature is involved.

seascape images

I took a tonne of photos and when I was done the sun had set and the sky turned dark. The city was completely washed away from my mind. Next stop the airport and the flight home.

Heartbeat of a City

This is the heartbeat of a city at dusk. I left San Francisco a few days ago. And supposing I did leave my heart in San Francisco then this would be a recording of its beat.

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Heartbeat of a City
Heartbeat of a City, San Francisco skyline reimagined

I showed up at Treasure Island just after sunset to capture images of the city. To be sure there are dozens of people here everyday snapping photos with their phones, camera and drones. I’ve been here before which is how I knew about it. The location is perhaps the best spot to watch the city at dusk. I remained here for a couple of hours taking photos, each slightly different in some way.

The next day I got up and walked to the SF MOMA to view the photography exhibits. That got me feeling a little creative and so I imagined this perspective of a familiar sight. A sound wave, a heartbeat, the skyline reimagined.

California Images

San Francisco is changing pretty quickly. It’s been over a year since I was here and in that time the skyline has changed. The next time I’m back it will change again. 
Those cranes on the left are unbelievably high up. Earlier this day I was stopped at a red light next to the tallest building. I looked up at the cranes in awe at how high up they were. Apparently I lost track of time because the light turned green and the cars behind me started honking. I abruptly came out of my reverie and just made the light. That left the honkers behind me stopped for another round of reds. I think they may have been seeing quite a bit of red at that point. But for a guy from small-town Florida where there is not much higher than a palm tree, it was well worth it, even if I did make a little bad micro-karma.

Midnight Along the Canals

I took this while walking after midnight along the canals of Amsterdam. There aren’t many places in the world I feel safe walking late at night, but this city is one. Maybe I am naive, but it’s a good sign when you see all manner of people out walking at the same late hour, as though it was a perfectly normal thing to do. As I write this I am returning from a major American city where I spent a few days. To be honest I would not walk alone at night in that city. But Amsterdam is different in many ways.

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Midnight on the Canals
Midnight Along the Canals of Amsterdam

I was discussing this with a friend recently and we were trying to put our finger on the essence of European cities like this. His take was, and this is a generalization, that Europeans tend to be more mature about things. I’m not sure about that but I’m willing to consider it.

Generalization break down as soon as you look at individuals, but at a macro level you notice differences. Maybe it also has to do with countries that are smaller and have a greater sense of altruism on a national level.

urban exploration

Smarter people than me will have a better explanation, but it’s something I think about. And more than that it’s something I’m grateful for as I visit and am able to walk around at night and take pictures.

Foggy Night at the Dock

This is a foggy night at the dock in Bradenton Florida. We get fog at certain times of the year and it typically lasts only for a couple of weeks. It will roll in at night and blanket the area. I’ve been waiting for it since last year so I headed on a recent evening to capture some images.

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Foggy Night at the Dock
Foggy Night at the Dock at Bradenton Riverwalk

The fog makes everything look mysterious, like a scene from a movie. Even the simplest of scenes take on a sense of intrigue. Street lights form triangular shapes as they fan towards the ground, and in this case are reflected in the still dark waters of the river.

A simple setting that I’ve seen a hundred times appears different, even foreign. People appear slightly veiled as though involved in some intrigue. I’ve watched too many thrillers, but it seems certain that if there are spies nearby, this is when they come out to devise their plots. Or not.

images from riverwalk

If it seems to you like I get a little carried away then you would be correct. As a photographer I get carried away whenever the weather changes. It evokes my imagination and together with familiar settings I concoct all manner of fictional scenarios. But then it’s my job to bring you the story, not the facts.

On Approach

This is a jet on approach to the airport on California. Over the weekend I stayed at the Marriott hotel adjacent to the San Francisco airport. One of its main attractions is to sit outside and watch the jets land. That sounded a bit odd to me until I stepped outside the first morning. Once I saw it for myself I was mesmerized. I’ve been inside of planes countless times but I’ve never just sat and watched the spectacle. There is a strange fascination with watching large objects descend from the sky. I took a few images and this is one of my favorite.

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On Approach
On approach to SFO in San Francisco

I wasn’t the only one there with a camera, another fellow was out as well. I got the impression that watching the planes is a reason some people choose this hotel. Inside the rooms I couldn’t hear the jet engines so they’ve done a good job with that. Along the water was a bike and jogging path so the area has a nice feel to it despite it’s proximity to the airport.

If I can borrow a popular phrase, this image is a bit of fake news. In fact there were no clouds in the sky so I replaced the sky with clouds from a Florida image. I’m more interested in the feel of an image and this is what I had in my mind. I also added a bit blur to convey motion. To some people this is just cheap photoshop tricks, to me it’s an idea. Meaning I have an idea in my head, I take a photo, and I bring that idea to life through tools.

paintography from the gallery

Just because it might look real doesn’t mean I’m trying to trick anyone. I’m just exploring ideas, having fun and at the same time feeding my creative muse. This is paintography, a mix of photography and digital painting.

Hometown Marina

This is the marina in Palmetto Florida. Actually there are a lot of marinas in Palmetto but this is the main one. Well, one of the main ones. Let me start over. This is one of several marinas in my hometown.

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Hometown Marina
Hometown Marina in Palmetto Florida

I’m not really into boats so they tend to look the same to me. There are huge differences of course; these are sailboats. At a marina closer to my home there are mostly powerboats. I never really thought about it until now but the two marinas are quite different. This marina is past all the bridges so the boats can sail straight into open waters. The marina close to home is on the other side of three bridges, one which is a draw bridge.

So now it makes sense, why would someone dock a sailboat behind an obstacle course of bridges when they could dock here? As for the powerboats near me, the bridges are not obstacles. They don’t have the same concerns with mast height, bridge structures and a drawbridge, they simple steer right through.

minimalism from the gallery

Now that I have all that figured out, back to the photo. The setting sun over the water caught my attention. That by itself would have been a nice, but in this case I had the added bonus of a marina filled with sailboats with access to open water.