I was a little lucky to capture this Miami sunrise panorama. We had just docked at the port of Miami after a weekend in the Bahamas. Because we docked at the last terminal it afforded this unique perspective of the city to the west and South Beach to the east. South Beach faces the Atlantic and so the sun is rising over the ocean.
Regarding that, I was looking at this picture and wondering to myself why the sun was rising over the ocean? In all my photos from the west coast of Florida the sun sets on the ocean. I realized of course that this is the east coast and, I live on the west coast facing the other direction. Sometimes I get disoriented when traveling.
I grew up in the California Valley and I could always orient myself with the Sierra Nevada Mountains; they lie to the east. Out of habit, when traveling I try to orient to some elevated landmark. But Florida is flat so I rely on the sun for bearings. Naturally it seemed to me the sun was rising in the wrong place. At least that’s my excuse for now.
Because this is made up of multiple shots stitched together the resolution is very high. This prints out at about six feet by two feet at full resolution. That allows for details not possible with a single frame. It’s little like standing in the deck of the ship with binoculars and looking out, only in this case I used a high-resolution camera and a lucky perspective.
I post a lot of sunset images because it’s one of the main attractions of the area I live in. If the conditions are right on a Friday or Saturday its even better because it seems everyone is in the same kind of weekend state of mind. Any evening can be good but Fridays and Saturdays have their own special quality.
Last weekend I took a little hike to this secluded beach. Other than that you need a boat to get here. These people were taking pictures of the sunset and had a boat. I, on the other hand, was taking pictures of people taking pictures of the sunset and a boat. Funny how that worked out, eh?
Most of the visitors have left Florida but it’s actually the best time of year to be here. There are very few crowds, the weather is mild and because it’s changing we get these types of clouds most evenings. Soon we’ll have high humidity and heat but now that seems a million years away. In reality we have only the current moment and if we are concerned about the future we miss an entire lifetime of experiences happening now.
Yet I find myself thinking about the days of the week. On Monday, Friday seems like a long way off. In reality I could go out taking pictures any day, even Monday. This idea of the weekend is an artificial construct of ours. The best days to go out and take pictures are the days you go out and take pictures. Having said all that, I still look forward to the weekend.
The weekend is the gas station of the soul; it’s when we get filled up to do stuff during the week. Weekends are for hikes or boat rides, for sunrises and sunsets, for more thinking and less doing. In reality weekends are a state of mind, they could be any days we choose. Nevertheless, until someone does away with the workweek I’ll recharge the batteries starting Friday night.
More than once on the blog I’ve mentioned that I prefer pictorialism to realism. I also prefer impressionism although I struggle for ways to express that in photography. One simple way however is through blurred images. This is an impressionistic street scene with not enough focus.
I shot this on my first outing with a new lens, the Sony 85mm 1.8. I didn’t purposely take this out of focus, it was a mistake, but I immediately liked it. It makes me think I should do more. I prefer images that leave something for the imagination; they are more engaging.
I use a variety of techniques to abstract images but rarely lack of focus. It’s a valid form of simplification and now I wonder why I haven’t used it more. I think maybe it’s because I’m normally preoccupied with ensuring focus is tack sharp. It’s hard to break that habit, but if done intentionally and for a specific purpose, lack of focus is a way to impart a feeling or impression.
It’s ironic that the most expensive lenses for photography are the ones that provide the most pleasing out of focus. The out of focus area produced by a lens is called “bokeh”. Reviewers will rave about the area of an image that is out of focus and how pleasing it is. The ability to focus a lens is a given, but to have out of focus areas at the same time, that’s another matter entirely.
In fact that’s why I bought this lens, because of its ability to create pleasing bokeh while maintaining sharp focus on something else. Only in this case nothing is sharp. I could say I did this on purpose but you know I didn’t. I like the effect but in this case it was not enough focus dot com.
Last week we stopped in the Bahamas on a weekend cruise from Miami. The harbor master tower is the first thing you see at dock. I think it was built before the ships got so big. I took this from a lower deck but you could look down on it from the upper decks and our ship was one of the smaller in port that day.
This continues on a theme of minimalism. Actually I’ve been on this theme for a while but I don’t always publish the images. I do little studies, with lampposts, trees and buildings, shooting up to simplify the composition. Simplification is the gateway to minimalism; it also accentuates unique qualities of a thing or place.
This image creates an illusion of height, yet the building is no more than a few stories high and there are rooftops just below the frame. But because of how this is composed we imagine it much higher. Minimalism evokes imagination, which in-turn transcends realism.
Since I’m always on the lookout for these I’ll likely put together a book at some point. I get ideas from looking at works of other photographers. One whom I follow on Instagram is Sebastian Weiss. Check him out at the link here https://www.instagram.com/le_blanc/
This kind of view is way of looking at the world that is focused on the isolation of something unique. I think we see beauty when we notice uniqueness. It’s all around and all we need to do is narrow our view until we recognize it; at least that my current theory.
This past weekend I took an excursion to a secluded beach on Longboat Key. At least I thought it would be secluded. As it turned out I was only one of about a dozen photographers there. One was doing an engagement shoot, one a maternity shoot, a couple were shooting landscapes and finally a camera club showed up as well. There was a spectacular sunset so I’m pretty sure everyone got good shots and left happy. I know I did.
This beach is only accessible by boat or hike; it’s not right off the highway like most beaches in this area. At less trafficked shorelines like this you can usually see remnants of past hurricanes. There are spots like this up and down the coast if you know where to look. They are reminders of big events, especially as it pertains to tropical storms altering the landscape of the coast.
This was one of my last shots before hiking back. I got plenty of others but the simplicity of this scene is what I was drawn to. It’s rare that trees or stumps are isolated so I’m always on the lookout for them as photographic subjects. Simplicity resonates in images because it naturally invites interpretation.
At low tide the beach is exposed where these trees stand, but this was high tide and the beach was completely covered by the sea. However I was standing at a line of mangroves that protect the rest of the island from erosion. If it weren’t for the mangroves there would be nothing left of barrier islands along the coast of Florida.
Here’s another image I took while walking around central Amsterdam in the early morning hours. I was only here for a week so I made the decision to stay on North American time. That meant I was still wide awake very late which works well for night photography. I could capture the lights reflecting on the still waters of the canals to my heart’s content.
A couple of times I left my tripod back at the hotel. To get these long exposures without shaking the camera I would make due by balancing it on a bike seat. All of the little bridges have bikes leaning against the railings. All I had to do was pick one with a relatively wide seat and gingerly set the camera down. I used a wireless trigger so that I didn’t need to touch the camera to activate the shutter.
That little system worked quite well and to be honest, it’s a technique I’ve used in many other places as well. I don’t always want to bring a tripod especially when shooting street scenes at night. For that I’m grateful for the high ISO performance of Sony cameras, it allows me to do things that were unheard of just a few years ago. For street photography you want to travel light and be able to react quickly.
Yet when I’m out walking around I’ll invariably see something like this scene and I wish I had a tripod. Then it becomes a little game of figuring out what I can use to stabilize the camera. I use all manner of things like balancing on a fence railing, stabilizing the lens with the camera strap, even placing the camera on the ground and shooting up.
As a result I’m hard on camera bodies. They get scratched quite a bit. But for me the scratches on my camera body are like notches on a belt. It’s funny but a scratched up camera feels to me like a comfortable set of well worn shows; we’ve seen a lot together.
I took this shortly after sunrise as our cruise ship entered port in Nassau. As yachts go this is pretty big, I’m not sure if this is a government craft or just one of the many super-yachts of the Bahamas.
It got me thinking about why people own these. Personally, I don’t think I would want one. I’ve been on rough seas on a big cruise ship and I certainly would not want to go through that on a small boat. The sea does not care how fancy a yacht is, it will be tossed around like a toy.
I had the same thought when we passed other big yachts near the Atlantis Resort and Casino. Maybe the people that have these only sail in fair weather and remain close to home. That I could understand. They are awesome to look at but I think they are no match for the wrath of the sea.
My hat is off to fishermen who work the seas for their livelihood like the guys on The Deadliest Catch. Watching that freaks me out a little. How they manage through storms is beyond me.
I think this attitude of mine comes from a fear of falling into the ocean and drowning. It might stem from an incident when I was an infant and almost drowned. Although I don’t remember it, I was apparently face down and sinking in a lake.
Anyway, I have nothing against these high-end boats. If I did have one I’d be having fair-weather parties on it all the time. However at the first sign of a storm you’d find me firmly on land. In the meantime I’ll just stick to cruise ships and buy crab legs from a store. I’m not really in the market for one of these anytime soon.
This is Bradenton Beach under the light of a nearly full moon. I was taking pictures with a friend and everything was illuminated by the glow from the moon. Coming to the beach at night is an experience that is completely different from daytime. For me it’s a meditative experience. The overwhelming sensation is the sound of the waves.
If possible I try to take pictures of people in night scenes like this. That’s not always possible but with a moon glow and a high enough ISO it sometimes works. In this case there are people with a lantern at the end of the pier. Generally taking pictures of people during long exposures is not possible because when they move they appear invisible. To appear invisible is an oxymoron, but I digress.
Also when shooting at night around urban areas I’ll get those light streaks in the sky from aircraft. Normally I don’t notice them at the time but afterwards the streak is obvious. I suppose you could calculate speed based on the distance of the streak and the length of the exposure. Nevertheless these also occur with moving boats on the water.
Taking photos by the beach at night is a lot of fun. If I didn’t have to get up the next morning I’d probably stay out all night. However I’ll usually leave in a relaxed state of mind with the sound of the waves faintly echoing in my head. After that I have no problem falling asleep.
When I visit big cities I like to take pictures of buildings. Repeating patterns are like puzzles for our brains because we automatically look for slight differences. Maybe that’s related to an evolutionary survival trait like looking for predators in the tall grasses of the African savanna. However this is neither Africa nor a big city. This is an urban scene at sea, aka a cruise ship docked in the Bahamas.
This is Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas. If I’m not mistaken it’s the largest cruise ship in the world right now.
I was on a small ferry traversing the port as we passed this behemoth docked at the terminal. It is about twenty stories high and as long as an air strip. This is just one small section of one side. These mega ships are more akin to cities than boats.
This last weekend I was on cruise ship several times smaller than this, and even that was still quite big. Big enough to have several pools, a rock climbing wall, a casino, clubs, bars and restaurants. So take all that and multiply it by three or four.
A few years back I was on the Aurora of the Seas, which at the time was the world’s largest. To be honest, it took me a week to figure out where everything was. It’s a little like visiting Disney World, it takes a while to get your bearings. Since that time we’ve cruised on much smaller ships, like the one this last weekend. And even then there were places on the ship I never saw.
If they make these ships any bigger they might just become indistinguishable from big cities.
This is the morning sun over Co Co Cay in the Bahamas. Over the weekend I found myself on a cruise ship. Living in close proximity to ports it’s easy to drive to a cruise terminal for a weekend excursion. In this case we left Miami and were scheduled for two stops, here and Nassau. However the wind and swells were too strong to safely disembark so the captain decided to sail on. That didn’t stop me from taking a few pictures as we passed by and continued out to sea.
Every so often its good to get away and decompress. That’s a funny word but it describes what we do to ourselves in everyday life. We take on challenges of life and we tend to layer them one on top of the other. Soon we are squeezed under the normal weight of life. By getting away the layers are temporarily lifted and we decompress, if even just for a day.
I spent a lot of time looking at and taking pictures of the sea. That’s not necessarily interesting from a photography perspective but for me it was a study in the on-going theme of sea and sky. There were clouds and in the morning and evening and it was fun to see how they could interplay with the sun.