This is the Moose Lodge in Bradenton Beach on a recent weekend. I know nothing about Moose Lodges, but if there was ever one to join this is it. I understand the food is good and it’s right on the beach and has this terrace overlooking the water.
This is a random scene I took while walking the beach. This is similar to street photography because I’m just looking for interesting things to shoot; only the street was a beach. The other day I wrote about this type of photography and called it scene photography, which is simply walking around with an open mind and looking for scenes. It’s a cross discipline of street, urban and landscape photography.
I noticed these people standing on the terrace and it seemed like a “scene”, which is really just an interesting moment; so I composed a shot and froze it in time. Even though the beach is just below, I angled up at the clouds to give it a sense of loftiness. It’s a technique I’ve used in other photos as well.
Summer in Florida is the rainy season and there are often clouds in the sky; these are an example of that. Generally they enhance a photo by adding a sense of depth or drama. As long as you don’t mind getting a little wet now and then, clouds can be your best friends when taking summer photos in Florida.
It can also be a little dangerous on account of the lightning. Two things we have plenty of are lighting and alligators, they’re both fun to take pictures of and they can both bite if you don’t respect them. However on this occasion the only biting going on was of the food being served at the Moose Lodge.
Pictures from big cities like this are a mini examination of society. The scale shrinks individuals and we are left with dwellings, their architecture and proximity. That allows us to examine like an archeologist, learning about a society by studying its pathways and structures.
I took this from Vancouver Lookout which is one of the must see attractions. Even though it’s mainly for tourists it didn’t deter me from spending a couple of hours here taking shots in all directions. This one in particular I took with a wide 12mm lens. It causes the buildings to appear splayed in different directions. It may not be realistic but it creates a sense of movement to the scene.
Examining these scenes teaches us about the inhabitants at a collective level. At a personal level they teach us nothing. We cannot know someone’s heart by which floor they exit the elevator. However we start to understand a person by looking into his or her eyes, the windows of the soul. Maybe there is a parallel in cityscape scenes; the windows of buildings act as portals into the soul of a city. A million windows lead to a million individuals that combined are the essence of a place.
I am drawing a long bow, but it’s an idea, that what makes a scene like this interesting is our invisible connection to the people behind the windows. I’m sure there’s more to it, but it’s an idea I have and for now and I might just take that with a cup of coffee and call it a day.
I took this a couple of years ago at a kite festival on St Pete’s beach in Florida. This was part of an exhibition in synchronized flying. There were a couple more kites out of frame and they would all fly together in formation. The people flying these were pros that knew what they were doing. Who knew there was such a thing as professional kite fliers? Certainly not me, but you know what they say, follow your passion.
I’m not sure how they didn’t get the strings tangled or how they maintained their distance, but it was nothing short of precision; like the Blue Angels but a lot less risky. I’ve had a smaller version of one of these kites for years; it’s a lot of fun to fly but is anything but precise. I can appreciate how much practice must be involved. As it turns out some of these people came from other states to participate and compete.
I follow my passion for photography, as do these folks with their kites. Together there’s a symbiosis of sorts; each benefits the other. It reminds me of an event I was photographing a couple of weeks ago. There were professional athletes involved and several came up to thank me for being there to capture them. At first I was a surprised but later realized we both benefited. I fed off the energy of the athletes and some of them performed better for the camera. We elevated each other.
One of the unexpected pleasures of photography is coming in contact with people that are passionate about something. That cross-pollination creates an energy that’s greater than the sum of its parts. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as there is passion involved. When that happens the sky’s the limit to what you can do, even if it means simply flying a kite.
Every now and then I like going back to look at my images from New Zealand. I was there a little over three years ago but it now seems like an eternity. But having those images brings back some of that magic. I find myself using the word “magic” a lot when describing the southern island of New Zealand. There is something about it that evokes a sense of wonder. You should put it on your bucket list, especially if you like natural beauty.
This is one of the many helicopter landings I made on the last day. I spent the morning shooting images of the Southern Alps and then flew home that afternoon.
I’m standing next to the oddly named Lake Unknown, which is on the southern slopes of Poseidon Peak. The mist on the left is from a light rain shower on the far side of the lake. In these mountains there are microclimates that vary from blizzards to light rain to sunshine. As we approached from the north we could see a rainbow through the shower, it was surreal; that’s another word I use to describe New Zealand.
The last time I was in the mountains was on a cruise to Alaska. I think there are two types of people, mountain people and ocean people. In Alaska you can be both at the same time if you live by the coast. Even though I live by the ocean in Florida I think of myself as a mountain person. I enjoy both but I need to see the mountains once in a while to keep sane. While I was in New Zealand I got a large dosage of rugged mountains took thousands of photos. Now, if I go too long without seeing the mountains I can look at the photos and remember what it was like. And then I start to wonder if I might redo one item on my bucket list. That’s allowed isn’t it?
I am fortunate because I can drive to the beach in a few minutes. I’m double fortunate because I like photography. Those two reasons conspired to get me to the beach the other day where I simply walked up and down taking photos. This is one of my favorite due to the simplicity of the scene and the timing of the shot.
I was lining up to get the sun reflected in the puddle and noticed the skimmer out of the corner of my eye. I took three rapid shots with this being the best. To be honest, while I love this shot, it’s not all that hard to do. It simply boils down to being in position and noticing things. In fact, awesome things happen around us all the time however we’re usually too preoccupied to notice. When you put yourself in a receptive state of mind you see quite a lot. That’s the essence of this type of photography.
Anyway, it’s nice to walk the beach and look for scenes. Things are happening all the time and when I see them I do my best to capture them. The same applies for different genres such as street photography, urban exploration, architecture photography and travel photography. Maybe we can come up with a new type of photography that’s about capturing scenes around us. It will be called scene photography, …or not. I might need to put a little more thought in to that.
On a recent trip to San Francisco I got up early one morning and came here to the Palace of Fine Arts. As it was a Sunday I had the whole place to myself. That by itself is an experience to say nothing of the photographic possibilities. I imagined myself in an ancient Rome as though a ghost out of time.
In this image I placed the camera near the floor and aimed up with a Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens. It’s a special lens because it keeps the horizon flat without distortion, which is where the Zero-D comes from. Perhaps this is what the cat sees as he prowls the palace grounds each night.
As I look at this it reminds me that I’ll be heading back to Europe soon. I never know what I’ll see but I suppose that’s true wherever I go. When I go out to take pictures I have an expectation in my mind. That’s good for certain types of photography but on others it just gets in the way. When travelling the trick is to see what’s in front of me; I might miss something if I’m preoccupied with something in my head.
That’s not to say I don’t have a lot of ideas of images floating around. But it takes presence of mind to pick out details or compositions in a new place. Otherwise it’s better to work in a studio where we can shape an image to match our idea.
I normally take two or three lenses with me when touring. Like in this case I had the wide angle in the bag and so I pulled it out. I might experiment with taking just one lens on an excursion. Back in the day of film many cameras had a 35mm focal length. There’s a degree of liberation that comes with that because you stop thinking about the lens choice and just work with what you have.
If I had to choose just one lens I’d start with the 35mm; that’s a good field of view to work with. But I also like the 50mm and the 85mm. Just thinking about the choice makes me anxious. Isn’t that the craziest thing you ever heard?