This is a long exposure cityscape of Sarasota I took one night while waiting for the full moon to rise above the bridge. I was fortunate in that there was no wind and the waters of the bay were still. While that’s great for photos it also means there are a lot of mosquitos. I had a can of repellant and sprayed myself from head to toe: a minor annoyance but its a small price to pay in exchange for perfect conditions.
I never know when conditions will be good for photography until the last moment. If I had all the time in the world I’d go out every night checking. As a matter of fact I did that this evening before I sat down to write this. We had some dramatic clouds and I thought to get in position, but nothing happened and I drove home without a shot. It’s a numbers game; sometimes you lose and sometimes you win.
Earlier in the day I took a three-hour drive looking for compositions, in the end I got only one. The effort that goes into my photography is not carbon neutral. I should probably look into an electric car or just take the bus.
So that the time is not a complete waste I’ll listen to podcasts. I can get drawn into the stories such that the traffic, distances and time are not so monotonous. Even if I come back without a good composition at least I learned something. My favorite is Radio Labs, but I also like This American Life and sometimes Tim Ferris.
A lot of effort goes into making a good podcasts and the same holds true for photos. I love doing it so I rarely notice the time, but most of the images I post involve many hours of traveling, editing, expense, and sometimes even spraying myself with insect repellant.
The DeSoto National Memorial is a park with trails through the mangroves at the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico. I keep coming here to capture scenes along the water. Like most parks in this area it closes at sunset. But in this case I lingered to capture the vibrant tones past dusk.
I get spoiled with our sunsets. Well not really spoiled, but I do get overloaded with so many sunsets this time of year. With a great sunset each night I get a little complacent and then all of a sudden I miss a really good one. That happens several times a week. I have an unrealistic desire to capture every sunset. I will be first in line to pre-order one of Elon Musk’s transporters as soon as it gets invented. See a good sunset, push a button and I’m at the beach. Guaranteed to never miss a good one.
When I decide not to go out I know I might be missing something. It’s hard to just sit back and watch without wanting to capture it with a camera. If I have to do a chore and don’t look outside I’m okay, but when I see colorful clouds I go a little crazy. I suppose it has something to do with why I got into photography in the first place, to capture and convey.
If I were a painter I’d probably feature sunsets as much as I do with photography. The nice thing about painting is you can portray a scene as you see it in your mind, there’s no rush to get to a location for the light. With landscape photography we are working with times of the day: two different approaches to convey scenes. In the end, none of it compares to the real thing. If you consider variations in color and shapes of clouds and textures of terrain you realize that whether we’re painting or taking photos, we are attempting to reproduce the work of a much greater artist.
This is a bench at a waterfront park just across the river from me. I took this at dawn in a light rain. My intention was to capture a sunrise but the sun never made it through the clouds. Sometimes I’ll come here to take pictures right after it rains but in this case it was just starting. I snapped a few shots and then retreated to my car to wait it out. After about fifteen minutes it got heavier so I headed home and this is one of the few shots I got.
I like this for the leading line and the bench under the light. If you look close you’ll see the rain under the lamp. When we see images like this we project ourselves on to the bench or out along the path. The projection is an automatic response, which leads to a reaction. If we see ourselves somewhere we want to be we’ll probably like the photo.
Thinking about how photos work and affect us is something I do a lot of. To most of us this is just a photo in a park, we don’t think about why we like or dislike it. It’s true that I have a habit of thinking too much, but I’m also curious about photos. I’m constantly learning by noticing things about images.
Some people go to the four corners of the earth to explore and get amazing photos. I like traveling too but I spend a lot of time around home. So I forces me to look past the mundane and think about the things that make a photo interesting. In that way it doesn’t really matter where I am. Even if I had to stay in one spot for a year I would try taking a new perspective each day. That’s a little challenge and game I play when shooting images of things I see often and close to home.
Last weekend I visited a remote beach that is only accessible by boat or hike. Over the years it’s become a bohemian hideaway of sorts for people that want to escape the crowds. Local photographers, including yours truly, flock here regularly to capture the compositions of driftwood on the coast.
Normally I come here to shoot landscapes but this time I was taking portraits. I showed up with a crew to shoot a couple that is about to be married. It was their first time here and they loved the setting. The landscape photographer in me is always looking for opportunities so during wardrobe changes I’d look around looking for compositions like this.
We were fortunate and had perfect clouds for a sunset. You never know how it will turn out but many times throughout the summer you can almost count on the rain tapering off for the sun to stream through the broken clouds.
Like the last time I was here there were a half dozen photographers all doing one thing or another. I think if I showed up on a Monday or Tuesday I might be the only one. Even so, it was quiet and relatively sparse as compared to the accessible beaches five minutes up the coast.
Mainly people come here to get away from the crowds and take pictures. That was exactly what we did and we all came away thinking it was well worth the hike.
This is adjacent to a marina at the Great Salt Lake. I took this as an afterthought and didn’t think much of it at the time. Only after I processed it in monochrome does it come across as a dystopian dreamscape. Surrounded my mountains it has an otherworldly quality to it.
This is a furnace stack from a smelting plant just outside of Salt Lake City. It towers above the landscape and was the visible for many miles. It’s so big it creates an optical illusion of sorts. From afar it appears much closer than it is. Next to the surrounding hills it looks like something on Mars or the moon. The area is rich in minerals and home to some of the largest mines in the world; it’s little wonder the scales are so large.
Speaking of worlds, the cooper mine over the ridge is so large it can be seen from space. The tip of it can be seen from all over the Salt Lake City valley, but it’s in the background, not really a main feature. It’s easy to spot and I suppose the same holds true if you’re looking out the window from the ISS. Here is a picture of it from the NASA archives.
When we go back to the moon or make it to Mars, we’ll be doing quite a bit of mining. The idea is to use the resources available to build, construct and sustain. Maybe in a few hundred years when someone sees this picture they’ll think it looks just like some places they saw on Mars while on vacation. You just never know.
We sat along the north side of the river thinking the fireworks would be on the other side as in previous years. We were wrong and this year they were on our side. So as it turned out, waterfront homes and a palm tree obstructed our view. But what I thought was a minor annoyance turned into an iconic symbol of Independence Day in Florida.
In the middle of summer you can count on more than one type of fireworks. Thunder and lightning are as constant as the heat and humidity. There is a lot of energy in the sky and it can be mesmerizing to look at, especially at night.
Earlier in the day we were at an outdoor concert that was interrupted by a passing thunderstorm. The saying goes if you don’t like the weather wait ten minutes. We sat there in the rain and ten minutes later it was gone. The music started up again and in another ten minutes later our clothes were dry.
In the evening fireworks began on both sides of the river. Even though we had an obstructed view we picked a spot where we could see the lightning and fireworks. Lightning flashed about every five-seconds and it was nearly the same for the fireworks. It was hard to know which way to look.
In this small town it’s exciting when we have fireworks displays along the river, it only happens twice a year, once for Independence Day and the other for New Years. However Mother Nature’s display lasts all summer. So if you like a lot of flashes and booms, this is the place to be.
This time of year we have colorful clouds at dusk nearly every night. This is a shot from a few days ago in my neighborhood. Normally for a shot like this I would use a tripod but I just ran out of my house in awe. Getting this image pushes the Sony sensor to the edge of its limits in terms of recovering shadows and details. If you zoom in you can pick out a lot of noise and flaws. Nevertheless I was able to get the scene in unfavorable conditions on a moments notice. I wish I had used a tripod, but in the end the Sony sensor compensated very well.
Where I live there seems to be some kind of atmospheric border. At around sunset each day the east boils with violent ominous clouds and the west is lit with broken clouds in a cascade of colors. I will see completely different weather depending on which window I look out of. It seems like the border between these two conditions is right over street. As soon as the sun sets the clouds settle down and any local storms subside. The tropical climate here in Florida can be truly different from one block to the next.
By the next morning the sky is blue without a hint drama or clouds. But as soon as the sun heats up the clouds re-appear as though out of thin air. They get thicker and more dramatic throughout the day until thunderstorms appear and then dissipate at dusk. It’s a predictable pattern that repeats each day. Only when we get tropical depressions does this pattern change and then it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen.
This random shot was taken while walking the beach one afternoon. Isn’t it interesting how we flock to the land’s border with the sea and stare out? Maybe that is a metaphor for crossing from one element into another. Although we don’t think of it that way when we come here to relax.
I will hang around the piers because they are magnets for all kinds of compositions. Generally they form a leading line, but in cases like this they form a border; in other cases they bisect the image. People do all manner of things on piers. They fish, they stand or sit and look out, they have picnics and they take pictures. Large seabirds use the piers to as a platform for fishing or stealing from fishermen.
A pier extends the land and allows us to walk over a domain that is not our native habitat. Think of the effort in construction required just to do that small feat. To build this pier took nearly a year of effort and untold costs just to make it strong enough to withstand a different element. Piers are extensions of land and we expend huge efforts in making them.
Another type of extension is a bridge; it projects one element (earth) over another (water). But also I am reminded of grand viewing platforms like the one at the Grand Canyon that is also like a pier but into the air element rather than water. Then there are canals that project the water element over the land. Whenever we decide to project one element into another, the effort is huge. Isn’t it interesting that traversing across natural elements requires so much effort?
So perhaps when we come to the ocean and look out, at some level it captures our imagination. I think it is slightly ironic that we are use our minds to project ourselves much more easily into that foreign element than can ever be done with mere brick and mortar.
Palmetto Florida. Recently I’ve been doing a few photo sessions with him to highlight some of his talents and dedication to health and fitness. This is a shot at the final instant of ascending the warped wall. Actually, this is the smaller of two warped walls in his gym. He can easily do both but we stuck with the small one because the perspective was better for this type of shot.
On my blog I post mostly landscapes but behind the scenes I also shoot people or events, which, by the way, is a lot of fun. Aside from being fun, it’s also meaningful when capturing a moment in the lives of people in a way that will last forever. Anyway, I shot this a few months back in one of our earlier sessions using a couple of Profoto mono-lights and a Sony G-Master 80mm f1.4 prime. Basically the equipment lets me control the lighting and freeze the action.
Dale is a consummate gentleman and a fierce competitor. However he is also an inspired mentor, coach and motivator in his community. Perhaps he is best known in the growing community of OCR and Ninja Warrior competitors who regularly flock to LIVE Training Center to perfect techniques and obstacles for competitions and media appearances.
I’ve been attending his gym for boot camp and personal training for many years now. Despite my best efforts I still get my butt kicked by super moms at the 5:45am weekday sessions.
Most of all, Dale is a proud father and loving husband; he and his wife are expecting a new arrival soon. Having an opportunity to work with Dale has been a blast, getting to know him has been a privilege.
This is Bridal Veil Falls near Salt Lake City. To get here it’s just a short drive from the city into the bordering mountains. In a previous post I mentioned that it’s a routine for us to go for a drive on Sunday. As we were in Utah we decided to take the Alpine Loop, which is a scenic drive that winds through the mountains. The road traverses mountains with switchbacks that are open only during the warmer months. There are spectacular views all over and we found ourselves stopping nearly every mile to see one sight after another.
I’m related to some of the original settlers of the area and I couldn’t help but think that they had a much harder time of it. For us it was a Sunday drive through the mountain passes on a paved road; for the settlers in covered wagons it was another thing entirely. It’s little wonder they decided to stop after making it through the mountains; I would have done the same. I have no idea which route the settlers took, but back then there were no highways so it was no Sunday drive.
To get a sense of scale of this waterfall you can see a couple of people at the very bottom of the image. The falls are over six hundred feet high and were once serviced by a gondola and a restaurant at the top. That’s gone now but the falls remain and you can take a short hike to the base or just look from a parking lot next to the highway.
Anyway, the Alpine Loop is a spectacular drive and the parks within it are open to hiking, camping and fishing. And not too far from this spot is where the Sundance Film Festival takes place each year. All in all the Alpine Loop is a must see if you’re in the area.