I took this sunrise over the Manatee River with a drone one morning. For years I wanted to take a helicopter so I could get a photo with this perspective, but now I just use the DJI. It’s a lot cheaper and I don’t have to hang out the door to get a shot.
The town of Bradenton is on the right and my home town of Palmetto is on the left. The traffic flows into Bradenton over the second bridge in the morning and the other way at night. The first bridge is the rail bridge to the Tropicana plant. In the old days the trains carried people, now it only carries oranges to the plant and juice in the other direction. If you buy a container of orange juice, chances are it crossed that bridge.
I was standing on a pier just off camera to the right. The drone was so high and far away from me I couldn’t actually see it with my eyes. But I could tell where it was through the live feed it was sending back. I always get a little nervous when it’s so far away, but nothing happened and I got the image I’ve been waiting so long for.
I took this from Palmetto Florida one evening last summer. There is a lot going on in the sky as an afternoon thunderstorm dissipates over the water. I needed a panorama to capture the expansiveness of the sky. It’s made up of ten photos in two rows so there is a lot more to see than I would get from an ordinary photo.
This image is a good representation of what it’s like here in summer. You look one way and it looks dark and ominous, you look another way and it’s a nice sunset. That’s why I used a panorama, so we can see in both directions.
But in reality, panoramas are the predecessors of 360 images. With your browser or a VR viewer you can look in any direction. I like still pictures because of the creativity I can put into them. VR is a different thing altogether but they each have their place. Maybe one day all photos will be VR, wouldn’t that be interesting?
Here is a photo from the bar at the Hotel Arts in Barcelona. I’ll admit I’m not very sophisticated when it comes to swank establishments like this. More often than not I don’t know what to order. But the ambience can be a work of art and something I like to capture, with or without a cocktail.
I’m a reluctant photographer. I get a little uncomfortable setting up my camera in places like this. Yet I’m always happy when I do, so the trick is overcoming the hesitation. In this case the hotel is filled with tourists so it’s not unusual that I would have a camera. It was no big deal.
Cameras attached to our phones are getting so good that soon we won’t have to choose between quality and conspicuousness. No one notices when we take a photo with an iPhone. Once smart phones can produce this level of quality in low light we will no longer need regular cameras. Maybe.
This is the supermoon rising under a bridge in my home town. At the time, I only knew it was a full moon, but when I showed up at the river and other photographers were there I realized it must be something special. Shortly thereafter supermoon photos were circulating on local and international news.
What makes it a supermoon is that the full moon coincides with its closest approach to earth. It has an elliptical orbit so technically it is closer; however, I have a sneaking suspicion, the moon does not really appear bigger in the sky, we just think it does. That aside, if you ever see a full moon just above the horizon it appears quite big on account of a lens effect of our atmosphere.
Each month I see it too late to take a photo and promise myself I’ll catch it next month. After about a year of doing that I finally remembered to get out and capture it. Actually, that’s a little lie, my wife reminded me. In truth if it wasn’t for her I would have missed this one also.
This is from the inside of the Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi in Barcelona. It’s a 14th century church that features elaborate stained-glass windows. I was walking around the gothic quarter and “found” the church in one of the squares. Many of the squares have churches and this is one of the larger ones. I think there are as many churches in Barcelona as Starbucks.
I came inside to take some photos and get a break from the summer heat. It might have been a little cooler inside but not by much. Nevertheless the real attraction was the light coming through the large multicolored windows.
On a side note, I just finished the latest novel by Dan Brown called Origin and most of plot takes place in Barcelona. Having been there several times in the last couple of years the book was especially fun to read. I haven’t been everywhere in Barcelona but the gothic quarter is one of my favorite places.
Here is an overhead shot of Coquina Beach I took last summer. The camera is pointing west but the beach is diagonal. It’s something I never noticed from the ground. In this case I was standing about a mile up the beach recording video of the waves and stopped to shoot this still. I still think it’s strange that I can be taking photos remotely.
When I’m flying the drone, I don’t like to get too close to people. If I was going to the beach to relax I would not want to be irritated with the sound of a quadcopter buzzing overhead. When they first came out it was a novelty, but now with so many people flying them I think a little etiquette is in order.
In this case I’m flying high enough above the beach that the sound of the drone is not audible. And, the drone is so small that most people would never notice. This way I can fly up and down the shore line looking for compositions without disturbing anyone.
One other thing I’ve tried is flying a parallel path a hundred yards out over the water. With the overhead perspective I can see marine wildlife such as dolphins, manatees and sharks. That’s not unusual for this area, just part of the normal scenery from a drone.
This is the Church of the Santissimo Redentore. It’s on the island of Giudecca in the city of Venice. It was built in the 16th Century to commemorate the Black Death. At that time about a third of the population of Venice perished. Nevertheless, the architecture of this white marble cathedral is striking at night and this is a shot I took while passing by from a water taxi.
When I think of the plague I feel fortunate to live in an age with the advantages of medicine and hygiene. That’s not to say we are completely immune to pandemics, but the chances are much less.
If I think about it I feel bad for the reasons this was built, but then that was the whole point. The builders were sending a message through the centuries so that we would remember. I mean no disrespect but that’s the same thing photos do, connect us to an event across time. This photo reminds me of an amazing night in Venice, which in turn reminds me of the plague. So now I have a set of breadcrumbs that lead from one thing to another, bringing to mind different things that are each important to remember.
This may be the most photographed bridge in the world, that or possibly the Brooklyn Bridge. Nevertheless, every time I approach it I feel the need to take a photo. Never mind there may ten thousand photos of it taken that day, I still have to take my own. Is that crazy or what?
Since cameras merged with cell phones we’ve become a photo-obsessed society. We see something that moves us in some way and we snap a picture. It’s as though we are creating an infinitely rich record of everything we see. Imagine if we combined all photos ever taken into some kind of database. Companies like Google are already laying that foundation so maybe it’s just a matter of time.
Anyway, this is one of many millions of photos of this bridge. Even knowing that I’m still moved when I see it and feel the need to take a picture. And if I’m lucky this image will be added to that great big database in the sky.