Here is the super blue blood moon over Sarasota’s Ringling bridge. Boy, what a commotion this created. I was standing by myself along the water, nearly hidden by brush along the side of an empty section of road. Some passerby must have seen me and looked over to see what I was doing.
As I was absorbed in my camera settings and composing the shot, I was oblivious to everything around me. At one point I heard someone’s voice and looked up to see a crowd of people standing behind me. There was all manner of smart phones taking this same picture with the little LED flashes going off.
Continuing the task at hand, a few minutes later I heard the sound of screeching breaks and horns. It seems the stopped cars nearly caused a traffic pileup. We were standing along a causeway of sorts with no safe place to pull over and park. Nevertheless, it seemed I started a trend, and everybody piled on for an iPhone photo.
In the end I got a shot I had in my mind. Just taking a quick look at twitter there are millions of people doing the same thing. Anyway, I’m adding this one to the pile, even if it did nearly cause a pileup.
Here is a street scene from a section of Barcelona that’s not too far from the beach. I took this from a moving pedicab that we hired late one night from La Ramblas to the Hotel Arts. Our driver was a German fellow who biked all over Europe and stayed summers in Barcelona to work the pedicabs.
Taking photos from any kind of moving vehicle at night is a challenge, but with a high enough ISO and a wide aperture it’s doable. And a pedicab is a lot easier to shoot from than a taxicab, although I’ve tried that as well.
The days and nights we were in Barcelona were very warm. One of the things I like most about Barcelona is how people spend a lot of time socializing in front of little cafes and bistros. That goes for much of Europe but Barcelona in particular.
I live near the Manatee River and lately I’ve noticed large flocks of pelicans flying by in the morning. Pelicans will move at dawn and dusk between their feeding and resting areas. Maybe they have always flown by but recently it seems like there are more than usual. Amongst the hundreds are sub-flocks of white pelicans that are distinct and easily noticeable.
On this morning I was taking photos out of the bedroom window as they flew past the house and along the river. I took too many but that always happens when I see something amazing. Their graceful flight against the dawn sky easily caught my attention.
For about ten to fifteen minutes the skies were filled, and then a few minutes later the pelicans settled down and everything returned to normal. I’m not a bird photographer, but there are many around here and it’s easy to understand why. The town of Palmetto where I live is a sanctuary for the seabirds and many of them seem to know it.
Here is a shot of the Bradenton Riverwalk on a rainy morning a couple of years ago, just as the sun is about to rise. Living where I do I prefer to have water as a feature in my environmental shots. If I go outside it’s almost unavoidable. The water creates provides a basic building block with which to build a composition.
Another thing I look for is leading lines. In this case it’s a guardrail, but it could also be more organic elements like a path or shoreline. The line leads the eyes of the viewer into the picture where our imaginations begin to find root.
Finally, quite often I prefer to have some human element. In many cases it adds a level of interest that subtly draws the attention even more. It’s not uncommon to project ourselves into the scene through the perspective of a human figure. In this approach the person can be blurred or abstracted so not to provide too many details. These things are better left to our own imaginations.
Last night I made it to the beach for sunset and to take a few photos. Lately it’s been a little cold here which keeps people away from the beach. Now by cold, I don’t mean cold-cold, like you guys get up north. No, I mean cold for us, like maybe I should wear a sweatshirt, …or maybe not.
I’m being facetious of course, I’m perfect aware of the fact that I don’t know what cold is. Nevertheless, my kinda cold keeps the locals away from the beach so that I can get these empty beach shots. In summer it’s a whole different ballgame.
This is Holmes Beach, which is between Manatee Beach and Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island. You can drive for miles either way and it’s just one little beach town after the next. That’s why so many people come down in in winter; to get away from the cold-cold and enjoy a little beach weather, even if I do think it’s cold.
Here is another shot of a familiar scene along the Ringling Bridge in Sarasota. I posted a similar image from the same batch about a year ago, but this uses a different lens and processing. Nevertheless, it’s a scene and a location that I keep coming back to time and time again.
Sarasota Bay is an estuary and if you stand here you’ll see dolphins and other sea life. It’s under the stewardship of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and if you visit their home page you notice another photo by yours truly. Due to the abundant sea life it’s a fishermen’s paradise and less than a hundred yards from where I’m standing is a bait shop. I could think if worse places to fish, …if I did.
If I didn’t do photography I’d have to fish, it’s kind of a requirement down here, everybody does it. Sometimes I’ll show up at a location by the water with a tripod in hand and fishermen will just assume it’s a fishing poll. But as I said I don’t fish, I take photos. If I need fish I get it the old-fashioned way, …from the supermarket.
Here is a shot from atop the Grand Hotel Central in Barcelona. I took this in the morning on my first trip here. Morning is a better time for these kinds of shots because around sunset the pool will surely be filled with guests sipping martinis or sangria, as the case may be.
Looking at this I just realized that the second building from the left is the hotel I stayed at on my second trip, the Hotel Arts. I should have known because there are no other tall buildings in this section of town. Perhaps unknowingly I was seeing reflections into future, or some such thing.
I did come up in the evening with my camera, but it just wasn’t the same so I’m glad I was here at sunrise. This hotel is in the gothic section and that other one is along the beach, two completely different areas with their own character. About the only thing they have in common are martinis and sangria.
A couple of years ago I was in the small fishing village of Ucluelet, British Columbia. In the center of town on a hill, I noticed this old church that seems to be in need of a paint job. Its rustic appearance piqued my interest and I took a photo that I haven’t processed until now.
The reason I waited so long is that the church is actually obscured by all kinds of wires. What I did was to use Photoshop to remove all of the wires. Because there were so many it took me hours of detailed work to get this image. To get a sense of what the scene really looked like, take a look at this image from Google Maps.
For me, I prefer the version without the wires. I know it’s not real, but I do these things because it resonates with me as I look for an aesthetic amongst the chaos. I think the image is more interesting now, even though it’s not completely real. And besides, the process of removing the wires was almost like a meditation on removing complexity. There is probably a nugget of wisdom in there somewhere.
Here is another panorama of Sarasota from Bayfront Park. Last year I posted an almost identical image that was taken during the day but have been waiting to do it again at night. Back then that big building (third from the left) was still under construction and it wasn’t lit up. So, now that it’s complete I wanted to shoot it again since the scene seems more complete to me.
To take this I mounted my camera vertically on a tripod and took ten shots from left to right. With the resolution of the Sony camera, it will be about seven feet across when printed!
Here are some links to other panoramas I’ve taken in and around Sarasota…
A couple of nights ago I headed down to the beach and just after sunset when most of the people had left. As I was driving towards the beach most of the traffic was in the opposite direction. Parking was super easy and I had the whole place to myself.