Here is an image from nearby Tom Bennett Park in Bradenton. I’ve been here twice this week trying to get some photos that do the landscape justice. To make this, I combined four vertical images, and each was a combination of two focus stacked images; so eight in all.
I’ve been doing a lot of focus stacking lately. If you’re not familiar, it’s taking two or more photos of the same thing, each focused at a different distance. Then by combining the in-focus parts of each image, everything is sharp. It’s an excellent technique to use when you want to have a strong foreground element. It makes good sense in a lot of landscape scenes. Also, since this is a multi-image panorama, the resolution is very high. Therefore, having everything in focus is even more beneficial.
I was at this same park a day or two earlier when I came to walk with my dog. This time I came alone to shoot, but after I did, I felt a little guilty that Mr. Wiggles got gypped out of a walk. I could have brought him because the photography wasn’t particularly difficult. Mr. Wiggles has me wrapped around his paw. I’m not done here so I’ll probably bring him along next time.
Sometimes I feel the urge to try and articulate the main idea behind my pursuit of photography. For whatever reason, this photo seems to evoke that in me.
Here is a picture that portrays an idyllic scene along the beach. Maybe we project ourselves into the scene. In doing so, we may walk on the shore with the vastness of the sea on one side. The expanse is an enigma. The longer we look, the less concrete our thoughts become. Our legs move as our minds begin to wander.
Rationally I like taking photos of idyllic scenes, yet, in doing so, I also attempt to capture something less rational. I aspire to capture scenery or people in the landscape that hints at something more elusive.
This idea is why I keep coming back again and again. Ironically, I try with images to evoke thoughts or feelings of something that cannot be seen by our eyes. To do that I may include space for the scene to breath, and then I hope that thoughts will fill the void. When that happens, my desire is satisfied, and perhaps yours is just beginning.
Earlier in the year, I was up in Toronto for a quick stay, and at night I wandered around taking photos. This arched walkway is a connector between the convention center and Union Station. Little did I know that this is also where I would catch the train to the airport in the morning. So I ended up at this same spot eight hours later to grab an early flight home.
It was a good idea because a snow storm came in that night and the streets were a mess, but the trains kept rolling. The flight ended up getting delayed anyway, but at least I was at the gate on time.
I used to live in Toronto a long time ago, and I’m sure I walked through this spot at some point. But this time I had my camera, and it seemed new to me. Nevertheless, much of downtown Toronto is connected by covered or underground walkways because of the long winters. I think we should do the same thing down in Florida for the long hot summers. Or, maybe not, we probably spend enough time indoors as it is.
My dog is the most patient being on the planet. Even when we go to his favorite parks, he waits for me to take my photos. Here he’s waiting to go over the bridge, but I’m busy composing. If I could paraphrase the look, he was saying, “Seriously daddy?”. I’m just saying.
Mr. Wiggles loves going to parks and exploring. I like the scenery. We have slightly different interests, but the excursion benefits us both. At the park, I have to be careful not to get too carried away. When taking photos, I need to be mindful of our surroundings. For instance, there was a small alligator in the lake on the left. It wouldn’t bother us, but the bigger ones love to snack on small pets.
The summer heat makes it difficult for Mr. Wiggles to get much exercise during daylight. Imagine walking around in ninety-percent humidity wearing a coat. So we either go out after dark or on overcast days when the sun is less harsh. When we get home, he has a long drink of water and collapses on the cold tiles. And no matter how hot it is, he still looks forward to it every single day.
To be honest, I don’t remember taking this photo. No matter how many images I make, I usually remember each one. Pictures to me are memory boosters, I only have to look, and I’m transported back in time: I’ll have a recollection, however vague, of that moment. But for whatever reason, this one escapes me.
I was shooting with a wide open aperture and high ISO so that I could snap photos as I saw them. I was a little like a snap-happy tourist. I’ll call it street photography but, I was having fun, so maybe a bit of each.
Barcelona is one of those places where the architecture steals the show. The architecture is old, and it belies the fantastic amount of history in these walls. To me the street lamps have an 18th century feel to them, and perhaps some of them are that old. When they finally invent the time machine, I’ll be coming back here to take a few more photos to see if it looks the same. Hopefully, I won’t change history while I’m at it.
I took this image the other day on my way out of Emerson Point Preserve. This pond is at the entrance and is a real head turner when driving in or out. I’ve taken many pictures of it, and I’ve driven by many more times. This time I stopped for another photo.
I think the reason I like this photo, in particular, is that it has a little less contrast. It reveals the softer light and colors of the morning; I took this about twenty minutes after sunrise.
Sometimes I make complicated photos with a lot of elements and much post-processing. However, sometimes the picture speaks for itself without much effort from me. What I think, is that this image is one of those where nature does all the talking. So on that note, I’ll shut up and let mother nature take it from here.
Here’s a shot from inside the restored train station in downtown Chattanooga. The station isn’t operational; it’s now a historical spot for music and arts. There are a few old trains at the station converted to shops, restaurants, and a hotel.
The Frothy Monkey that I posted about the other day is just to the right. We just finished lunch, and I was waiting for the valet to return the car when I took this photo. The little choo-choo motif on the right seals the deal for me.
The whole time I was here, I couldn’t stop humming the old Andrews Sisters song (https://youtu.be/FdrYYUuT07Q). I wonder if you can still catch a train to Tennessee from Track 29 at Penn station. I doubt it, but it would be cool if you could.
Here’s a series of architectural studies I did while in South Beach. I rented a bike for the afternoon and rode around taking snippets of buildings. As a photographer, one of the main reasons I like going there is the architecture. There is a combination of art deco and cubist throughout.
Honestly, I have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to architecture; I know what I like. If I find it interesting, that’s good enough. In South Beach, they use a lot of pastel colors, and that goes well with the heat. The heat in the summer is brutal, so maybe some softness coming off the walls makes it a little more bearable.
Anyway, this is not even the tip of the iceberg. I could spend a whole week here just shooting architecture. Different angles, different perspectives, different times of the day. Maybe one day I’ll go back and do just that. Sound like a plan?
Now tell me, do we get amazing sunsets in Florida or what? I took this crazy panorama of my hometown of Palmetto last Friday. In fact, my drone took this photo. I sat out front with a refreshing beverage in a lawn chair and sent my robot drone up to take the picture. Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little, I had to pilot it, compose the shot, and press the shutter button, but with a little more AI, maybe it could do that too.
Typically, when I take photos, I get my gear, put it in the car, and drive somewhere. Then I get the gear out of the car, walk, compose, and click. Then, I walk some more and do it again, over and over. After all that, I end up with one or two good shots, and then I’m tired. But this time I decided to sit back in a chair and send the drone up. No driving, no packing, no walking.
This whole experience got me thinking that these drones are very close to becoming robots. Fast forward ten years and I’ll be sitting in my living room with a VR headset talking to Siri. I’ll ask her to send up the drone, fly somewhere special, look around, and take a photo as if I was there myself. I won’t leave the comfort of my home. Does that sound absurd? I wonder if the idea is not too far off the mark.
Earlier this week the rain cleared out just before sunset. I jumped in my car and came here to Riverwalk in Bradenton. I had less than thirty minutes before the colors faded so I ran around to get as many pictures as I could. This image is the first one I took.
It was twenty minutes of pure awesome. When the conditions are perfect, you have to keep moving. It’s a challenge to get as many scenes as you can before the color drains from the sky. I wish it would last longer, but beggars can’t be choosers.
In fact, soft light in the sky and reflections on the ground make anything look good. I could be standing in a Wal-Mart parking lot, and it would seem remarkable. That’s the reason I prefer low light photography. It evokes an ephemeral mood that overrides the harsh realities of only a few minutes earlier. Anyway, when I left my house, I headed to the river. But perhaps I could have driven in the other direction to Wal-Mart and had just as much fun. You never know.