This idyllic scene is from the beach on Anna Maria Island. Florida has a lot of islands and this, to my mind, is one of the best. Regarding beaches the sand is pretty amazing, it’s a white powdery substance more like sugar than sand. But I digress, this is about the photo, not the sand.
Anyway, now and then I get lucky, this is one of those days. I couldn’t take a bad picture if I tried. That makes up for all the other times when I show up and clouds obscure the sun. The success rate of a sunset photographer (such that I am) is disappointingly low. But this was a good day, so all is forgiven.
A “sunset photographer” sounds like a great job, doesn’t it? Imagine getting paid to take pictures of the sunset. You show up to work about an hour before sunset, take photos for about an hour, and then you’re done. In reality, I do things other things than this, but I must say, sunsets, especially good ones, make all the other stuff worthwhile.
I’ve compiled a montage of a few photos as a study of the compositional element of reflections. I use reflections in many of my images and am intrigued by their potential for metaphor and allegory, which of course varies for each viewer.
Every now and then I need to get away from the urban chaos. I was feeling that and jumped in the car to drive here to Myakka River State Park. It was after a rainstorm; in summer, storms come almost daily. As the runoff overflowed the banks the scene resembled that of a jungle.
This is at a trailhead and I was standing on the path in about six inches of water. Beyond this, there is a path that parallels the creek. It was a few inches above the water, so I walked along it until I heard the telltale sound of a bullfrog, which in reality is a nearby alligator. I thought better of it and walked back to the car.
The reason I came here was to capture the lush vegetation and flowing water. The foreground grasses give a hint of the current as it overflowed the path. Also, the reflections create a natural symmetry that completes the scene. Speaking of reflections, I just created a little study of reflections here, be sure to check it out.
Open spaces in Florida are becoming urbanized, but I am thankful for protected parks like this where nature can still be experienced with just a short drive from home.
The same day another sunset. I’ll be posting several photos from this day because I ended up with five or six good ones; for me, that’s a lot. Truth be told I have a low batting average when it comes to photos, but on this day, I hit a couple of home runs. I only post the photos I truly like; the others get relegated to the archives or reject bin.
I’m not berating myself, it’s just that the hit to click ratio is low. I get carried away when taking sunset photos. But in my defense, it’s also how I get in the zone and it helps me become aware of scenes around me. Taking a lot of photos is a way to get creativity flowing; it’s similar to stretching at the start of the workout.
One thing I like about this photo is how the sun highlights the tall grasses in the foreground. The lifeguard stand is mid-way through the image and the ocean is beyond that. Those three elements create a sense of depth that pulls our eyes into the scene. I also like it because it’s a sunset, but I take a million of those, as you know.
Here is another image from Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island. I cannot fathom living eight-hundred years. Imagine the stories these trees could tell. After that length of time, I suppose the stories would go on and on.
After looking at these images, I am pining to go back. Knock on wood I’ll have a chance soon. Short of that, I’ll just have to lumber along here in Florida. Forgive me dear blog reader, you do not deserve to be pun-ished this way.
One good thing about living eight-hundred years is that the statute of limitations is on your side. Whatever you did in the last century is forgotten, unless, of course, you’re a tree. In that case, your neighbors know your business. Do trees forget?
If you’ve found this blog post informative, then I’m clearly not doing my job today.
This is the Hérault river in Southern France. We stopped here for a brief rest on our way back from a visit to the mountain village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert. There are a lot of rivers running off the mountains here and many have ancient bridges or structures alongside.
Just off to the left are a set of caves that, had we not been so tired, we could have explored; something to add to the next trip I suppose.
If stopped at all the good spots for pictures I would never get anywhere. This is especially true in a new place, but even at home, I’m in the habit of scanning. Unconstrained, I could go to the store for milk and come back days later, still thirsty but with a lot of pictures. That’s why I don’t bring my camera when grocery shopping. Even though sometimes I think I should.
You’ll never guess where this is from. If you need a hint, look for the flag. But seriously, the rain should give it away for sure.
I was wandering around the downtown part of the city on a Sunday morning before my flight home. When I arrived here there was no one around on account of the rain. But, being an iconic spot, within three minutes a bus full of Chinese tourists arrived and started taking selfies. It was a comical scene and so I sat on a bench to watch the ensuing chaos. Five minutes later they climbed back onto the bus and were off to the next location.
Iconic locations are fun to shoot, and with a little effort, you can add your own spin. Many famous photographers seek out the same landmarks around the world. I’m not super motivated to do that. But if I happen to be there then why not, it’s still fun. In fact, it can be more fun to shoot the people at an iconic location than the location itself. Wished I’d thought of that before I took this.
A few years ago, I was in San Francisco and while walking around I stopped at Grace Cathedral. It’s in an area called Nob Hill which is a nice little hike up from my hotel in Union Square. I was looking for a place to rest and the cathedral seemed like a good option.
Because of the hushed atmosphere, I didn’t feel comfortable just walking around taking photos, although it probably would have been okay. However, my camera has silent shutter mode that allows me to take photos without making a sound. Churches are one place I use that, I used it a lot while visiting cathedrals in Europe. But it’s also useful at weddings during the ceremony.
For an American city, San Francisco has some nice cathedrals. My other favorite in the city is Cathedral Of Saint Mary Of The Assumption which I saw on a subsequent trip. I think the best time to photograph cathedrals is on a weekday when no one is there and the sounds are hushed. I suppose we could say that both sights AND sounds played a role in the making of this image.
This was taken at Coquina Beach one evening last week. I took a similar picture a few years ago that I wanted to try and repeat. Over time my preferences and technique evolve and it’s fun to retry shots to see how they come out.
As in an earlier post this week I mention that the software is getting better. Both images are HDR but notice how much better the ghosting is in the newer version. In the older version, you can see double impressions of tall grasses, not so in the new one. I used Photomatix in the old version and AuroraHDR 2018 in the new image. Maybe I should go back and reprocess the old version in AuroraHDR just to see how it turns out.
I know some of the rescuers that work at this beach and these stands are where they spend much of their time. There’s some kind of aesthetic of lifeguard stations on a beach that begs to be photographed. I’m not sure what it is but I have a collection of them. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if there happens to be a nice sunset as well.
This, as they say in the business, is SOOC, or “straight out of camera” for the rest of us. I process images mostly to restore the colors, however in this case no processing was needed. This is exactly what the scene looked like.
It was early in the morning and I remember thinking how strange the red glow looked. Of course, I took a picture but so did a bunch of other folks that were out walking or jogging. So, you see? It’s not just me that notices these things.
I’m always remarking on pretty or unusual scenes when I see them, it’s part of my nature as a photographer. Now I’m seeing similar behavior in friends and family. Noticing beautiful scenes is contagious and possibly addictive. Once you start, it’s nearly impossible to stop. But, here’s some advice, it’s okay. Having good habit’s, even if they’re involuntary, is a good thing. And lord knows, we can use a few more good things these days.