This is an HDR image full of fall colors that I took four years ago in New Zealand. It was the first morning of a five-day workshop with Trey Ratcliff. In the southern hemisphere, April is in Autumn so the leaves were turning.
I had recently purchased the Sony A7R and now, four years later, I’m still impressed with the images. Since that time Sony has created two new generations of that camera so I now use the third generation A7R III. Also, since that time Trey and Skylum introduced HDR software known as Aurora HDR. Now Aurora is in its second or third generation as well. As a result, I’m revisiting these old photos with the new software. The software has improved to the point that it’s very easy to make old photos look amazing.
Four years seems like such a long time, I would go back in a heartbeat. For a photographer, New Zealand is a dream. But I did take thousands of photos while I was there so even if I don’t get back right away I still have these photos to look at and enjoy.
This is my favorite type of simple scene. In my opinion, it depicts a moment of solitude, maybe even inspiration that comes from nature. Rather than write something philosophical, any meaning or interpretation are best left to you, the viewer.
I get asked a lot about what kind of photography I do. The short answer is that I do different types of photography. But a better question is what type of photography I love the most. For that my answer is simple minimalism like this. Something uncomplicated that evokes thoughts, emotions or introspection.
However, I’m using a trick by placing a person in the image. If there was no person, you would simply be an observer of a nondescript scene. But when a person is placed in it, we involuntarily project ourselves into the scene. For whatever reason, it’s in our nature to do that and we do it all the time. Advertisers have used this knowledge for decades to manipulate us. I’d like to hope and think my motive is a little more benign.
This is from Cathedral Grove in British Columbia. It’s a relatively small area filled with Douglas Fir and Red Cedar. Some of the trees are 800 years old and 250 feet high. The forest is considered rare and endangered, the trees are prized by the logging industry. You can find out more about that here.
Having walked through it on a couple of occasions I can say there is a special feeling you get. There aren’t many places like this remaining on the planet, so I hope we can preserve it and the forests around it.
We passed by here on our way to Ucluelet from Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. We were so moved by the size and grace of the trees that a week later we stopped again on the way back. On each occasion, we walked in quiet reverie induced by our surroundings. I took a lot of pictures and am just now getting back to some of these images that remind me of this special place.
This is a typical scene at the beach just after the sun sets. People will leave and funnel back over the dunes through these rustic walkways. Sometimes I’ll position myself so that I can capture them walking to and from the beach in this manner. It’s a shame that people leave the beach so soon after the sun disappears, it’s when the best colors appear in the sky.
I took this image three years ago and just rediscovered it and processed it this week. That inspired me to go back there last night and shoot similar scenes. Of course, they came out different, but the main thing is that I went out, that can be half the battle sometimes.
It was nice to get out and Spring is a good time of year in Florida. It’s before the humidity sets in and it’s when we get some of the best sunsets. The days are getting longer and if you just linger a little after the crowds leave, you experience some of the best magic that others miss.
This is Ocean Beach from Point Lobos in San Francisco. My wife and I were having dinner at the Cliff House restaurant when the colors started changing and, as usual, I had to excuse myself from the table. There’s no getting around the fact that the spouse of a photographer is long-suffering.
It’s interesting how the people on the beach are evenly distributed. Have you ever notice how crowds of people seem to mimic fluid dynamics? Here they’re evenly dispersed like little water molecules on the sand. You can see this phenomenon when you view crowds from a distance. At a certain level, people follow the laws of physics. We observe the same behavior in traffic patterns which is then used to model highways and ramps.
In a previous post and similar picture from this beach, I compared the grains of sand to stars in the universe. It seems that whenever I look at this scene I’m reminded of the order of things, and how that order repeats regardless of the scale. Food for thought from someone who can’t sit long enough to eat.
This is a section of the Arthur Erickson designed Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver. To be clear, I didn’t know about the architect until just now when I looked him up. But if you’re like me, you’ll recognize his work in other major cities. He even has a blog on Tumblr. Say what?
This makes me realize there are so many things I don’t know. It’s a revelation to learn that things I’ve regularly seen have something in common. Each one is so unusual that I’ve wondered about it, only to become aware of the threads when pointed out.
It makes me wonder how many other things have unseen associations. Intuitively I feel this must be the case on many levels; there are more associations in life than we will ever consciously know. For me, one of the little pleasures in life is the revelation that comes with seeing the bigger picture.
This is an HDR shot made from three images. It’s Benderson Park which is a rowing venue in Sarasota. I took this early in the morning when the water was still, and the reflections were clear.
I’m pointing mostly east. Around here the clouds almost always come from the east and dissipate over the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t understand it but for whatever reason, you have to look east to see clouds. Something to do with the Florida geography.
I like images like this. Maybe it’s the reflections or simplicity of the scene. Granted it’s an empty scene, but that suits my aesthetic which is mostly minimalism. In the end, I shoot scenes like this because it’s what I like to do. And that, I keep telling myself, is what matters.
Here is a bend in along the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet BC. While staying here a few years ago I took hikes along this trail and spent hours taking photos of the views. However, in this case, it was the trail itself that caught my imagination.
The trail itself is well maintained and has spectacular vistas of the rugged coast below. We stayed at the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort which is on the trail itself. All I had to do was walk outside the room and I was on the trail.
Some stretches of the trail would wind through the woods, and then open up at an overlook of the Pacific Ocean. It was a fun walk because at almost every there was a surprise waiting. The problem for me was knowing when to turn back. I would walk for miles and lose track of time and then have to pick up the pace on my way back.
I’ve been processing older photos lately and I ran across this one from three years ago at Far Beach in Key Largo. Going back to review old photos gives me a chance to reflect and contrast. These days I use new software called Aurora HDR and its powerful enough to breathe new life into old memories.
Here is a link to a similar scene from the same day. I processed that one using different software and then added an overlay of texture. My style continues to evolve so who knows what I’ll do in another few years. Nevertheless, this just makes me want to take another look at my earlier photos.
Also, this was taken on my first full frame Sony camera, the A7R. I now have the third generation of that line but looking back I’m impressed with how well it did. It makes me want to dust it off and give it a spin for old time sake, but I will still use the new software. Kind of like going to visit an old friend and bringing a new bottle of wine.
I took this about three years ago at a little park called Roaring Brook Nature Center on Canton Connecticut. The pond empties down the mountain at a dike and indeed the brook does roar at that spot. Here is another image from nearly the same spot.
I was here in spring which of course is when all the streams and rivers are full of melting snow. Spring is also the season for pollen and they get it heavily in Connecticut. My rental car was covered with a yellow layer so thick it resembled volcanic ash.
I’ve also been here (not this spot exactly) in Autumn and of course, the scene is quite different. All of New England is ablaze in colors and it’s a great time for a road trip.
This particular visit was a difficult one. We had just lost one of our beloved dogs from an unexpected illness and I was feeling sad. That’s when I looked up this little park figuring it would do me some good to go for a nature walk. When I saw scenes like this it helped take my mind off the pain. Times like that are never easy.