This image was taken in central Barcelona from the rooftop of the Grand Central Hotel. At first glance, you’ll notice symmetry in the picture. That’s because I’ve mirrored the image, and then painstakingly altered it so that the equality is incomplete. In effect, I’ve taken something that was perfectly reflected and added randomness.
There are plenty of mirrored artifacts, but depending on how you look at it, it might play tricks on you. Our brains quickly suspect its a mirror, and then our eyes begin looking for proof. Depending on where in the image you look, it may not confirm your first impression.
The photo is an exercise in abstraction and deception. It’s a time-consuming exercise to produce, but it’s fun at the same time. My purpose is to hint at one thing while throwing you off the trail and forcing you to figure it out. I hope you don’t mind a little harmless deception in the name of fun.
This view of Vancouver is from the convention center. The photo is a composite with the stars added to the sky for effect. I’ve taken this same shot a number of times, so I decided to get a little creative. This view is not possible in the real world.
Photos of stars get overpowered by light pollution from cities. Even though I don’t live in a large city, I run into the same problem back home. Almost everywhere people live, light from the ground interferes with starlight. Fortunately, with image processing tools we can clean up most of it. But there’s no substitute for going somewhere remote and seeing bright stars at night.
Most of the pictures that the astronauts take from the ISS are pointed back at Earth. Personally, I wonder what it is like looking in the other direction. My guess/hope is that there are more stars than can be seen on earth and that the galactic core of the Milky Way is easily visible. I guess the only way to know for sure is to ask an astronaut or, book a flight and see for myself. I’m adding that to the list now.
This is an area not far from home where sailboats moor along the intercostal waterway. Whenever I come here I wonder what it must be like to spend the night on a small boat like this. This is a composite image that represents what I imagine the scene is like under a rising moon. It’s not real, but then, what is these days.
Speaking of which, I put on a VR headset the other day and the room I was in disappeared. I was immersed in a different reality that was visceral and compelling. We are on the threshold of an age when reality will become a matter of choice rather than circumstance. And all of this without drugs; unless you consider technology the new opioid. I don’t really know.
Nevertheless, I concocted this scene of a nightscape near my home. In my imagination, this is a VR world that I would choose to visit. Maybe one day I’ll know what it’s like to spend the night on a small boat as it gently rocks under a full moon. And then I’ll dream of yet another place I want to be.
As the sign says this is the Chocolate Emporium that sits across a lagoon from the amphitheater at Universal’s City Walk. I was just in the process of leaving and stopped to take this handheld, without a tripod. Actually, even though I cropped it as a square, the image is a panorama of two vertical images side by side. The building was too big to fit in my 85mm lens so I took two shots side-by-side.
When I visited Orlando last weekend it was in the grip of a cold front but despite the weather, everything was packed. Being from Florida it seemed cold to me but for the out-of-towners it didn’t seem to matter. I love cooler weather, and because I live here I look forward to bundling up, it’s so rare I get that chance. I was in my glory.
My only regret is that I didn’t visit the Chocolate Emporium. I could easily have crossed over for a hot chocolate but alas, when I’m out taking photos I have a one-track mind. That would have been the perfect cure for cold weather. At least I came home with a picture to remind me to go back and get that mug of warm cocoa.
This is a multi-exposure composite of downtown Vancouver. I took this while staying on a high floor at the Marriott Delta Vancouver. My Marriott profile indicates a preference for a high floor. About half of the time, depending on availability, I end up with an amazing view like this.
To get this I setup the camera on a tripod next to the window and left it there for about twelve hours. I took exposures in the afternoon, evening and then upon waking in the morning. I also used a lens skirt so that there wouldn’t be any reflections on the window coming from my room. Later I blended them all together to form this composite image.
The technique is my attempt to counteract my indecision. Often, the images I post are just one of many that I took of the same thing. I suppose I could post them all but that would get boring, so I pick just one. That’s where indecision comes in. I’m left with ten or twenty images of the exact same thing, but in different light.
A composite allows me to pick and choose my favorite aspects of each photo and combine then into one image. It’s a little like seafood gumbo; it can be tasty if all the ingredients are nicely blended. And for desert, I get to have my cake and eat it too.
If you read this blog occasionally maybe you wonder why I write about images. It’s because it helps me to integrate with it on more than one level. After writing about an image it has it’s own story and it seems to take on a life of it’s own. Now when I go back to look at an image I remember it’s story.
This is St Petersburg Florida across Tampa Bay. At this time of year we get thunderstorms that clear in the evening around sunset. I took this right after the storms and about two minutes after at sun had set. The clouds are a peachy orange from the glow of that hour.
Most photographers post images without a word. Sometimes images are so strong they need no words. But, for whatever reason I take the time to write a story. It’s totally unnecessary but I do it anyway.
The urge to write is something I’ve had my whole life. My grandmother was a writer and maybe some of that rubbed off. Half the time I have no idea what I’ll write but it eventually takes shape. Once I write some thoughts I’ll revise, edit, and revise until it’s done; then the story and image are posted together.
Now having said all this about that, today’s images is created with post processing. I imagine the bay produces these reflections, but of course it does not. So to get the final result I took one part picture, one part imagination and a hand full of words and mixed them all together. This is what I ended up with.
Over the weekend we had a full moon and for some reason it’s called the strawberry moon. Apparently it’s the smallest full moon of the year, but I think that doesn’t means much in practical terms because we can’t see the difference with our eyes.
This is the Sarasota skyline from across the bay. It was one of the few nights we didn’t have cloud cover and this scene is one I’ve been waiting to capture.
In fact this is a large panorama consisting of twelve individual images in a grid of 2 x 6. At full resolution this is two by eight feet. If you are thinking of purchasing a print, be sure to select the wide panorama crop (20 x 80 or similar) when checking out or just contact me so that I can ensure you get the correct fit for the frame size you want.
I’ve been creating a lot of panoramas lately. I’m intrigued by the perspective and level of detail that’s possible. However the bigger the panorama the harder it is to put together. There are a lot of nuances that need to be fit just so. The software helps a little but most of the work is slow detail effort, although it’s something I enjoy a lot. The long slow process in kind of like a meditation for me, I’m in a different world when editing images.
I spend more time working on photos than taking them. That’s just part of my artistic process. Often I’ll come back to a photo a dozen times before I feel it’s ready. Many times it never gets there and is relegated to the reject bin. Every now and then I review the rejects and see something in a different light and bring it back to life.
In this case I had a strong idea of what I wanted so it was just a matter of taking the time to get it just right, in camera and in post processing. After all that work I still don’t know why it’s called a strawberry moon. I should just Google it but on the other hand I think I’ll just leave it as a mystery for now.
This is a symmetrical image of a skyline reimagined. It’s an abstract treatment of a nighttime urban scene. There is careful work lining things up and I made several mistakes on an earlier attempt. On a cell phone you’d never notice but blown up on the wall everything needs to be exact.
Making kaleidoscopic images out of everyday scenes is like a meditation for me. It’s taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. It makes me think of the mesmerizing power of patterns. Why is it that are we drawn to symmetrical patterns in art, nature and religious iconography?
I think they resonate with something deep inside of us. Archetypical patterns represent something sublime and beyond the everyday experiences. I wonder if this is one way to communicate on a higher level, in patterns and symmetric complexity. Is it possible that an alien race communicates in symmetric patterns of light and color?
Given the size of the universe is not out of the question. The universe is so big that our galaxy is but a grain of sand. And so perhaps another civilization does communicate in patterns of light, sound, color, …the possibilities are endless.
This is the heartbeat of a city at dusk. I left San Francisco a few days ago. And supposing I did leave my heart in San Francisco then this would be a recording of its beat.
I showed up at Treasure Island just after sunset to capture images of the city. To be sure there are dozens of people here everyday snapping photos with their phones, camera and drones. I’ve been here before which is how I knew about it. The location is perhaps the best spot to watch the city at dusk. I remained here for a couple of hours taking photos, each slightly different in some way.
The next day I got up and walked to the SF MOMA to view the photography exhibits. That got me feeling a little creative and so I imagined this perspective of a familiar sight. A sound wave, a heartbeat, the skyline reimagined.
San Francisco is changing pretty quickly. It’s been over a year since I was here and in that time the skyline has changed. The next time I’m back it will change again. Those cranes on the left are unbelievably high up. Earlier this day I was stopped at a red light next to the tallest building. I looked up at the cranes in awe at how high up they were. Apparently I lost track of time because the light turned green and the cars behind me started honking. I abruptly came out of my reverie and just made the light. That left the honkers behind me stopped for another round of reds. I think they may have been seeing quite a bit of red at that point. But for a guy from small-town Florida where there is not much higher than a palm tree, it was well worth it, even if I did make a little bad micro-karma.
This is a jet on approach to the airport on California. Over the weekend I stayed at the Marriott hotel adjacent to the San Francisco airport. One of its main attractions is to sit outside and watch the jets land. That sounded a bit odd to me until I stepped outside the first morning. Once I saw it for myself I was mesmerized. I’ve been inside of planes countless times but I’ve never just sat and watched the spectacle. There is a strange fascination with watching large objects descend from the sky. I took a few images and this is one of my favorite.
I wasn’t the only one there with a camera, another fellow was out as well. I got the impression that watching the planes is a reason some people choose this hotel. Inside the rooms I couldn’t hear the jet engines so they’ve done a good job with that. Along the water was a bike and jogging path so the area has a nice feel to it despite it’s proximity to the airport.
If I can borrow a popular phrase, this image is a bit of fake news. In fact there were no clouds in the sky so I replaced the sky with clouds from a Florida image. I’m more interested in the feel of an image and this is what I had in my mind. I also added a bit blur to convey motion. To some people this is just cheap photoshop tricks, to me it’s an idea. Meaning I have an idea in my head, I take a photo, and I bring that idea to life through tools.
Just because it might look real doesn’t mean I’m trying to trick anyone. I’m just exploring ideas, having fun and at the same time feeding my creative muse. This is paintography, a mix of photography and digital painting.