Carousel at Sea

Upon boarding one of these mega ships, the size plays tricks with your mind. Seeing a carousel in one little section doesn’t help.

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Carousel at Sea
The carousel on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.

I took this photo on the Oasis of the Seas last year. I was looking down from about eight decks above. And, there are another eight decks below that. So if your mind gets a little blown at the beginning, chances are it will last all week; which is about how long it takes to find your way around.

more cruise ship photos from the gallery

These ships would be impossible without a lot of elevators. Of course, with the amount you eat, it would be healthier to take the stairs. However, when entering a reality bubble, the standard rules and concerns don’t apply. At least that’s how it works for me.

Midnight Sun

This was taken about three years ago in Alaska. It was around eleven o’clock at night as the sun slowly inched down. Then, just a few hours later it would creep back up.

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Midnight Sun
The midnight sun in Alaska

I took the picture from a ship as we sailed north. This scene was repeated in an endless succession of mountains and untouched wilderness. I was blown away at the vastness of natural landscape here. Until you experience it yourself, it’s hard to imagine. And it’s equally hard for me to convey in writing.

more images from Alaska in the gallery

If you have never been to Alaska, put it on your list. There is nothing like a lot of open space and massive mountain peaks to clear out the urban cobwebs and refresh one’s sense of perspective.

Miami Marina

I took this picture at three in the morning as our ship entered the port in Miami. I am surprised it turned out given that we were moving at it was dark.

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Miami Marina
A marina as seen from a ship entering the Port of Miami

Its the second time I’ve taken this same perspective from a ship. The first time was a year earlier when I used an f2.8 lens; this time I used an f1.8: the f1.8 aperture is wider which allows more light and, creates a better result without too much noise.

more from Miami in the gallery

Anyway, we were arriving back from Europe, so the early morning hour didn’t seem too bad. And, after being at sea for about ten days, I was not about to sleep in as we returned to civilization.

Nice, France

This is a section of Nice where cruise ships dock and people come ashore on a tender. That’s what I was doing when I took this picture.

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Nice, France
Nice as seen from the harbour

While waiting for transport to other parts of Nice, I walked up and around the narrow streets. It was in the middle of summer and hot. I remember trying to decide whether to have a beer or ice cream to cool down. My only hesitation was that it was nine in the morning so I opted for ice cream.

more travel photography in the gallery

The famous beach is west of here, but since I live close to beaches in Florida, I visited other parts of the city including an art colony in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. As that was up on a small mountain, it was a little cooler, but still quite warm. I ended up getting a beer there, but it was midday at that point. Such are my memories of ice cream and beer.

Friday Morning

Friday morning in Miami is no different than any other place. Oh who am I kidding, it’s WAY different!

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Friday Morning
The Friday morning commute in Miami

For me, a big advantage of taking a cruise out of Miami is, well, Miami. An average view from the deck of a large ship is still better than a great view from a skyscraper. Nevertheless, the new boats are big enough to be skyscrapers.

visit the sunrise / sunset gallery

Miami is a favorite city of mine to photograph. You have it all, the beach, the nightlife, the cityscapes. No matter how you look at it, it’s not your average city. I’m sure it has its problems, but as with many things, I tend to look at it through rose-colored glasses.

Cool Hot Tub

In the solarium is this cool hot tub. I took this on the last night when everyone was in their rooms packing.

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Cool Hot Tub
From the solarium on Royal’s Symphony of the Seas

Even when the ship is completely booked, it’s large enough to find quiet spots if you know where to look. The solarium with its cushy lounge chairs and the Vintages wine bar are my favorite spots.

architecture photography from the gallery

For this shot, I used a 12mm wide-angle lens and mounted the camera on the ground with a Platypod. The Platypod is like a tripod for low perspectives. This is a long-exposure that would have been difficult to shoot any other way. With the Platypod it was a breeze.

Raygun-Looking-Thing

So now they are outfitting the Royal Caribbean ships with these rayguns to shoot down alien invaders. Or, maybe it’s just an odd looking crane.

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Raygun-Looking-Thing
The deck of the Oasis of the Seas

On the last night of our cruise aboard the Oasis of the Seas, I walked around late at night getting all kinds of pictures on the empty deck. Most people were packing or living it up one last time before we docked.

more artful cruise images

Actually, the raygun idea was not mine. Earlier in the year, we were on Symphony, a sister ship, and during the Captain’s talk, one passenger asked what the raygun-looking-thing was. The instant deadpan reply was that indeed it was a raygun to shoot down aliens, which was followed by a short silence and then audience laughter. So when I saw this on the Oasis, I chuckled as I was reminded of Captain Rob’s wit and dry delivery.

Picture This

Here is another shot aboard the Oasis of the Seas that I took with the Platypod. I really like the low perspective it provides.

Picture This
Picture This
Taken with a Platypod on board the Oasis of the Seas

These days I carry it everywhere I go. I never know if I’m going to need it, but it’s so small I’d rather carry it. I can get the same perspective with a tripod, but it takes way longer and way more effort. So much effort that I usually don’t bother. The Platypod Ultra is small enough that sometimes I just leave it attached to the camera as I walk around.

more architecture images in the gallery

Anyway, this was taken in the ship’s area known as Central Park. It’s my favorite place on the boat because it creates the perfect illusion of being in a tree line park. And when I’m on vacation, I don’t mind a little fantasy, especially when it’s lined with cool restaurants and a wine bar.

Now and Then

Now and then, without warning, the view from a cruise ship can be over the top. This is why I like booking a room with a balcony.

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Now and Then
The sun sets after leaving Cozumel Mexico

The Oasis of the Seas was just leaving the dock at Cozumel, and everything came together. As the ships leave, smaller boats are returning to dock after depositing their tour groups. By six in the evening, all the ships have departed, and the little towns and villages become sleepy again. That’s why I think Cozumel is the closest thing to Margaritaville.

see the sunset/sunrise gallery here

My apologies if this image seems overly saturated. I’ve desaturated the colors a couple of times because it doesn’t seem realistic. Every now and then that happens. More and more I pay attention to the levels of color saturation while I’m taking the picture, and sometimes it’s quite high. Then I have to tone it down in post-processing because it can look fake. This is one of those cases, but I’m still not sure if it’s enough.

Siesta Time

We walked down the road looking for a place to chill and found a quiet little beach bar with tropical beverages. It was our third stop, and it was a charm.

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Siesta Time
Hammocks at the Blue Angel in Cozumel, Mexico

It’s called the Blue Angel, and it’s about a mile south of central Cozumel. If you’re in the area, you can’t go wrong. It’s a resort and dive shop, and from what I could see, very laid back. There were half dozen cruise ships in port, so this is a spot to get away from crowds.

check out the panorama gallery

We’ve had a problem with red tide in Florida, so it was refreshing to see so many fish in the clear turquoise water. There were divers and snorkeling which we lazily watched all afternoon. It’s the kind of place I could waste away in Margaritaville. I can envision myself napping in one of these hammocks half the day and the other half looking for my lost jigger of salt.