Fishing Pier 4.0

Some scenes like this I keep coming back to. But since the sky is different each time it counts as a new pic. I’m not trying to justify it, I’m just saying.

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Fishing Pier 4.0
The fishing pier at Bradenton’s Riverwalk

I’ve posted this same scene at least three times; here, here and here. I considered not posting yet another, but I like it and so why not? It makes sense to repeat a composition over time to gauge subtle difference as your technique or gear changes.

more images from the riverwalk

This is the first time I used the GM lens for this scene, and so now I can take the time to notice that. I’m doing that with a few repeat scenes, and I’m enjoying the results. I usually save the GM lenses for commercial or portrait work, but I’m starting to use them for landscapes as well. Anyway, here is the latest version of the pier in Bradenton’s Riverwalk. Stay tuned for version 5.0 in about a year.

Apartment Buildings

Something about the light at dusk, it can make a boring apartment building look like a million bucks.

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Apartment buildings in the city of Palmetto, Florida
Apartment buildings in the city of Palmetto, Florida

I drive by these buildings all the time and never take a second look, but look at them now. They’re kind of attractive, now that I see them. My Instagram tagline is, “through photography, I see.” I guess this is proof of that.

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I used a one-second exposure for the water on the bottom half which evens out the ripples. Usually, I use photoshop to get a similar effect but in this case, its straight out of camera (or SOOC as we say in the biz). I took this from a dock while walking my dog recently. He likes to come out here and survey the scene and sometimes I’ll bring my camera. So it was, in fact, Mr. Wiggles who selected this scene. I should probably change my tagline to, “through my dog, I see.”

Village Across the Water

This is the back side of Bradenton Beach, the front side is, uh, a beach.

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The village of Bradenton Beach as seen from across the inter-coastal waterway.
The village of Bradenton Beach as seen from across the inter-coastal waterway. 

The little beach town is surrounded by water because it sits on Anna Maria Island. The back side faces the intercoastal waterway and is the place where all the boats dock. It’s also where you’ll find a lot of fun things to explore, like restaurants, galleries, and fishing piers; not to mention other little villages like Cortez.

more from Anna Maria Island in the gallery

I shot this picture at water level using a Platypod on a remarkably calm night; usually, there’s a little chop. This is also a prolonged, thirteen-second exposure, so it makes the water appear even smoother. Then I stretched the lights a little downwards to accentuate them. But at the end of the day, if you squint your eyes a little, this is exactly what you would see on most evenings along the inter-coastal waterway. But if that doesn’t float your boat, there is always the beach on the other side.

Bridge Lights

The same spot that I posted from last week. Taken only thirty minutes later but, turned out entirely different.

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Lights from the Manatee Avenue bridge reflect on the water after dusk in Bradenton
The lights from the bridge reflect on the water after dusk in Bradenton

It’s an excellent example of how light changes everything so thoroughly. In the other photo, the main subject was the warm light of the clouds, in this one, it’s the lights from the bridge. Both reflected on the water, and each tells a different story.

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I’ve taken a million photos of this bridge. Because of that, I’ve avoided it for the last year or so. I happened to be in the neighborhood and couldn’t help myself. But with a spectacle like this, could you blame me?

Park View

I suppose these cabins are the equivalent of the apartments that surround Central Park in New York City. Only, this namesake park is floating thousands of miles away.

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Park View
A wide-angle view of Central Park onboard Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas

I used a 12mm wide-angle lens for this shot which it makes the foreground appear bowed. I also used a Platypod to anchor the camera to a railing for a long exposure. This is the first time I’ve not taken a tripod and relied solely on the Platypod. In retrospect, it was a good call.

more night photography

These spaces on the boat were designed to resemble neighborhoods. It’s obvious a lot of thought was put into it because, at least for me, that’s what it felt like. You could hang out in a different one depending on your likes. For some reason, this one, surrounded by apartment-like cabins, was the one I hung out in. It created a perfect illusion that, for the length of the cruise, kept reality at a safe distance.

Midnight Road Trip

A few years ago I took an all-night drive down the Pacific Coast Highway. The only rule was that I had to be back at the San Jose airport by eight in the morning. So I gassed up the rental, picked up a couple of Red Bulls, and started driving.

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Midnight Road Trip

By day, it’s one of the most scenic highways. By night, it feels like another world. Once you get below Carmel, there is no light pollution, and the stars are big and bright. As it happened, the moon illuminated the road, and my eyes got used to it, was more comfortable than daytime driving. I would stop at pullouts overlooking the coast and take long exposure images like this one at ten seconds.

more long exposures from the gallery

Also, the lighthouses are fun to look at as they cast their rotating beams in the fog and low clouds. The one in the distance is Point Sur Lightstation. I made it down to San Simeon and turned the car around. It was a long drive back, but the sense of adventure (and Red Bull) kept me going. I made it back in time to grab my bags from the hotel and catch my flight home. And lucky for me, it was the pilot’s turn to drive, so I slept all the way back to Florida.

Mount Rushmore at Night

We drove across South Dakota to Rapid City, and by itself, the drive was pretty amazing, full of sights. The next day was Independence Day, and so we set out sightseeing the two main attractions. In the morning we visited Mount Rushmore which is about twenty miles from town, and in the afternoon we drove to the Sitting Bull monument which is another seventeen miles west.

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Mount Rushmore at Night
Mount Rushmore on the evening of Independence Day

At both locations, there were large crowds, but that was no surprise on the biggest holiday of summer. After a full day, we returned to our hotel in Rapid City for dinner. During dinner, we decided that rather than watch fireworks in town, we would drive back to see the monument at night. Spotlights illuminate Rushmore in the evening creating a massive spectacle.

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So on our second trip to Rushmore that day, I took this image from behind the amphitheater about thirty minutes after a presentation. As it was late at night, the crowds had dissipated, and only a few visitors remained. That is how I managed to be standing at the base of the mountain to take this picture without anyone in the frame. All in all, it was an excellent way to end the day.

Stars Above Terra Ceia

This is a minimalist view of Terra Ceia Bay which is a short distance from my home in Palmetto. There was no breeze, so the water was like glass. I made several stops and each picture I took featured reflections in the water.

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Stars Above Terra Ceia
The view of Terra Ceia Bay on a calm morning

Yesterday I mentioned the topic of light pollution and if you’re interested I found a link to an online map. This shows the levels of artificial light on the ground at places all over the earth. Even though this image of Terra Ceia was taken about an hour before dawn, the band of light on the horizon is the tell-tale sign of a city. Sadly, it seems there are not many dark skies on the eastern half of the North American continent, at least not where I live in the United States.

more night photos
Nonetheless, we still have stars and every evening when I walk my dog I look up at them. I think that in decades to come space travel will become common, and we’ll have the luxury of seeing the stars unobstructed by atmosphere. Until that time, at least now I have a map to find the darkest skies.

More Hot Air

Here is another balloon from the festival last week. If nothing else, it whets my appetite for doing more of these. This kind of image checks a lot of boxes for me: it’s at night, colorful and simple.

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More Hot Air
From the Sarasota Balloon Festival

It’s an example of how I try to simplify a subject to give it a stronger voice. At an event like this, there are a lot of people walking around, other balloons and basically, a bunch of commotion. But I walked around this one balloon looking for an angle that would minimize the distractions. I also used Photoshop to blackout a bus and truck. So, the combination of composition and post-processing allowed me to create a simpler scene that focuses on just the main subject.

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I gravitate towards simplicity in photography. I suppose it’s a form of meditation and a break from the barrage of daily life. So, there you have it, one big reason why I like balloons. And you thought they were just for flying.

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight savings is upon us and somehow this seemed appropriate. It’s a combination of images taken at different times of day. By carefully merging them I’ve created a surreal scene that combines a daylight image with another one at night. It’s a little like the confusion I experience on a Monday after we change the clocks, eh?

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Daylight Savings Time
Images from day and night merged together

If you detected a slight Canadian accent it’s because I took this while in Toronto. I took one shot out the hotel window when I arrived in in the afternoon and another in the evening. In the past I’ve done similar images using a tripod, but in this case I handheld the camera each time. That creates slight variations which could have been difficult to align, but with a little effort it turned out okay.

more from Toronto

Even when I travel for reasons other than photography I bring my camera. This was a quick business trip with very little time for photos, yet I still managed to get a few shots from around the hotel. Hope springs eternal and I figure that if I bring the camera and I have an extra hour in the day (knock on wood), I’ll get a little time for doing what I like best: eh?