This Side of Heaven

When I spied this shot I thought maybe I’d died and gone to heaven. Well, maybe not me but the folks watching the sunset in their beach chairs. Not many people that move down here to Manatee County in Florida return to their northern homes unless they’re what we call “snowbirds”; fly down in winter and back up in summer. I used to live in a northern climate and now I think I’d have a hard time going back. It’s true there’s beauty everywhere, but something about the gentle rolling of the waves and the warm breeze is hard to resist. Lets face it, Florida is a retirement state and for good reason. So, while Florida has industries and agriculture, I think it’s biggest draw is tourism. In my opinion it’s too hard to focus the mind when the climate and scenery are this inviting. It’s my theory that people in northern climates are more industrious because they are forced to stay indoors through the long cold months. I don’t know where I’m going with all this, probably nowhere. In any case, when I wake up from this daydream I hope I’m close to this beach. In the meantime, I’m not retired so I better get back to work.

When I spied this shot I thought maybe I'd died and gone to heaven. Well, maybe not me but the folks watching the sunset in their beach chairs. Not many people that move down here to Manatee County in Florida return to their northern homes unless they're what we call
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Lake Minnewanka

Don’t let the clear water and sunny day fool you, this water is about 3C/38F. For a guy from Florida that’s just about the temperature I want my drink to be, not my swim. Even so there were a few brave hearts jumping in this mid-summer day. Apparently the Canadian Coast Guard uses this lake for cold water rescue training. That’s good enough for me, …moving on. The mountains on the left have had prescribed burns and so the forest is healthy, vibrant and growing, however fire suppression on the right has left the soil acidic and unfit for wildlife. Even though the forest looks more healthy, it is not. In any case, I was fascinated about that fact. It seems that the more enlightened we become, the more we realize that mother nature had it all under control in the first place. Go figure.

Don't let the clear water and sunny day fool you, this water is about 3C/38F. For a guy from Florida that's just about the temperature I want my drink to be, not my swim. Even so there were a few brave hearts jumping in this mid-summer day. Apparently the Canadian Coast Guard uses this lake for cold water rescue training. That's good enough for me, ...moving on. The mountains on the left have had prescribed burns and so the forest is healthy, vibrant and growing, however fire suppression on the right has left the soil acidic and unfit for wildlife. Even though the forest looks more healthy, it is not. In any case, I was fascinated about that fact. It seems that the more enlightened we become, the more we realize that mother nature had it all under control in the first place. Go figure.

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Kokonut Hut

The Kokonut Hut is in Bradenton Beach, Florida. About a mile radius from this spot is where I shoot a lot scenes, an area with beautiful beaches, bridges and of course, sunsets. On this evening I was hoping for more but the heavy clouds were not cooperating. In fact I met a family of four that were standing there waiting for the sunset as it was their last day and they picked a (very) rare week when it rained every day. I doubled my resolve not to take the natural beauty we have here in Florida for granted. I ended up with this exposure because I thought that even without the sunset, hanging out at a tiki bar close to the water with the warm air and cool drink is not so bad after all.

The Kokonut Hut is in Bradenton Beach, Florida. About a mile radius from this spot is where I shoot a lot scenes, an area with beautiful beaches, bridges and of course, sunsets. On this evening I was hoping for more but the heavy clouds were not cooperating. In fact I met a family of four that were standing there waiting for the sunset as it was their last day and they picked a (very) rare week when it rained every day. I doubled my resolve not to take the natural beauty we have here in Florida for granted. I ended up with this exposure because I thought that even without the sunset, hanging out at a tiki bar close to the water with the warm air and cool drink is not so bad after all.

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Palms

Being originally from California, I associate palms with LA and Hollywood. But now I live in Florida and I’m pretty sure we have a lot more here. There are three (not these) at the end of my street facing east and so when walking my dogs in the morning I’ll see the sun rise behind them. Through the seasons, the sun goes from the left side of the palms to the right. Even though I’ve known this I’ve never really noticed the sun’s position until I started watching it rise from behind the Palm trees. I’ve been composing that shot in my mind for a while, but convincing my dogs that I have to take a picture during our morning walkie is easier said than done. In the meantime, I happened to grab this one morning while shooting the sunrise a few miles from home. Hopefully my dogs didn’t mind.

Being originally from California, I associate palms with LA and Hollywood. But now I live in Florida and I'm pretty sure we have a lot more here. There are three (not these) at the end of my street facing east and so when walking my dogs in the morning I'll see the sun rise behind them. Through the seasons, the sun goes from the left side of the palms to the right. Even though I've known this I've never really noticed the sun's position until I started watching it rise from behind the Palm trees. I've been composing that shot in my mind for a while, but convincing my dogs that I have to take a picture during our morning walkie is easier said than done. In the meantime, I happened to grab this one morning while shooting the sunrise a few miles from home. Hopefully my dogs didn't mind.

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Light in the Mirror

I’m not much of a furniture buff but place it in a castle and turn down the lights and suddenly my imagination seems to take over and I’m transported away from this world. Mostly I imagine the scenes of past ages playing out with me as a bystander, as though watching a movie or viewing a prior life. Certain music does that to me also, for instance when I listen to Loreena McKennitt scenes and emotions from a different place and time play out. So it is that when I take photos like this they are not so much about the furniture but the images they evoke in my mind and the portals they open to other worlds and other times. But then a hotel guest walks by in flip flops and I’m brought back into this world.

I'm not much of a furniture buff but place it in a castle and turn down the lights and suddenly my imagination seems to take over and I'm transported away from this world. Mostly I imagine the scenes of past ages playing out with me as a bystander, as though watching a movie or viewing a prior life. Certain music does that to me also, for instance when I listen to Loreena McKennitt scenes and emotions from a different place and time play out. So it is that when I take photos like this they are not so much about the furniture but the images they evoke in my mind and the portals they open to other worlds and other times. But then a hotel guest walks by in flip flops and I'm brought back into this world.

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Siwash Rock

This is Siwash Rock which is at the western tip of Stanley Park in Vancouver. The first time I walked around the seawall I was struck by it’s shape and position, as though it were some mystical sentinel. I’ve tried several times to take a picture of this with poor results, in fact I was a little obsessed with this. How so? Well, when I’m in Vancouver I stay at the Marriott, and in each room of that hotel is the same black and white photograph of this rock, from roughly the same position. I don’t know who took that photo, but who ever you are it’a a really beautiful shot. So, I had it in my mind to do something like that. This is my spin, as it were, but of course I’m emulating another photographer who’s work is in every room of the Marriott. So there you have it, I got my inspiration from a hotel wall.

This is Siwash Rock which is at the western tip of Stanley Park in Vancouver. The first time I walked around the seawall I was struck by it's shape and position, as though it were some mystical sentinel. I've tried several times to take a picture of this with poor results, in fact I was a little obsessed with this. How so? Well, when I'm in Vancouver I stay at the Marriott, and in each room of that hotel is the same black and white photograph of this rock, from roughly the same position. I don't know who took that photo, but who ever you are it'a a really beautiful shot. So, I had it in my mind to do something like that. This is my spin, as it were, but of course I'm emulating another photographer who's work is in every room of the Marriott. So there you have it, I got my inspiration from a hotel wall.
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Predicting Sunsets

I do this mental calculation in my head to figure out if it’ll be a good sunset. It’s based on the height of the clouds, the vision I have of what the sunset should look like and the amount of time I have to procrastinate. At about 15% accuracy I’d have to say it’s a pretty good algorithm, …not. In any case, this is one of those rare occasions when I lucked out. Not only did I luck out, but from this position in Stanley Park there were no fewer than eight photographers already setup, some with assistants and models in tow. It felt like I had to stake my ground as though I was in the press corps waiting for the president. That made me wonder if there is some website or iPhone app that tells photographers a good sunset is on the way, how else would all these shutterbugs be there at the same time and place? The only other possibility is that there are a lot of other people that think like me. And that, my friends, is a little unsettling.

I do this mental calculation in my head to figure out if it'll be a good sunset. It's based on the height of the clouds, the vision I have of what the sunset should look like and the amount of time I have to procrastinate. At about 15% accuracy I'd have to say it's a pretty good algorithm, ...not. In any case, this is one of those rare occasions when I lucked out. Not only did I luck out, but from this position in Stanley Park there were no fewer than eight photographers already setup, some with assistants and models in tow. It felt like I had to stake my ground as though I was in the press corps waiting for the president. That made me wonder if there is some website or iPhone app that tells photographers a good sunset is on the way, how else would all these shutterbugs be there at the same time and place? The only other possibility is that there are a lot of other people that think like me. And that, my friends, is a little unsettling.

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Ringling at Night

Sarasota was once the home of John and Mable Ringling and to this day the Ringling circus is still headquartered here. Not only that, there’s a Ringling College of Art and Design, the Ringling Museum and this, the Ringling Bridge. It seems everywhere you go here in Sarasota there is either a street, bridge or statue in tribute to this giant of his time. My favorite Ringling is this bridge. I don’t know why, but I feel obliged to come here every few months and take a picture of it, this time at night. Maybe one day I’ll open up a coffee shop near here and display all my photos of the bridge. But in the meantime, I’ll continue to use Starbucks.

Sarasota was once the home of John and Mable Ringling and to this day the Ringling circus is still headquartered here. Not only that, there's a Ringling College of Art and Design, the Ringling Museum and this, the Ringling Bridge. It seems everywhere you go here in Sarasota there is either a street, bridge or statue in tribute to this giant of his time. My favorite Ringling is this bridge. I don't know why, but I feel obliged to come here every few months and take a picture of it, this time at night. Maybe one day I'll open up a coffee shop near here and display all my photos of the bridge. But in the meantime, I'll continue to use Starbucks.

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Another Century

Despite the old world look, this picture was taken this summer while in Banff. This is the front of the Banff Springs Hotel and is usually crowded with cars, buses and people coming and going. However, if you’re eager enough to get up at the break of dawn you just might glimpse a view that’s perhaps more reminiscent of the old glory days. Not much of the Banff Springs architecture has changed in a hundred years and walking inside or around this structure you appreciate the old world grandeur normally reserved for faraway places and long passed eras. In any case, I was just glad to get this shot before the first tour bus pulled up about five minutes later.

Despite the old world look, this picture was taken this summer while in Banff. This is the front of the Banff Springs Hotel and is usually crowded with cars, buses and people coming and going. However, if you're eager enough to get up at the break of dawn you just might glimpse a view that's perhaps more reminiscent of the old glory days. Not much of the Banff Springs architecture has changed in a hundred years and walking inside or around this structure you appreciate the old world grandeur normally reserved for faraway places and long passed eras. In any case, I was just glad to get this shot before the first tour bus pulled up about five minutes later.

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Coquina

This is such a popular spot for family picnics that it can be hard to get parking on weekends. However, I took this in the middle of the week when few locals were out. I came here the other night to take some more pictures and saw a pod of dolphins frolicking in the waters pictured on the left. The water drops off just a few feet from shore and the current is quite strong, just right for dolphins to play and catch a meal. I never get tired of watching them in the wild. It’s an amazing feeling to stand just a few feet away from animals that may be smarter than me. And that’s just my dogs. I’m pretty sure dolphins are indeed smarter than me.

This is such a popular spot for family picnics that it can be hard to get parking on weekends. However, I took this in the middle of the week when few locals were out. I came here the other night to take some more pictures and saw a pod of dolphins frolicking in the waters pictured here. The water drops off just a few feet from shore and the current is quite strong, just right for dolphins to play and catch a meal. I never get tired of watching them in the wild. It's an amazing feeling to stand just a few feet away from animals that may be smarter than me. And that's just my dogs. I'm pretty sure Dolphins are indeed smarter than me.

Follow link to obtain a limited edition print of this photo.