Walking Down Broadway

Rick New York City, Night Photography, people, SonyAlpha, streetphotography, travel, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

This is a shot that I had a lot of fun making. I went walking down Broadway late at night in the pouring rain. Shooting street scenes in the city is fun enough, but add the lights reflecting on rain slicked streets and it takes it to a whole new level. And of course, being New York, there are always people out walking regardless of the weather.

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Walking Down Broadway

Walking down Broadway in the rain

I was a block from Times Square and there were lights everywhere. The colors of this scene were so vivid it almost looked unreal. At the time it seemed normal, but that’s what happens when you’re in the middle of the city, wild lights everywhere start to seem normal.

I had my camera covered with plastic and I was wearing a rain poncho. I must have been quite the site, but then maybe not. What could look more normal than someone with a camera in Times Square? I wasn’t the only one; I saw one or two others looking for cool shots as well. Rain seems to bring out the photographers, at least the ones that are visiting.

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I was out for a couple of hours and people kept emptying out of bars and walking around looking for places to eat. That was me back in my twenties. Now I’m content just to take pictures of people doing what I used to do. In a way I think that’s kind of funny.

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The Breakers

Rick beach, drone, Florida, Manatee County, minimalism, sports 0 Comments

On Monday tropical storm Emily blew in from the Gulf and through my hometown with very little warning. It seemed to come out of nowhere and before we knew it we were in the eye. Our cell phones where blaring tornado warnings and the oak trees were waving like twigs. By the afternoon Emily moved east and I headed straight to the beach to watch the breakers.

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The Breakers

The Breakers at Bradenton Beach after tropical storm Emily

By that time the wind died down so it was safe to fly the drone. It supposedly flies in winds of up to 20mph, but having just purchased it last week I’m a fair weather flyer.

Here is a shot over one of the piers at Bradenton Beach. That’s local surfer David Julius riding a wave on the left. David is from California so he was stoked by whatever the storm could dish up. From this angle it’s hard to tell but from ground level the breakers were awesome to look at, and surely even better to ride.

More images from the Gulf of Mexico

In addition I got video from the drone that I’ll post shortly. The drone is a DJI Mavic Pro and having survived my first week I’m starting to get my sea legs. That’s an oxymoronic thing to say about flying, but that’s what you get when you read my posts. It’s a little like Emily; it just comes out of nowhere.

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Familiar Scene Transformed

Rick clouds, cloudscape, Florida, iphone, landscapephotography, Manatee County, Sunset, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

Here is a familiar scene transformed by the weather. It’s another in a series of panoramas I’ve been doing; only this time I used an iPhone. I shot this on a rainy day with three vertical images side-by-side.

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Familiar Scene Transformed

Familiar scene transformed by he weather

I like shooting in the rain. When it rains, you may see things that make for interesting images. Maybe the opposite would be true if I lived in a rainy climate. I’d be writing about how I like shooting on a dry day because it offers a slightly different perspective than the typical rainy day. One person’s mundane is another person’s awesome.

Do we consider whatever we see regularly as mundane? I have a photographer friend who lives in a condo overlooking a beautiful beach. He’s been there a year and he recently told me he wasn’t tired of the view. But he does like going to other places to take photos. When I visit him the beach looks amazing to me so I take a lot of photos.

more images of bradenton

Anyway, I’ve been to this location in Bradenton a hundred of times, but in the rain at dusk it looked completely new to me. Sometimes I think we just need a change of scenery, even if that means just going to the same place on a rainy day.

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Gotham City

Rick clouds, cloudscape, lake, long exposure, monochrome, New York City, Night Photography, nightphotography, SonyAlpha, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

It’s been so long since I was here last that I had forgotten where everything was. So it was a nice surprise when I “found” the Jackie Kennedy Onassis reservoir late at night on a bike. This is from the north side facing back towards midtown. This night scene with the clouds reminds me of Gotham City.

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Gotham City

Gotham City at night

I rented the bike for the evening as a way to get around Central Park. I got a basket so I could carry my tripod, as I’d need it for long exposures. The park is open until one in the morning and it was a nice surprise to find so many people out at such a late hour. For me, nighttime is the best time to take pictures here because of the overall moodiness. I stopped so often to set up my tripod that I could have easily been here all night. It was very quiet and I was in the zone.

This panorama consists of four vertical long exposure images, each thirty-seconds long. The clouds were heavy which added to the drama of the scene. They are especially illuminated above mid-town, as you would expect. My guess is that the light given off by Times Square is easily visible from space.

more panorama images

It still amazes me that Manhattan has such a big park in the middle of the city. It’s a vital organ of the city; I think the lungs. Whether you are running, cycling or just sitting on a bench, this is where you come to breathe in, breath out and reconnect.

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Panorama of the Pier

Rick clouds, cloudscape, Florida, landscapephotography, Manatee County, minimalism, SonyAlpha 0 Comments

This is a panorama of the pier on Anna Maria Island on another one of my Sunday drives. I take a disproportionate number of photos on Sunday because I usually end up going for a drive. I’ve also been taking a lot of panoramas lately. This one I’ve shortened but it is actually another twenty-five percent wider on the right. It looks better on a wall that way but what you see here is cropped for the web.

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Panorama of the Pier

Panorama of the Pier on Anna Maria Island

One thing I will say about Anna Maria Island is how quiet it is. That may seem like an unusual statement for someone living or visiting here, but it’s true. I just got back from New York City and the contrast couldn’t be more apparent. Comparing apples and oranges (pardon the analogy) is not a fair comparison, but take away everything else and you are left with the sounds.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE New York City. But coming back to Florida after a little visit there reminds me how much I like quiet places as well. Quite frankly I can use a little more New York in my life, but I sure am fortunate to live here in Florida. We have open spaces, sea breezes and the quiet sound of the waves.

more from Anna Maria Island

Now that I got that off my chest, I have half a mind to plan another trip to NYC. But in the meantime I’ll go for Sunday drives and look for scenes like this and listen to the sounds of a tropical island right here in Florida.

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Private Fireworks

Rick bridge, cloudscape, Florida, Landscape, Manatee County, Night Photography, nightphotography, SonyAlpha, Urban 0 Comments

This is another image I took on Independence Day. Normally the fireworks are launched from the other side of the river but not this year. Had we known we would have crossed and sat on the south side. Nevertheless we made due and in the end I rather like this photo from just before nightfall. These were someone’s private fireworks before the real show by the city. The clouds on the left were alive with lightning and we had man-made and Mother Nature’s fireworks exploding in unison.

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Private Fireworks

Private Fireworks in Palmetto Florida

Most of my photos do not turn out the way I intended. That was the case this evening with the obstructed view. But it’s not always a bad thing. We think we know what we want, but chaos and randomness dictate otherwise. Go with the flow and work with what you have. Adaptability is the key to success in photography and life.

Before a shoot I have scenes in my head of what I want to end up with. The majority of the time I get something different. But knowing what I want those scenes to be is an advantage. The scenes will eventually appear and I’ll be ready because I will already have thought about it.

For instance, imagine a sailboat in front of a setting sun. If I have my mind set on that I might not get it on a particular outing. But at some point I will see it about to occur and I’ll be ready. The catalog of ideas in my head grows when I look at works of other photographers, or simply when I fail to get the scene I came for. The bigger the catalog in my head the more I’m ready for.

more cityscape images

On Independence Day I did not have this image in my mind at all, not even close. But I went with the flow and ended up with something I liked very much. But that other image is in the catalog waiting for it to come up again, and on that occasion I’ll be ready.

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Rooftop Bar at the Zamora

Rick Florida, people, photography, SonyAlpha, travel, Urban 0 Comments

Another hot tip if you’re looking for cool place to hang out in St Pete’s beach Florida, try the rooftop bar at Hotel Zamora. If I’m not mistaken it’s fairly new because when I look it up on Google Maps it looks like a bare roof. But rest assured its been transformed into a swank pad with a great view of the Gulf.

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Rooftop Bar at the Zamora

Rooftop Bar at the Zamora in St Pete’s Beach Florida

I have a friend that’s getting married here shortly so I’m looking forward to coming back to hang out and taking some great photos.

It’s the kind of place I would go to if I were on vacation, only I live here so I need another excuse. The best excuse I can come up with is the day of the week called Saturday. Short of that I might even consider a staycation.

Along the back is Castile Restaurant overlooking the inter-coastal waterway. My wife and I stopped in for dinner, almost as an afterthought. We were surprised at the quality of food, presentation and service. It’s a hidden gem that we’ve just discovered.

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Just down the street is the better-known Don Cesar hotel; it’s the pink building in the background. That’s a much bigger place with all the amenities of a large resort. But the photographer in me will choose a place with a rooftop bar over the better-known location any day. So for me, the Zamora is on the shortlist in the very near future.

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Get the Job You Deserve

Rick Macphun, New York City, Night Photography, nightphotography, SonyAlpha, travel, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

The “Get The Job You Deserve” sign over Times Square is a mammoth structure. I hesitate to call it a billboard; it’s way bigger than that. I took this shortly after checking to a hotel in New York City. Coming from a small town in Florida to the heart of Manhattan is one heck of a jolt, just the kind I needed.

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Get the Job You Deserve

Get the Job You Deserve

I have a tip if you’re into photography and thinking of going to New York City. Book a room at the Courtyard Marriot on West 54th and Broadway. On one side of the building the rooms overlook Broadway and Times Square. This is the view from a corner room on the 28th floor. The location is about four blocks from Times Square and Central Park in the other direction.

I used to live here many moons ago. The city continues to change yet many things remain the same. It feels like there are improvements yet so much is familiar. Something I noticed is that cabs seem easier to find. My theory is that because so many people are using Uber, cabs are more available. I could be wrong; it’s just a theory.

For all intents and purposes New York City may as well be a nation; boroughs are like provinces or states. You could live in one section of the city and speak a different dialect than in another.

more from NYC

The city has it’s own gravitational field and laws of attraction. If you like the city you are drawn in, if not you are repulsed, there seems to be no grey area; it’s an all or nothing proposition. As for me, I am a monster fan.

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Two-hour Ground Delay

Rick Florida, HDR, iphone, Macphun, people, Tampa, travel, unitedstates 0 Comments

A few days ago I was headed up to New York City from Tampa. We left with plenty of time to spare but by the time we made it through traffic and security we only had fifteen minutes before boarding. We ended up making some bad food choices in a frantic attempt to get a meal in the few minutes remaining. No sooner had we done that than an announcement was made that the flight was put on a two-hour ground delay due to weather. This is the scene from the bar at Pei Wei across from our gate where we made more questionable food and beverage choices.

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Two-hour Ground Delay

Two-hour Ground Delay at Tampa Airport

I am completely amazed at how I was able to make this photo. It was taken with an iPhone7 and then edited it in Lightroom mobile on the same device. By using the camera inside mobile Lightroom the images were saved in RAW format. That allowed me to recover a more detail, shadows and highlights than I might ordinarily.

The other cool thing is that Lightroom on the iPhone is hooked up with Lightroom on my laptop. As I was siting here editing the image on my iPhone, it and the edits were being save in the cloud. I opened up my laptop and started using Lightroom where I left off from on my iPhone. I continued using some of my favorite software including Photoshop and MacPhun’s Luminar as well as a few others, finally ending up with this.

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Personally I am amazed, because it really felt seamless hopping from one platform to another. Sure, there is not as much detail as if I had used my three-thousand dollar Sony camera, but there is way more detail in this than I would have expected. You can see both our JetBlue aircraft and clouds at the gate across the way as well as interesting details in the darkened restaurant. For sitting at a bar in an airport, it ain’t half bad if I do say so myself.

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Inter-coastal on Longboat

Rick abstract, clouds, cloudscape, Florida, landscapephotography, long exposure, Manatee County, photography, Sarasota, SonyAlpha 0 Comments

This is a long exposure from a park that sits on the border between Sarasota and Manatee counties. It’s a new park so on a recent Sunday drive I stopped by to see it for myself. I’m facing towards the inter-coastal on Longboat Key.

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Inter-coastal on Longboat

A long exposure of the Inter-coastal on Longboat Key in Sarasota

You may ask, how is it possible to take a long exposure at midday? Glad you asked; I used a strong ND filter. ND stands for neutral density and it blocks the light. In fact I used two filters and together they REALLY block the light. So much so that I can keep the shutter open for a minute or two, something I can normally do only at night.

So why would I want to take a long exposure during the day? Another great question; because everything is gets smoothed out. Even water that has waves appears smooth, the same goes for clouds; they all appear smooth. It’s a cheap special effect you can achieve without a big Hollywood budget.

other long exposure images

You can get pretty creative with photography if you have nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon. As for me I rarely have anything better to do. Standing in an empty park taking long exposures in broad daylight is my idea of a good time. Can you think of anything better to do?

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