Moose Lodge

Rick Florida, Landscape, Manatee County, minimalism, SonyAlpha 0 Comments

This is the Moose Lodge in Bradenton Beach on a recent weekend. I know nothing about Moose Lodges, but if there was ever one to join this is it. I understand the food is good and it’s right on the beach and has this terrace overlooking the water.

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Moose Lodge

Moose Lodge in Bradenton Beach, Florida

This is a random scene I took while walking the beach. This is similar to street photography because I’m just looking for interesting things to shoot; only the street was a beach. The other day I wrote about this type of photography and called it scene photography, which is simply walking around with an open mind and looking for scenes. It’s a cross discipline of street, urban and landscape photography.

I noticed these people standing on the terrace and it seemed like a “scene”, which is really just an interesting moment; so I composed a shot and froze it in time. Even though the beach is just below, I angled up at the clouds to give it a sense of loftiness. It’s a technique I’ve used in other photos as well.

Summer in Florida is the rainy season and there are often clouds in the sky; these are an example of that. Generally they enhance a photo by adding a sense of depth or drama. As long as you don’t mind getting a little wet now and then, clouds can be your best friends when taking summer photos in Florida.

images with clouds

It can also be a little dangerous on account of the lightning. Two things we have plenty of are lighting and alligators, they’re both fun to take pictures of and they can both bite if you don’t respect them. However on this occasion the only biting going on was of the food being served at the Moose Lodge.

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Examination of Society

Rick B&W, canada, monochrome, photography, SonyAlpha, Urban, urbanexploration, Vancouver 0 Comments

Pictures from big cities like this are a mini examination of society. The scale shrinks individuals and we are left with dwellings, their architecture and proximity. That allows us to examine like an archeologist, learning about a society by studying its pathways and structures.

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Examination of Society

Examination of society through a wide angle lens

I took this from Vancouver Lookout which is one of the must see attractions. Even though it’s mainly for tourists it didn’t deter me from spending a couple of hours here taking shots in all directions. This one in particular I took with a wide 12mm lens. It causes the buildings to appear splayed in different directions. It may not be realistic but it creates a sense of movement to the scene.

Examining these scenes teaches us about the inhabitants at a collective level. At a personal level they teach us nothing. We cannot know someone’s heart by which floor they exit the elevator. However we start to understand a person by looking into his or her eyes, the windows of the soul. Maybe there is a parallel in cityscape scenes; the windows of buildings act as portals into the soul of a city. A million windows lead to a million individuals that combined are the essence of a place.

more cityscape images

I am drawing a long bow, but it’s an idea, that what makes a scene like this interesting is our invisible connection to the people behind the windows. I’m sure there’s more to it, but it’s an idea I have and for now and I might just take that with a cup of coffee and call it a day.

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Follow Your Passion

Rick beach, Florida, photography, SonyAlpha, Tampa 0 Comments

I took this a couple of years ago at a kite festival on St Pete’s beach in Florida. This was part of an exhibition in synchronized flying. There were a couple more kites out of frame and they would all fly together in formation. The people flying these were pros that knew what they were doing. Who knew there was such a thing as professional kite fliers? Certainly not me, but you know what they say, follow your passion.

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Follow Your Passion

Follow your passion even if it means flying a kite

I’m not sure how they didn’t get the strings tangled or how they maintained their distance, but it was nothing short of precision; like the Blue Angels but a lot less risky. I’ve had a smaller version of one of these kites for years; it’s a lot of fun to fly but is anything but precise. I can appreciate how much practice must be involved. As it turns out some of these people came from other states to participate and compete.

I follow my passion for photography, as do these folks with their kites. Together there’s a symbiosis of sorts; each benefits the other. It reminds me of an event I was photographing a couple of weeks ago. There were professional athletes involved and several came up to thank me for being there to capture them. At first I was a surprised but later realized we both benefited. I fed off the energy of the athletes and some of them performed better for the camera. We elevated each other.

more kites

One of the unexpected pleasures of photography is coming in contact with people that are passionate about something. That cross-pollination creates an energy that’s greater than the sum of its parts. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as there is passion involved. When that happens the sky’s the limit to what you can do, even if it means simply flying a kite.

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Bucket List

Rick Landscape, Nature, New Zealand, SonyAlpha, travel 0 Comments

Every now and then I like going back to look at my images from New Zealand. I was there a little over three years ago but it now seems like an eternity. But having those images brings back some of that magic. I find myself using the word “magic” a lot when describing the southern island of New Zealand. There is something about it that evokes a sense of wonder. You should put it on your bucket list, especially if you like natural beauty.

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Bucket List

Bucket List item from the Southern Alps of New Zealand

This is one of the many helicopter landings I made on the last day. I spent the morning shooting images of the Southern Alps and then flew home that afternoon.

I’m standing next to the oddly named Lake Unknown, which is on the southern slopes of Poseidon Peak. The mist on the left is from a light rain shower on the far side of the lake. In these mountains there are microclimates that vary from blizzards to light rain to sunshine. As we approached from the north we could see a rainbow through the shower, it was surreal; that’s another word I use to describe New Zealand.

New Zealand gallery

The last time I was in the mountains was on a cruise to Alaska. I think there are two types of people, mountain people and ocean people. In Alaska you can be both at the same time if you live by the coast. Even though I live by the ocean in Florida I think of myself as a mountain person. I enjoy both but I need to see the mountains once in a while to keep sane. While I was in New Zealand I got a large dosage of rugged mountains took thousands of photos. Now, if I go too long without seeing the mountains I can look at the photos and remember what it was like. And then I start to wonder if I might redo one item on my bucket list. That’s allowed isn’t it?

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Simplicity of the Scene

Rick beach, Florida, Landscape, Manatee County, Nature, SonyAlpha, Sunset 0 Comments

I am fortunate because I can drive to the beach in a few minutes. I’m double fortunate because I like photography. Those two reasons conspired to get me to the beach the other day where I simply walked up and down taking photos. This is one of my favorite due to the simplicity of the scene and the timing of the shot.

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Simplicity of the Scene

Simplicity of the Scene – photography at the beach

I was lining up to get the sun reflected in the puddle and noticed the skimmer out of the corner of my eye. I took three rapid shots with this being the best. To be honest, while I love this shot, it’s not all that hard to do. It simply boils down to being in position and noticing things. In fact, awesome things happen around us all the time however we’re usually too preoccupied to notice. When you put yourself in a receptive state of mind you see quite a lot. That’s the essence of this type of photography.

For instance I’ve noticed that pelicans fly in formation at dusk and dawn. I’ve also seen these skimmers active just as the sun is setting. So basically I’m half expecting to see them fly through the frame when I’m here. It’s not luck, it’s odds and they’re in my favor.

more beach from the gallery

Anyway, it’s nice to walk the beach and look for scenes. Things are happening all the time and when I see them I do my best to capture them. The same applies for different genres such as street photography, urban exploration, architecture photography and travel photography. Maybe we can come up with a new type of photography that’s about capturing scenes around us. It will be called scene photography, …or not. I might need to put a little more thought in to that.

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Palace of Fine Arts

Rick Architecture, B&W, california, Macphun, monochrome, Night Photography, nightphotography, san francisco, SanFrancisco, SonyAlpha, travel, Urban 0 Comments

On a recent trip to San Francisco I got up early one morning and came here to the Palace of Fine Arts. As it was a Sunday I had the whole place to myself. That by itself is an experience to say nothing of the photographic possibilities. I imagined myself in an ancient Rome as though a ghost out of time.

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Palace of Fine Arts

Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco

In this image I placed the camera near the floor and aimed up with a Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens. It’s a special lens because it keeps the horizon flat without distortion, which is where the Zero-D comes from. Perhaps this is what the cat sees as he prowls the palace grounds each night.

As I look at this it reminds me that I’ll be heading back to Europe soon. I never know what I’ll see but I suppose that’s true wherever I go. When I go out to take pictures I have an expectation in my mind. That’s good for certain types of photography but on others it just gets in the way. When travelling the trick is to see what’s in front of me; I might miss something if I’m preoccupied with something in my head.

That’s not to say I don’t have a lot of ideas of images floating around. But it takes presence of mind to pick out details or compositions in a new place. Otherwise it’s better to work in a studio where we can shape an image to match our idea.

I normally take two or three lenses with me when touring. Like in this case I had the wide angle in the bag and so I pulled it out. I might experiment with taking just one lens on an excursion. Back in the day of film many cameras had a 35mm focal length. There’s a degree of liberation that comes with that because you stop thinking about the lens choice and just work with what you have.

more black and white

If I had to choose just one lens I’d start with the 35mm; that’s a good field of view to work with. But I also like the 50mm and the 85mm. Just thinking about the choice makes me anxious. Isn’t that the craziest thing you ever heard?

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The Display in the Sky

Rick Florida, HDR, Landscape, Manatee County, Night Photography, nightphotography, photography, Sunset, Urban 0 Comments

I was out without my camera feeling a little anxious as the colors starting blooming in the sky. They say that the best camera in the world is the one you have with you. I had to calm down and remind myself of that because the display in the sky would only last for a few minutes.

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The Display in the Sky

The display in the sky over Palmetto Florida

In this case I had an iPhone so I took three images using the Lightroom camera app. Later I combined them in Lightroom on my computer. The advantage of using the Lightroom app on the phone is that it saves the files in RAW and automatically syncs them with Lightroom on the desktop.

To be honest I’m biased towards my camera so I didn’t expect much from these; I almost forgot I had them. However when reviewing them in Lightroom later I had to do a double take. Certainly it’s not perfect but it’s not bad for a cellphone.

The sensors in smartphones are getting pretty good, even for landscapes under odd lighting conditions. If you’re a shutterbug like me it’s becoming less “necessary” to always carry a big camera.

other Palmetto images from the gallery

I remember the evening well because of how the sky looked. I wasn’t expecting I could capture the essence of it with just an iPhone, however this image is helping me to rethink that mindset. I won’t be giving up my Sony full frame camera anytime soon, but I also won’t be so anxious next time I head out without it; unless of course I forget my cell phone as well.

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Bradenton Beach Pier from the Bridge

Rick bridge, Florida, Night Photography, nightphotography, SonyAlpha, travel 0 Comments

This is a view of the Bradenton Beach Pier from the bridge. I’m facing west so the pier is on the inter-coastal waterway. The Gulf of Mexico is just behind the row of buildings. To get the whole bridge in the frame I walked on to the bridge between the mainland and Anna Maria Island. Other than that I’d need to be on a boat since there’s no other place to get the full view of it.

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Bradenton Beach Pier from the Bridge

Bradenton Beach Pier from the Bridge

I took this early in the evening as people were coming home from the beach. Basically I was standing on the sidewalk next to a traffic jam. That’s because there are only two bridges leaving the island and all those thousands of people have to go home. Right after sunset it can time to drive home, good thing there is nice scenery along the way.

With all the cars crossing it causes the bridge to vibrate. That creates a challenge when taking long exposures like this. For instance, if I have a ten-second exposure and a car goes by in the first five seconds, the image will come out fuzzy. However my Sony A7rII camera has image stabilization so it was able to take a sharp image even with the vibration.

more of bradenton beach from the gallery

If you follow the pier back to shore, it leads to Old Bridge Street. That’s an area with outdoor establishments and live music at every corner. People are out walking around, listening to music and just seeing the sights. There are a lot of choices from ice cream to lobster, from smoothie to martini.

My favorite thing about Bradenton Beach is the small town atmosphere, something not so easy to come by these days. But now you know where you can find it.

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Sarasota National Cemetery

Rick Florida, Sarasota, SonyAlpha 0 Comments

It’s the Memorial Day weekend so we visited the Sarasota National Cemetery. What I didn’t expect is how it affected me. The number of markers is overwhelming; I’m not sure what I expected. I stood here amongst the rows trying to understand. The thought is that these people lived near me; this is not a far away place. It’s inevitable the emotions well up here.

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Sarasota National Cemetery

Sarasota National Cemetery on Memorial Day

There were quite a few others like myself that had come to see. We were milling about aimlessly, not knowing were to start or where it ended.

Then as I stood here I noticed a couple about my age stride purposely through the rows, they knew where they were going. My heart was in my throat as they stopped and stood at the far side over one grave in particular.

The purpose of my visit was not to make myself sad, but to remember. The sacrifices are not just some passages in a dusty history book; they are here living amongst us, in plain sight every day.

Some of us have the luxury of forgetting, only to remember on occasions like this. Others among us do not.

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Exercise in Downtime

Rick Florida, Landscape, minimalism, Nature, SonyAlpha, Tampa 0 Comments

Last Sunday we went for a walk at this park in St Petersburg. Then after that we went to a nearby outdoor café and met some friends for dinner. The whole afternoon and evening was an exercise in downtime.

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Exercise in Downtime

Exercise in Downtime – what you do to recharge is just as important as what you do.

I look forward to the downtime of the weekend. That’s when I get recharged for the week ahead. But truth be told I’m not that good at it; doing nothing that is. But doing nothing is just as necessary as breathing in. I think of what I do most of the week as an out breath, a hundred little acts of creation. So whether I’m good at disengaging or not, it’s still necessary.

I’ve even started to practice doing nothing. That sounds like a joke but its not. In the morning I just sit still for ten minutes. It’s a way of training myself to disengage. The idea is to be comfortable with it and carry that into other parts of the day or week. I’m so used to doing things that something as simple as sitting without a cellphone or book is a challenge. But I’m getting better at it even though I have a ways to go.

minimalism in the gallery

I’ve challenged myself to do things my whole life, but it never occurred to me that downtime was so important. Now that I know that, I can practice it. The whole thing sounds completely backwards. I just have to do nothing about it. Okay, that one was a joke.

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