Portable Lifeguard Stands

Rick beach, Florida, HDR, Landscape, Macphun, Sarasota, SonyAlpha, Sunset 0 Comments

This is at Siesta Key where we went to see a sand sculpture exhibition. However the most iconic thing about the beach is the portable lifeguard stands. They’re painted in primary colors and spaced every hundred meters. This time I hung around the yellow one because it’s where the sand sculptures were.

Daily Images
Portable Lifeguard Stands

Portable Lifeguard Stands at Siesta Key

The beach is situated so the sun set on one end. Normally in central Florida the beach faces west. I am heading up to the Florida panhandle in a few weeks and it will be a similar experience. From a compositional perspective each has its advantages. Forgive me; I’m always relating everything to photography.

This beach is consistently rated one of the best in the world. That’s on account of the white powdery sand. It’s also located next to a little village with all manner of outdoor establishments. My wife and I had dinner and wine before wandering down to the beach for sunset.

beach gallery

I’m always looking for new compositions in familiar places. Because of the number of people here there will always be something new or different, even though the scenery is the same. There is everything from memorials to drum circles taking place depending on when you happen by. I just happen to come on a day they had sand castles.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

Miami in Silhouette

Rick cruise, Florida, Landscape, SonyAlpha, travel 0 Comments

The cabin of our weekend voyage was at the back of the ship, or “aft” as it’s called in boat-lingo. After we left port we sat in the back and watched the trailing wake and rolling ocean. The best part of that was noticing this view of Miami in silhouette, which for me was unexpected. The clouds were heavy and the sun cut through casting rays upon the ocean. This is a scene I don’t see every day.

Daily Image
Miami in Silhouette

Miami in silhouette from the back of a cruise ship

We were about five or ten miles out to sea when I noticed this so I used a telephoto lens. I took several shots but this is the least crooked of the set. The winds were high and you could really feel the rocking, especially in the aft section. It didn’t bother me but I had to time the shot so the horizon would be flat.

These condos are up and down the coast of Florida; some places more than others. I have a friend who lives in one near Clearwater and the view is spectacular. On the gulf side you have the view of sunsets every night. On the Miami side it’s sunrises.

gallery favorites

For someone like me that loves to shoot scenes of the water I have plenty of opportunities in Florida. But after taking this cruise I think I need to get out on a boat a little more often. Now I just need to find a friend who has one.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

An Antidote for Gloominess

Rick beach, Florida, Landscape, panorama, Sarasota, SonyAlpha 0 Comments

I’m originally from California but I lived in Canada for a while. During the long cold winter I imagined what it would be like to live in Florida. This image of Venice Florida is a close approximation of how I envisioned it. Condos on a long sandy beach seem like an antidote for gloominess. It’s no wonder people come down here for a change of scenery.

Daily Image
An Antidote for Gloominess

An Antidote for Gloominess – the beach at Venice Florida

This is another panorama; I’ve been doing a lot of these lately. This one is composed of four images, two on the left and two on the right. Each side has one stacked on top of the other. I used a 50mm prime lens so the detail is very good.

Because this is a more complex image, I used a tool called Autopano Giga to stitch it together. In general seascape panoramas can be difficult on account of the movement of the waves, but it worked out well this time.

Getting back to the main subject, while living in Canada I read the John Updike Rabbit novels. In the final installment, Rabbit at Rest, the main character retires from Pennsylvania to a condo in Florida. It was a while ago and I don’t remember all the details, but this is the image of Florida I had in my mind.

beach gallery

Of course that was a while ago and now, by a long and winding road, I ended up here myself, although not retired. Nevertheless I have the chance to see for myself all these condos on the water. And every time I see some retired gentleman I think of Rabbit at Rest.

I guess I’ll have to reread the book now.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

Seawall and Fishing Pier at Fort Desoto Park

Rick B&W, beach, Florida, Landscape, SonyAlpha, Sunset, Tampa 0 Comments

This is the seawall and fishing pier at Fort Desoto Park in St Petersburg. We drove up here the other day to walk and watch the sunset. When we arrived we’d just missed a couple of large cruise ships passing out of Tampa Bay; all the ships pass this point.

Daily Image
Seawall and Fishing Pier at Fort Desoto Park

Seawall and Fishing Pier at Fort Desoto Park

The cruise ships that leave out of Tampa are typically sailing to Mexico, the western Caribbean and now Cuba. Just a few weeks ago the first US based cruise ships departed for a port of call in Cuba. That was big news around here.

It takes about an hour of driving to get here from my home on the other side of the bay. I was talking to a neighbor who has a boat and he comes here in the afternoons to fish. I was surprised to find that out but I think it might actually be shorter to get here by boat.

This is a good place to fish and last year I saw a guy over by the pier catch a six-foot Tarpon. But you have to be careful because once hooked, the sharks like to come by to steal the catch. I’ve heard that Dolphins can do that as well. All’s fair in love and war, and I suppose for serious fishermen it’s a real war out there.

more monochrome images

I don’t have to worry about any of that because I get my fish from a menu. I am not in any way shape or form a fisherman. Sure, I’m probably missing out on a lot of fun, but I’ll stick to taking photos for the time being.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

On the way to St Armand’s

Rick bridge, Florida, Landscape, Nature, Sarasota, SonyAlpha, Sunset, Urban 0 Comments

On the weekend we decided to head to Sarasota for dinner and I had a vague thought to grab the camera. On the way to St Armand’s Circle we saw this scene as we approached the bridge. Since I had my camera I pulled over to capture the sun nearing the horizon. Although it looks white here, the sun was glowing red from behind what appeared to be atmospheric dust. Every so often dust from the Sahara blows across the Atlantic and creates a filter-like effect that’s good for photography.

Daily Image
On the way to St Armand’s

On the way to St Armand’s in Sarasota

This is another panoramic image. I was using a 35mm lens and took three vertical images and then stitched them together in Lightroom. Unlike the panorama of Miami that I posted yesterday, this does not have as much detail. Nevertheless I am fond of this technique for capturing landscapes because it produces very little distortion. It’s similar to turning your head from side to side.

I get a little wistful when I see a sunset and don’t have a camera. So I’ve gotten in the habit of carrying one even if I don’t plan on talking pictures. You never can tell when something might come up. If I use a small prime lens then the camera is not so bulky. Then, if I feel I need to go wider than the lens allows, I can simply create a panorama with as little as two side-by-side images.

Sarasota Gallery

Anyway, this is my favorite location to take photos in Sarasota and I had it in the back of my mind that I might see something as we dove by. I’m glad I listened to that little voice in my head. Hopefully I’ll keep listening.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

Miami Sunrise Panorama

Rick cruise, Florida, panorama, photography, SonyAlpha, Sunset, travel, Urban 0 Comments

I was a little lucky to capture this Miami sunrise panorama. We had just docked at the port of Miami after a weekend in the Bahamas. Because we docked at the last terminal it afforded this unique perspective of the city to the west and South Beach to the east. South Beach faces the Atlantic and so the sun is rising over the ocean.

Daily Image
Miami Sunrise Panorama

Miami Sunrise Panorama taken from the Port of Miami

Regarding that, I was looking at this picture and wondering to myself why the sun was rising over the ocean? In all my photos from the west coast of Florida the sun sets on the ocean. I realized of course that this is the east coast and, I live on the west coast facing the other direction. Sometimes I get disoriented when traveling.

I grew up in the California Valley and I could always orient myself with the Sierra Nevada Mountains; they lie to the east. Out of habit, when traveling I try to orient to some elevated landmark. But Florida is flat so I rely on the sun for bearings. Naturally it seemed to me the sun was rising in the wrong place. At least that’s my excuse for now.

more panoramas

Because this is made up of multiple shots stitched together the resolution is very high. This prints out at about six feet by two feet at full resolution. That allows for details not possible with a single frame. It’s little like standing in the deck of the ship with binoculars and looking out, only in this case I used a high-resolution camera and a lucky perspective.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

Weekend State of Mind

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

I post a lot of sunset images because it’s one of the main attractions of the area I live in. If the conditions are right on a Friday or Saturday its even better because it seems everyone is in the same kind of weekend state of mind. Any evening can be good but Fridays and Saturdays have their own special quality.

Daily Image
Weekend State of Mind

Weekend State of Mind on Longboat key, Florida

Last weekend I took a little hike to this secluded beach. Other than that you need a boat to get here. These people were taking pictures of the sunset and had a boat. I, on the other hand, was taking pictures of people taking pictures of the sunset and a boat. Funny how that worked out, eh?

Most of the visitors have left Florida but it’s actually the best time of year to be here. There are very few crowds, the weather is mild and because it’s changing we get these types of clouds most evenings. Soon we’ll have high humidity and heat but now that seems a million years away. In reality we have only the current moment and if we are concerned about the future we miss an entire lifetime of experiences happening now.

Yet I find myself thinking about the days of the week. On Monday, Friday seems like a long way off. In reality I could go out taking pictures any day, even Monday. This idea of the weekend is an artificial construct of ours. The best days to go out and take pictures are the days you go out and take pictures. Having said all that, I still look forward to the weekend.

beach gallery

The weekend is the gas station of the soul; it’s when we get filled up to do stuff during the week. Weekends are for hikes or boat rides, for sunrises and sunsets, for more thinking and less doing. In reality weekends are a state of mind, they could be any days we choose. Nevertheless, until someone does away with the workweek I’ll recharge the batteries starting Friday night.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

Not Enough Focus

Rick abstract, Florida, Manatee County, photography, streetphotography, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

More than once on the blog I’ve mentioned that I prefer pictorialism to realism. I also prefer impressionism although I struggle for ways to express that in photography. One simple way however is through blurred images. This is an impressionistic street scene with not enough focus.

Daily Image
Not Enough Focus

Not Enough Focus dot com

I shot this on my first outing with a new lens, the Sony 85mm 1.8. I didn’t purposely take this out of focus, it was a mistake, but I immediately liked it. It makes me think I should do more. I prefer images that leave something for the imagination; they are more engaging.

I use a variety of techniques to abstract images but rarely lack of focus. It’s a valid form of simplification and now I wonder why I haven’t used it more. I think maybe it’s because I’m normally preoccupied with ensuring focus is tack sharp. It’s hard to break that habit, but if done intentionally and for a specific purpose, lack of focus is a way to impart a feeling or impression.

It’s ironic that the most expensive lenses for photography are the ones that provide the most pleasing out of focus. The out of focus area produced by a lens is called “bokeh”. Reviewers will rave about the area of an image that is out of focus and how pleasing it is. The ability to focus a lens is a given, but to have out of focus areas at the same time, that’s another matter entirely.

Street Images

In fact that’s why I bought this lens, because of its ability to create pleasing bokeh while maintaining sharp focus on something else. Only in this case nothing is sharp. I could say I did this on purpose but you know I didn’t. I like the effect but in this case it was not enough focus dot com.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

Harbour Master Tower

Rick Schwartz Architecture, bahamas, cruise, SonyAlpha, travel 0 Comments

Last week we stopped in the Bahamas on a weekend cruise from Miami. The harbor master tower is the first thing you see at dock. I think it was built before the ships got so big. I took this from a lower deck but you could look down on it from the upper decks and our ship was one of the smaller in port that day.

Daily Image
Harbour Master Tower

Harbour Master Tower in Nassau Bahamas

This continues on a theme of minimalism. Actually I’ve been on this theme for a while but I don’t always publish the images. I do little studies, with lampposts, trees and buildings, shooting up to simplify the composition. Simplification is the gateway to minimalism; it also accentuates unique qualities of a thing or place.

This image creates an illusion of height, yet the building is no more than a few stories high and there are rooftops just below the frame. But because of how this is composed we imagine it much higher. Minimalism evokes imagination, which in-turn transcends realism.

Since I’m always on the lookout for these I’ll likely put together a book at some point. I get ideas from looking at works of other photographers. One whom I follow on Instagram is Sebastian Weiss. Check him out at the link here https://www.instagram.com/le_blanc/

architecture photography in the gallery

This kind of view is way of looking at the world that is focused on the isolation of something unique. I think we see beauty when we notice uniqueness. It’s all around and all we need to do is narrow our view until we recognize it; at least that my current theory.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

Secluded Beach on Longboat Key

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

This past weekend I took an excursion to a secluded beach on Longboat Key. At least I thought it would be secluded. As it turned out I was only one of about a dozen photographers there. One was doing an engagement shoot, one a maternity shoot, a couple were shooting landscapes and finally a camera club showed up as well. There was a spectacular sunset so I’m pretty sure everyone got good shots and left happy. I know I did.

Daily Image
Secluded Beach on Longboat Key

Secluded Beach on Longboat Key

This beach is only accessible by boat or hike; it’s not right off the highway like most beaches in this area. At less trafficked shorelines like this you can usually see remnants of past hurricanes. There are spots like this up and down the coast if you know where to look. They are reminders of big events, especially as it pertains to tropical storms altering the landscape of the coast.

This was one of my last shots before hiking back. I got plenty of others but the simplicity of this scene is what I was drawn to. It’s rare that trees or stumps are isolated so I’m always on the lookout for them as photographic subjects. Simplicity resonates in images because it naturally invites interpretation.

minimalism in the gallery

At low tide the beach is exposed where these trees stand, but this was high tide and the beach was completely covered by the sea. However I was standing at a line of mangroves that protect the rest of the island from erosion. If it weren’t for the mangroves there would be nothing left of barrier islands along the coast of Florida.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon