Raygun-Looking-Thing

So now they are outfitting the Royal Caribbean ships with these rayguns to shoot down alien invaders. Or, maybe it’s just an odd looking crane.

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Raygun-Looking-Thing
The deck of the Oasis of the Seas

On the last night of our cruise aboard the Oasis of the Seas, I walked around late at night getting all kinds of pictures on the empty deck. Most people were packing or living it up one last time before we docked.

more artful cruise images

Actually, the raygun idea was not mine. Earlier in the year, we were on Symphony, a sister ship, and during the Captain’s talk, one passenger asked what the raygun-looking-thing was. The instant deadpan reply was that indeed it was a raygun to shoot down aliens, which was followed by a short silence and then audience laughter. So when I saw this on the Oasis, I chuckled as I was reminded of Captain Rob’s wit and dry delivery.

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Vancouver

A few years ago I took a seaplane flight over Vancouver and the surrounding islands. I captured this image as we climbed out of the harbor and circled back over the city.

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Vancouver
Vancouver as viewed from a sea plane

I had the back row seat to myself and could slide from side to side to take photos. It was as good as being in a helicopter. I used to come up here regularly and walked nearly every street in the city. But that’s not unusual, it’s a bike and pedestrian friendly town, so people walk or ride everywhere.

more cityscapes from the gallery

Since I took this almost three years ago, the skyline has changed a little. But much of it is the same and landmarks like the BC Place arena, Stanley Park and the Lionsgate Bridge will probably not change for a very long time if ever. What you don’t see are the mountains over on the right. But if you could, you would understand why this is only the half of it.

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Spirit Island

This stand of trees is known as Spirit Island. It’s one of the most photographed sites in the Canadian Rockies and can only be reached by boat.

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Spirit Island
Spirit Island in Jasper National Park

You can trek here as well, but be sure to bring bear spray. Even so, if I were backpacking, I’d want to do it here. You can’t get the proper scale of the peaks from a photo; it’s beyond belief.

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I took this over five years ago with my old Nikon D800 which I’ve since sold. It’s not the camera that matters but what’s holding it. I’ve changed a lot, and so have my techniques, so I need to give it another go. In the meantime, it’s still fun to look at these and go back in time to a place that hasn’t changed since then, or hundreds of years prior for that matter.

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Queenstown Bridge

This is the bridge where Lake Wakatipu ends and enters the Kawarau River. Or, at least it was. Since I took this, they built a new bridge that’s not nearly as photogenic.

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Old Queenstown Bridge
This old bridge in Queenstown has been replaced

I took this on my first day in New Zealand as I was walking around getting the lay of the land. The bridge was next to the hotel. I must say, that trip was probably the most fun I’ve ever had. It was a photography workshop with Trey Ratcliff, and it was a doozy. Everything, from the scenery to the food was over the top.

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I’ve been looking at some of the photos I took while there and am post-processing them with the newer software. At the time I was using the A7R which was relatively new at the time and, the choice of lenses was limited. That was two generations of A7R ago, and the RAW files are holding up quite nicely. But boy, what I could do now with the newer camera. Without a doubt, I very much want to go back.

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The Real Thing

I used to have a thing about benches. Now its beach chairs and umbrellas. At least I’m progressing.

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The Real Thing
An afternoon on Bradenton Beach Florida

When I take photos of random people on the beach, I try to remain conscious of their privacy, lest I have them sign a release form. But when it comes to objects, everything is fair game. I once did a commercial beach shoot. There was so much involved, from legal to logistics. I prefer just to walk around and take pictures of interesting things, or people.

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Putting people or chairs in a shot causes us to imagine ourselves in the scene. If we see people, we subconsciously become them. When we look at chairs, in our mind’s eye we find ourselves sitting in them. We project ourselves with our thoughts without even realizing it; it’s a habit we all have. Sometimes I feel I’ve been somewhere having previously only looked at it in pictures or videos. But, as they say, there’s no substitute for the real thing.

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The Palace

Here’s an early morning shot of the Palace of Fine Arts. I came early because I wanted to see it lit up, and, I was still on eastern time.

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The Palace
The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco

Because I was on a different time zone, it felt like mid-morning to me. Disassociation with local time is something I try to take advantage of when traveling. It allows me to get out early or late without much effort. Maybe that makes me sound a little lazy.

more from San Francisco in the gallery

A couple of years ago I worked on a panorama of this, but I can’t find it now so I must have deleted it. I vaguely remember not being too happy with it. Nevertheless, I’ve taken another stab at it, and this time I’m satisfied. This is only one frame, but it looks a little like a pano. I didn’t do much other than a bit of color balancing and a crop. I guess I just needed time to forget about it and try try again.

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The Garden

This is Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. It’s been cultivated for a hundred years on what used to be a limestone quarry. Now is a garden of Eden.

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The Garden
Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia

I took this nearly five years ago when we spent a couple of weeks on the island exploring. And it’s a reminder that I should go back, you can never go wrong with a camera here.

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As I recall, the smokestack in the back is a leftover from the industrial legacy. Imagine creating one of the worlds most beautiful gardens on an old industrial site. Now imagine if we did that all over the world. Then we truly would have the garden of Eden all over. If only.

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Moody Skies

Some days the skies can be really moody, especially when everything is grey and overcast; this is a little like that.

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Moody Skies
The DeSoto bridge between Bradenton and Palmetto

I pulled this image out of the archives from a couple of years ago. The bridge is near my home; one I’ve taken many times. It’s the minimal aesthetic of the three elements; bridge, sky, and water that appeals to me. There’s no story here, just a scene.

more minimalism in the gallery

The bridge is getting old. The planners say it’s at the end of its life and a new one needs to be built. I wonder what this scene will look like in five years from now. It could be very different, or not so much. However I can surely predict that the clouds and water will still be around, and on some days it will be just as moody.

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St Petersburg

On a recent weekend, we had high winds in the area. So I headed over to a spot along the shore to capture this shot across the roiled waters of Tampa Bay.

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St Petersburg
St Petersburg, Florida across Tampa Bay

As the title suggests, that’s St Petersburg, which is about six or seven miles away. The zoom lens was at 400mm which creates the compressed effect and, makes the city appear closer than it is. I read today that they are going to build a new fifty story condo so in a few years this skyline will look different.

more images from around St Petersburg

When the water is like this, I find it a little frightening. It’s an irrational fear, born of an overactive imagination. I would not want to be on a boat in these conditions. As I watched, I saw several ships as well as some large tugs. The tugs patrol the bay and control navigation through the narrow passage of the Skyway bridge. Thank goodness for those guys, they must love the excitement on days like this.

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Mangrove Tree

I’m watching a photography show on Netflix called Tales by Light. In episode 2 of Paradise in Peril, they mention that we now believe mangroves sequester more carbon from the atmosphere than rain forests. Good grief!

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Mangrove Tree
A mangrove tree on the gulf coast of Florida

That’s a pretty amazing fact, and all the more reason we need to protect mangroves and allow them to thrive along our coastal communities. In Florida, we have strict laws regarding mangroves, and it’s for a good reason. If it weren’t for mangroves, much of Florida would have been washed away centuries ago.

more mangroves in the gallery

We have a lot of mangroves here and see them pretty much anywhere along the water. I took this at Emerson Point one afternoon back in November. I usually look for different perspectives across the water, but now it seems I’ve been missing the main character all along; the amazing mangrove tree.

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