Dunes at Lido Beach

Rick beach, clouds, Florida, HDR, landscapephotography, Macphun, Sarasota, SonyAlpha, Sunset 0 Comments

Here is a simple image I took from the dunes at Lido Beach. I was part of a last minute rush by locals and tourists alike to get to the beach and watch the sunset. There was no convenient parking so I double-parked and walked over to the dunes to take this. Not really a smart idea but it worked; at least this time.

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Dunea at Lido Beach

Dunes at Lido Beach in Sarasota

It looks like I was on the dunes but I was on a path; it’s not good to walk on the dunes because it wrecks the plants. The plants preserve the dunes, which in turn preserve the islands during a storm. The island in this case is Ledo Key, which is one of my favorite places in Sarasota because I usually get nice pictures whenever I come here.

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Anyway, when I see these sunsets I go into full photography mode. What should be a serene experience is a little more stressful. I like to think it’s the good kind of stress, creative stress. That’s usually followed by the satisfaction of having captured a good sunset. Somehow I manage to survive these frequent episodes; at least I did this time.

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Stray Away from the Main Square

Rick bridge, Bridges, canal, europe, Italy, people, SonyAlpha, travel, Urban 0 Comments

I wasn’t in Venice long but managed to walk along the city edges one afternoon where I saw things resembling normal life. If you stray away from the main square you eventually end up in areas were things are a little quieter. I have no idea who this man is, but looking at this several weeks later reminded me of what I was thinking about at the time.

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Stray Away from the Main Square

Stray Away from the Main Square in Venice Italy

Amongst the canals and stone houses are things like a grocery store, a florist and a hospital. I saw city workers picking up the trash. It was those kinds of domestic norms that I found oddly comforting. Walking through an unfamiliar environment can be a disorienting until you recognize things that we have in common, then it starts to feel a little less foreign.

other images with a bridge in it

It’s nice to see the historic squares and cathedrals, but seeing how people live day to day is just as interesting. W all go through the similar routines of life, yet we are also products of our environment, language and culture. So casually observing the interplay of these in a quiet section of town can be just as fulfilling as standing in the middle of St Marks Square.

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Hotel Arts Barcelona

Rick Architecture, europe, HDR, Macphun, SonyAlpha, Spain, travel 0 Comments

This is from one of the many terraces at the Hotel Arts Barcelona. We arrived here in the morning after an overnight flight from DC. In fact we were too early, so while waiting for our room I walked around to explore and take a few pictures. The hotel gets its name from the collection of public art in and around the hotel.

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Hotel Arts Barcelona

Hotel Arts Barcelona

Unlike other areas, this is in a modern section of town and the outdoor art accents the area to give it a unique feel. It’s in contrast to an area like the gothic quarter, but like any big city there are distinct districts with completely different atmospheres.

some of my favorite photos

Even though we couldn’t check-in right away the terraces and patios were nice places to decompress after a long flight. It didn’t hurt that they seemed to have an endless supply of complementary champagne while we waited.

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Rome’s Shopping District

Rick B&W, europe, Italy, monochrome, people, streetphotography, Tonality, travel, urbanexploration 0 Comments

We were standing outside in Vatican City when it started rain like cats and dogs. We wanted to see the basilica but that meant waiting in line for over an hour under an umbrella. So, as the rain wasn’t stopping we decided to hail a cab and head over to Rome’s shopping district. I have no idea where the “shopping district” is, but this is from there.

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Rome’s Shopping District

Rome’s shopping district on a rainy day

I’d recently been out taking photos in the rain in New York City. Doing it again in Rome felt a little familiar and I was glad I carried a plastic bag to keep my camera dry. I know this doesn’t sound fun, but I like these kinds of rainy day urban photos and I can’t help but get a little carried away.

It was one of the last days of summer holidays for Italians so the streets were already empty. Add to that the unexpected rain and the shopkeepers were standing around looking bored with nothing to do.

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I took a bunch of photos there and ran for cover when the rain got too heavy. Sometimes we ran into a shop, other times it was an amazing cathedral, there are so many in Rome. Regardless, it was a much better way to spend the afternoon than standing in line under an umbrella.

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Traffic Jam

Rick Architecture, bridge, Bridges, canal, Italy, Night Photography, nightphotography, people, travel 0 Comments

This was the scene as we were returning from a gondola ride in Venice one night. As you can see there was a bit of a traffic jam and I managed to capture an image or two among the commotion. I was on a tour and there was a large group of us so we had formed a flotilla of sorts as we wound our way through the narrow back canals of Venice.

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Traffic Jam

Traffic Jam in the canals of Venice

It was an experience unlike anything I’ve ever done. The impression I had was of some type of ride in Disneyland or Las Vegas. But I had to pinch myself because this was the real thing; this was Venice and these were real gondoliers and we were in the real canals of Venice with houses on either side. It was better than anything I might have imagined.

We travelled through dimly lit back canals as a tenor on one of the rigs sang Italian songs that echoed off the high stone walls. All the while there was a constant banter among the gondoliers as they slowly navigated our route. Everyone was in a pretty good mood.

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This is the spot we started and stopped and as I was in the last gondola I could watch the turning and docking maneuvers ahead. Now that I’ve done the real thing Las Vegas will never be the same to me. But I suppose that’s a good thing.

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Path Station at the World Trade Center

Rick Architecture, New York City, people, SonyAlpha, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

I never saw the old one, but this is the new Path Station at the World Trade Center. I used to ride the Path train every day from Jersey City to Penn Station. That was years ago when I worked in midtown. On a recent trip I walked by this station after visiting One World Observatory. The new station is amazing to look at under the massive ribs of Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus.

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Path Station at the World Trade Center

Path Station at the World Trade Center in New York City

Santiago is a Spanish architect and you should check out his work. I first became aware of him through a building in Lakeland Florida that I’ve driven by many times. I stopped by once to take a few images of that as well. Then, several years ago when I saw the construction of the Oculus I knew it must be the same architect. By the way, I added the red color in post-production just because I liked the effect, in reality it’s white.

This station is connected to a mall with high-end shops. There’s a nice bistro where I had a coffee before checking out the two-level Apple store. If there are two things New York has no shortages of, it’s coffee and Apple stores; and I mean that in a good way. My first Mac was purchased from the flagship store on 5th Avenue. There’s something fun about getting a Mac from one of these big stores. However these days I just order it online because it seems like less hassle.

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The mall is impressive whether you shop or just walk around and take pictures. I came here on one of the hottest days of the year so just having an air-conditioned place to hangout was a bonus. I’m due for a new Mac soon so maybe I’ll use that as an excuse to come back up here and go to the Apple store. Not that I really need an excuse but it sounds like a fun idea.

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Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

Rick Architecture, cruise, europe, Italy, SonyAlpha, Sunset, travel 0 Comments

This is the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in Venice, Italy. I took this from a cruise ship as we pulled out of Venice in the evening. One advantage of coming and leaving on a large ship is it provides an aerial perspective of the city. The ship I was on is about twelve to fifteen stories high so it easily rises above the buildings of the city. The only other way to get such a perspective would be to use a drone but they are illegal here.

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Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in Venice Italy

There is a lot about this sixteenth century church that I should probably know but my short stay prevented me from exploring it. However I do know that it was built after the plague when nearly a third of the population died. When I hear things like that it makes me feel fortunate to live in an age of medicine, technology and science.

It boggles my mind that such buildings were even constructed. What would it cost to build something like this today? The closest example we have is the Sagrada Familia in Spain and construction for that has been ongoing for decades. We are now a quickly evolving society that is constantly in a race with obsolescence. The commitment to build a structure like this is counter to our planetary pace.

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So maybe that’s why we find these old architectures so fascinating. They are monuments of a time when progress was measured in decades and the order of things did not change much from one century to another. I am happy I live in the present time but the artifacts of our evolution as a society also fascinate me.

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Stranded in Barcelona

Rick Architecture, europe, Night Photography, nightphotography, SonyAlpha, Spain, streetphotography, travel, Urban 0 Comments

I was stranded in Barcelona for a few days due to bad weather back in Florida. If there was ever a place I would want to be stranded, it’s Barcelona. On my last night I went out late and took a bunch of photos of street scenes. It was well past midnight yet the narrow streets were full of people.

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Stranded in Barcelona

Stranded in Barcelona – A great place to be stuck

I stayed mostly in the gothic quarter between La Rambla and Via Laietana. After two or three experiences like this I would have to say that Barcelona is my favorite place for street photography at night. People are contrasted against by the old world architecture and it creates scenes that are not possible in North America. Some of the buildings have been around since before America was founded so the feeling is exquisite. When I’m here I shoot as many street images as I can, even if they don’t all turn out. At least I’ll have a record of how much fun I had. I cannot get enough of Barcelona.

On this weekday night there were musicians singing in alleyways with the sound of their songs reverberating against the high stone walls. Bistros and cafes were open with people talking until morning. Others were just walking around having fun and laughing. Maybe it’s the Catalonian culture I witnessed but it sure was awesome to be out taking photos of it.

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Probably the best way to know if you like a place is to gauge how you feel when you are about to leave. I feel a little bit sad when I leave Barcelona. There are not many places that do that to me. I know I’ll just have to go back and plug into that Catalonian vibe again soon.

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It Was a Miracle

Rick europe, Italy, people, SonyAlpha, streetphotography, travel, urbanexploration 0 Comments

The day I was in Rome it rained for the first time in over five months. It was a miracle for at least two reasons; the region desperately needed the precipitation and I desperately needed to take pictures of people in the rain. If you read the blog you know street photos in the rain are high on my list. People carrying umbrellas, reflections, sheen of the pavement and actions of people trying to avoid the rain all combine to make for interesting studies.

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It Was a Miracle

It was a miracle that it rained in Rome

Of course being in Rome is a bonus too because people are likely to be dressed in interesting ways like these three nuns. I have no idea who they were or where they were going but it doesn’t matter, they made the scene. In fact when I saw them I was across the street I ran through traffic in the rain to capture them as turned into this alley. I get a little carried away, but that’s part of the fun of capturing these types of images.

more photos with rain

It’s exciting for me because where I live people don’t walk around in the rain. But small towns in Florida and big cities in Europe are two different things and it’s no use drawing comparisons. When I was in New York City it rained as well and I spent hours in it taking pictures. My camera is not waterproof, but I carry a plastic bag with a hole in the back so that the camera stays dry while I shoot. It’s entirely low-tech but it works. If I could only manage to keep my shoes as dry then that would be a miracle.

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This is Salerno

Rick clouds, cloudscape, cruise, europe, Italy, Landscape, travel, Urban 0 Comments

This is Salerno where I recently spent the day walking around in the rain. I was on a cruise of Italy and this was our fourth stop. Normally we booked tours of the port cities but this day I just walked around taking pictures. However it rained hard so there where periods where I was huddled in an entryway waiting for a break.

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This is Salerno

This is Salerno Italy

During the downpours, vendors would appear out of nowhere with an armful of umbrellas. Out of necessity I bought one for five euros, which was way too much, but I was in no position to complain. I saw the same ones later in a shop for less. To add insult to injury, I lost it on a bus later in the day and ended up having to buy another one for the same price.

Obviously I’m not a great shopper and normally I don’t shop at all on trips. But, I had it in my mind that I wanted to buy a pair of leather shoes. My first thought was to buy them in Spain but I didn’t find anything I liked. Mind you, I didn’t look very hard. While waiting out one of the downpours it happened I was standing in front of a shoe store. So I went in and found a pair I liked on sale for twenty euros. The shoes said they were made in Italy with Italian leather so I felt happy about it. At the end of the day I ended up with one pair of shoes and one umbrella for thirty euro. For a reluctant shopper like myself it seemed I did okay on average. It took two days for the shoes I brought from home to dry out, so it was good that I had an extra pair.

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As we pulled out of port the rain stopped and the clouds parted. I looked back at Salerno and took this image. Maybe the umbrella merchants moved on or switched to some other product. However I got what I wanted and, more importantly, got a bunch of photos. Most of them are just people walking through the rain while I waited under an entryway. I think this one looking back from the ship at the end of the day is a little more interesting. Anyway, that’s the story of my short visit to Salerno on a rainy day.

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