Beings We Call Animals

While wandering through Les Baux-de-Provence a few years ago I came across this gentleman. He sat perfectly still and seemed interested in what I was doing.

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Beings We Call Animals

An intelligent fellow watches intently as I take his photo.

Some animals have an intelligence you see in their eyes and actions. I got that sense from this soul as he continued to watch me. You could almost see him think.

other photos from France

These are the beings we call animals. I wish there was a better word.

Patch of Shade

This was taken on a hot day in Barcelona last summer. I had just arrived from hot Florida and went out walking. It was so hot I had to pause in the shade. As I did, I noticed others doing the same thing.

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Patch of Shade

Man in the shade in Barcelona

In fact, it seemed like everyone was doing the same thing, going from one patch of shade to the next. Maybe I should have just stayed inside with the nice air-conditioning, but that’s what I do at home in Florida. Here I was in photo safari mode and the coast of Spain was my savanna.

more minimalism

As I took this, I was sitting across from a little restaurant on the pier. I was thinking it seemed odd that the main food on the menu was cheeseburgers and hot dogs; so much for European cuisine. But they had air-conditioning, so I seriously thought about going inside. Then my hunter instincts kicked in again and I moved on.

Ugly Crane

This ugly crane sits in the water not far from home near the bridge. Seems it been there for EVER. The last thing I thought I’d want to do is take a picture of it.

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Ugly Crane

Symmetry from reflections can form compositions of the most unlikely subjects

However, symmetry from reflections occur all around us and can form the seeds of compositions using the most unlikely subjects.

I took about a dozen photos of the crane over the course of five minutes. This was the first image, but as the minutes ticked on, the breeze started, and the water began to ripple. By the last frame, the clarity of the reflection was lost.

other photos along the Manatee River

If there is a moral to the story it would be to keep your eyes open because you never know when the conditions will be just right for a particular subject, even an old ugly crane.

Under the Oculus

This is the Westfield Mall under Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus. I was standing on a set of steps where path station and mall meet.

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Under the Oculus

This is a mall connected to the Path subway station in lower Manhattan

I don’t necessarily like going to the mall, but in this case, I can make an exception. I am convinced that Calatrava is one of the greatest architects of our time. That’s based on the feeling I get when inside his creations. There was also an exhibition of art from the Sistine Chapel. The juxtaposition of Michelangelo with the modern architecture was amazing.

more architecture photography

We had no intention of going to the mall, we simply wanted to know what was here after touring One World Observatory. Anyway, there is a bistro just on the left and I sat there with a coffee while my wife looked for a certain type of shoes. I was also in the market for shoes but deferred that to spend the rest of the time taking pictures. After I got all the pictures I wanted we headed to Macy’s where I finally got my own shoes.

Lands End Lookout

This is from a section of the trail known as Lands End Lookout. As the name implies, it’s on the coast and above the ocean at the entrance to San Francisco Bay. I had a wonderful time here one afternoon and evening and took pictures until long after sunset.

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Lands End Lookout

A section of the trail known as Lands End Lookout

For my money, golden hour is the best time to be here but any time of day is good. From this point, you can look down and see whales going by and large ships coming in and out of the bay. Maybe you can see little red and green dots on the ocean, those are navigation buoys marking the entrance to the bay.

more from California

If I had to pick one of my all-time favorite places to hang out, this would be it. I’m not alone, a lot of people come here for the same reasons; chill and recharge. Something about that west coast breeze washing over you on a warm night.

More Hot Air

Here is another balloon from the festival last week. If nothing else, it whets my appetite for doing more of these. This kind of image checks a lot of boxes for me: it’s at night, colorful and simple.

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More Hot Air

From the Sarasota Balloon Festival

It’s an example of how I try to simplify a subject to give it a stronger voice. At an event like this, there are a lot of people walking around, other balloons and basically, a bunch of commotion. But I walked around this one balloon looking for an angle that would minimize the distractions. I also used Photoshop to blackout a bus and truck. So, the combination of composition and post-processing allowed me to create a simpler scene that focuses on just the main subject.

more daily images

I gravitate towards simplicity in photography. I suppose it’s a form of meditation and a break from the barrage of daily life. So, there you have it, one big reason why I like balloons. And you thought they were just for flying.

Along the Grand Canal

This is an image I took along the Grand Canal in front of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. I was taking pictures like a madman at the time but the conditions for photography were not good. Normally, to take pictures at night you need a tripod and a stationary subject.

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Along the Grand Canal

This was taken with a wide open apeture and high ISO

In this case, I was in a moving gondola and my subject was moving also. To get this I used an aperture of f1.8 and an ISO of 8000. That’s extreme but with a few adjustments in post-production, it’s a winner. So much for the old rules.

more photos from Europe

Because I don’t know what all the rules are I do things that another photographer might not. I make a lot of mistakes, but I also get some good shots under difficult situations. The tech is so good now you may as well push it and see what happens. One day we’ll have sensors in our eyes and cameras will be obsolete. But until then, it’s fun to keep breaking the rules and trying new things.

Fair Food

This is a section of the midway accompanying the Sarasota Balloon Festival last week. I went on the first day which was a weekday and it happened to be a little chilly by Florida standards. After watching the display of the balloons glowing at night I wandered over here to take a few pics. It was kind of eerie with music, lights, vendors and no one else around.

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Fair Food

On the first night the midway was deserted, which was perfect for taking photos

Just looking at all the various food vendors made me hungry. It was the one time I could walk right up and not wait in line, but I passed on the opportunity and continued taking photos, eating when I got home.

night photography

I enjoyed the hot air balloons so much that I came back with my family the next night. That was Friday and by that time word of the event spread and there were tons of people. The midway filled up, the vendors were busy, and the lines were long – the world was right again. But I’m glad I had the opportunity to see it all lit up with nobody about. If nothing else it quenched my appetite for fair photos.

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight savings is upon us and somehow this seemed appropriate. It’s a combination of images taken at different times of day. By carefully merging them I’ve created a surreal scene that combines a daylight image with another one at night. It’s a little like the confusion I experience on a Monday after we change the clocks, eh?

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Daylight Savings Time

Images from day and night merged together

If you detected a slight Canadian accent it’s because I took this while in Toronto. I took one shot out the hotel window when I arrived in in the afternoon and another in the evening. In the past I’ve done similar images using a tripod, but in this case I handheld the camera each time. That creates slight variations which could have been difficult to align, but with a little effort it turned out okay.

more from Toronto

Even when I travel for reasons other than photography I bring my camera. This was a quick business trip with very little time for photos, yet I still managed to get a few shots from around the hotel. Hope springs eternal and I figure that if I bring the camera and I have an extra hour in the day (knock on wood), I’ll get a little time for doing what I like best: eh?

Blowing in the Wind

Yesterday was the first day of the Sarasota Balloon Festival. I’ve never been to one of these, so I wandered over in the evening. The wind was prohibitive but at the last minute a few of the rigs inflated and put on a little glow show. They were tethered with ropes, but as they inflated the wind caused them to tilt like this. Just the spectacle of it was kind of cool, such massive devices with nothing but air, glowing and blowing in the wind.

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Blowing in the Wind

That was just the first night so I’ll check the weather and head back over to see more. Balloons are a great subject for photography. When I showed up there where no less than two dozen tripods setup and everyone else was snapping pics on their phones. Here’s a quick video I took with my iPhone.

some of my favorite images

There is also a carnival, so I wandered over to take some pictures of the midway with all the food vendors and rides. It reminded me of when I traveled all over the state of California from fair to fair selling magazines. I worked for a company that set up a booth and for a while I became a carny of sorts. That’s how I spent my high school summers and the smell of the funnel cakes brought all that back.