Water Under the Bridge

Rick B&W, bridge, Florida, Manatee County, monochrome, Night Photography, nightphotography, SonyAlpha, Urban 0 Comments

I’m not sure where the term water under the bridge came from, but it’s one I often repeat in my head. If ever there was a metaphor for letting go this is it. It sums up our attempt to keep moving and not get defeated by stuff that happened.

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Water Under the Bridge

Water Under the Bridge

Events are like water; they just happen and we usually have no power to stop them. Water is the most powerful force on the planet. It carves continents, it sustains life and it’s a force that we cannot control. We are born into a place where have little control of things around us.

Water under the bridge is both an acknowledgement that we have no control and an opportunity to keep moving. I think what’s important is how we react rather than what happens to us. It reminds me of the other saying about the journey, not the destination. Life keeps moving and how we endure each day, and every moment in-between, is more important than what has happened or will be the destination.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t have goals or a direction in life. Rather, what defines us is how we live each day while working toward the goal, not the goal itself.

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We all face the same choice. We may as well acknowledge the flowing water, cross the bridge, and move on through life.

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Panorama of the Sarasota Waterfront

Rick Florida, panorama, Sarasota, SonyAlpha, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

This is a panorama of the Sarasota waterfront. This section is known as Marina Jacks and is the main marina in town. If you want to take a fishing tour or sunset cruise, this is the spot. I’ve done both from here and it never gets old.

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Panorama of the Sarasota Waterfront

Panorama of the Sarasota Waterfront

I’m going to come back here, this weekend perhaps, and get the same scene at sunrise; this was closer to dusk. As with many of my panoramas I’ve combined several photos so that the resolution is higher than a normal, enough to see very small details. For example, if you zoom in you can see the baseball game on the TV inside the restaurant on the left. That’s perhaps way too much detail, but I think it’s cool nonetheless.

In a panorama the view sweeps from one side to the other. There is something epic about the perspective; it gives you a sense of scale. Anyway, this is one way to capture the waterfront without taking a shot from an aircraft or drone.

more panoramas

I was walking my dog when I took this. I held the leash in one hand and the camera in the other and took five images from left to right; no tripod was involved. That says more about the capabilities of the Sony camera than it does about my camera holding skills. It’s perhaps not the best way to go about it but the dog needed a walk and I needed a picture, so we compromised. In the end we both got what we wanted.

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Departure from Normal

Rick abstract, B&W, canada, monochrome, SonyAlpha, trains, travel, Urban, urbanexploration, Vancouver 0 Comments

Manipulating scenes like this is a departure from normal, it’s not real so our minds are free to play a little; we each read into it something different.

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Departure from Normal

This scene is a departure from normal, a thought experiment

When in Vancouver I will often pass through this station. I can never get enough photos in and around trains. Among other things they are studies in leading lines.
I sat at the end so I could look back as we pulled away.

I’ve created a mirror effect, which for me is a metaphor for a choice between two paths, one direction or the other. When we are children we have so much in common; as we mature we diverge in different ways depending on a million things.

We choose one path or another every single day, and often we spend time wondering if we made the right choice. Sometimes we make difficult choices and then wonder about them later. Life is setup in a way that forces us to make decisions; we have no choice but to make choices. Not choosing is still a choice. Maybe the lesson is not so much the decision but how we deal with it after the fact.

more abstract images from the gallery

This image brings all that to mind, probably because I spend more time than I should thinking about decisions I’ve made. This is my metaphor for rushing through life’s stations, making choices, looking back yet trying not to look back.

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Cruise Ships Are Like Spaceships

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

On the last day of our three-day trip I got up before dawn to walk around the top deck of the ship. This walkway seemed like a portal on a space ship. I think cruise ships are like spaceships, at least like the big ones in the movies. In my mind a proper space ship has facilities to take tourist to different planets. Then at each location they probably dock on he dark side of the moon and take little excursions to the planet. You never know, truth can be stranger than fiction.

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Cruise Ships Are Like Spaceships

Cruise Ships Are Like Spaceships – Taken before dawn on Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas

Anyway, taking pictures of a cruise ship seems to work out better in the early morning. During the day and late into the night the decks are always crowded. But because everyone is up partying so late it’s a guarantee there are few if any people up early. That’s when you can get all those architectural details they build on to the ships; like these colorful arches for example.

Also, in the morning the crew is usually washing the decks and the sheen of wet surfaces enhances the light with reflections. Having said all that, I suppose the real trick is waking up early. Since this was the last day and we were scheduled to get off early I had to get up; I might not be so eager otherwise. About a half hour after this we pulled into the Port of Miami and I saw more cool things I wouldn’t normally see during the day.

more architecture from the gallery

Maybe one day I’ll get up early and we’ll be pulling into the dark side of the moon, and then I’ll know I was up partying way too hard.

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Walk Through the Forest in North Carolina

Rick autumn, Landscape, Nature, SonyAlpha 0 Comments

This was taken a couple years back on a walk through the forest in North Carolina. It was supposed to be a short two-hour hike but ended up taking twice as long and was more difficult than we thought.

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Walk Through the Forest

Walk Through the Forest in North Carolina

Apparently enough people get caught in the same mistake that the rangers and locals have formed a small rescue industry. I felt bad because it was my idea and my wife and sister-in-law were following my lead. But in the end we made it back before dark with a story to tell. We were hungry but too tired to go out so we ordered room service when we got back to the hotel.

As far as photography goes it couldn’t have been better; I’m still finding photos I had forgotten about. Coming from a flat place like Florida it was a big change to be in the mountains and hills. I think that also contributed to our misjudging of the hike, it was downhill going in and an uphill climb coming back. Florida has no hills so elevation never crossed our minds.

I just looked up the step history for the hike on my iPhone; it was 14,000 steps and the equivalent of 43 stories climbed. That may not be Mount Everest but it’s a lot of uphill walking for someone from Florida. When I’m taking pictures I get carried away and it’s probably not fair to the people I’m with.

other forest images from the gallery

I consider myself tech savvy yet I only learned about the iPhone step tracker about a year ago. My phone has been tracking steps for years; who knew? Now I can match it up with some of my photo hikes and see how far I walked. There are a few in there that I can recall very well. But having sore feet is a small price to pay for good pictures. And I’m sure I’ll do it again and again; only now I can check my steps for an added degree of satisfaction.

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Quite the Scene

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

I can be a real geek sometimes; like this time. I had it in my mind I was going to take some epic photos and so I brought a bag full of gear including a huge lens and a tripod. Things didn’t turn out as I expected so there I was with all this gear in the middle of a public pathway as the sun was setting. I made the best of it and quickly setup for the shot. A couple came up and said they wanted to be on TV. Obviously I looked like I was from the local station. I must have been quite the scene.

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Quite the Scene

Quite the Scene before me and of me when I took this in Sarasota

This is the image I got and so I didn’t come home completely empty handed. But to be quite honest I could have done better with less. I love gear and so this happens a lot. I always bring more gear than I need. However I can count on one hand the times I used everything I brought. It’s not about the gear; it’s about being present in the moment and working with what you have.

Lately I’ve started experimenting with slimming down what I take. By that I mean two or three lenses. Again, even the times I bring two lenses, I end up using only one. Recently I’ve left the house with just one lens on my camera. No bag, no filters, no tripod. I start out with a feeling that I forgot something. However as I start to take pictures I’m less encumbered and more attuned to what’s around me.

It’s not the camera it’s what between the ears. Taking good pictures requires a state of mind more than a heavy piece of glass. Some of the most amazing photographers on the web use inexpensive cameras. That’s not to say all the equipment is unnecessary, it all has a proper time, place and use.

more sunset images

I like the gear because I’m a geek but maybe I need a little intervention. I think of myself as being on a twelve-step program to be free of lens clutter. I’m not there yet, but at least I know it’s an issue. That’s the first step to recovery.

Now I’m off to read about the just announced Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM and 12-24mm f/4.0. I might need one of those in my kit.

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Skimmers on the Beach

Rick beach, Florida, Landscape, Night Photography, nightphotography, SonyAlpha, Sunset, Tampa 0 Comments

There is a colony of skimmers on the beach not far from my home on Anna Maria Island. They have a patch of sand that they come back to each year to hatch and nurse their young. It’s normally taped off so we don’t interfere with the hatchlings. Anything that hatches and nests in the sand is quite vulnerable. The adults take turns guarding the nest. In fact the whole colony, whether they have chicks or not, pitch in on security detail. It takes a village to raise a skimmer.

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Skimmers on the Beach

Skimmers on the Beach in St Petersburg Florida

This is taken at a different location in St Petersburg. Lowering the camera close to the water helps see from the perspective of the wildlife. The small flock of skimmers was picking at the sand while some children swam behind them. With me in front I was surprised they stayed in place for as long as they did. Like so many birds in Florida they’ve grown accustomed to us.

Now is the time of year we also find turtle nests in the sand. Isn’t it odd that the turtle just lays the eggs and then takes off? It’s so unlike other creatures that stick around and nurse their young. After hatching the baby turtles make a dash to the water to avoid being eaten, and then try to avoid the same fate in the water. I don’t blame the mom for not wanting to stick around; the odds seem so slim.

other images taken at dusk

But the good news is the turtles are back on the rise after years of decline. Thanks to the watchful eyes of countless volunteers using GPS and meticulous notes to identify and monitor the nests.

Just taking a walk along the beach you would never know the amount of drama taking place in the very sand beneath your toes.

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Random People in Scenes

Rick B&W, Florida, Landscape, monochrome, photography, Sarasota, SonyAlpha, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

I use random people in scenes all the time. Sometimes a person is positioned in such a way as to create a scene. Street photography is all about people in scenes. One technique is to create compositions where people are juxtaposed to nearby architecture or structures. A simple example is a person waking past an archway. Looking for a composition is like a game; you feel a sense of accomplishment when you capture one. I haven’t played but maybe it’s a little like Pokémon Go.

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Random People in Scenes

Random People in Scenes in Bayfront Park in Sarasota

I took this at Bayfront Park in Sarasota recently. The park is an island with a trail around it and these swings are spaced every fifty meters. I come here when I want to do a mixture of people and landscape photography; it has plenty of both. As I walked behind this lady I think she knew I was taking pictures because she glanced back. She didn’t seem to mind so I paused to get several more.

I use people in this way all the time. Of course it’s better to be coy about it, if people become aware of what your doing they may change their behavior. Lately I’ve taken to carrying only a small 35mm lens on my camera. That way it doesn’t stand out so much and I can almost pretend I’m a casual shutterbug. In reality I’m on an undercover mission.

images with random people

One time it backfired on me. I was trying to be nonchalant as I took a picture of a rundown garage in a gritty part of town. The people inside thought I was snooping on them and started yelling at me. It turned out okay but I should have asked first. Most people don’t mind if they know what you’re doing. And if they do mind, well, no biggie, it’s just a game.

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Vancouver Terminal

Rick abstract, Architecture, canada, SonyAlpha, travel, Vancouver 0 Comments

This image is based on the Vancouver terminal, or YVR as its also known. Each time I travel here I am intrigued by the construction. The architects created an exoskeleton with which they hung the functional necessities of the terminal. The form and function are indistinguishable from one another. I’ve noticed this elsewhere and it represents an evolution in how we build.

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Vancouver Terminal

Vancouver Terminal in British Columbia Canada

In the software industry we employ patterns to do basic tasks. Patterns are the analogs of load-bearing structures used in construction. Software has always drawn parallels from construction, and soon I believe it will occur the other direction.

We are evolving into beings that live as much in software as brick and mortar. The trend is accelerating and the boundaries between virtual and physical are becoming more tenuous each day.

The Matrix struck a chord because it explored merging of physical and software realities. I believe we are on some of the same trajectories proposed in the movie. In another generation virtual reality will be as commonplace as a cell phones are now.

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When I see physical structures I think of their corollaries in software. Likewise when I build software I borrow construction techniques and terminology. Now opposite is beginning to occur with construction rendering which is an offshoot of 3D printing. We have begun to build physical structures with software as seen on this YouTube. We are now on the verge of yet another revolution in combining software and construction. The merging between software, virtual reality and construction and manufacturing are all but disappearing before our eyes.

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Waterfall from British Columbia

Rick canada, Landscape, Nature, SonyAlpha, travel, Vancouver 0 Comments

I was flipping through some old photos and I found this waterfall from British Columbia. What caught my attention was that it was taken exactly three years ago today. This is just below the massive Shannon Falls north of Vancouver. When I took this it was in full flow from the spring runoff, so I imagine it would be the same now.

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Waterfall from British Columbia

Waterfall from British Columbia just north of Vancouver

I took this with the Sony A7R, which was still fairly new at the time. I had had it for only a couple of months and was still learning its ins-and-outs. Looking at this now makes me want to take a trip back to the Pacific Northwest and go waterfall hunting. For a landscape photographer waterfalls are big game.

A lot has transpired in the last three years. In that time I’ve taken close to a hundred thousand images. They’re not all winners mind you, in fact only a very small percentage of them are what I’d consider “good”. In one sense photography is a numbers game. The more you do the better your odds. Eventually you get some good ones.

Canadian gallery

When I get asked how I got to where I am the answer is simply that I take a lot of photos; some turn out good. That’s not to diminish the effort, but it’s more repetition than anything. If you get out and take pictures, magic eventually happens. If you want to take good photos, take a lot of photos. Eventually you’ll get some real winners.

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