Elevator Bank

Why do we call it a bank of elevators? My guess is that at one time, only banks had lifts. Rest assured, this is no bank.

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Elevator Bank
Elevators on Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean ships have elevator banks that are functional, stylish and serve as a showcase for hanging art. No two banks are the same which is not only refreshing but helpful. Helpful, in that, on some of the larger ships, it’s easy to get disoriented. Having distinct elevator banks helps with getting your bearings. I can’t tell you how many times I forgot whether I was at the front or back of the boat. Unless you’re up top or by a window, it’s almost irrelevant, but knowing which direction to walk for a meal is an acquired skill.

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Also, each night the crew replaces a floor tile in each elevator with the name of the day. So not only do you know which part of the ship you’re on, you’re reminded the day of the week. Little orientation hist never hurt anyone. Anyway, if memory serves me, this was at the back of the Oasis of the Seas, or was it the front?

Abstract Cruise Photos

Over the holidays we jumped on a last-minute cruise of the Carribean. Living in Florida, these kinds of things are easy to do, just find a cheap ticket and drive to the port.

The ship was Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, which is one of the worlds largest. We’ve sailed on a couple of her sister ships, so we already had a good feel for the layout.

I took a few photos that are of a more abstract nature than typical holiday snapshots. Here is a collection with descriptions of each.

West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach
Florida on the horizon at night

On our first evening at sea, we sailed down the east coast of Florida from Cape Canaveral. The lights on the left are from West Palm Beach if I’m not mistaken. The first day is always a good time to look out to sea and decompress from life on land.

The Trail
The Trail
A trail from the stacks as we navigate south to the Caribbean

Here is another shot from the first night, looking to the back of the ship, as the smoke from the engine trails out. These first two shots are long exposures that were stabilized on the balcony railing.

Leaving Falmouth

Leaving Falmouth
A long exposure creates light trails as we leave port

We departed Falmouth, Jamacia in the evening after a very windy day. All day long I wondered how the captain would pull out in such conditions, but as the sun fell so did the wind, and we departed quite easily. I created this long exposure as the ship slowly moved past the dock. The jiggling of the light trails was from my unsteady hand as I held the camera (not necessarily from the Jamaican rum one may be obliged to try).

Hot Tub
Hot Tub
The hot tub overhang on deck fifteen

There are large hot tubs on both sides of the upper deck that protrude out from the sides of the ship on deck fifteen. I didn’t manage to try them out for myself, but that didn’t stop me from taking an architectural shot from our balcony five floors below.

Over Dock
OverDock
Watching people board

One lazy pastime when leaving a port is to sit on the balcony and watch others board the ship. In Labadee Haiti, there are musicians and dancers on the dock as well. Here I’m aiming directly down at the pier as a passenger walks to the gangway.

After Hours
After Hours
Bar stools after the bar closed late at night

The perfect symmetry of the bar stools caught my eye as I wandered around the decks at night. This is one of the outdoor bars that had closed for the evening.

Port Side
Port Side
A place and time to do very little

I snapped this as we left our last port of Cozumel. Another pastime for me is to sit on the balcony and read or listen to music. No agenda, no schedule, just free time to do anything or nothing at all.

See more travel photography here in the gallery

Oscar’s Swells

This simple image is a long (one second) exposure from the side of a ship. These are swells from hurricane Oscar that was over a thousand miles away.

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Oscar's Swells
A one-second exposure of large swells in the Atlantic ocean.

The captain took us south to avoid the worst of it, but for about two days we saw some impressive swells, more massive than these. Even the largest cruise ship in the world will rock in these conditions. The swells hitting the side of the boat sounded exactly like waves crashing on the shore. It was relaxing, and for two nights we slept with the balcony door open so we could hear the soothing sounds.

To make a one-second exposure in daylight, I set the aperture to f40. That’s a tiny aperture, maybe the smallest I’ve ever used. An F-stop higher than 20 does not have a lot of practical uses, but long exposures are one. One second is long enough to make an in-camera motion blur effect without resorting to photoshop tricks.

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Maybe this is a dull image without a central subject. It’s more texture or pattern than a photo. Even so, it reminds me of the gentle sounds the waves made all through the night.

Dreams

I imagine the dream world is a mirror; we exist there as fully as we do here. In my waking state, I have only the vaguest remembrance of dreams. A glimpse quickly forgotten.

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Dreams
There is a veil between the two worlds, sometimes its lifted.

The secret to dreams is knowing they’re dreams; easier said than done. If I knew I was dreaming, would it be a dream? Is the world of dreams a country with arbitrary borders and strange laws? Or is it the other way around?

abstract gallery

There is a veil between the two worlds; sometimes the veil is lifted, and we see through to the other side. We are left with the feeling of something familiar, yet forgotten. The only thing lucid is whatever side of the veil we’re on. And sometimes even that is subjective.

Urban Symmetry

This image was taken in central Barcelona from the rooftop of the Grand Central Hotel. At first glance, you’ll notice symmetry in the picture. That’s because I’ve mirrored the image, and then painstakingly altered it so that the equality is incomplete. In effect, I’ve taken something that was perfectly reflected and added randomness.

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Urban Symmetry
This mirrored image creates a sense of confusion on closer inspection

There are plenty of mirrored artifacts, but depending on how you look at it, it might play tricks on you. Our brains quickly suspect its a mirror, and then our eyes begin looking for proof. Depending on where in the image you look, it may not confirm your first impression.

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The photo is an exercise in abstraction and deception. It’s a time-consuming exercise to produce, but it’s fun at the same time. My purpose is to hint at one thing while throwing you off the trail and forcing you to figure it out. I hope you don’t mind a little harmless deception in the name of fun.

Key Biscayne Layers

This image was a bit of a project to create. I stood on the South Pointe Pier facing Key Biscayne in South Beach. I took three pictures, each focused on a different point. The first was the railing, the next was the jetty and finally Key Biscayne off in the distance.

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Key Biscayne Layers
An abstract composition with Key Biscayne off in the distance.

I combined the images into a composite using a technique known as focus stacking. After that, I kept working on it until ending up with an abstract rendering that is neither real or imagined; it’s somewhere in-between.

abstract gallery

I could say something smart about layers, like how they are metaphors for something, but not today. The result is the product of a study in technique and abstraction. I had an idea when I took the shots, and I practiced various methods to get the image I wanted. Perhaps that’s the best way to describe it.

That Evening in Venice

Because I did not set the shutter speed correctly this image came out looking double exposed and blurry, like an impressionistic painting. This is not something I intended but looking at it now it feels a little like my memory of that evening in Venice.

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That Evening in Venice
My impression of that evening in Venice

In my short visit I experienced sights, sounds and feelings. The more I go back to look at the photos the more my memories are formed. But it’s totally subjective and what I remember is unique to me alone.

There is much in life I don’t remember because I never took the time to. If we don’t think about something it may not make an impression and is soon forgotten. However when we do, we build memories from our impressions.

Memories are like paintings, they are renderings, not true recordings. In the case of art, impressions are more important than fact.

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The sounds of the oars in the water, the chatter of the gondoliers, the lights of the overhead windows and the evening shadows across the buildings; all of these combine into an impression that is so perfectly preserved with a simple camera mistake.

Vancouver Terminal

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.

More abstract images

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.

Impression of the Glow

This is an impression of the glow of the clouds. It represents a combination of old and new styles. I gravitate towards pictorialism, meaning that I take liberties to convey a feeling or idea. This is an example of that. I’m more interested in an impression than the actual event.

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Impression of the Glow
Impression of the glow from Palmetto Florida

I’ve taken a lot of Florida photos over the years and I have collection that I printed and framed several years back. I used to take those to art shows and sell them but then I got too busy and took a break. However I just did another show and what surprised me was that that folks still enjoy those scenes.

I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise. Since then my own preferences and style have changed and I’ve moved on to different themes. Yet what I came to realize is that images that are old to me are still fresh to others.

cloudscape images

So my idea is to begin printing the newer images as well. I’d be curious to see if they have the same appeal as some of my earlier works. But in the end, I’m not sure how much that really matters. I think that as long as I continue to evolve as a photographer, what people think should not be my main concern.

At the Waters Edge

I took this in front of a beach restaurant last Sunday. We like coming here because we can eat at the waters edge and stare out to sea. We arrived for a late lunch that turned into an early dinner and then decided we might as well stay for sunset. Sometimes its best to go with the flow, especially on a weekend.

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At the Waters Edge
At the Waters Edge in Bradenton Beach

Staring out to sea is like staring at a fire. It’s something that speaks to our subconscious. Once you start it’s hard to stop, like a long hot shower.

This is my interpretation of the scene that evening. By that I mean I imagined the girl on the beach was soaking in the sun and that it was rejuvenating her. I removed people because in my mind this is not about a busy beach. In this story she is alone with her thoughts.

A lot of people come here from all over to escape the cold and soak up the sun. Our heroine is surely one of these people.

I am glad to see the reaction of others because it reminds me of how fortunate I am. I spend a lot of time on photography and that takes me to the waters edge. I try not to take it for granted.

More Beaches

I just read that the Gulf of Mexico will be warmer than usual this summer, that the water temperature has remained high this winter. That’s good for the visitors here now; however in summer we’ll have more storms and the scene will look very different. Regardless, I’ll probably come back to capture someone else staring at the sea. The weather may change but our need to sit at the waters edge will not.