This is a rendering of the midnight sun in the Alaskan summer. I took this from the balcony of a cruise ship late one evening as we sailed towards Seward. From my perspective on the ship there were hundreds of miles of mountains as far as you can see. The size of Alaska is so big that much of it is untouched by humans. I don’t know that for a fact but given the size, terrain and remoteness it is all but impossible to fully explore. Perhaps Alaska is one of the last remaining frontiers on earth.
We live on an amazing planet and often I find myself without adequate words to describe what I’m seeing. Sometimes a photo will do but I may take liberties to express a feeling beyond what eyes can see. Of course, it’s all a matter of interpretation but I do my best. So when I see and experience the vastness of Alaska I am at a loss for words. That’s when I turn to art to convey something just beyond description.
Of course none of this is unusual. Case in point is the peoples of the original nations. Their art is prolific and profound and is shaped by the landscape, seasons and spirit of the region. Isn’t it interesting how artist seem to congregate in places where beauty is abundant? Obviously there’s something to it.
This is sunrise north of the Manatee River in Palmetto Florida. I’ll be driving along running an errand and see something that makes me wish I had my camera. Once in a while I have it like the day I took this out the window of my car. The area is known as North River which has a small-town atmosphere. However now we are in the peak of snowbird season which is when the population is doubled due to the number of people that come down to Florida for the winter.
Even though I live in a small town it’s still an urban area. Even so I’m always looking for images and paying attention to the light. Often enough there are good conditions for photography, but when I’m on a street or in a parking lot or sitting at a stop light it loses some of its allure. A sunset next to a gas station is not my idea of landscape photography. But, maybe if I try hard enough I could find a composition there also.
For instance, this I used my telephoto lens to create a narrow field of view between two houses. Because I aimed just so you don’t see the houses or urban sprawl. I like simplistic images because it is a way for me to bring some balance to the clutter of urban spaces through art. Here I’m using my imagination to create what I’d like to see, rather than what I do see.
Here is another shot I took from an observation tower looking north towards St Pete. In the foreground is the trail through Robinson Preserve, off in the distance is the Sunshine Skyway bridge and, if you look closely, beyond the bridge is downtown St Petersburg.
For the sky and water I overlaid the texture from the inside of a native american Cedar canoe. Surely that has nothing to do with this picture yet it seemed to work well. Textures are photos of other things that can be used to add to an otherwise plain surface. I started collecting textures, which is just another way of saying I’ve been taking pickers of the ground, walls, clouds or interesting patterns. I never know how something will work until I try it out, like this one.
I wrote a post about pictorialism and how I gravitate towards the artistic side of photography. That’s evident in this image because I’ve changed it to convey a feeling or idea, not so much a strict representation of the moment. I’m not that much into the purist side of photography where we document a moment in time. That’s an honorable profession, it’s just not for me. I’m in it for the art. Totally.
I took this at midday in Sarasota while driving around last weekend. For me this is more of a daydream than a real picture. I daydream when I drive sometimes. Some things are so automatic that they get relegated to the autopilot side of the brain while the other side goes in a different direction. I’m headed that way right now.
When I look at a scene I look for an impression. We’re each so different no two impressions are the same. For some reason this takes me back to when I was about five years old and our family went on a road trip to San Jose. I remember the hotel and that it had a pool. I have no idea why this reminds me of that, it’s not logical. The blur in this image represents my faded memories of my five-year-old self; looking through a glass darkly.
Isn’t it a paradox that some people revert to their childhood memories as they grow older. I think something gets inverted. Maybe memory is like a fabric we can fold in or out and expose different surfaces. Not that I have a clue, but I think it’s a little different then I might think. Anyway, this has been a little trip down memory lane. Time to stop the daydream and drive.
The Pacific Centre in Vancouver seems to be into the post holiday colors with a vengeance. There’s an enclosed bridge that goes over the street and it was all lit up in red. Add to that the reflections from the wet street and city lights and its too much for me to pass on. It looked like holiday lights but that was weeks before. I stood in the middle of traffic waiting for someone to cross the setting. Eventually someone did but by that time my camera and I were completely soaked. The things I do for a shot.
This was at the end of a mega-walk day, over 25000 steps according to my watch. But I was stoked nonetheless. By the time I got back to the hotel my camera started complaining and doing a funny things, I’m sure because it was so wet. I laid it down on the desk and went for dinner and by the time I got back it was fine. I suspect perhaps some moisture on the hot shoe. All in all I was pretty impressed that the SonyA7RII put up with the abuse I put it through this day.
I took a lot of photos from this spot, some I intentionally blurred. However this one was not blurred, I added the zoom effect in post production. I did that using both Photoshop and MacPhun Focus 2 Pro. For me the image is all about color and energy. The idea I had I’m my mind when I took this was a cacophony of colors all blurred together. The motion represents the energy of the city. This is just one of the many faces of Vancouver city life.
This is a small section of the front facade of Catedral de Barcelona. I could stand out front of this building and stare at the details for hours. Judging by the other people standing here, some did. I’m easily impressed, which is not to say this isn’t an amazing work of architecture, it’s just that I rarely get a chance to see buildings like this, so when I do I’m usually overwhelmed.
I think that if I see beautiful things often it helps boost my sense of esthetic. That’s true about anything, the more we do the better we get, so on and so on. That’s why I think public art is vital to a city. When it’s always there it strikes a cord, albeit subtle or even unconscious, but vital nonetheless. I just returned from Vancouver where I spent some time downtown. They have a lot of public art on display. I would say the people who see that art have a higher sense of aesthetic whether they realize it or not.
Barcelona has a tonne of public art, everywhere you look. And according to my theory, the residents of that city have a very high aesthetic IQ. That goes for a lot of like minded european cities where art is central. Of course I just stated what any european, and any art lover, already knows; that art is good for us and adds to the vitality of a city. Stating the obvious is just how I roll.
Keeping it real can be harder than it sounds. Putting aside all the things that we think are important, a little quality time is a pretty good way to start. In the end all we really have are connections. The rest can come and go, it’s connections that define us, or so I think. But when I think of the people that have made an impression on me, it was their gift of time that made that possible.
This is another photo from Fort Lauderdale Beach. I could just stay at the beach and take photos all day long, it’s a natural place for images to just happen, especially if you know what you’re looking for. I take a lot of photos of people walking on the beach. The initial snapshot is a reminder of what I saw in my mind and the idea that I had. Only later when the time is right do I express it, sometimes artistically like this. This image conveys the idea I had in my mind. I never really know how the image will turn out, but if I work at it enough I get close. Close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades. Bad reference, scratch that.
I’m going to go back to the beach sometime this week. Who knows what I’ll see or which beach I’ll go to. The main thing is to go and then just let the rest happen; kind of like keeping it real. I think that a lot of things can happen if we just let them. I rarely know what way the wind will blow, I just keep doing my thing and somehow it all works out.
Earlier this month I captured this before sunrise in Ft. Lauderdale, which is on Florida’s Atlantic coast. I was hoping to catch the colors at dawn but there was too much of a marine layer and it wasn’t to be. Nonetheless the city lights cast a glow on the low clouds in this long exposure. I kept the shutter open for about eight-seconds which makes the ocean appear smooth.
This was taken from in front of the Marriott hotel where I stayed. I had never been there before and had to follow the GPS to find it the night before. I didn’t really know where I was or which way it was to the city. My room was set back from the beach so I could only see the beach, not up and down the coast. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when I walked down here early in the morning to find that the main city was just a short walk north. I’m glad I woke up or I would have missed this scene, it’s not easy to take a picture of a deserted beach in Ft Lauderdale.
I walked up and down the beach taking all kinds of pictures, several I’ve recently published on the blog. It was a fun experience in the predawn hours with just my camera. Due to the soft sand it took a lot of effort to walk, but that’s how a beach is, sandy. When I walk on the beach I normally just pick a direction and start a slow plod, stopping to take pictures, slowly making my way until its time to turn around. And so that pretty much sums up this morning, a slow Sunday plod.
A couple of years ago I was standing on a hill in New Zealand with twenty other photographers. It was early in the morning before dawn and everything was quiet, still and overwhelmingly beautiful. I had to pinched myself to ensure it wasn’t a dream. Well, I made that last part up, my fingers were to cold to pinch anything, but I was pretty happy nonetheless.
Its great I have this image because it helps me remember. I wonder what it wold be like if I could remember everything with vivid clarity. I think it would be a double edged sword. Truth be told I’d, only I’d only want to remember the good things, but if I had that memory I might not have a choice. Maybe that’s why we are the way we are. Our memories fade so we have a chance to move on, start new, live another day.
I’ve heard that when we die we have a life review. That we see everything we’ve done that affects other people. If that’s true, then that will be one heck of a memory machine. Or, maybe that’s how we remember when we don’t have our aging brains getting in the way. Maybe our minds are really that good, it’s an incredible idea. I think it’s true, we have hints of it throughout our lives and society. Now if I could only learn how to tap in to my unlimited memory, I could tell you what I had for dinner last night and, I could remember my e-mail password. I had one more point to make but I seem to have forgotten what it was.
I’ve heard that when we die we have a life review. That we see everything we’ve done that affects other people. If that’s true, then that will be one heck of a memory machine. Or, maybe that’s how we remember when we don’t have our aging brains getting in the way. Maybe our minds are really that powerful, it’s an amazing idea. I think it could be true, we have hints of it throughout our lives and society. Now if I could only learn how to tap in to my unlimited memory, I could tell you what I had for dinner last night and remember my email password. I had one more point to make but I seem to have forgotten what it was.
This is Fort De Soto Beach a couple of days ago. With the holiday over we decided to head to the beach and unwind. This is a section that looks across towards the Sunshine Skyway Bridge as it enters Tampa Bay. I don’t spend as much time at the beach as you might think. I go for photography quite a bit, but to sit and vegetate, rarely. I suppose that’s common among us who live here, we take it for granted. I go maybe two or three times a year. But as I say, for photography I go many more times than that. In the end it doesn’t matter because I do spend time along the shore with the waves, breeze and sunsets; I do not take that for granted, at least not yet.
How I created the Image
I worked on this image for several hours this evening. I used a motion blur and carefully blended the original layer. Prior to that I created about ten layers in Photoshop to carefully craft the image to an idea I had in my minds eye. Then finally I used a Lightroom preset to give it an overall desaturated tone.
What I was thinking at the time
You may understand some of these technical details but if not, no worries. The point is, on some images I spend a lot of time and effort to transform an image into something resembling a dreamscape. For no other reason than I like to and, I think that dreams can be just as important as ordinary life. I’ve heard that we make our own reality, so if that’s true, then sometimes I like to create a reality that is a little bit ethereal like a dream, one that I would like to inhabit if I could; at least in my mind.