Nice, France

This is a section of Nice where cruise ships dock and people come ashore on a tender. That’s what I was doing when I took this picture.

Daily Image
Nice, France
Nice as seen from the harbour

While waiting for transport to other parts of Nice, I walked up and around the narrow streets. It was in the middle of summer and hot. I remember trying to decide whether to have a beer or ice cream to cool down. My only hesitation was that it was nine in the morning so I opted for ice cream.

more travel photography in the gallery

The famous beach is west of here, but since I live close to beaches in Florida, I visited other parts of the city including an art colony in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. As that was up on a small mountain, it was a little cooler, but still quite warm. I ended up getting a beer there, but it was midday at that point. Such are my memories of ice cream and beer.

Returning Home

Hang out at Longboat Pass in the evening, and you’ll see a stream of boats returning to dock just after sunset. It keeps the drawbridge operator quite busy.

Daily Image
Returning Home
Sometimes the best light is after sunset

This is a shot using a Playpod at the water’s edge. In this age of drones, it’s nice to have a tool that helps create a somewhat unique low-down perspective. Not that I have anything against drones, they are fun and provide excellent viewpoints. But angles like this are just as rewarding.

more minimalism from the gallery

I’ve not been to the beach for sunset in a while, so I almost forgot how to photograph the whole golden hour; I nearly left too early. I was heading to the car and noticed another photographer just getting out. That reminded me that sometimes the best light occurs after the sun goes down. So I headed back to the shoreline and took this along with a few others. Then, after squeezing the last ounce of light from the sky, it was finally time to head home.

Memory Lane

Here is a photo of Trey Ratcliff and Danny Levin that I took about five years ago. Danny and I were on one of Trey’s New Zealand photo adventures.

Daily Image
Memory Lane
Trey Ratcliff and Danny Levine on Lake Hayes in New Zealand

That seems like such a long time ago, but I still have a ton of photos and memories. I shot this on the original Sony A7R which was relatively new at the time. Now, I’m on the third generation of that camera, but I still own the original. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

see more from New Zealand in the gallery

Actually, I processed this with the latest tools. In this case I Aurora HDR 2019 and Luminar 3. Those are also the third generations from Skylum, and I’ve been using them for three or four years now. Every time they come out with new versions I go back and find old photos like this to process. When I do that, it’s like taking a trip down memory lane.

Now and Then

Now and then, without warning, the view from a cruise ship can be over the top. This is why I like booking a room with a balcony.

Daily Image
Now and Then
The sun sets after leaving Cozumel Mexico

The Oasis of the Seas was just leaving the dock at Cozumel, and everything came together. As the ships leave, smaller boats are returning to dock after depositing their tour groups. By six in the evening, all the ships have departed, and the little towns and villages become sleepy again. That’s why I think Cozumel is the closest thing to Margaritaville.

see the sunset/sunrise gallery here

My apologies if this image seems overly saturated. I’ve desaturated the colors a couple of times because it doesn’t seem realistic. Every now and then that happens. More and more I pay attention to the levels of color saturation while I’m taking the picture, and sometimes it’s quite high. Then I have to tone it down in post-processing because it can look fake. This is one of those cases, but I’m still not sure if it’s enough.

Upgrades

I posted an image of this building last week. Since then I pulled this older one out of my archives and reprocessed it. It’s the first image I took of the World of Science building, however since then I’ve made many more. I was using a Nikon at the time which I later upgraded to a Sony; not that the choice of the camera matters at all.

Daily Image

Upgrades
The view of the TELUS World of Science building in Vancouver, BC

Here is my original take on it (https://www.flickr.com/photos/justenoughfocus/9109050970/in/dateposted/). I don’t reprocess images too often, but every once in a while I wonder what it would look like with newer software and updated sensibilities. My sensibilities are like software; they get upgraded every year or two as well.

see the Canada gallery

Because of its shape and location by the water, there are no bad angles. You could make a study of this building from different perspectives which is what I’ve done over the years. With the amount of construction in Vancouver, it seems that even the view gets upgraded every other year.

Night Scene in Lepetane

This was the night scene in Lepetane Montenegro as we passed by on a ship. We were leaving the port at Kotor and passing through a narrow channel lined with houses on each side. We could see people sitting on their balconies watching as our ship passed by on a warm summer evening.

Daily Image

Night Scene in Lepetane
Night Scene in Lepetane Montenegro

To me the scene was like a painting; so I decided to process the photo with that idea in mind. I used Topaz Studio to create an impressionistic rendering and then blend it with the original photo. While the image now looks like a painting, in some places it’s more realistic. It plays a little trick so we are not sure which it is, however it’s a little of each.

It’s amazing that software can “paint” a scene from a photo. But course its called digital rendering and not painting. Yet the software can be configured to use all manner of brush strokes, paint volume and even mimic styles of the masters. This is a case where computers are approximating art; which for me is amazing.

more night photos

The image represents an impression of a small coastal village at night, which for me is how I remember it. In my mind this type of rendering creates a feeling of the place that is easier to recall than with the unaltered realism of a plain photo. Stay tuned, I’ll be experimenting more with this amazing technique in the coming days and weeks.

Weekend State of Mind

I post a lot of sunset images because it’s one of the main attractions of the area I live in. If the conditions are right on a Friday or Saturday its even better because it seems everyone is in the same kind of weekend state of mind. Any evening can be good but Fridays and Saturdays have their own special quality.

Daily Image

Weekend State of Mind
Weekend State of Mind on Longboat key, Florida

Last weekend I took a little hike to this secluded beach. Other than that you need a boat to get here. These people were taking pictures of the sunset and had a boat. I, on the other hand, was taking pictures of people taking pictures of the sunset and a boat. Funny how that worked out, eh?

Most of the visitors have left Florida but it’s actually the best time of year to be here. There are very few crowds, the weather is mild and because it’s changing we get these types of clouds most evenings. Soon we’ll have high humidity and heat but now that seems a million years away. In reality we have only the current moment and if we are concerned about the future we miss an entire lifetime of experiences happening now.

Yet I find myself thinking about the days of the week. On Monday, Friday seems like a long way off. In reality I could go out taking pictures any day, even Monday. This idea of the weekend is an artificial construct of ours. The best days to go out and take pictures are the days you go out and take pictures. Having said all that, I still look forward to the weekend.

beach gallery

The weekend is the gas station of the soul; it’s when we get filled up to do stuff during the week. Weekends are for hikes or boat rides, for sunrises and sunsets, for more thinking and less doing. In reality weekends are a state of mind, they could be any days we choose. Nevertheless, until someone does away with the workweek I’ll recharge the batteries starting Friday night.

Star Princess

As we were sailing out of Skagway the Star Princess remained parallel to ours for about thirty minutes. The straight is not that wide and the sight of two massive ships in the light of dusk silently passing through must have been quite the thing. Only these areas are uninhabited save for the wildlife, so we were unnoticed save for the eagles sitting on treetops.

Daily Image

Star Princess
Star Princess in Alaska

There were four or five cruise ships in Skagway that day, I believe this is the same one I posted a picture of earlier. It’s hard to tell because in that picture I was standing next to it on the dock and it’s hard to get the full perspective up close.

The low light capabilities of the Sony A7RII allowed me to capture this at ISO4000. These kind of shots still amaze me when I think that just a few years when this type of shot was impossible. My preference is to shoot in low light, I prefer the moodiness of it.

Alaska images

My ship was Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas. I wonder if there was someone on the Princess ship watching our ship and taking a similar shot. If you’re out there somewhere let’s swap photos so we can see our own boat, eh?

Arc of the Sun

I took this in Venice Florida when I came down to take pictures at sunset. This is a fun place to visit and if you like photography you’ll appreciate it even more. I always leave with some great shots in my camera. Mind you, I take a lot of bad shots but that’s not the fault of the scenery.

Arc of the Sun
The arc of the sun is high Florida as opposed to Alaska where is is rather low.

In this case I used a telephoto lens fully extended at 240mm. When you extend a telephoto lens it has the effect of compressing distances. So in this case the sailboat and the sun are more or less equal actors in the scene.

Speaking of the sun, I just returned from Alaska and up there I noticed a big difference in how the sun looks. First, it has a low arc in the sky as opposed to Florida where the arc is high. Second, in Florida it’s dark about 45 minutes after sunset whereas Alaska seems to have perpetual dusk during summer, I never once saw it completely dark.

more sunset photos

Anyway, I always like it when I can include the sun in my photos. Something about it just amps up a scene.

Heaven on Earth

Here I am looking across the Manatee River on an early morning after the rains. The combination of the clouds and calm waters is just a lucky happenstance of timing. Any later and the breeze picks up to ripple the water. Any earlier and I was just standing in the rain. But as the clouds broke and the sun began to rise it created this dramatic affect in the sky. Quite frankly it reminds me of a painting of heaven. I’d like to think that in my own version of heaven this is what it looks like.

Heaven on Earth
The calm water and dramatic clouds reminds me a little bit of heaven

Irrespective of that, I gravitate to idyllic scenes in my photography. Simple images that try not to cover too many subjects is best. Ironically, keeping it simple can easier said than done. I for one am easily enamored with all the little details, maybe because I’m a bit of a geek. But aesthetically, the more simple an image is the better, too many details water down the story an image conveys.

abstract gallery

Anyway, I can ramble on forever about composition, but in truth I consider myself a beginner, I have so much to learn and I expect it will continue to be a life long learning quest. But for now, simple, calm and idyllic; that’s my favorite recipe.