Hometown AI

I hope you don’t mind if I use a little AI in my sunset photos, I certainly don’t.

Daily Image
Hometown AI
A sunset from my hometown of Palmetto, Florida

I did a bit of processing on this to bring up the shadows and reduce the highlights, I do that quite a lot. One thing that’s a little new, however, is that I’ve started using artificial intelligence (AI) software. The AI is in Luminar 3 from Skylum. As AI gets better, it shortens the time it takes to get good results out of a photo. These days, AI is increasingly being built into everything, including your phone and camera. Computational photography is where we’re heading.

visit the sunset gallery

What AI does is interpret scenes for us and then make choices on how to improve it. It’s not always right, but it’s getting better. Sometimes it’s no help, but more often than not it gets a bunch of stuff right. I then fill in the gaps with the vision that I had in my head, but the AI helped get me off to a good start. It’s like having an apprentice do the prep work before you begin mixing the magic brew. I suppose that as long as the sorcerer’s apprentice doesn’t get too carried away, it should be all good.

Apartment Buildings

Something about the light at dusk, it can make a boring apartment building look like a million bucks.

Daily Image
Apartment buildings in the city of Palmetto, Florida
Apartment buildings in the city of Palmetto, Florida

I drive by these buildings all the time and never take a second look, but look at them now. They’re kind of attractive, now that I see them. My Instagram tagline is, “through photography, I see.” I guess this is proof of that.

see the full gallery

I used a one-second exposure for the water on the bottom half which evens out the ripples. Usually, I use photoshop to get a similar effect but in this case, its straight out of camera (or SOOC as we say in the biz). I took this from a dock while walking my dog recently. He likes to come out here and survey the scene and sometimes I’ll bring my camera. So it was, in fact, Mr. Wiggles who selected this scene. I should probably change my tagline to, “through my dog, I see.”

Regatta Pointe Marina

I took this image from the dock at Regatta Pointe Marina in my hometown of Palmetto. The marina is a few miles up from the gulf on the Manatee River. It has a restaurant that does good business on account of the views. I’m not a boater or sailor so, when I come, it’s to have a meal or take photos, or both.

Daily Image

Regatta Pointe Marina
This is facing west to the Gulf of Mexico from Regatta Pointe Marina

I have sailed out of here once and also out of the marina on the opposite side of the river. Both were charters, and both times it was a great experience. You bring cheese and wine, sit topside and enjoy the views and breeze. That’s my idea of a good time.

browse the full gallery

I came here because the colors in the sky were shaping up and this was only a few minutes away. When I feel the urge to capture a sunset without planning, I’ll rush to the river and point west. Here at the marina, there were plenty of people walking along the dock. A few were diners, a few were boaters, but just about everyone stopped to watch at the view.

Making Up Stories

This image is an example of the kinds of things you’ll see just by showing up to a location and observing. It’s not staged, yet it has receding elements: a girl, a bird, and a sailboat, not to mention the evening sun. The objects are receding, and from a compositional perspective, that’s pretty cool. Let me explain.

Daily Image
Making Up Stories

There were other objects and people around, but I positioned the frame to simplify the image. Unconsciously our eyes are drawn from the close-up objects to those far away, and in that split-second traverse, each observer (you) creates a story. I refer to “story” a lot in my images, but what I mean is the musings of an observer (you). When you muse, you automatically make up a story. That makes me the story-teller, and now I’ve connected with you. It’s pretty simple really, and it’s the idea behind stories in photographs.

favorites in the gallery

We can create stories in different ways; for me, it often involves simplifying a scene and engaging the viewer. But each person is different, and we could take a complicated scenario and do the same thing, there are no rules. My photos at the beach are simple, but I also like busy city streets with a lot of things to explore. (In fact, I’ll post one like that next week.) But I digress. When taking photos, you want to tell a story. No matter where you are, you can compose the shot in such a way that when I see it, I make up my own story.

Midday Walk

Like its name suggests, Bayfront Park in Sarasota has a good view. It’s small enough to walk around on your lunch break and still make your one o’clock.

Daily Image

Midday Walk
A midday walk in Sarasota’s in Bayfront Park

But if you’re like a lot of people here, the days of the one o’clock meetings are long gone. You are in retirement with time to go fishing, walk in the park, or whatever in heck it is that you do.

more from Sarasota

I took this two years ago and just now got around to processing it. I have a lot of little shots like this that sit on the hard drive waiting their turn. If I go out today and take some pictures, chances you’ll see it by 2020. But if some of them are really good, next Tuesday after my one o’clock.

Sarasota Skyline at Night

Here is another panorama of Sarasota from Bayfront Park. Last year I posted an almost identical image that was taken during the day but have been waiting to do it again at night. Back then that big building (third from the left) was still under construction and it wasn’t lit up. So, now that it’s complete I wanted to shoot it again since the scene seems more complete to me.

Daily Image

Sarasota Skyline at Night
Sarasota Skyline at night taken from Bayfront Park

To take this I mounted my camera vertically on a tripod and took ten shots from left to right. With the resolution of the Sony camera, it will be about seven feet across when printed!

Here are some links to other panoramas I’ve taken in and around Sarasota…

Same perspective from the day
From City Island Day
From City Island Night
A different perspective from Bayfront Park

And here are links to other panoramas from all over

Under a Rising Moon

This is an area not far from home where sailboats moor along the intercostal waterway. Whenever I come here I wonder what it must be like to spend the night on a small boat like this. This is a composite image that represents what I imagine the scene is like under a rising moon. It’s not real, but then, what is these days.

Daily Image

Under a Rising Moon
A composite image I created as an experiment

Speaking of which, I put on a VR headset the other day and the room I was in disappeared. I was immersed in a different reality that was visceral and compelling. We are on the threshold of an age when reality will become a matter of choice rather than circumstance. And all of this without drugs; unless you consider technology the new opioid. I don’t really know.

more of my favorites

Nevertheless, I concocted this scene of a nightscape near my home. In my imagination, this is a VR world that I would choose to visit. Maybe one day I’ll know what it’s like to spend the night on a small boat as it gently rocks under a full moon. And then I’ll dream of yet another place I want to be.

An Afternoon Thunderstorm Dissipates over the Water

I took this from Palmetto Florida one evening last summer. There is a lot going on in the sky as an afternoon thunderstorm dissipates over the water. I needed a panorama to capture the expansiveness of the sky. It’s made up of ten photos in two rows so there is a lot more to see than I would get from an ordinary photo.

Daily Image

An Afternoon Thunderstorm Dissipates over the Water
An Afternoon Thunderstorm Dissipates over the Water

This image is a good representation of what it’s like here in summer. You look one way and it looks dark and ominous, you look another way and it’s a nice sunset. That’s why I used a panorama, so we can see in both directions.

more panoramas in the gallery

But in reality, panoramas are the predecessors of 360 images. With your browser or a VR viewer you can look in any direction. I like still pictures because of the creativity I can put into them. VR is a different thing altogether but they each have their place. Maybe one day all photos will be VR, wouldn’t that be interesting?

Sailboats in La Grande-Motte

I was La Grande-Motte a couple of years ago walking around with my camera. A friend who was running some errands dropped me off for the morning. It’s a seaside resort town on the Mediterranean and in that respect has a lot of similarities to where I live in Florida. I was here in the off-season so it did not have the normal crowds.

Daily Image

Sailboats in La Grande-Motte
Sailboats in La Grande-Motte

I could be wrong but it seems like there are more sailboats in Europe than in the states. I’m no expert but I think we have more powerboats in the US. Nevertheless these long rows of docks are common in southern France.

more images from France

The symmetrical leading lines of the rows reflecting on the water fascinate me. For that matter, leading lines and water always grab my attention. It’s something I’ve taken photos of over and over again. There is a good explanation for it, I’m sure.

Bridge of Sighs

This is the Bridge of Sighs as it frames a crowd of people beyond. In this case I am focused on the crowds rather than attempting to obscure them. It’s a different perspective but something I’ve been exploring lately. Lets just say it’s a slightly different take on travel photography.

Daily Image

Bridge of Sighs
Bridge of Sighs in Venice

My idea is to have crowds of people juxtaposed to architecture or in iconic settings. If it’s done right there’s something that makes us want to look closer. Normally crowds are not that interesting but therein lies the challenge.

Also I write about it because it helps me make sense of new ideas like this. The more I integrate it the more I can repeat this idea in different settings; it’s a form of study.

more bridge images

Writing is an integral part of photography for me. I take a photo, work on it and then write about it. In the end I have a something more than just a photo. All the while I’m learning something new and having a little fun. And as they say, it’s all good.