La Grande-Motte

What do you get when an architect designs a city? A collection of eccentric-looking buildings along the Mediterranean.

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La Grande-Motte
The unique architecture in Southern France

La Grande-Motte is a French beachside resort town. Spain has dozens of these that attract their French neighbors. However, someone got smart and built this town in France about fifty years ago. Now there are many beach towns along the French Mediterranean, and no need to cross into Spain for a holiday.

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Not that there is anything wrong with Spanish beach towns. Before I took this, I was in Lloret de Mar, which is just outside of Barcelona, and it was just as fun, and just as full of French tourists.

Boat Life

These marinas are cities within cities. People in them live semi-nomadic lives and form communities; coming and going with the wind.

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Boat Life
The marina in Barcelona

The marina in Barcelona reminds me of similar ones close to home. I’m heading back and have been looking at my photos from there. Marinas are enormous along the Mediterranean. We have many in Florida, but I think they are generally not as big as the ones in Europe. Maybe boat life is more prevalent there.

more boats in the gallery

Anyway, I know an American teacher who leads on-line courses remotely from her boat in Spain or Italy, depending on the season. No house required; have a boat, laptop, and internet connection; and the world is your oyster.

Bodacious Sky

I took this from the Green Bridge in Bradenton on a particularly bodacious evening. Does anyone use that word anymore?

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Bodacious Sky
The sunset over the Manatee River in Bradenton

Bodacious is a west coast word, but I’m from there, so I get a pass. For some reason, a lot of new words come from California. When I was ten, I made up the word “bad” to mean awesome. I actually thought I invented that. Imagine my surprise when I heard it on TV. Surely I picked it up subconsciously somewhere.

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My vocabulary is not particularly great, enough to get by. But I do get impressed by words all the time. I love the dictionary feature in Kindle. Depending on the author, I might just spend a lot of time in there. It’s not as easy as making up my own words, though.

Simple Seascape

This image is from Ken Thompson Park in Sarasota on a hot summer afternoon. So hot, in fact, that three minutes later I was back in the car.

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Simple Seascape
A minimalist seascape from Ken Thompson park in Sarasota

There are a couple of reasons I like this photo; one is the minimal aesthetic, and the other is that its same spot I took an abstract picture with an iPhone 5.

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A photo I took with the iPhone 5 in the same spot

The abstract I took during a sunset that was like nothing I’d ever seen. I didn’t have a camera, so I used an iPhone. Not that it matters.

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The two have nothing in common, yet I stood at the same spot for each. It just goes to show what imagination, setting, and post-processing can get you.

Sunset Watchers

Most people leave the beach at the end of the day. That’s when the second shift starts and all the sunset watchers show up.

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Sunset Watchers
Sunset from the north shore of Longboat Pass

That’s good for me because I’ll be driving against the traffic to get to the beach on time. If you’re one of the three people reading my blog, you know I’m a procrastinator. So, even though the traffic is going the other way, more often than not I am rushing to get there before the sun goes down.

more from Anna Maria Island in the gallery

After I finish taking photos, I still get stuck in the traffic leaving the beach. That’s no problem though, being stuck in traffic with the beach on one side and no place to be is a dream. I roll down the windows and inch along. I could do that all day.

Pelicans Preening

Cortez is one of the last fishing villages on the east coast of the United States. That would mean these pelicans picked the perfect place to live.

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Pelicans Preening
Sea birds in Cortez, Florida

We came for the annual fish festival and left stuffed to the gills. They had every kind of fish dish you can imagine, and then some.

Fishing vessels were docked alongside the processing plant, and I captured these fellas preening themselves, oblivious to all the commotion around them. Sea birds in Florida coexist with fishing and are not afraid of humans at all.

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Anyway, this reminded me that I need to come back to Cortez on a regular workday to see everything in action. It’s one of the first places I came with the new Sony camera about five years ago, and I always find something interesting to shoot here. And, as one of the last villages of it’s kind, it is a little bit of history.

Friday Morning

Friday morning in Miami is no different than any other place. Oh who am I kidding, it’s WAY different!

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Friday Morning
The Friday morning commute in Miami

For me, a big advantage of taking a cruise out of Miami is, well, Miami. An average view from the deck of a large ship is still better than a great view from a skyscraper. Nevertheless, the new boats are big enough to be skyscrapers.

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Miami is a favorite city of mine to photograph. You have it all, the beach, the nightlife, the cityscapes. No matter how you look at it, it’s not your average city. I’m sure it has its problems, but as with many things, I tend to look at it through rose-colored glasses.

Hometown AI

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.