Vancouver

A few years ago I took a seaplane flight over Vancouver and the surrounding islands. I captured this image as we climbed out of the harbor and circled back over the city.

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Vancouver
Vancouver as viewed from a sea plane

I had the back row seat to myself and could slide from side to side to take photos. It was as good as being in a helicopter. I used to come up here regularly and walked nearly every street in the city. But that’s not unusual, it’s a bike and pedestrian friendly town, so people walk or ride everywhere.

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Since I took this almost three years ago, the skyline has changed a little. But much of it is the same and landmarks like the BC Place arena, Stanley Park and the Lionsgate Bridge will probably not change for a very long time if ever. What you don’t see are the mountains over on the right. But if you could, you would understand why this is only the half of it.

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.”

Big City

When I see a big city, I’m like a deer in the headlights. I look up and can’t stop staring.

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The big city of Miami
The big city of Miami 

I’m fascinated by the perpendicular angles of construction, a million squares, layered and stacked in every direction. It’s a sensory rush that quickens my pulse and speeds up time; a big city high.

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Maybe it’s of all the lights, or the mass of humanity, or the scale of it all. Whatever it is, I’m in not much use until I snap out of its initial spell. Perhaps there’s some part of our DNA that attracts us to a hive or colony or tribe. Or maybe, it just all the cool lights.

More Rain

You’ll forgive me if I post another photo of the rain. Personally, it’s something I can’t get enough and just think it’s kinda cool.

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A rainy October day in Malaga Spain
A rainy October day in Malaga Spain

Taking photos in the rain is akin to low light photography, the weather has a way of creating a mood. In Europe, it’s enhanced by the architecture of the old streets.

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This was taken on a rainy October day in Malaga when I got soaked to the bone. About a year or two prior I did the same thing in Solerno. Back then I bought an umbrella from a vendor who magically appeared as soon as the rain started. I paid too much for the umbrella and then lost it on a bus. I’ve since given up on umbrellas when taking photos. Besides, it’s not really feasible to hold an umbrella and take a picture, unless you have three arms.

Colors of Miami

When I think of colors and Miami, I think of pastels. Pastel colors on the art-deco walls of South Beach. I believe these natural hues are what inspire that aesthetic.

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Colors of Miami
The natural colors of Miami as seen from the port.

I took this from the top deck of the ship in the port of Miami. I had already been up several hours to capture the inaugural docking of Symphony of the Seas. Now we were having breakfast and walking back to our cabin for the final time. We were ready after 12 days at sea. It was nice to be home, but it was also sad to leave.

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Many of these high-rise apartment buildings are empty during the summer. They are vacation homes for people who come down in winter. Once, during summer, I stayed in a hi-rise hotel right downtown. At night I looked out from the thirty-first floor and, all I could see was empty, dark apartments. Now that it’s winter they’re all lit up and full of color.

Sarasota Reflections

When there is no breeze, the water on Sarasota Bay turns to glass. I was fortunate enough to show up one night two years ago when the conditions were just right.

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Sarasota Reflections
Apartment buildings overlook Sarasota Bay, as seen from Island Park.

Everyone likes the views from Island Park which is why folks come here to walk and take photos. I’m particularly fond of the perspective it provides for nighttime cityscapes across the water.

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Sarasota is growing, and the skyline changes about every six months or so. That means I need to get my behind down to this spot at least once a year to keep up. But I’m pretty sure nothing has changed in this one particular section.

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.

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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.

Lower Midtown

Here is a cityscape of Manhattan that I took from One World Observatory. High-resolution cityscapes are a way for me to explore the details in the quiet of my own home. There is no way to take it all in when you are there taking the photo.

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Lower Midtown
A view of Manhattan from the One World Observatory

This frame is only a small section of the city and having so much crammed together is one thing that makes New York so compelling. You could live your whole life in one part and never see it all. But maybe that’s true for most places, we never really see everything. Perhaps a cab driver does, but most of us limit our movements.

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Whenever I’m up high like this, I like to take photos of the expanse. It’s a natural desire because scenes like this are so foreign to our earth-bound eyes. I make these photos with the knowledge that I’ll look more closely during post-processing. Post-processing can take an hour or more, and during that time I am emersed in the details, as though I was right back at the scene. It’s like Deja-vu all over again.

South Beach Studies

Here’s a series of architectural studies I did while in South Beach. I rented a bike for the afternoon and rode around taking snippets of buildings. As a photographer, one of the main reasons I like going there is the architecture. There is a combination of art deco and cubist throughout.

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South Beach Studies
Colony

 

South Beach Studies
Beach Condo

 

South Beach Studies
Lowes

 

South Beach Studies
Boulevard

 

South Beach Studies
Condo

 

South Beach Studies
Hi-rise condo

Honestly, I have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to architecture; I know what I like. If I find it interesting, that’s good enough. In South Beach, they use a lot of pastel colors, and that goes well with the heat. The heat in the summer is brutal, so maybe some softness coming off the walls makes it a little more bearable.

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Anyway, this is not even the tip of the iceberg. I could spend a whole week here just shooting architecture. Different angles, different perspectives, different times of the day. Maybe one day I’ll go back and do just that. Sound like a plan?