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.

more from Sarasota

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.

visit abstract gallery

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.

abstract gallery

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.

more cityscapes from the gallery

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.

more of the architectural theme

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?

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight savings is upon us and somehow this seemed appropriate. It’s a combination of images taken at different times of day. By carefully merging them I’ve created a surreal scene that combines a daylight image with another one at night. It’s a little like the confusion I experience on a Monday after we change the clocks, eh?

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Daylight Savings Time
Images from day and night merged together

If you detected a slight Canadian accent it’s because I took this while in Toronto. I took one shot out the hotel window when I arrived in in the afternoon and another in the evening. In the past I’ve done similar images using a tripod, but in this case I handheld the camera each time. That creates slight variations which could have been difficult to align, but with a little effort it turned out okay.

more from Toronto

Even when I travel for reasons other than photography I bring my camera. This was a quick business trip with very little time for photos, yet I still managed to get a few shots from around the hotel. Hope springs eternal and I figure that if I bring the camera and I have an extra hour in the day (knock on wood), I’ll get a little time for doing what I like best: eh?

Another Vision of Venice

Here is another vision of Venice that I took from a boat. A vision is what best describes this place; it seems not entirely real. When you’re in Venice the real world seems to fade away and become distant. Venice holds its own kind of reality, like the fabled Brigadoon. And then the opposite happens, you leave and the magic dissipates and you feel that Venice was like a vision.

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Another Vision of Venice
Another vision of Venice at night from a boat

Anyway, like some other photos I’ve produced, this was taken hand held at night from a boat. I’d normally use a tripod to get a better exposure with a lower ISO, but using a high ISO my camera’s sensor is able to recover most of the details of the night scene.

Do you ever notice that when you go to an amazing place you feel like you want to live there? Or maybe you feel like you’ve been there before. The excitement of seeing new places and the feelings it produces are why we travel in the first place.

more night photography

This is travel photography with a twist. It’s from a place that doesn’t seem real until you go there. It seems to have a reality slightly removed from the real world. Maybe I should call it vision photography, …or maybe not.

Composite of Downtown Vancouver

This is a multi-exposure composite of downtown Vancouver. I took this while staying on a high floor at the Marriott Delta Vancouver. My Marriott profile indicates a preference for a high floor. About half of the time, depending on availability, I end up with an amazing view like this.

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Composite of Downtown Vancouver
Composite of Downtown Vancouver from the Marriott Delta Vancouver

To get this I setup the camera on a tripod next to the window and left it there for about twelve hours. I took exposures in the afternoon, evening and then upon waking in the morning. I also used a lens skirt so that there wouldn’t be any reflections on the window coming from my room. Later I blended them all together to form this composite image.

The technique is my attempt to counteract my indecision. Often, the images I post are just one of many that I took of the same thing. I suppose I could post them all but that would get boring, so I pick just one. That’s where indecision comes in. I’m left with ten or twenty images of the exact same thing, but in different light.

some other composites

A composite allows me to pick and choose my favorite aspects of each photo and combine then into one image. It’s a little like seafood gumbo; it can be tasty if all the ingredients are nicely blended. And for desert, I get to have my cake and eat it too.

Salt Lake City

A few months ago I was in Salt Lake City visiting some close friends. I am not Mormon but my ancestors were and so are my close friends. So while there I took the time to visit the temple grounds and took a tour of the convention center. This panorama I took while standing on the convention center roof.

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Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City panorama

My ancestors were the original settlers of Salt Lake City. So we also visited the cemetery to see where they were buried. Through help from my friends and a little sleuthing we found the graves where my great-great grandparents were buried. They’re in the Salt Lake Cemetery, which is the resting place of many of the original pioneers.

It was for me an amazing experience because I came away learning about my heritage that heretofore I’d only heard from my grandmother before she died. It goes without saying the Mormons are big on ancestry and so they were more than happy to help me fill in the gaps. I am fortunate to have such a recorded history and now that I know a little more I’m eager to share it.

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Back home the other day I was taking some photos along the waterfront. Two Mormon missionaries approached me and rather than ignore them I engaged them in conversation. I pulled out my iPhone and shared this photo and told them about my experience and ancestors. They seemed genuinely surprised to meet me and equally happy to see a picture of their main temple. It was a fun encounter. While I am not planning to convert to the Mormon faith, there are many things we share in common. And for that connection and fellowship I am truly grateful.

Panorama of Eastern Vancouver

This is a panorama of eastern Vancouver taken just after sunrise. It’s a perspective I had from the twenty-second floor of the Vancouver Delta Marriott. Actually I took this through windows next to the elevators. I was waiting for the elevator to go down to the lobby. When I saw this I decided not to get on, instead I went back to my room to grab a camera. Hopefully the people in the elevator didn’t mind too much.

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Panorama of Eastern Vancouver
Panorama of eastern Vancouver that I took from the Delta Vancouver Marriott

If I’m not mistaken the big building in the foreground is called The W. If you zoom in you’ll see a big sign of the letter W to the right of it. Several years ago I went to the top with a friend of mine, Andrew Gerrard. Using his magic he got us access to the top where much to my surprise there was a W-shaped hot tub full of beautiful women. But of course I was only there for the scenery.

Speaking of which, the view from the W is amazing. Here is a link to one of the images from that night.

On the left side of this image is Gastown and one the right is Chinatown. And off in the distance are the towering apartment buildings of Burnaby. It seems every time I come back there are one or two new towers on the skyline.

more panoramas from the gallery

This image is comprised of about six high-resolution photos so it contains an amazing amount of detail, especially a full resolution version that’s nearly seven feet wide. I love looking at the details in images like this; I can spend hours in a gallery exploring all of the interesting little facets. Wouldn’t it be ironic if we hung this on the wall of that elevator I walked away from? At least those people could have something pretty to look at when someone decides not to get on.