Cool Hot Tub

In the solarium is this cool hot tub. I took this on the last night when everyone was in their rooms packing.

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Cool Hot Tub
From the solarium on Royal’s Symphony of the Seas

Even when the ship is completely booked, it’s large enough to find quiet spots if you know where to look. The solarium with its cushy lounge chairs and the Vintages wine bar are my favorite spots.

architecture photography from the gallery

For this shot, I used a 12mm wide-angle lens and mounted the camera on the ground with a Platypod. The Platypod is like a tripod for low perspectives. This is a long-exposure that would have been difficult to shoot any other way. With the Platypod it was a breeze.

Lost Lagoon

On one side of Lost Lagoon is Stanly Park and on the other is the big city of Vancouver. You can walk from woods to towers in about ten minutes.

Lost Lagoon
Lost Lagoon
There is nothing “lost” about this lagoon in Vancouver, BC.

The name “Lost Lagoon” comes from a poem written by Pauline Johnson and laments how she lost the use of the lagoon for canoeing when the tide was out. I looked up that bit of trivia, so now we all know the origins of the name. The lagoon is now a lake cut off from the bay, so presumably, you can canoe without worrying about the tides.

more from Vancouver in the gallery

Usually I might try to frame a shot like this using the rule of thirds, but in this case, the reflections produce a beautiful symmetry. In my mind its a kind of urban dreamscape.

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.

more cityscapes from the gallery

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.

St Petersburg

On a recent weekend, we had high winds in the area. So I headed over to a spot along the shore to capture this shot across the roiled waters of Tampa Bay.

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St Petersburg
St Petersburg, Florida across Tampa Bay

As the title suggests, that’s St Petersburg, which is about six or seven miles away. The zoom lens was at 400mm which creates the compressed effect and, makes the city appear closer than it is. I read today that they are going to build a new fifty story condo so in a few years this skyline will look different.

more images from around St Petersburg

When the water is like this, I find it a little frightening. It’s an irrational fear, born of an overactive imagination. I would not want to be on a boat in these conditions. As I watched, I saw several ships as well as some large tugs. The tugs patrol the bay and control navigation through the narrow passage of the Skyway bridge. Thank goodness for those guys, they must love the excitement on days like this.

Morning Routine

On most mornings I have a routine, doing the same things I did the morning before. Once in a while, I take photos instead.

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Morning Routine

I’m a creature of habit, and if I don’t put my keys in the same place, I’d spend half my life looking for them. Habits and routines go hand in hand and can be good, or not so good. But you get my drift.

It’s a little like having an autopilot in our car. It allows us to do one thing while doing another. Again, nothing wrong with that unless we forget where we are going.

more of Sarasota from the gallery

I guess my point is that it might be a good idea to step outside our comfort zone now and again to see where we are. For me, that means getting out to take photos. For you, it would be something completely different, but just as important.

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.

more cityscapes in the gallery

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.

Washington Avenue

For the life of me, I can’t conceive why Washington Avenue is all lit up like that at four in the morning. But then again, it is Miami.

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Washington Avenue
Washington Avenue in Miami.

I took this from a ship as we entered the Port of Miami. I was wide awake and recovering from the European timezone. Changes in time zones are great for photography because it makes it easy to get out at all hours of the morning or night. Days can be a little rough.

more cityscapes

We flew to Spain and took a boat back, just a few hours drive from home. We’re lucky, most people have to fly to Florida to get on a ship, we just drive. That makes it easier to pack as well, just throw whatever in the heck we want in a big suitcase and not worry about being efficient. Maybe it’s the lazy way to go, but hey, I’m very much into that sometimes.

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.

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.

Leaving Miami

Taking pictures from a ship is like standing on a tall building. The vantage is nearly as good as a drone but without the need for an FAA license.

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Leaving Miami
The view of Miami Beach from the deck of a cruise-ship leaving port

I took this onboard the Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas as we left Miami on a three-day cruise. There were high winds on that voyage, and we had to skip one of our ports. The other port was Nassau where we did dock safely and enjoyed a day exploring.

more relating to cruise ships

Perhaps because of the rough conditions, I got a few good photos using the perspective of the ship that I wouldn’t usually get. Then, on the final morning, we arrived back here to Miami at sunrise, and I got a few last photos from the top deck. After that, it was back to ground level.