Streets of Nice

Here is another photo from Nice France. I took this as I walked around the streets above the harbor on a hot August morning.

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Streets of Nice
A small street in Nice, France

The hill above the harbor is steep, and I remember thinking to my self that I didn’t want to get too hot first thing in the morning. So I paced myself and took slow steps, trying to avoid exertion. That was a fool’s errand because I quickly became covered in sweat no matter how slow I walked. I ended up getting ice cream for breakfast to cool down. That’s just how I roll.

more bicycle images from the gallery

Nevertheless, I prefer to walk around these little streets as opposed to the more famous beaches of Nice. Beaches I have all around me in Florida, so when in Europe, I like unique places like this; even when covered in sweat and eating ice cream.

Manarola

This picture of Manarola is one I took from a boat ride along the Cinque Terre coast. It makes me want to pack my bags and go back now.

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Manarola
From Cinque Terre region of Italy

The villages lie one after the other along a rugged coast, all connected by train. So while they are somewhat remote, they’re easy to get to. They also have a trail that runs the length of the coast so you can backpack as well.

more from europe in the gallery

When you look closely at the construction on top of the rocks, the difficulty involved boggles the mind. Also, the terraced hillsides have been carved out of the most inhospitable soil for crops, yet they are fertile and well tended. If you let your mind wander, you’ll go back the many hundreds of years to see the first inhabitants removing one rock at a time. And that is why I’d rather be a tourist in this century.

Sun Rays

Shooting right into the sun at f13 creates these long rays of light. I could have added them artificially with software, but these are the real deal.

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Sun Rays
From Robinson Park in Bradenton, Florida

A high aperture number is not something I use all the time, but if I want starbursts, it’s the way to go. The only problem is that dust spots from the sensor show up on the image; however, that’s easy to remove with photoshop.

sunset gallery

A few days ago I visited this new section of Robinson Preserve. The creation of it took years, it’s one thing to landscape a bunch of acres, but quite another to allow nature to move in at its own pace. Finally, after several years of growth, I have yet another new landscape to explore with my camera.

Park View

I suppose these cabins are the equivalent of the apartments that surround Central Park in New York City. Only, this namesake park is floating thousands of miles away.

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Park View
A wide-angle view of Central Park onboard Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas

I used a 12mm wide-angle lens for this shot which it makes the foreground appear bowed. I also used a Platypod to anchor the camera to a railing for a long exposure. This is the first time I’ve not taken a tripod and relied solely on the Platypod. In retrospect, it was a good call.

more night photography

These spaces on the boat were designed to resemble neighborhoods. It’s obvious a lot of thought was put into it because, at least for me, that’s what it felt like. You could hang out in a different one depending on your likes. For some reason, this one, surrounded by apartment-like cabins, was the one I hung out in. It created a perfect illusion that, for the length of the cruise, kept reality at a safe distance.

Colors on Deck

The Symphony of the Seas has a bold color palette. There are vibrant, saturated colors in outdoor spaces and stairwells; so if you’re sensitive to that type of thing, you might need to wear sunglasses, even at night.

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Colors on Deck
Nighttime view of the deck of Symphony of the Seas

It’s a lot of fun, and I enjoy the tapestry of hues hitting my retinas at each turn. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not gaudy, rather a tasteful sampling of one-of-a-kind art, murals, and tiles. In my photography, I’m a reformed over-saturation addict. The colors on board this ship are a real temptation for me.

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I’ve desaturated the colors in this image. The original is so loud it looks fake. Anyway, I even considered a monochrome version. But, this is a post about colors so the monochrome version will have to wait.

Toronto Hotel Lobby

I took this picture in the lobby of the Delta Toronto Marriott when I was there a few months ago. Have you ever noticed how hotels design lobby spaces to feel inviting? This one is a far cry from the Motel 6 we stayed at when I was a kid.

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Toronto Hotel Lobby
The lobby of the Delta Toronto Marriott

When I’m in a big city, I like walking into lobbies and taking pictures of the architecture. The lobby is where the hotel puts its best foot forward. The idea is to convey a sense of luxury and comfort at the same time. Comfort usually means plush furniture and pillows that make you want to sink into them.

more interior images

Anyway, I was walking through in the evening, and the colors caught my eye. I had been sitting here a few hours earlier to meet someone, but hardly noticed it in the daylight. I’m continually surprised at how light affects a place. In my opinion, it’s the key to photography. On the top floor, there is a lounge with a spectacular view of the CN Tower. And my room had a pretty nice view of the lake as well. I think the hotel is rated four stars, but from a photographic perspective, it’s easily a five.

Ruby Falls

The last stop of our road trip was Chatanooga Tennessee. We passed it on the way up and made a note to stop here at Ruby Falls on the way back.

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Ruby Falls
An underground waterfall in Chattanooga, TN

This 145-foot waterfall is inside a mountain and over 1000 feet below the surface. The caverns are limestone eroded by the water over millions of years. There is some info on the geology at Wikipedia.

the gallery

To get here, you take an elevator down into the mountain and walk half a mile through narrow caverns. If you’re not used to tight spaces, it can be a little claustrophobic, the thought of millions of tonnes of earth and rock above your head is unsettling. But our guide was kind enough to point out that in the event of a cave-in they had insurance and, we would all be covered.

More Hot Air

Here is another balloon from the festival last week. If nothing else, it whets my appetite for doing more of these. This kind of image checks a lot of boxes for me: it’s at night, colorful and simple.

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More Hot Air
From the Sarasota Balloon Festival

It’s an example of how I try to simplify a subject to give it a stronger voice. At an event like this, there are a lot of people walking around, other balloons and basically, a bunch of commotion. But I walked around this one balloon looking for an angle that would minimize the distractions. I also used Photoshop to blackout a bus and truck. So, the combination of composition and post-processing allowed me to create a simpler scene that focuses on just the main subject.

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I gravitate towards simplicity in photography. I suppose it’s a form of meditation and a break from the barrage of daily life. So, there you have it, one big reason why I like balloons. And you thought they were just for flying.

Blowing in the Wind

Yesterday was the first day of the Sarasota Balloon Festival. I’ve never been to one of these, so I wandered over in the evening. The wind was prohibitive but at the last minute a few of the rigs inflated and put on a little glow show. They were tethered with ropes, but as they inflated the wind caused them to tilt like this. Just the spectacle of it was kind of cool, such massive devices with nothing but air, glowing and blowing in the wind.

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Blowing in the Wind

That was just the first night so I’ll check the weather and head back over to see more. Balloons are a great subject for photography. When I showed up there where no less than two dozen tripods setup and everyone else was snapping pics on their phones. Here’s a quick video I took with my iPhone.

some of my favorite images

There is also a carnival, so I wandered over to take some pictures of the midway with all the food vendors and rides. It reminded me of when I traveled all over the state of California from fair to fair selling magazines. I worked for a company that set up a booth and for a while I became a carny of sorts. That’s how I spent my high school summers and the smell of the funnel cakes brought all that back.

Houses in Nassau

I was on a tour boat when I snapped this row of houses in Nassau. It was my first time to the Bahamas and it pretty much lived up to expectations. At least as far as what I saw on the tour, which included some amazing waterfront homes.

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Houses in Nassau
Houses in Nassau that we saw while on a tour of the island

Our tour took us to a beach where we sat under umbrellas and watched the waves. I know that sounds great, and it was, but I’m from Florida and I get that at home. Since then I decided to visit places unlike where I live.

Nonetheless, what I saw is still quite nice. We took a last minute weekend cruise and this was the destination. The Bahamas are very close to Florida yet a different country all together. In that respect it’s something fun to explore without needing an airline ticket.

beach photo gallery

After the tour we walked around town and took a taxi to a famous fish house for some proper Caribbean food. And that is something we don’t get much of at home.