Sometimes I feel the urge to try and articulate the main idea behind my pursuit of photography. For whatever reason, this photo seems to evoke that in me.
Here is a picture that portrays an idyllic scene along the beach. Maybe we project ourselves into the scene. In doing so, we may walk on the shore with the vastness of the sea on one side. The expanse is an enigma. The longer we look, the less concrete our thoughts become. Our legs move as our minds begin to wander.
Rationally I like taking photos of idyllic scenes, yet, in doing so, I also attempt to capture something less rational. I aspire to capture scenery or people in the landscape that hints at something more elusive.
This idea is why I keep coming back again and again. Ironically, I try with images to evoke thoughts or feelings of something that cannot be seen by our eyes. To do that I may include space for the scene to breath, and then I hope that thoughts will fill the void. When that happens, my desire is satisfied, and perhaps yours is just beginning.
A few days ago I was headed up to New York City from Tampa. We left with plenty of time to spare but by the time we made it through traffic and security we only had fifteen minutes before boarding. We ended up making some bad food choices in a frantic attempt to get a meal in the few minutes remaining. No sooner had we done that than an announcement was made that the flight was put on a two-hour ground delay due to weather. This is the scene from the bar at Pei Wei across from our gate where we made more questionable food and beverage choices.
I am completely amazed at how I was able to make this photo. It was taken with an iPhone7 and then edited it in Lightroom mobile on the same device. By using the camera inside mobile Lightroom the images were saved in RAW format. That allowed me to recover a more detail, shadows and highlights than I might ordinarily.
The other cool thing is that Lightroom on the iPhone is hooked up with Lightroom on my laptop. As I was siting here editing the image on my iPhone, it and the edits were being save in the cloud. I opened up my laptop and started using Lightroom where I left off from on my iPhone. I continued using some of my favorite software including Photoshop and MacPhun’s Luminar as well as a few others, finally ending up with this.
Personally I am amazed, because it really felt seamless hopping from one platform to another. Sure, there is not as much detail as if I had used my three-thousand dollar Sony camera, but there is way more detail in this than I would have expected. You can see both our JetBlue aircraft and clouds at the gate across the way as well as interesting details in the darkened restaurant. For sitting at a bar in an airport, it ain’t half bad if I do say so myself.
This is a long exposure from a park that sits on the border between Sarasota and Manatee counties. It’s a new park so on a recent Sunday drive I stopped by to see it for myself. I’m facing towards the inter-coastal on Longboat Key.
You may ask, how is it possible to take a long exposure at midday? Glad you asked; I used a strong ND filter. ND stands for neutral density and it blocks the light. In fact I used two filters and together they REALLY block the light. So much so that I can keep the shutter open for a minute or two, something I can normally do only at night.
So why would I want to take a long exposure during the day? Another great question; because everything is gets smoothed out. Even water that has waves appears smooth, the same goes for clouds; they all appear smooth. It’s a cheap special effect you can achieve without a big Hollywood budget.
You can get pretty creative with photography if you have nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon. As for me I rarely have anything better to do. Standing in an empty park taking long exposures in broad daylight is my idea of a good time. Can you think of anything better to do?
This is adjacent to a marina at the Great Salt Lake. I took this as an afterthought and didn’t think much of it at the time. Only after I processed it in monochrome does it come across as a dystopian dreamscape. Surrounded my mountains it has an otherworldly quality to it.
This is a furnace stack from a smelting plant just outside of Salt Lake City. It towers above the landscape and was the visible for many miles. It’s so big it creates an optical illusion of sorts. From afar it appears much closer than it is. Next to the surrounding hills it looks like something on Mars or the moon. The area is rich in minerals and home to some of the largest mines in the world; it’s little wonder the scales are so large.
Speaking of worlds, the cooper mine over the ridge is so large it can be seen from space. The tip of it can be seen from all over the Salt Lake City valley, but it’s in the background, not really a main feature. It’s easy to spot and I suppose the same holds true if you’re looking out the window from the ISS. Here is a picture of it from the NASA archives.
When we go back to the moon or make it to Mars, we’ll be doing quite a bit of mining. The idea is to use the resources available to build, construct and sustain. Maybe in a few hundred years when someone sees this picture they’ll think it looks just like some places they saw on Mars while on vacation. You just never know.
If you read this blog occasionally maybe you wonder why I write about images. It’s because it helps me to integrate with it on more than one level. After writing about an image it has it’s own story and it seems to take on a life of it’s own. Now when I go back to look at an image I remember it’s story.
This is St Petersburg Florida across Tampa Bay. At this time of year we get thunderstorms that clear in the evening around sunset. I took this right after the storms and about two minutes after at sun had set. The clouds are a peachy orange from the glow of that hour.
Most photographers post images without a word. Sometimes images are so strong they need no words. But, for whatever reason I take the time to write a story. It’s totally unnecessary but I do it anyway.
The urge to write is something I’ve had my whole life. My grandmother was a writer and maybe some of that rubbed off. Half the time I have no idea what I’ll write but it eventually takes shape. Once I write some thoughts I’ll revise, edit, and revise until it’s done; then the story and image are posted together.
Now having said all this about that, today’s images is created with post processing. I imagine the bay produces these reflections, but of course it does not. So to get the final result I took one part picture, one part imagination and a hand full of words and mixed them all together. This is what I ended up with.
This is an example of a minimalism dreamscape. It’s a scene I recently witnessed one morning while the fog was clearing from the Gulf of Mexico. Because it was morning there was an even light across the water and sky. A few moments earlier the fog obscured the horizon line between the sea and the sky. It almost felt like flying.
Minimalism is about space that we impregnate with our thoughts and dreams. By placing our thoughts into the space we find ourselves inside the scene. The point is to leave room for interpretation. We each fill in with something unique, we see the scene in our own way.
Sometimes during the day my mind wanders and random thoughts pass through. It’s as though my subconscious is bubbling to the surface for a brief moment. Minimalism provides a canvas for that to occur whether we realize it or not.
This image is a dreamscape because it is not real. There are hint’s what I did this in the image. But more importantly it represents a feeling or idea that I have. Sometimes pictures are better than words for conveying ephemeral ideas like that.
The point of this composition is to leave room amongst the sea and sky for your thoughts.
I recently created this dreamscape from Redington Shores. The last shot I posted was facing north, however this faces in the direction of my home which is about twenty miles south as the gull flies. Not that gulls fly straight, but I digress.
Right now the weather is perfect, not too hot or too cold. But in winter the waters of the gulf have cooled. It’s a good thing because warm water in the gulf creates severe storms. Seven months of that in summer is enough. Winter is a break from all the thunder and lightning.
You can always tell the visitors, they’re the ones in the water. I prefer the water in summer when its warm like a bath. But then we always have to be on the lookout for the rapid formation of thunderstorms. I’ve grown soft living here. When I used to live up north I’d consider the cooler water in winter perfectly fine.
There is always something to see when walking along the beach. One thing I do a lot of is take pictures of piers. There is something about a leading line ending in the sea. Another metaphor perhaps, one that I find intriguing. This is a different perspective. The pier provides a sense of distance and perspective.
This image is a common theme I repeat from time to time. It’s about solitude in an idyllic setting, something just beyond this world. Of course it can mean anything you like it to be. But for me it’s about something just out of reach. This is what I call a dreamscape.
What do you see when you look into the future? I think looking into the future is a bit of a fools errand. You think you know what will happen but it doesn’t. And it takes attention away from the present moment, the here and the now. Not that I don’t dream, set goals have a New Years resolution or two. Living in the present while not losing track of the direction of our lives is a balancing act.
This image makes me think of those kinds of things. It’s a metaphor for the uncertainty in the sea of possibilities. We sit on the precipice and look out at the year ahead. We each see something different.
This is an image I took in California as I headed home. The original image looks different, a little more concrete and realistic. But for me photography will often evoke metaphors and I am easily attracted to them. Art is metaphor, a representation of something in our psyches, collective and individual. Artists become immersed in the exploration of metaphors, representing deeper meanings on the canvas.
This is the heartbeat of a city at dusk. I left San Francisco a few days ago. And supposing I did leave my heart in San Francisco then this would be a recording of its beat.
I showed up at Treasure Island just after sunset to capture images of the city. To be sure there are dozens of people here everyday snapping photos with their phones, camera and drones. I’ve been here before which is how I knew about it. The location is perhaps the best spot to watch the city at dusk. I remained here for a couple of hours taking photos, each slightly different in some way.
The next day I got up and walked to the SF MOMA to view the photography exhibits. That got me feeling a little creative and so I imagined this perspective of a familiar sight. A sound wave, a heartbeat, the skyline reimagined.
San Francisco is changing pretty quickly. It’s been over a year since I was here and in that time the skyline has changed. The next time I’m back it will change again. Those cranes on the left are unbelievably high up. Earlier this day I was stopped at a red light next to the tallest building. I looked up at the cranes in awe at how high up they were. Apparently I lost track of time because the light turned green and the cars behind me started honking. I abruptly came out of my reverie and just made the light. That left the honkers behind me stopped for another round of reds. I think they may have been seeing quite a bit of red at that point. But for a guy from small-town Florida where there is not much higher than a palm tree, it was well worth it, even if I did make a little bad micro-karma.
This is a meditation sunset from Emerson Point in my hometown of Palmetto. It’s the kind of image you might see on the cover of a meditation book, at least that’s what comes to my mind.
Speaking of which, I’ve been trying meditation lately. Not that I know what I’m doing, just taking a few minutes to clear my mind when I can. Long story short, it’s easier said than done. And to be honest I’m not sure if this picture would help. As soon as I look at a photo I start thinking thoughts and you’re not supposed to do that. But I’m no expert so take what I say with a grain of salt. Maybe I should give it a try, it might help for all I know.
Moving along, I took this with my new Laowa 12mm wide angle lens. The fun thing about getting a new lens is I get to try it out on familiar locations and see what happens. A wide angle lens has the tendency to create a tunnel effect, meaning that everything appears to converge in a point on the horizon. It’s just a nifty effect of the lens, we don’t actually see things that way.
Anyway, let’s all take a deep breath, look at this picture and clear our minds. It might just do us a world of good. When I finally figure out how to meditate I’ll write a book and put this photo on the cover. Maybe.