That Evening in Venice

Because I did not set the shutter speed correctly this image came out looking double exposed and blurry, like an impressionistic painting. This is not something I intended but looking at it now it feels a little like my memory of that evening in Venice.

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That Evening in Venice
My impression of that evening in Venice

In my short visit I experienced sights, sounds and feelings. The more I go back to look at the photos the more my memories are formed. But it’s totally subjective and what I remember is unique to me alone.

There is much in life I don’t remember because I never took the time to. If we don’t think about something it may not make an impression and is soon forgotten. However when we do, we build memories from our impressions.

Memories are like paintings, they are renderings, not true recordings. In the case of art, impressions are more important than fact.

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The sounds of the oars in the water, the chatter of the gondoliers, the lights of the overhead windows and the evening shadows across the buildings; all of these combine into an impression that is so perfectly preserved with a simple camera mistake.

Heartbeat of a City

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.

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Heartbeat of a City
Heartbeat of a City, San Francisco skyline reimagined

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.

California Images

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.

Candy Clouds

These cotton candy clouds appear almost everyday at this time of year here in Florida. The skies are clear in the morning, cotton candy at noon, thunderstorms in the afternoon and sunsets at night. It’s a pattern that repeats itself each day with minor variations. So I headed down the street one day to catch the cotton candy part of the day.

Candy Clouds
Candy clouds near Bradenton Florida

This is an example of how I can go to the same place time and time again and get different results. Some of it has to do with the clouds or time of day, but just as much is my state of mind. I see the same old thing in a new way. Sometimes what I see is more in my mind than what’s really in front of me. I take the picture and idea and work on it until I have a new picture of a familiar scene. It’s a challenge, but there are infinite ways of portraying any one thing. So I have a lot of options ahead of me.

more cloud shots

Lets face it, we live in a complicated world. We do many things to counter that. We dream about things constantly throughout the day, at least I do. I like taking a scene and turning it into a dream. It’s the same thing as a dream, only I make a picture of it. And from that I temporarily escape from the real world, if just for bit.

When I Was Young

When I was young I remember playing late into the evening during the summer. The days were long and it gave my friends and I an opportunity to stay out late, it was a good feeling. It’s strange because I never really thought about it until recently. I suppose this image reminds me of that just a little. I took this at dusk and the children were squeezing every last minute of fun out of the day, like I did when I was their age.

When I Was Young
I was young I played until late during summer

We lose that when we grow up, but at times we can glimpse portions of it. I get that magical sense sometimes when I go on vacation. I have no responsibilities and the evenings are for having fun. Maybe we all need to play a little more. Maybe play connects us with something important we’ve lost.

abstract images from the gallery

In the meantime I keep taking pictures of people and scenes at dusk and sometimes it reminds me of long lost memories. And then I think the only way to get those back is to go on vacation. And then I never get anything done. But pretty sure I’m happy in that world.

Moonset Over Three Bridges

This is from the other day when we had a full moon that set within minutes of the sunrise. For me, a full moon rising or setting is just as captivating as a sunset. But of course sunsets are easier since they happen every day. For a full moon you have to look up and remember the date, know the time when it rises and then hope there are no clouds. All these conditions combine to ensure I almost never capture it, …save for the other day. The weatherman on TV mentioned it would be good viewing which prompted me to get off the couch and get outside.

Moonset Over Three Bridges
Moonset Over Three Bridges – Bradenton Florida

In order to make the moon look large I used a telephoto lens. I’m standing by a bridge pointing west as the moon was just about to set. Below it is three other bridges; the first is a train bridge, the second is a car bridge, and the third is the original bridge built over hundred years ago thats now a fishing pier. The telephoto lens makes them appear stacked and close together yet there is a good deal of distance between the first two bridges.

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Now that I managed to get a full moon I think I want to do it again. I just looked it up and the next full moon is on September 16th 2016. The moon will rise just after sunset (where I live in central Florida). In that case I’ll be pointing east so I have plenty of time to think about a composition. Hopefully the weather will be good. Now the wait begins.

Idea in My Mind

Last Saturday I walked around Vancouver in the evening. As the sun was low it cast a glow on the towers of Coal Harbour and reflected in the harbour. I’d been thinking of walking over to the west end to get more of a sunset photo but am glad I stayed on this side. When taking photos, I think it’s best to have an idea and then be flexible. You never know which way the wind blows.

Idea in my Mind
This shot of Vancouver reminds me of an idea in my mind, to look for light everywhere, not just where the sun sets.

I have this idea in my mind about photography. It goes like this: the best photography is not from a place but a state of mind. Here’s what I mean, iconic locations don’t make a photo, being observant regardless of where you are does. I’m beginning to think magic happens everywhere, not just in Iceland. No offense to Iceland, you’re still on my bucket list.

more Vancouver from the gallery

I travel a little; I was traveling when I took this. And I like iconic scenes as much as the next person. I’ll be there snapping away with everyone else at the Eiffel Tower. But I think the more I pay attention to light, shadow and placement in my own front yard, the more I see. Its fun to travel for photography, but not necessary. Anyway, that’s my latest theory, and since I spend a lot of time at home, I’m putting to the test.

Water Pier Cloud

This is the pier in Venice Florida on a cloudy afternoon. It’s the best pier around so when I come here I shoot it from as many angles. In most cases I have the pier pointing out to sea from the left or right of the frame. In this case I’ve take a more direct angle by having it bisect the water and clouds. This is an angle I like very much, especially when shot with a telephoto lens. As you can see I’m not exactly head on, rather I’m on the beach angling out, but the perspective of the telephoto lens has it appearing rather flat.

Water Pier Cloud
Water pier and clouds in Venice Florida

Piers and bridges are a major source of inspiration for me. I have no idea why that is. Maybe it’s because they are objects that interact with bodies of water. If I lived in the mountains I’d be shooting waterfalls and lakes but in Florida it’s rivers, ponds and seasides.

Images from Venice Florida

The final toning of this image was created with a Trey Ratcliff Lightroom preset called “She Finally Awoke”. I’m a big fan of Trey’s presets which I use for inspiration when starting an image. But in this case I used it when finishing and I didn’t change the preset one bit. That’s unusual for me but in this case it worked exactly the way I wanted it to. Anyway, that’s a little behind the scenes info on some of the aspects of how I created the image. There is a lot more but for now that’s the short version.

Half by Chance

As is normally the case, I had no idea where I was going. All I knew was that it was before dawn on a Saturday and I was driving somewhere to take a picture of something yet to be determined. It’s not a very exact plan but sometimes that’s just how I roll. Often I have no idea where I’m going when I go out to take pictures. Instead of turning left I turn right and just go with the flow of random-ness in the universe.

Half By Chance
I managed to get this picture of sunrise in Bradenton half by chance

I ended up outside the gates at Desoto Point looking at rain clouds and trying to remember why this was better than bed. I put on a poncho and walked to the shore. I told myself that once I got there I could turn around and head home knowing that I tried. Standing there in the rain I was grateful for the solitude, and the poncho. About the same time I noticed the clouds starting to break up. Sure enough the clouds parted, the sun rose and I captured the moment with what seemed to me like a bit of luck.

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I could have left for home before the scene unfolded, or not even walked the trail to the shore. The fact that I did and stayed seemed to me at the moment to be more chance than purpose. That attitude comes from many occasions where it doesn’t work out. So I suppose the odds were in my favor this time and I managed to get the shot, even if it was half by chance.

Lost in Reverie

This is the Sunshine Skyway Bridge as it leads into Tampa Bay from the Gulf of Mexico. I was standing in my hometown of Palmetto about six miles away when I took this. I used a tripod to steady it since it was dusk and the light was fairly dim. The final image is composed of several parts combined into one. It’s an artistic rendering of the bridge as I imagine it. I do a lot of that with my photography, especially as I visit sites and scenes I’ve shot many times before. You might think I get bored from going to the same places time after time. On the contrary, it’s just the opposite; it fuels a desire to become more creative which in turn opens up all kinds of possibilities.

Lost in Reverie
I get lost in reverie when creating dreamscapes such as this rendering of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge

At times I take pictures just for the raw material of a creative rendering such as this. When I sit down to create the image I use a lot of different tools in the same way a painter uses a brush and pigments. I can spend hours on an project, working away hour after hour lost in creative reverie. Then at some point, I run into a wall and put it aside. Then when I look at it later I may start up again. And so it goes until I’m done.

more unusual images from the gallery

On the one hand I’m never really done with an image like this yet on the other I have to draw a line somewhere. It can be hard to let go sometimes. I’ve walked away from this image several times only to come back and have another go at it. But for now this is it, I’ve drawn the line and I’m off to my next project.

Lady in Repose

Another perspective the Ringling bridge from last weekend. I was in another section of the city taking photos and headed home. But then I had one last idea and stopped near the theater for this perspective. I have a collection of images of this bridge in the gallery. I suppose the same would be true of the Golden Gate if I lived in the San Francisco area. For me it’s this bridge in Sarasota.

Lady in Repose
The Ringling Bridge in Sarasota at night is like a lady in repose

You never know how a picture will turn out when you first take it. I have two distinct personalities when it comes to photography. One loves to take photos and gets carried away when I’m out shooting, I can a ton of bad shots. The other is a little more thoughtful and comes to the forefront when I download the images onto my computer. He basically filters out all the shots that don’t make the grade. All that said, I almost cut this one but decided to work with it a little, this is the result. So my two photographic personalities are not at all cut-and-dry, there’s a lot of give-and-take.

more images of the Ringling Bridge in Sarasota from the gallery

Selecting photos I’ve shot is very subjective. Someone else might select entirely different images, and to tell the truth I might also depending on my mood. In any case, this image is all about the shape of the bridge and the monochrome treatment is all about accentuating that shape. My idea for this image of the bridge is like a lovely lady in repose.