Château des Baux de Provence is a medieval structure overlooking a valley of farms and vineyards. There is a lot to take in from the scenery to the village and all it contains. This is only halfway up the hill, the fortress and ancient armaments are further up on the left.
For whatever reason I had a lot of energy and limited time. I climbed past this and further up to the very highest tower of the castle ramparts. It was an amazing climb with some sections of the path resembling a ladder. A little winded and heated I was glad for the cool breeze at the very top. I could see for miles in all directions and took a bunch of photos. I then began the climb back down. As I entered the village about halfway down it was warm and people were walking around with ice cream cones. I almost stopped for one but continued down back to the car where my friends were patiently waiting.
There really is no such thing as time when I’m taking photos. It’s wonderful for me but maybe not so much if I’m with others. I suppose that’s true about most artistic pursuits. Time melts away and the moment is like a bubble. Fortunate for my friends the bubble popped and I showed up in just enough time for the next adventure.
This is sunrise north of the Manatee River in Palmetto Florida. I’ll be driving along running an errand and see something that makes me wish I had my camera. Once in a while I have it like the day I took this out the window of my car. The area is known as North River which has a small-town atmosphere. However now we are in the peak of snowbird season which is when the population is doubled due to the number of people that come down to Florida for the winter.
Even though I live in a small town it’s still an urban area. Even so I’m always looking for images and paying attention to the light. Often enough there are good conditions for photography, but when I’m on a street or in a parking lot or sitting at a stop light it loses some of its allure. A sunset next to a gas station is not my idea of landscape photography. But, maybe if I try hard enough I could find a composition there also.
For instance, this I used my telephoto lens to create a narrow field of view between two houses. Because I aimed just so you don’t see the houses or urban sprawl. I like simplistic images because it is a way for me to bring some balance to the clutter of urban spaces through art. Here I’m using my imagination to create what I’d like to see, rather than what I do see.
This is another backyard sunrise from home. I don’t really have a backyard and this is not “my” backyard but, it’s in my hometown so figuratively speaking it’s “in” my backyard. Having said all of that, and having said that this is sunrise, you know I’m facing east. For some reason we get a lot of amazing sunrises happening in the east due to the way the clouds form in my backyard. Let me explain.
The geography and weather patterns of central Florida are such that the clouds often park themselves over the land, not over the water. For instance, on this morning while we had a brilliant sunrise to the East; to the West there were no clouds, only clear blue sky. I’m not complaining, just making an observation. Well, as a photographer maybe I’m complaining just a little.
If you think about it, Florida is one big peninsula with oceans on both sides. Somehow that creates unique weather patterns which most of the time I ignore. But one of those patterns is that clouds will hang over the land and stop at the coast. So when they do that in the morning this is the result, a backyard sunrise. Actually my backyard faces the West and, ….oh good grief, there I go again.
A couple of years ago in New Zealand I was here for a Queenstown Gardens sunrise. It’s an oasis of nature in the middle of the city, except for one thing. The city is an oasis in the middle of the wilderness. If that sounded like a contradiction it is. Queenstown doesn’t need an oasis, it’s already surrounded by beauty and awesomeness on all sides. This park is just the cherry on top.
I was here on one of Trey Ratcliff’s photo adventures. This was our first day. There were about twenty of us and I really didn’t know anyone except one other guy I met on G+. So here we all were on our first morning doing our best to capture the light and such. Now fast forward to the end of the week. Now we are all best friends and feel like we’ve just been through the most amazing experiences together. Big change from beginning to end.
I’ve had this image in my backlog for almost two years. I tried a few times to process it but wasn’t pleased with the results. This time I have some new software called AuroraHDR made by MacPhun and the very same Trey Ratcliff. Now, what was once a challenge has become easy. For HDR images like this, I find it much easier to get the results I want. I guess the moral of the story is, the longer you wait, the better the software gets, the more you can do. That sounded kind of lame, but you know what I mean.
A couple of years ago I was standing on a hill in New Zealand with twenty other photographers. It was early in the morning before dawn and everything was quiet, still and overwhelmingly beautiful. I had to pinched myself to ensure it wasn’t a dream. Well, I made that last part up, my fingers were to cold to pinch anything, but I was pretty happy nonetheless.
Its great I have this image because it helps me remember. I wonder what it wold be like if I could remember everything with vivid clarity. I think it would be a double edged sword. Truth be told I’d, only I’d only want to remember the good things, but if I had that memory I might not have a choice. Maybe that’s why we are the way we are. Our memories fade so we have a chance to move on, start new, live another day.
I’ve heard that when we die we have a life review. That we see everything we’ve done that affects other people. If that’s true, then that will be one heck of a memory machine. Or, maybe that’s how we remember when we don’t have our aging brains getting in the way. Maybe our minds are really that good, it’s an incredible idea. I think it’s true, we have hints of it throughout our lives and society. Now if I could only learn how to tap in to my unlimited memory, I could tell you what I had for dinner last night and, I could remember my e-mail password. I had one more point to make but I seem to have forgotten what it was.
I’ve heard that when we die we have a life review. That we see everything we’ve done that affects other people. If that’s true, then that will be one heck of a memory machine. Or, maybe that’s how we remember when we don’t have our aging brains getting in the way. Maybe our minds are really that powerful, it’s an amazing idea. I think it could be true, we have hints of it throughout our lives and society. Now if I could only learn how to tap in to my unlimited memory, I could tell you what I had for dinner last night and remember my email password. I had one more point to make but I seem to have forgotten what it was.
This is a country oak I found along the highway in the outer reaches of my county. I see these whenever I drive along the pastures east of my home. Yesterday I just had to stop and take a picture. Normally these oaks are shelter from the hot Florida sun for the cattle and so it’s not uncommon to find several in the shade. For whatever reason there were no cattle here and so the simplicity of the scene grabbed my attention.
When is warm and humid, we get these rows of clouds stretching as far as the eye can see. In this case there was another layer above that creating a spectacle in the sky. For whatever atmospheric reason, the clouds form readily at mid day over the rural areas, but as you get closer to the coast and beaches, the clouds disappear; not always but most of the time. On the west end of the county is pristine beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, the eastern end is mostly farming and ranches. The beaches and the rural sections seem to each have their own distinct climates.
After I titled this image Country Oak it occurred to me that indeed this is a common name. There are streets like Country Oak Lane; developments like Country Oak Estates; and schools like Country Oak Middle School, …the list goes on. I never really thought about it before now, but the idea of Country Oaks seem to be iconic and somewhat popular around here. And here I thought it was all about the beaches.
This was taken inside Queenstown Gardens which is situated right in the middle of Queenstown. It’s kind of like Central Park for Queenstown, yet even as I write that I know it’s not a good analogy. Surrounded by mountains, Queenstown has nothing in common with New York City. Maybe a better analogy would be Stanley Park in Vancouver, yes, I think so. Only Queenstown is not as commercial as Vancouver and is many times smaller. So if Vancouver were one-tenth its size then the comparison might be truer; so much for analogies.
I came here with a group of photographers on the first day of a workshop with Trey Ratcliff. We arrived before dawn along the shores of Lake Wakatipu. We then walked and took photos for several miles, ending up here still quite early in the morning. The shadows were long in the morning sun and the clouds were puffy; all elements to consider in composition, which was one of the themes of the workshop. As compositions go, this is so-so, not one of my best. Even so, looking at this now brings back fond memories of the chilly autumn morning.
After about an hour here we loaded onto a bus and headed for a well-deserved breakfast at a hotel overlooking the lake. After almost two years, I still believe that New Zealand has some of the most scenic landscapes on the planet. I also think they make a pretty good breakfast. So if you can put those two concepts together, that amount sums up my first morning.
Another shot of of the sunset at Robert F. Wagner park in lower Manhattan. It was such an idyllic setting that I took a tonne of pictures from every angle. This was one of the last shots as the sun when down and right after this Scott and I turned around and grabbed a table at an Italian restaurant with this very same view.