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.

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.

Spirit Island

This stand of trees is known as Spirit Island. It’s one of the most photographed sites in the Canadian Rockies and can only be reached by boat.

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Spirit Island
Spirit Island in Jasper National Park

You can trek here as well, but be sure to bring bear spray. Even so, if I were backpacking, I’d want to do it here. You can’t get the proper scale of the peaks from a photo; it’s beyond belief.

see the landscape gallery

I took this over five years ago with my old Nikon D800 which I’ve since sold. It’s not the camera that matters but what’s holding it. I’ve changed a lot, and so have my techniques, so I need to give it another go. In the meantime, it’s still fun to look at these and go back in time to a place that hasn’t changed since then, or hundreds of years prior for that matter.

Elk Lake Geese

I took this image as I disembarked from the ferry to Victoria a few years ago. That was my first time visiting Vancouver Island, and I remember being thrilled at all the new sites. So, before arriving in town, we stopped here to walk around and take pictures of the scenery.

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Elk Lake Geese
Elk Lake is on Vancouver Island in British Columbia between the ferry terminal and Victoria

I used my first mirrorless camera, the Sony A7R. Now, as I go back and look at old photos I haven’t processed, I’m surprised at how well the images hold up, even against newer cameras. So I find myself going back to explore old RAW files with more modern tools and each time, I come away with few surprises.

more from Vancouver Island

The trip was the beginning of a week on the island, and some of my all-time favorite images came from that trip. There are different climates all across the island, and the geography varies widely. As a result, I was pulling over all the time to take pictures. That meant it took us hours to get anywhere, but since we weren’t on a schedule it wasn’t a problem, until the last day when we had to be at the terminal on time for the ferry back. That’s when I got a speeding ticket, but that’s a story for another day.

The Great Salt Lake

I just got back from Salt Lake City. It was my first time there and most of the time was spent in the valley or the mountains to the east. However on my last day there were flight delays so I took the opportunity to visit the Great Salt Lake before leaving. This is a midday view of Stansbury Island from a viewing platform at the state marina. The lake is big enough to have several islands that are extensions of the surrounding mountain ranges.

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The Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake

I was trying to figure out why it seemed so desolate and then it occurred to me there are no fish in the lake. No fish, no fishermen; it makes for a quiet lake. The lake is a terminus and has no outlet so the water simply evaporates leaving the minerals behind. In some ways it resembles desert filled with water. As such it presents an opportunity to do a study in minimalism, in this case I created a panorama consisting of two side-by-side images.

My ancestry goes back to the early settlers of this area. My grandmother used to tell us stories that were passed down to her about the hardships of the early days. My great-great-grandfather was the fellow that first spotted the lake as the early Mormons were looking for a place to settle. So I imagine this is not all that different from what he saw. I wonder if he was disappointed when they realized there were no fish in the lake.

more studies in minimalism

My mother grew up here and once told me that you could just float in the water without swimming. I once tried an isolation tank that used salt water. Because the water is so heavy you float without sinking below the surface. It was a feeling of weightlessness; I wonder if the same is true for this lake.

I had a short stay here but plan to come back and explore. Salt Lake City is a growing city and surrounded by scenery on all sides. It’s no wonder the pioneers decided to put down roots here.

Slopes of Mount Bonpland

This is another image I took from the slopes of Mount Bonpland in New Zealand. This location is above the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu. It was one of the last stops before heading back to the airport. We started early with subzero temps high up on the peaks and as the morning progressed and we headed to lower elevations we were peeling off the layers.

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Slopes of Mount Bonpland
Slopes of Mount Bonpland in New Zealand

We made so many stops I can hardly remember them all save for the photos. The excursion was based on engine time so on some stops we’d jump out while the pilot kept the engine running, this was one such stop as the pilot was still at the controls up on the right. At other stops he’d cut the engine so that we had a little more time to explore and compose shots.

How I know where I was seemed nothing short of a happy miracle. I have an app on my iPhone called “gps4cam” that tracks GPS coordinates and then syncs them up with the photos using the image timestamp. I say it was a happy miracle because I wasn’t sure if it worked out of cell tower range. It does indeed because it uses the GPS receiver in the phone. So I ended up with exact locations of all our landings. That’s invaluable especially when I’m in areas I’ve never been before and want to review it later.

new zealand gallery

About three hours after leaving we returned to the airport. I’d taken about fifteen hundred images and seen many things I never imagined. The next time I go back I’d like to do something similar; it’s hard to imaging a better opportunity for a landscape photographer. Now if I could just manage to get back to New Zealand sometime soon.

Bucket List

Every now and then I like going back to look at my images from New Zealand. I was there a little over three years ago but it now seems like an eternity. But having those images brings back some of that magic. I find myself using the word “magic” a lot when describing the southern island of New Zealand. There is something about it that evokes a sense of wonder. You should put it on your bucket list, especially if you like natural beauty.

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Bucket List
Bucket List item from the Southern Alps of New Zealand

This is one of the many helicopter landings I made on the last day. I spent the morning shooting images of the Southern Alps and then flew home that afternoon.

I’m standing next to the oddly named Lake Unknown, which is on the southern slopes of Poseidon Peak. The mist on the left is from a light rain shower on the far side of the lake. In these mountains there are microclimates that vary from blizzards to light rain to sunshine. As we approached from the north we could see a rainbow through the shower, it was surreal; that’s another word I use to describe New Zealand.

New Zealand gallery

The last time I was in the mountains was on a cruise to Alaska. I think there are two types of people, mountain people and ocean people. In Alaska you can be both at the same time if you live by the coast. Even though I live by the ocean in Florida I think of myself as a mountain person. I enjoy both but I need to see the mountains once in a while to keep sane. While I was in New Zealand I got a large dosage of rugged mountains took thousands of photos. Now, if I go too long without seeing the mountains I can look at the photos and remember what it was like. And then I start to wonder if I might redo one item on my bucket list. That’s allowed isn’t it?

Elk Lake

I took this a few years ago at Elk Lake in Victoria BC. We had just arrived on the ferry and stopped several times on the short drive into town. The scenery around Victoria is pretty awesome and you don’t have to go far to see something. In this case the sun was setting as it highlighted the trees along the lake. A tranquil scene that I tried to capture with my camera.

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Elk Lake
Elk Lake in Victoria BC

I’m going back to Vancouver shortly so I may hop over to the island and have a peak around. I was here in summer last so the change of seasons always shows things in a different light. Obviously it will look very different.

This is an old picture that I happened to notice as I was browsing my archives. It brought back memories and it reminded me of that trip. The other night I decided to scroll back on my iPhone images. The iPhone is ten years old and sure enough I have images going back to 2007. As I scrolled through I took a walk down memory lane and before you know it an hour had gone by, and I only made it to 2010.

Canada gallery

Isn’t it nice to have so many memories preserved on an iPhone and with you wherever you go? I think that’s pretty cool.

Sense of Direction

This is from my trip to New Zealand a couple of years ago where I participated in a photography workshop. After all of the time that’s gone by I still have a lot of photos in my backlog to process. Here we were standing on a hill one afternoon overlooking Queenstown. That trip went by so fast I’m glad I have photos to re-live it in little increments later.

Sense of Direction
Whenever I travel to places I don’t know, I struggle with my sense of direction. This is facing south in New Zealand.

Whenever I go somewhere new it can be a little disorienting. By that I mean I’m never to sure which way is north south east or west. I remember having that feeling when I was here and struggling to sort it out in my mind. I love going back to Google Maps or Google Earth to look at places I’ve been and get a proper sense of direction and location. It’s helps me to integrate the experience after the fact.

For instance, with this shot I keep expecting to see the river, but it’s to my back as I was facing south. When we headed to Glenorchy, I thought we were driving south but it’s actually north. And if all that isn’t enough, on the last day I took a helicopter through the southern alps during which I had zero sense of whereabouts. Thankfully I was geotagging my photos, so now years later I can go back and begin to piece the locations together into some kind map of the journey.

Perhaps the sense of not knowing where we are in a new land adds to the sense wonder and excitement. I think perhaps, there might be something to that.

More images from the New Zealand gallery