DeSoto Bridge

This bridge is a commuter’s nightmare, but before dawn on the weekend, it can look pretty awesome.

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DeSoto Bridge
The bridge between Palmetto and Bradenton in Florida

It’s amazing how smooth the water looks in a long exposure. I could shoot these all morning if the sun didn’t rise. But, as the saying goes, the son also rises. Actually, that saying doesn’t apply, and I’m mixing metaphors, but we’re all friends here.

more in the night gallery

They say this bridge needs to be replaced. It’s over fifty years old and, as I mentioned, the traffic on it sucks. But, there is a bright side. Getting stuck on a bridge in Florida is not so bad; you just roll down the window, crank up the tunes, and enjoy the scenery.

Raygun-Looking-Thing

So now they are outfitting the Royal Caribbean ships with these rayguns to shoot down alien invaders. Or, maybe it’s just an odd looking crane.

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Raygun-Looking-Thing
The deck of the Oasis of the Seas

On the last night of our cruise aboard the Oasis of the Seas, I walked around late at night getting all kinds of pictures on the empty deck. Most people were packing or living it up one last time before we docked.

more artful cruise images

Actually, the raygun idea was not mine. Earlier in the year, we were on Symphony, a sister ship, and during the Captain’s talk, one passenger asked what the raygun-looking-thing was. The instant deadpan reply was that indeed it was a raygun to shoot down aliens, which was followed by a short silence and then audience laughter. So when I saw this on the Oasis, I chuckled as I was reminded of Captain Rob’s wit and dry delivery.

Pigeon Portrait

Here’s a common pigeon from Plaça de Catalunya in the heart of Barcelona. It’s a fun place to watch the craziness in all directions.

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Pigeon Portrait
A common pigeon in Barcelona’s Plaça de Catalunya.

It had just rained, and that’s when the reflections are best. I used the Platypod to get a low perspective and shot this at f2.0 which creates big colorful bokeh balls in the background. It’s a technique generally used in portraits, so I guess this we could consider this a bird portrait.

more birds from the gallery

The pigeons are used to people feeding them they’ll come right up. They have almost no fear of humans. A little boy next to me caught one in his hands and then released it. I only had the desire to capture one with my camera. I got several shots, but I think this is my favorite.

Lummus Park at Night

Here’s a scene from Miami Beach’s Lummus Park at night. I took some daytime photos here, but night time was way more fun.

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Lummus Park at Night
At night in Miami’s Lummus Park

Sorry if I sound like grandpa talking, but it wasn’t that long ago when shots like this were next to impossible. I shot this handheld without a tripod. In fact, the original photo didn’t look like much. Nevertheless, I was able to recover most of the shadows thanks to software and the amazing sensor on the Sony A7RM3. The camera sensor saves things that are invisible to the naked eye. However, with post-processing, we can make much of it visible.

more night photography from the gallery

I would say that low-light techniques like this are what got me back into photography. Back in the day (grandpa again) I used to shoot film but lost interest due to the amount of time I spent in dark rooms. Today, the only time you need to spend in the dark is taking photos of cool scenes.

Village Across the Water

This is the back side of Bradenton Beach, the front side is, uh, a beach.

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The village of Bradenton Beach as seen from across the inter-coastal waterway.
The village of Bradenton Beach as seen from across the inter-coastal waterway. 

The little beach town is surrounded by water because it sits on Anna Maria Island. The back side faces the intercoastal waterway and is the place where all the boats dock. It’s also where you’ll find a lot of fun things to explore, like restaurants, galleries, and fishing piers; not to mention other little villages like Cortez.

more from Anna Maria Island in the gallery

I shot this picture at water level using a Platypod on a remarkably calm night; usually, there’s a little chop. This is also a prolonged, thirteen-second exposure, so it makes the water appear even smoother. Then I stretched the lights a little downwards to accentuate them. But at the end of the day, if you squint your eyes a little, this is exactly what you would see on most evenings along the inter-coastal waterway. But if that doesn’t float your boat, there is always the beach on the other side.

Bridge Lights

The same spot that I posted from last week. Taken only thirty minutes later but, turned out entirely different.

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Lights from the Manatee Avenue bridge reflect on the water after dusk in Bradenton
The lights from the bridge reflect on the water after dusk in Bradenton

It’s an excellent example of how light changes everything so thoroughly. In the other photo, the main subject was the warm light of the clouds, in this one, it’s the lights from the bridge. Both reflected on the water, and each tells a different story.

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I’ve taken a million photos of this bridge. Because of that, I’ve avoided it for the last year or so. I happened to be in the neighborhood and couldn’t help myself. But with a spectacle like this, could you blame me?

Washington Avenue

For the life of me, I can’t conceive why Washington Avenue is all lit up like that at four in the morning. But then again, it is Miami.

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Washington Avenue
Washington Avenue in Miami.

I took this from a ship as we entered the Port of Miami. I was wide awake and recovering from the European timezone. Changes in time zones are great for photography because it makes it easy to get out at all hours of the morning or night. Days can be a little rough.

more cityscapes

We flew to Spain and took a boat back, just a few hours drive from home. We’re lucky, most people have to fly to Florida to get on a ship, we just drive. That makes it easier to pack as well, just throw whatever in the heck we want in a big suitcase and not worry about being efficient. Maybe it’s the lazy way to go, but hey, I’m very much into that sometimes.

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.

Evening in the Park

The other night we hung out in a tree-lined park with outdoor cafes and listened to live music by candlelight. And to top it off, we were a thousand miles from land.

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Evening in the Park
The scene at night in the Central Park neighborhood on board Symphony of the Seas

The Symphony of the Seas has six neighborhoods, and Central Park is my favorite. There are upscale restaurants with outdoor seating. At one end is Vintages, a wine bar where somehow, I end up at least once a day. In the afternoon, there might be one or two patrons, and you can sit at an outdoor table, and watch folks stroll by.

more night photography from the gallery

There are way too many choices; neighborhoods, restaurants, nightclubs, sports, shopping, and bars. Speaking of which; there are at least sixteen different bars, and I had a plan to try each one. I’m only halfway through, and it’s not looking like I’ll hit the goal. But rest assured, it’s not for lack of trying.