I took this picture at three in the morning as our ship entered the port in Miami. I am surprised it turned out given that we were moving at it was dark.
Its the second time I’ve taken this same perspective from a ship. The first time was a year earlier when I used an f2.8 lens; this time I used an f1.8: the f1.8 aperture is wider which allows more light and, creates a better result without too much noise.
I took this image from the dock at Regatta Pointe Marina in my hometown of Palmetto. The marina is a few miles up from the gulf on the Manatee River. It has a restaurant that does good business on account of the views. I’m not a boater or sailor so, when I come, it’s to have a meal or take photos, or both.
I have sailed out of here once and also out of the marina on the opposite side of the river. Both were charters, and both times it was a great experience. You bring cheese and wine, sit topside and enjoy the views and breeze. That’s my idea of a good time.
I came here because the colors in the sky were shaping up and this was only a few minutes away. When I feel the urge to capture a sunset without planning, I’ll rush to the river and point west. Here at the marina, there were plenty of people walking along the dock. A few were diners, a few were boaters, but just about everyone stopped to watch at the view.
This is a panorama of the Sarasota waterfront. This section is known as Marina Jacks and is the main marina in town. If you want to take a fishing tour or sunset cruise, this is the spot. I’ve done both from here and it never gets old.
I’m going to come back here, this weekend perhaps, and get the same scene at sunrise; this was closer to dusk. As with many of my panoramas I’ve combined several photos so that the resolution is higher than a normal, enough to see very small details. For example, if you zoom in you can see the baseball game on the TV inside the restaurant on the left. That’s perhaps way too much detail, but I think it’s cool nonetheless.
In a panorama the view sweeps from one side to the other. There is something epic about the perspective; it gives you a sense of scale. Anyway, this is one way to capture the waterfront without taking a shot from an aircraft or drone.
I was walking my dog when I took this. I held the leash in one hand and the camera in the other and took five images from left to right; no tripod was involved. That says more about the capabilities of the Sony camera than it does about my camera holding skills. It’s perhaps not the best way to go about it but the dog needed a walk and I needed a picture, so we compromised. In the end we both got what we wanted.
This is a long exposure of the marina in Palmetto. Once the sun goes down the glow on the horizon fades for about an hour. The last few minutes of the glow are almost imperceptible yet appears more pronounced with a long exposure. This is image is eight-seconds and of course was taken with a tripod. Because the glow is more pronounced it contrasts with the night sky directly overhead. It’s a unique lighting situation that I was fortunate enough to capture. The scene is enhanced even more by the color of the thin clouds above the boats.
I didn’t know ahead of time these conditions were occurring. But I had my camera and was looking for something to capture. Taking the time to notice what is happening is a skill. This scene was not apparent with a casual glance. To see a scene like this I need to slow down and put myself in a different mindset. In that mindset I’ll see scenes I’m not necessarily looking for.
My theory is that interesting things appear around us all the time. The challenge is to get past that little voice that insists there is nothing to look at. I get that a lot when I go out to do photography. To push past that takes will power. It produces rewards by simply continuing when I think I should give up. I surprise myself sometimes at the shots I get. It’s not that I’m super talented, it’s more that I give myself opportunities. The more I do that the better my chances. That sounds like a sports metaphor but it’s equally applicable to photography, or, any other worthwhile endeavor; at least thats my theory.
So often when I walk my dog I wish I had brought my camera. This time I decided to bring it so I could stop at this marina and capture the final glow. It was worth having to carry the camera along with a leash and poop bags for the full length of the walk.
Normally I would just use a cell phone but this time I wanted to see if a real camera made a difference. The iPhone is good but the Sony can get so much more detail and dynamic range.
I like taking my dog with me when I’m shooting landscapes. He loves to come for the ride and I enjoy the company. It’s a mutual partnership. Sometimes I’ll be holding him on the leash with one hand and taking pictures with the other. If he sees another dog and pulls the leash it can get tricky. That happened on this shot as I was composing the shot. It’s all good and in the end we both got what we wanted.
I try not to get too serious when I’m taking photos. Once in a while having a dog along helps me keep it light. It’s important to have fun because that gets reflected in the final images. Ironically, if I get too serious I’m not as relaxed and I’ll miss things.
This is the marina in Palmetto Florida. Actually there are a lot of marinas in Palmetto but this is the main one. Well, one of the main ones. Let me start over. This is one of several marinas in my hometown.
I’m not really into boats so they tend to look the same to me. There are huge differences of course; these are sailboats. At a marina closer to my home there are mostly powerboats. I never really thought about it until now but the two marinas are quite different. This marina is past all the bridges so the boats can sail straight into open waters. The marina close to home is on the other side of three bridges, one which is a draw bridge.
So now it makes sense, why would someone dock a sailboat behind an obstacle course of bridges when they could dock here? As for the powerboats near me, the bridges are not obstacles. They don’t have the same concerns with mast height, bridge structures and a drawbridge, they simple steer right through.
Now that I have all that figured out, back to the photo. The setting sun over the water caught my attention. That by itself would have been a nice, but in this case I had the added bonus of a marina filled with sailboats with access to open water.
That building on the left is the Riverhouse Reef and Grill. I live near a crossroads of sorts, it’s a main thoroughfare between the two towns of Palmetto and Bradenton. As it happens the thoroughfare is really a couple of bridges over a river, and on each side of the river are marinas, parks and restaurants. All in all it’s a pretty nice place to explore and you don’t have to go too far to find a good waterfront restaurant.
Sometimes we’ll come to this place in Palmetto, other times we’ll go directly across the river to Pier 22 in Bradenton. We sit outside, why sit indoors when the weather is so good? Its rare that we go to an indoor restaurant with so many options. I’m not fanatical about eating outside but it’s rare we go out and eat indoors.
I took this shot at dusk from a concrete pier that used to be the main bridge between the two towns. Someone recently told me that the main bridge was destroyed in a hurricane back in the sixties and so now it’s just a fishing pier. It’s a nice place to walk at dusk and sunset, especially after eating too much at the Riverhouse Reef and Grill.
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.
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.
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.
My wife and I went for a walk along the waterfront in St Petersburg Florida the other day. Everyone was out and about and enjoyed the warm weather. The calm water created these little ripples which caught my wife’s attention and then mine. I admit it, I’m an unabashed copycat and have no shame. Such as it is here are the boats reflected in the water and something to put us all in a relaxed state such that we might come up with our own ideas and not copy others. But then imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so in reality I’m just flattering my wife. 😉