A branch hangs over the water along the Sunshine Skyway in Tampa. This image was taken at dawn one weekend.
During the weekdays, the skyway is inundated with cars commuting to work in the various counties that surround Tampa Bay. I traverse three counties just to get to Tampa, one county twice. The weird way Tampa is carved up, Hillsborough County is on both sides of Pinellas County, on the same highway.
Nevertheless, this is a long exposure that I took from Hillsborough County looking back at Manatee County. The Skyway is an impossibly long crossing of Tampa Bay. Not only is it a scenic drive, but it’s also a recreation area and one of the best rest stops in Florida.
Friday morning in Miami is no different than any other place. Oh who am I kidding, it’s WAY different!
For me, a big advantage of taking a cruise out of Miami is, well, Miami. An average view from the deck of a large ship is still better than a great view from a skyscraper. Nevertheless, the new boats are big enough to be skyscrapers.
Miami is a favorite city of mine to photograph. You have it all, the beach, the nightlife, the cityscapes. No matter how you look at it, it’s not your average city. I’m sure it has its problems, but as with many things, I tend to look at it through rose-colored glasses.
This is some early morning light coming in from the east. An overactive imagination would say those are condos from Mordor. Not that I have an overactive imagination.
I’m usually up early, but I’m busy going to the gym and getting dressed, not necessarily in that order. But often I’ll manage to look east and see some fantastic light. The problem is I’m too wrapped up in the daily routine to do anything about it, like stop and take a picture.
But this time it was a Saturday, and I met a friend, and I didn’t have to go to the gym. I’ve been sitting on this image, but now it’s starting to grow on me; if for no other reason than the light and drama it holds. And, after a week of daily routines, I could use a little drama.
When crossing the Atlantic, we’d see these singular clouds. They’de float by like big animals casting reflections on the water.
The clouds change the color of the water surface which plays tricks on your eyes. It looks like the sea has variations of light and dark patches. However, when you’re out in the middle of the ocean, the only thing that changes is the light hitting it. That took me two days to figure out.
There’s a lot of free time on a long crossing, enough to look up and see what shapes the clouds are making. Between sitting by the pool and sitting at the bar, I did manage to have a little extra free time. In this case, I could see an elephant sitting down with his back to me. But that’s obvious, right?
This is an HDR shot made from three images. It’s Benderson Park which is a rowing venue in Sarasota. I took this early in the morning when the water was still, and the reflections were clear.
I’m pointing mostly east. Around here the clouds almost always come from the east and dissipate over the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t understand it but for whatever reason, you have to look east to see clouds. Something to do with the Florida geography.
I like images like this. Maybe it’s the reflections or simplicity of the scene. Granted it’s an empty scene, but that suits my aesthetic which is mostly minimalism. In the end, I shoot scenes like this because it’s what I like to do. And that, I keep telling myself, is what matters.
This is a spot I like to photograph. There are a lot of reasons but the main one is that the tracks form a leading line across the river. We are drawn to leading lines because they provide a sense of movement and direction. For some reason that’s important to us at an instinctual level.
Maybe the rules of photography are based on some primal desire for survival. If that’s true it’s an interesting idea and, all the more reason to break the rules once in a while. That might mean considering compositions that will not lead us back to safety.
I know I’m drawing a long bow, but writing about photos as I do forces me to think about these things. Let’s just say I do more than my fair share of introspection. In the end, I would really prefer to just get out and take pictures and worry about the intellectual stuff later. Or, not worry at all.
This is a panorama of eastern Vancouver taken just after sunrise. It’s a perspective I had from the twenty-second floor of the Vancouver Delta Marriott. Actually I took this through windows next to the elevators. I was waiting for the elevator to go down to the lobby. When I saw this I decided not to get on, instead I went back to my room to grab a camera. Hopefully the people in the elevator didn’t mind too much.
If I’m not mistaken the big building in the foreground is called The W. If you zoom in you’ll see a big sign of the letter W to the right of it. Several years ago I went to the top with a friend of mine, Andrew Gerrard. Using his magic he got us access to the top where much to my surprise there was a W-shaped hot tub full of beautiful women. But of course I was only there for the scenery.
On the left side of this image is Gastown and one the right is Chinatown. And off in the distance are the towering apartment buildings of Burnaby. It seems every time I come back there are one or two new towers on the skyline.
This image is comprised of about six high-resolution photos so it contains an amazing amount of detail, especially a full resolution version that’s nearly seven feet wide. I love looking at the details in images like this; I can spend hours in a gallery exploring all of the interesting little facets. Wouldn’t it be ironic if we hung this on the wall of that elevator I walked away from? At least those people could have something pretty to look at when someone decides not to get on.
On my last day in France I went for a morning walk on Carnon Beach. Like the beaches in Florida this stretches for miles in each direction. Unlike the beaches in Florida the shore is carved into large semicircles on account of the breakwaters that are built to prevent erosion. You can see them here and if you look at the scene from Google Maps you’ll see what I mean.
In Florida, we have quite a bit of beach erosion from storms each year, at least on the gulf side. In fact the local government repairs the beach every few years. By that I mean that they dredge up the sand from a couple hundred meters off shore and deposit it back on the beach until it erodes again. In France it seems they take a different, less costly approach. The result is mile after mile of these large semicircle beaches. It creates more shore line and perhaps accommodates more people.
Both approaches to maintaining beaches have their pros and cons. However I’m more interested in taking pictures than trying to figure which is better. I spend a lot of time at the beaches in Florida so I have ideas on how to take pictures there. The beaches in Carnon however present new ideas and challenges that I only began to explore. Next time I go back I’ll explore that a little more.
This is the morning Tropicana Train crossing the river on the way to the plant. Bradenton is across the river and trains cross this river day and night to drop off fruit and load up orange juice to take all over North America. Whenever I travel and visit a grocery store, I like to look at the OJ container to see the “Made in Bradenton” label on the box. Don’t ask me why, kind of a silly thing I guess.
This morning I managed to get out to capture these clouds over the Manatee River at sunrise. Sometimes I wish I lived somewhere closer to nature, but mornings like this can help make up for that. There really is quite a lot of beauty all around, I just have to put myself in the right spot at the right time. Nothing good comes without a little effort and so it was today. But I still need to get out of the city, maybe a walk on the beach is in order.
This is my first image using AuroraHDR from Trey Ratcliff and Macphun. I found it really easy to use. I don’t recall all that I did but I started with Trey’s “Soul Asunder” preset and then just started playing around. Finally I pulled it back into Lightroom for a few minor tweaks. I’m really happy with the way it fits into my workflow, and since I use all the other Macphun products it has a nice familiar feel to it. I’m pretty excited to have a new, intelligently designed product to help amp up my creativity.