The Pool on Top

The pool on top of the Renaissance Fira in Barcelona has a fantastic view of the city. As a shutterbug, that ranks pretty high on my list of amenities.

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The Pool on Top
On top of the Fira Renaissance in Barcelona

I left the big boy camera in the room; all I had was my iPhone 7 Plus. I plan to upgrade, but this is not bad for an outdated iPhone if I do say so myself. I did indeed process it, as I do all my photos, but to get this kind of quality from a four-year-old phone is terrific.

more iPhone images

When I get the iPhone 11 with its new camera features, maybe I’ll take a trip with just the phone. We are getting to the point where big cameras are becoming more of a niche item. Perhaps they’ll always be around, but if you can get high-quality photos from a phone, why bother?

Urban Beach

Here is another image I took on the beach in Barcelona. I photoshopped out most of the people, and believe me; there were a lot.

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Urban Beach
The beach in Barcelona

We stayed at the hotel in one of the tall buildings for a couple of days before a cruise. Walking up and down the beach is entertaining, especially with all the outdoor restaurants and bars. There are so many it’s hard to choose.

beach gallery

Nevertheless, the heat forced us into the shade of a bistro that served icy pitchers of Sangria. And there we sat the rest of the day, savoring the flavors, recovering from jet lag and enjoying the sights and sounds.

Yellow Stand

A hilarious rant about the Florida heat
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These last few days it’s been unbearably hot. The last thing I’d want to do is be sitting here all day; unless of course I had nonstop margaritas.

Yellow Stand
The bike rental stand at Fort DeSoto Park in St Petersburg Florida

The image is a redo of a photo I processed six-years ago. Here is the original…

Original processing of the bike rental stand that I did in 2013.

Because the tools and my techniques change so much, I like to redevelop images to contrast and compare to my former self. There’s no right and wrong, just different ways to see the same thing.

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As we head into the middle of summer, I am looking forward to some downtime under a tiki hut sipping a frosty little drink with an umbrella. Umbrellas in glasses are a crucial element for survival in harsh environments. This is an important fact you may wish to keep in mind. You’re very welcome.

Bradenton Causeway

The Bradenton causeway has advantages over the beach. You can park at the water’s edge, and there aren’t nearly as many rules.

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Bradenton Causeway
The causeway in Bradenton Florida

At this spot, you can generally see horses in the water. But I was here on a Monday, and they weren’t. The causeway isn’t fancy, but if you want to spend time at the water without the parking hassles, this is it.

more palm trees in the gallery

Many people prefer the beach with its powdery white sand. However, a lot of the locals come here. Just drive up, pull out a lawn chair and Bob’s your uncle.

Old Seawall

This old seawall was part of the old bridge across Tampa Bay. It was hit by a ship and collapsed in 1980. The new bridge starts here as well but is virtually indestructible.

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Old Seawall
The seawall at the south Sunshine Skyway fishing pier

Here is a link to the story with pictures of the event from forty years ago. These days this sea wall and the remnants of the old bridge are used for recreation and fishing.

more images from area surrounding the Sunshine Skyway

I took this photo about three years ago. However, lately, there is an on-going project to re-enforce the seawall so that it doesn’t erode. Because I drive by it several times a week, I was getting tired of seeing the construction equipment. But upon reflection, and through a longer lens of history, it’s probably good that they take all the time they need to get it right.

Golf Course Palms

I’m an occasional golfer, I like to play now and again. Lately, I’ve been bringing my camera so that the time spent is not entirely wasted.

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Palm trees on a local golf course 

Golf courses are one of the few places where you can get good pictures of trees standing alone. In fact, there are a lot of pretty scenes on a golf course sure to catch the eye of a landscape photographer (not that I know any).

more images featuring palm trees

When I bring the camera, I take it out only when we’re waiting for the party ahead. That’s a forced stop and the only time to not worry about playing too slow. As you may know, if you play too slow, you can feel the scorn of the people behind as they wait for you to move. So it’s always a balancing act, take a photo, but don’t dilly dally and hold up the whole damn shooting match. (I mean that in the nicest possible way).

Hidden Garden

Isn’t it cool when you find a hidden garden in a place you never expected? This is kind of like that for me.

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Hidden Garden
The garden at Bok Tower in Lake Wales, Polk County Florida

Actually, this is the gardens below the Bok Tower in Polk County Florida. I (and countless others) have taken this exact shot, but this time I wanted to include the foreground as well. In this way, it forms a natural vignette of the pond and water lilies.

landscape gallery

To make this work I had to use a technique known as focus-stacking. One photo was focused on the closest plants while the other was on the far side of the pond. I also used a very high f-stop which maximizes the depth of field. Then it’s a matter of careful blending to get it all sharp. Little projects like this are time-consuming, but relaxing at the same time. There are worse things I could be looking at.

Colors of Miami

When I think of colors and Miami, I think of pastels. Pastel colors on the art-deco walls of South Beach. I believe these natural hues are what inspire that aesthetic.

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Colors of Miami
The natural colors of Miami as seen from the port.

I took this from the top deck of the ship in the port of Miami. I had already been up several hours to capture the inaugural docking of Symphony of the Seas. Now we were having breakfast and walking back to our cabin for the final time. We were ready after 12 days at sea. It was nice to be home, but it was also sad to leave.

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Many of these high-rise apartment buildings are empty during the summer. They are vacation homes for people who come down in winter. Once, during summer, I stayed in a hi-rise hotel right downtown. At night I looked out from the thirty-first floor and, all I could see was empty, dark apartments. Now that it’s winter they’re all lit up and full of color.

Green Spaces

There is something about a stand of palm trees that begs to be photographed. These are from a nature preserve surrounded by urban sprawl.

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Green Spaces
A park that provides a refuge for nature in Bradenton

I have never been forward thinking enough to be passionate about green spaces and parks. But as I get a little wiser, I’m grateful to other people that are. This park is named after the late Tom Bennett who was a local resident. Apparently, he and his family were indeed passionate about green spaces, and I have them to thank for this photo.

more greenery from the gallery

I once had a colleague in Toronto who invested in land to be used as a wild preserve. She only wanted the property to be left to nature and not developed. That was a long time ago, and since then, Toronto has gone crazy with development. As I think back, I see that she was a visionary and, I wonder if she held out. For the sake of short-sighted folks like me, I hope she did.

South Beach Suburb

I like renting a bike in Miami beach to get off the beaten path. I want to see how the natives live which, in reality, is exactly as I do.

South Beach Suburb
An urban setting in South Beach, Miami

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For me, the challenge with urban photography is finding an angle that’s not crappy. But that’s just me, and at the same time, I love the work of photographers that show urban grittiness, like Thomas Hawk. His work is not crappy, but it shows ugly details. Nevertheless, I spend hours looking at his work on Flickr.

urban photography from the gallery

It comes down to what I’m comfortable with, even if I get inspiration from different styles. Anyway, this is my take on South Beach urbanism, which is more of an ideal than the reality. Because if I turned the camera just a little, you would see all the grittiness of telephone wires, parked cars, and liquor stores. But if Tomas Hawk did it, it would be okay.