Strawberry Moon

Over the weekend we had a full moon and for some reason it’s called the strawberry moon. Apparently it’s the smallest full moon of the year, but I think that doesn’t means much in practical terms because we can’t see the difference with our eyes.

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Strawberry Moon
Strawberry Moon over Sarasota

This is the Sarasota skyline from across the bay. It was one of the few nights we didn’t have cloud cover and this scene is one I’ve been waiting to capture.

In fact this is a large panorama consisting of twelve individual images in a grid of 2 x 6. At full resolution this is two by eight feet. If you are thinking of purchasing a print, be sure to select the wide panorama crop (20 x 80 or similar) when checking out or just contact me so that I can ensure you get the correct fit for the frame size you want.

I’ve been creating a lot of panoramas lately. I’m intrigued by the perspective and level of detail that’s possible. However the bigger the panorama the harder it is to put together. There are a lot of nuances that need to be fit just so. The software helps a little but most of the work is slow detail effort, although it’s something I enjoy a lot. The long slow process in kind of like a meditation for me, I’m in a different world when editing images.

I spend more time working on photos than taking them. That’s just part of my artistic process. Often I’ll come back to a photo a dozen times before I feel it’s ready. Many times it never gets there and is relegated to the reject bin. Every now and then I review the rejects and see something in a different light and bring it back to life.

more panoramas

In this case I had a strong idea of what I wanted so it was just a matter of taking the time to get it just right, in camera and in post processing. After all that work I still don’t know why it’s called a strawberry moon. I should just Google it but on the other hand I think I’ll just leave it as a mystery for now.

West Coast Skylines

This is a long exposure that I took of San Francisco from Treasure Island. I took this at the beginning of the year but if I go back and take it again today it would look different on account of the construction. I never really thought about it but changing skylines seem to be a normal thing. Constant change is an oxymoron if there ever was one but it fits what I see each time I go back.

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West Coast Skylines
West coast skylines are in a constant state of change

I guarantee you there are a million pictures of this same scene. Now there is one million and one. What I like about this one in particular is the detail and colors. I was here a month before and the same shot came out fuzzy. At the time I was using a light travel tripod that couldn’t hold the camera steady in a moderate wind. This time I took my Really Right Stuff carbon fiber tripod and it kept the camera solid as a rock.

I am born and raised in California so I know the area. Now when I go back I notice changes. I also used to live in New York. I’ll be going back there shortly so I’m sure I’ll be seeing a ton of changes there as well. The more we are gone the more we see.

Even when I leave home for a week or two I notice changes around my small town. It could be as simple as a new sign or a re-paved road. If I’d stayed it might have gone unnoticed, just part of the daily scenery. It seems we don’t notice gradual change, rather only when we’ve been away do we see the contrast.

more cityscape images

I think it all boils down to our ability to adapt to change around us; we are wired that way. As long it’s gradual we seem to pay little heed. However the only thing that’s constant is change and, …that will never change. If that’s not a circular argument I don’t know what is.

Simplicity of the Scene

I am fortunate because I can drive to the beach in a few minutes. I’m double fortunate because I like photography. Those two reasons conspired to get me to the beach the other day where I simply walked up and down taking photos. This is one of my favorite due to the simplicity of the scene and the timing of the shot.

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Simplicity of the Scene
Simplicity of the Scene – photography at the beach

I was lining up to get the sun reflected in the puddle and noticed the skimmer out of the corner of my eye. I took three rapid shots with this being the best. To be honest, while I love this shot, it’s not all that hard to do. It simply boils down to being in position and noticing things. In fact, awesome things happen around us all the time however we’re usually too preoccupied to notice. When you put yourself in a receptive state of mind you see quite a lot. That’s the essence of this type of photography.

For instance I’ve noticed that pelicans fly in formation at dusk and dawn. I’ve also seen these skimmers active just as the sun is setting. So basically I’m half expecting to see them fly through the frame when I’m here. It’s not luck, it’s odds and they’re in my favor.

more beach from the gallery

Anyway, it’s nice to walk the beach and look for scenes. Things are happening all the time and when I see them I do my best to capture them. The same applies for different genres such as street photography, urban exploration, architecture photography and travel photography. Maybe we can come up with a new type of photography that’s about capturing scenes around us. It will be called scene photography, …or not. I might need to put a little more thought in to that.

Bradenton Beach Pier from the Bridge

This is a view of the Bradenton Beach Pier from the bridge. I’m facing west so the pier is on the inter-coastal waterway. The Gulf of Mexico is just behind the row of buildings. To get the whole bridge in the frame I walked on to the bridge between the mainland and Anna Maria Island. Other than that I’d need to be on a boat since there’s no other place to get the full view of it.

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Bradenton Beach Pier from the Bridge
Bradenton Beach Pier from the Bridge

I took this early in the evening as people were coming home from the beach. Basically I was standing on the sidewalk next to a traffic jam. That’s because there are only two bridges leaving the island and all those thousands of people have to go home. Right after sunset it can time to drive home, good thing there is nice scenery along the way.

With all the cars crossing it causes the bridge to vibrate. That creates a challenge when taking long exposures like this. For instance, if I have a ten-second exposure and a car goes by in the first five seconds, the image will come out fuzzy. However my Sony A7rII camera has image stabilization so it was able to take a sharp image even with the vibration.

more of bradenton beach from the gallery

If you follow the pier back to shore, it leads to Old Bridge Street. That’s an area with outdoor establishments and live music at every corner. People are out walking around, listening to music and just seeing the sights. There are a lot of choices from ice cream to lobster, from smoothie to martini.

My favorite thing about Bradenton Beach is the small town atmosphere, something not so easy to come by these days. But now you know where you can find it.

Panorama of the Sarasota Waterfront

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.

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Panorama of the Sarasota Waterfront
Panorama of the Sarasota Waterfront

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.

more panoramas

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.

Skimmers on the Beach

There is a colony of skimmers on the beach not far from my home on Anna Maria Island. They have a patch of sand that they come back to each year to hatch and nurse their young. It’s normally taped off so we don’t interfere with the hatchlings. Anything that hatches and nests in the sand is quite vulnerable. The adults take turns guarding the nest. In fact the whole colony, whether they have chicks or not, pitch in on security detail. It takes a village to raise a skimmer.

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Skimmers on the Beach
Skimmers on the Beach in St Petersburg Florida

This is taken at a different location in St Petersburg. Lowering the camera close to the water helps see from the perspective of the wildlife. The small flock of skimmers was picking at the sand while some children swam behind them. With me in front I was surprised they stayed in place for as long as they did. Like so many birds in Florida they’ve grown accustomed to us.

Now is the time of year we also find turtle nests in the sand. Isn’t it odd that the turtle just lays the eggs and then takes off? It’s so unlike other creatures that stick around and nurse their young. After hatching the baby turtles make a dash to the water to avoid being eaten, and then try to avoid the same fate in the water. I don’t blame the mom for not wanting to stick around; the odds seem so slim.

other images taken at dusk

But the good news is the turtles are back on the rise after years of decline. Thanks to the watchful eyes of countless volunteers using GPS and meticulous notes to identify and monitor the nests.

Just taking a walk along the beach you would never know the amount of drama taking place in the very sand beneath your toes.

Reflections on the Water

Every now and then if there is no wind and the tide isn’t moving, water in the river becomes smooth. When it happens it creates the conditions for night photography with reflections on the water.

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Reflections on the Water
Reflections on the Water

This is an area where I walk my dog near the Manatee River. However I rarely see it like this. So while walking Mr. Wiggles I noticed and decided to come back. Later that night I packed my camera and drove back to this spot in a residential neighborhood. It was a little strange because I probably looked suspicious there late at night. After a few minutes I decided it was enough and decided to leave before someone called the police. Not that I was doing anything wrong, I’m just saying I had that feeling.

I will tell you that getting good photos is damn inconvenient. There is effort involved and it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. So I try to get as many compositions as possible when I’m out. If I’ve already expended the effort I may as well make the most of it. At least I’ll then have more images to choose from. Often my favorite is not the one I planned on; more often than not actually.

night photos

Despite the bother of it all I wouldn’t trade it for anything. For the little bit of energy I expend I get a lot in return. In my world, images are art and the more I’m doing that the better life is. But nothing in life is free, even if it doesn’t cost money it takes effort. However I get way more out of it than I put in, and that makes it worth all the effort and complaining of my alter ego.

Light, Reflection and Color

This is a long exposure I took while walking under a bridge in Central Amsterdam. The hanging vertical lights and their reflections created an eerie effect. It’s a public space that’s transformed into a surreal display of light, reflection and color by night. Just one of many surprises I found while walking around the city of Amsterdam.

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Light, Reflection and Color
Light, Reflection and Color under a bridge in Amsterdam

I spent a lot of time along the canals at night. It seemed perfectly safe, save for the odd solicitations in a certain quarter not to be mentioned; but that’s another story for another day. No matter where I turned there were lights reflected on the water. If you’ve followed me you know that’s too much for me to resists; the lights that is.

I stood at this spot for a while taking pictures. Every now and then this space was filled with the rumble of trains passing overhead. I passed this same spot in a canal boat tour earlier in the day and it didn’t look anything like this. I would never have guessed it could be transformed like this at night.

European gallery

The reason I came to Amsterdam is that I had some photos being shown in a Museum in Harderwijk at an event sponsored by BTP and Rinus Bakker. My plan is to come back for the next showing and spend a little more time exploring places like this. Until then I’ll have to be content with my memories and photos.

The New Bridge

Each time I travel to San Francisco I pass over the Bay Bridge. This new section was recently completed after a monumental construction project. Now they’ve started deconstructing the old one which sits adjacent to this. Finally after many months it’s getting so you can take a picture of the new bridge without it being crowded by the old one.

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The New Bridge
The New Bridge in San Francisco

I took this from Treasure Island which is halfway between San Francisco and Oakland. Fortunately it was calm that night so as to produce the colorful reflections on the water.

I take pictures of bridges because I find them fascinating and especially enjoy images at night. That’s because bridges form leading lines for our eyes to follow. They also have repeating elements to provide a sense of scale and direction. The link below is a collection of bridge pictures from places I’ve been.

bridges in the gallery

I grew up near San Francisco so I’ve been over the old bridge countless times. Maybe in a hundred years we’ll all fly drone cars and won’t need bridges. Until such time they’ll keep building new ones and i’ll keep taking pictures of them at night.

Canal to the Intercostal Waterway

To took this picture as I stood over a canal to the intercostal waterway. I was in the village of Cortez where there are many little outdoor restaurants by the water. Its one of my favorite places to come for an authentic Florida experience.

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Canal to the Intercostal Waterway
Canal to the Intercostal Waterway in Cortez Florida

This bridge is one of two that cross over to Anna Maria Island. Both are draw bridges and each time I cross I secretly hope to get stuck. The draw bridge takes five or ten minutes to operate and during that time you turn off the engine and watch the sailboats, dolphins and fishermen.

As I write this we are in peak tourist season. Its spring break and people are here to enjoy the weather and beaches. Because I’m a resident I don’t always keep track of these things. But as soon as I walk into a restaurant or try to drive somewhere it becomes apparent.

more night scenes

As well it is also spring training season for baseball. We have a perfect storm of sun seekers and sports fans. It’s fun to see and good for the local economy. Merchants look forward to this all year. I’m pretty relaxed about it all and as I said, even look forward to getting stuck on one of the many bridges.

Not that I should need an excuse, but traffic over a bridge is one way to slow down, enjoy the sights and imagine what its like to be a visitor on spring break.