Babbling Brook

This photo is a little brook on the trail to Dutchman Falls. It’s about as idyllic a trail as you could hope to find.

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Babbling Brook
A stream above Multnomah Falls in Oregon (click on image to see full resolution)

The midday light through the overhead branches created a latticework of shadows, which is slightly confusing to the eye.

The brook feeds Multnomah Falls, which is perhaps the most photographed waterfall in the Pacific Northwest, if not the country. I came here on holiday and found crowds of people visiting at the base. So I hiked up to the top of the falls and found a quiet trail with this stream.

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I recommend hiking to the top, although it’s strenuous with many switchbacks. But once you get there, you’ll be glad you did. From there, I walked up to Dutchmans Falls, which is another picture for another day.

Crescent Beach

Here’s a shot from Crescent Beach, which is just north of Cannon Beach and mostly inaccessible. It was a hike but well worth it.

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Crescent Beach
Rock formations as viewed through an ultra-wide-angle lens.

I saw folks on the trail that looked like they shouldn’t be there, I had boots, and they had flipflops. Some people looked like they couldn’t make the steep inclines, it made me wonder if rangers rescued hikers here. Nevertheless, I made it despite hesitations of my own and arrived at this rugged, isolated beach.

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I placed my tripod low and took this as the water receded. I used an ultrawide 12mm lens from Venus Optics. It mostly stays in the bag, but times like this I’m glad I have it because of the perspective it affords.

Mouth of the Manatee

I took this photo at the mouth of the Manatee River. I live further upstream in the esophagus.

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Mouth of the Manatee
The view from DeSoto National Memorial Park in Bradenton, Florida

It’s curious how we anthropomorphize everything. DeSoto National Memorial Park is in the heart of Bradenton. Having grown up in the west, I still find it odd to have a national park in an urban area.

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To see the sunset like this, you walk into the park after closing. Doing so I thought I’d be alone but found a crowd along the shore, all with the same idea. After sunset, I took a quiet trail back to avoid the crowds. However, the trails have lifesize cutouts of historical figures, and more than once, I was startled by conquistadores and aboriginals staring back at me. It was a little unnerving, to say the least.

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.

California Sunset

Whenever I leave San Francisco, I take a redeye home. That gives me time before the flight to head over to Point Lobos for a California sunset.

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California Sunset
The sun setting at Point Lobos in San Francisco, California

I’ll take luck where I can get it, and I’ve been fortunate in this area. There’s a lot of scenery around here, so it’s not that hard to get good photos. Even if it’s foggy, there’s a lot of cool stuff to see. I love taking pictures in the fog. In Florida, we only get it briefly a couple of times a year. As I write this, I’m putting San Francisco fog photos on my list.

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Speaking of lists, I’m not actually a list person. Maybe I should be, it might be useful. I do make a list when I’m told to go get groceries. That’s so I don’t screw up and forget something critical, like goat milk. But when I go to the store on my own, I don’t use a list. If I screw up then and forget something, nobody ever knows. Life is easy under the radar.

Sandstone Tower

Here’s another perspective of the sandstone formations I saw while visiting Wisconsin Dells. We took a boat tour up the river and made a couple of stops to see the formations. These are the kind of things I’d expect to see in Arizona, not Wisconsin.

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Sandstone Tower
One of many sandsctone towers at the Wisconsin Dells

We were here at the hottest time of the year. It’s funny because when we leave Florida in the summer and head north, we expect we’ll be getting moderate weather. During peak summer months, that’s not the case; it’s hot all over.

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To create the star effect I set the aperture to f16 and positioned myself with the sun peeking out. F16 makes the aperture opening very small, and that creates a flaring or starlike effect with bright lights. However, it was so sunny I couldn’t be sure it worked until a few weeks later when I got home to look at the results on a monitor. Here, in the comfort of A/C, I can confirm we have a hit.

Key Biscayne Layers

This image was a bit of a project to create. I stood on the South Pointe Pier facing Key Biscayne in South Beach. I took three pictures, each focused on a different point. The first was the railing, the next was the jetty and finally Key Biscayne off in the distance.

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Key Biscayne Layers
An abstract composition with Key Biscayne off in the distance.

I combined the images into a composite using a technique known as focus stacking. After that, I kept working on it until ending up with an abstract rendering that is neither real or imagined; it’s somewhere in-between.

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I could say something smart about layers, like how they are metaphors for something, but not today. The result is the product of a study in technique and abstraction. I had an idea when I took the shots, and I practiced various methods to get the image I wanted. Perhaps that’s the best way to describe it.

Last Call at the Pier

I love the pier at Fort Desoto Park in St Petersburg. Not always, but often at dusk, the colors in the sky get so amazing that I go a little crazy with my camera. But the sun eventually sets, and I head home after an hour like a drunken patron after the last call. I wish it would last longer, but I’m glad its over. I know I have to leave so I can get up and go to work the next morning.

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Last Call at the Pier
As the light fades at Fort DeSoto Park Pier

One of the places I want to go (big time) is Iceland. But in the back of my mind, I wonder how I would survive. I see myself getting in a photographic frenzy, taking photos of waterfalls and landscapes to the point that I drop dead from exhaustion. But then, I can think of far worse ways to die.

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But back to the beach here in Florida. When the conditions are like this, I go into hyperdrive. My mind is simultaneously racing and remaining calm. If I get too excited I’ll make mistakes or worse, drop my camera. It’s important to keep moving, but not frantically. And I don’t even know what the next image will be. I walk on when I finish one and look for another. Imagine if I did that all day in Iceland. I would inevitably end up lost or dead or at the bar until the last call.

Stand Rock

One of the first stops on our summer road trip was in Wisconson. While there we took a boat up the river at Wisconsin Dells in an area known for rock formations like this. I can imagine seeing these in Arizona or Utah, but here in Wisconsin, it was a big surprise.

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Stand Rock
Stand Rock in Wisconsin Dells

This formation is known as Stand Rock, and during the summer, trained dogs will leap from one surface to the other. If you look closely, there is a net in the space between the rocks. When we arrived, it had just rained, so the demonstration was canceled for safety reasons.

Nevertheless, there is a famous image of this rock taken by HH Bennett over a hundred years ago. That image is in the lower part of the frame, and it depicts his son jumping from one rock to the other (without a net). Among other things, Bennett was a pioneer in photography because he invented the shutter which freezes motion.

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Back then there was a lot of logging here. If you look closely at the old image, Stand Rock is mostly exposed. Today it’s covered in a thick canopy of trees as logging has long since ceased. Anyway, I thought it was cool that not only is there an old photo of this rock, but it is related to photographic history as well.

The Good and the Bad

This is another HDR photo that I created using AuroraHDR 2018. Actually, this was a little tricky to make because it’s a long exposure using an ND filter shooting directly into the sun. The aperture of F14 is what creates the starburst effect. I combined five photos ranging from one to six seconds in length which gives the water a smooth quality.

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The Good and the Bad
On average I like the photo, despite some flaws

Even though I spent hours on this I’m not totally happy with it. That’s because I’m aware of all the technical flaws it has; noise in the shadows, lens flare and lack of detail on the rocks. I’m posting it anyway because I like the overall effect and feel. And also, each time I work with photos I learn a little more. In this case I know what I need to do next time I have a similar scene; each time I get a little better.

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In the end, it’s the scene and the mood that are most important to me. The technical aspects are important also, just not as important. I was able to recreate the idea I had in my head at the time, so it’s a win. I’m posting it because on balance, I do like the image. And to tell you the truth, that’s why I do photography in the first place.