Pirate Shells

When I see a bunch of shells on the beach, I want to hoard them like a pirate. At some point in history, these were money.

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Pirate Shells
The scene in Nokomis, Florida.

This photo is reprocessed from an earlier version here. The tools for post-processing are continually being updated, so lately I’ve been having a little fun going back to old photos to tease out a new look. I don’t recall what tools I used back in 2015, but this time, I used the latest version of Skylum’s Luminar.

more Gulf of Mexico from the gallery

Nevertheless, what got my attention in this scene is all of the shells in the foreground; they must have been deposited after a storm. You can go to a store and buy a bag of shells for ten bucks, or you could just go to the beach and pick them up yourself. Better yet, send me the money, and I’ll get them for you! (just kidding)

Carnon Visit

My recollection of the last time I visited here in Carnon is a little spotty. I seem to remember something about fresh croissants every day.

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Carnon Visit
Along the Mediterranean in Carnon, France

That, and the scenery and the excellent food and, let’s not forget the wine. My memory of the trip is a string of highlights all tied together. I’ve been thinking about it lately because I’ll be heading back in a few months.

More from France in the gallery

I have no agenda other than to get reacquainted with the customs of that region which, as I recall, are quite reasonable. I’ll be taking a lot of pictures, of course.

Remote Beach

At the tip of Longboat Key is a beach strewn with the remnants of past storms. It creates a surreal scene, and it’s a nice place to hang out.

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Remote Beach
A remote beach at the northern tip of Longboat Key in Florida

The beach is only accessible by hike so, it becomes a bohemian camp of sorts. You feel very much away from it all here. Each time I come, there are groups of people in temporary camps with hammocks hanging from the trees. Sometimes they are playing music or singing, like gypsy gatherings in a Patrick Rothfuss novel.

more from Longboat Key in the gallery

At around sunset on any given day, you’ll see photographers trek here with their clients. I’ve done that, but I also look for unique scenes like this when I come alone.

The Real Thing

I used to have a thing about benches. Now its beach chairs and umbrellas. At least I’m progressing.

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The Real Thing
An afternoon on Bradenton Beach Florida

When I take photos of random people on the beach, I try to remain conscious of their privacy, lest I have them sign a release form. But when it comes to objects, everything is fair game. I once did a commercial beach shoot. There was so much involved, from legal to logistics. I prefer just to walk around and take pictures of interesting things, or people.

see the beach gallery

Putting people or chairs in a shot causes us to imagine ourselves in the scene. If we see people, we subconsciously become them. When we look at chairs, in our mind’s eye we find ourselves sitting in them. We project ourselves with our thoughts without even realizing it; it’s a habit we all have. Sometimes I feel I’ve been somewhere having previously only looked at it in pictures or videos. But, as they say, there’s no substitute for the real thing.

Cloud Animals

When crossing the Atlantic, we’d see these singular clouds. They’de float by like big animals casting reflections on the water.

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A passenger watches the sunrise in the North Atlantic aboard Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas
Sunrise in the North Atlantic

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.

seascapes from the gallery

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?

Oscar’s Swells

This simple image is a long (one second) exposure from the side of a ship. These are swells from hurricane Oscar that was over a thousand miles away.

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Oscar's Swells
A one-second exposure of large swells in the Atlantic ocean.

The captain took us south to avoid the worst of it, but for about two days we saw some impressive swells, more massive than these. Even the largest cruise ship in the world will rock in these conditions. The swells hitting the side of the boat sounded exactly like waves crashing on the shore. It was relaxing, and for two nights we slept with the balcony door open so we could hear the soothing sounds.

To make a one-second exposure in daylight, I set the aperture to f40. That’s a tiny aperture, maybe the smallest I’ve ever used. An F-stop higher than 20 does not have a lot of practical uses, but long exposures are one. One second is long enough to make an in-camera motion blur effect without resorting to photoshop tricks.

more minimalism from the gallery

Maybe this is a dull image without a central subject. It’s more texture or pattern than a photo. Even so, it reminds me of the gentle sounds the waves made all through the night.

Water and Clouds

My favorite thing about the trip across the Atlantic was the open sea. For over a week there was nothing but water and clouds.

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Water and Clouds
This is the main sight in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

When we booked the trip, I wasn’t sure what eight days at sea would be like. Now, I would do it again in a heartbeat. The entire time we did not see land, another boat, or a plane. It was an opportunity to detach from all land-based frames of reference.

more seascapes in the gallery

On the final day before arriving at Port Canaveral, we began to see planes in the sky and seabirds. It was the first signs that home was not far off. It’s nice to back on the ground, but at the same time, it was nice to have a glimpse of a perspective where all the familiar references were not there.

Venice Beach Stand

This shot is another in my continuing series of lifeguard stands. It also represents my interest in landscape minimalism. I took this at Venice Beach in Florida a couple of years ago.

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Venice Beach Stand
A lifeguard stand at Venice Beach, Florida

The way I see it, the sky, sea, and shore create negative space for the subject. In this way, the item is more substantial. But those are my thoughts. For you, it could be different.

beach gallery

I use minimalism and negative space in artistic leaning photographs to show a connection to the environment. For whatever reason, I’m wired to wonder how and why things exist within a broader context. One way of perceiving a situation is by taking a step back. It seems that I do that a lot, so it’s only natural it would come out in my photography.

Vision at Sea

This was taken one evening somewhere on the Adriatic on our way to Montenegro. When at sea you could stand on the balcony in the evenings and see these interplays of sun and cloud. Sometimes it’s nice when you have nothing more important to do than watch the scenery.

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Vision at Sea
Sometimes it’s nice when you have nothing more important to do than watch the scenery.

Minimalism in landscapes is a theme I continue to study and practice. It could be either a seascape or cityscape, both can fit into a minimalist approach. By placing the horizon low in the frame, it allows the sky to take center stage and creates a sense of space. Minimalism is created when space is the main character.

more seascapes

Anyway, when you are at sea your eyes have few options. There is nothing to look at but sea and sky with the line between them often indistinguishable. A few hours of visual deprivation will lead to heightened sensitivity to changes. It’s then you have a glimpse into how mariners operate, as much by sense as by training. Then when you finally see something like this, you have an appreciation that might have gone otherwise unnoticed.

Sweet Nothings

I take a lot of photos of the sea and sky. Not all of them are winners, in fact most aren’t. Nevertheless, I’m incapable of restraining myself when I have a camera and a sunset. I end up with a lot of images composed of the sea, the sky and nothing else so I had an idea to patch them together. Each image is of a different location taken within fifteen of home.

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Sweet Nothings
A collection of simple sea and sky cloudscapes

Now I feel a little less ambivalent about all those “wasted” shots. I think that together they add up to a little more than the sum of the parts. I think now I’ll keep taking these and do more compilations.

more cloudscapes

Yesterday I saw an amazing sunset and took dozens of shots. Out of those I’ll choose maybe one or two and the rest will fade away like the winter sun on equinox. I’m glad I hung on to these though, and now I have a bona fide excuse to go shoot more images of sweet nothing.