I used to have a thing about benches. Now its beach chairs and umbrellas. At least I’m progressing.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
My favorite thing about the trip across the Atlantic was the open sea. For over a week there was nothing but water and clouds.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is from Bean Point on Anna Maria Island. It’s a beach with no parking and a little hike. It’s a sanctuary of sorts; aside from the solitude there are various types of wildlife that find refuge here including colonies of skimmers. But of course, come with my camera for the sunsets and to walk the beach.
It’s easy to walk around the point and on the other side is the Rod and Reel Pier which is a local favorite for fishing or a blackened grouper sandwich. The area is so low key you might think you were in the tropics somewhere.
I took this over two years ago, but when I go back today it looks the same. Not much changes here and if you are into a slower pace of life then this where you want to be. Actually, all of Anna Maria Island is a slower pace than the mainland and Bean Point (at least for me) is the best example of it. It’s a good place to go and forget for a spell.
When sailing you find yourself looking for signs at sea. Any kind of sign will do; weather signs, signs of land and signs of life. Open water doesn’t have the familiar frames of reference, so unconsciously our minds are pre-occupied with building one.
This is not news to anyone who sails. The frame of reference for a sailor is different. Sailors know how to read signs and surely there are many more signs that we’re not even aware of.
This was taken as I sailed on a cruise ship towards Venice. To the combination of clouds, water and land on the horizon I added birds from another image. They were not in the original but for me they completed the scene.
I took this photo of Corniglia from a small boat travelling along the Cinque Terre coast. It was a very hot day so sitting in a boat was a good option. We passed several little villages just like this and I was thinking it would be hard to imagine a more picturesque setting. The villages look remote and isolated but in fact are connected by trains, roads and a hiking path.
In one sense it was a shame I only had a day here, but now I know where to come back for a proper visit.
When you look closely at these towns on the rugged slopes you realize they’ve taken centuries to build; the locations are most improbable. I believe they were originally properties of barons and such and the inaccessibility was a deterrent to pirates. Now they are communities with traditions, culture and hundreds of years of history. And based on the way they are built, I think they’ll be around for many more centuries.