Every afternoon at two, most French businesses close for a siesta. What that means for clueless foreigners like me is, no lunch.
The siesta, for me, has always been an abstract concept. However, now, I have first-hand experience. As we walked around French villages, we needed to be mindful of this custom. The best rule is to get up early, get out, and stop for lunch at a reasonable time. But getting up early doesn’t always work out when you’re on vacation, so thoughts of lunch get pushed out as well.
On more than one occasion, we’d see an enchanting little place like this, and think to stop for a taste of local cuisine: not during siesta. It’s the law, and if you think you’re going to starve, then pack a snack.
This scene is typical among the towns of Spain. In particular, this is in Lloret de Mar along the Catalonian coast.
These types of street scenes are a favorite of mine because they convey a nightlife ambiance. I take photos like this by using a high ISO, (in this case, 2000), and a low f-stop, (in this case, 2.8). That combination allows picture taking as though it was daylight. Granted, I do post-processing to get the look I’m after – painterly is a word that describes this type of treatment.
We stayed in Lloret de Mar on our first day of vacation. It’s a little over an hour from Barcelona airport and is an excellent way to decompress from an all-night flight. And, because the body clock was on North American time, it was easy to stay up late and get these scenes, despite the lack of sleep.
Here’s a scene from Miami Beach’s Lummus Park at night. I took some daytime photos here, but night time was way more fun.
Sorry if I sound like grandpa talking, but it wasn’t that long ago when shots like this were next to impossible. I shot this handheld without a tripod. In fact, the original photo didn’t look like much. Nevertheless, I was able to recover most of the shadows thanks to software and the amazing sensor on the Sony A7RM3. The camera sensor saves things that are invisible to the naked eye. However, with post-processing, we can make much of it visible.
I would say that low-light techniques like this are what got me back into photography. Back in the day (grandpa again) I used to shoot film but lost interest due to the amount of time I spent in dark rooms. Today, the only time you need to spend in the dark is taking photos of cool scenes.
Lummus Park runs parallel to Ocean Drive in South Beach. I was riding a bike here and taking photos in the middle of the day. I usually prefer to go out when the light is softer, but I thought to myself, what the heck.
The summer sun in Miami Beach is relentless, so I saw quite a few people walking with umbrellas. As for me, I made sure I had an umbrella in my drink. I figure if I collect enough of them I can use them for the sun.
For this shot, I lined it up and waited for the ladies to walk in the scene. It’s an easy technique, and I use it a lot when I do street photography. I suppose this is a street photo, although part of me wants to call it a beach photo. It really doesn’t matter; it’s just my analytical side working overtime.
Earlier this week the rain cleared out just before sunset. I jumped in my car and came here to Riverwalk in Bradenton. I had less than thirty minutes before the colors faded so I ran around to get as many pictures as I could. This image is the first one I took.
It was twenty minutes of pure awesome. When the conditions are perfect, you have to keep moving. It’s a challenge to get as many scenes as you can before the color drains from the sky. I wish it would last longer, but beggars can’t be choosers.
In fact, soft light in the sky and reflections on the ground make anything look good. I could be standing in a Wal-Mart parking lot, and it would seem remarkable. That’s the reason I prefer low light photography. It evokes an ephemeral mood that overrides the harsh realities of only a few minutes earlier. Anyway, when I left my house, I headed to the river. But perhaps I could have driven in the other direction to Wal-Mart and had just as much fun. You never know.
Here is a street scene from a section of Barcelona that’s not too far from the beach. I took this from a moving pedicab that we hired late one night from La Ramblas to the Hotel Arts. Our driver was a German fellow who biked all over Europe and stayed summers in Barcelona to work the pedicabs.
Taking photos from any kind of moving vehicle at night is a challenge, but with a high enough ISO and a wide aperture it’s doable. And a pedicab is a lot easier to shoot from than a taxicab, although I’ve tried that as well.
The days and nights we were in Barcelona were very warm. One of the things I like most about Barcelona is how people spend a lot of time socializing in front of little cafes and bistros. That goes for much of Europe but Barcelona in particular.
Here is a familiar scene transformed by the weather. It’s another in a series of panoramas I’ve been doing; only this time I used an iPhone. I shot this on a rainy day with three vertical images side-by-side.
I like shooting in the rain. When it rains, you may see things that make for interesting images. Maybe the opposite would be true if I lived in a rainy climate. I’d be writing about how I like shooting on a dry day because it offers a slightly different perspective than the typical rainy day. One person’s mundane is another person’s awesome.
Do we consider whatever we see regularly as mundane? I have a photographer friend who lives in a condo overlooking a beautiful beach. He’s been there a year and he recently told me he wasn’t tired of the view. But he does like going to other places to take photos. When I visit him the beach looks amazing to me so I take a lot of photos.
Anyway, I’ve been to this location in Bradenton a hundred of times, but in the rain at dusk it looked completely new to me. Sometimes I think we just need a change of scenery, even if that means just going to the same place on a rainy day.
This is a bench at a waterfront park just across the river from me. I took this at dawn in a light rain. My intention was to capture a sunrise but the sun never made it through the clouds. Sometimes I’ll come here to take pictures right after it rains but in this case it was just starting. I snapped a few shots and then retreated to my car to wait it out. After about fifteen minutes it got heavier so I headed home and this is one of the few shots I got.
I like this for the leading line and the bench under the light. If you look close you’ll see the rain under the lamp. When we see images like this we project ourselves on to the bench or out along the path. The projection is an automatic response, which leads to a reaction. If we see ourselves somewhere we want to be we’ll probably like the photo.
Thinking about how photos work and affect us is something I do a lot of. To most of us this is just a photo in a park, we don’t think about why we like or dislike it. It’s true that I have a habit of thinking too much, but I’m also curious about photos. I’m constantly learning by noticing things about images.
Some people go to the four corners of the earth to explore and get amazing photos. I like traveling too but I spend a lot of time around home. So I forces me to look past the mundane and think about the things that make a photo interesting. In that way it doesn’t really matter where I am. Even if I had to stay in one spot for a year I would try taking a new perspective each day. That’s a little challenge and game I play when shooting images of things I see often and close to home.
This is a section of Science World in Vancouver BC near the subway, people walk along here all hours of day or night. I have no idea where they go so early on a weekend. Maybe to work in the shops. More likely they wondered what I was doing out so early with a camera.
When I’m home I don’t go out in the rain, but when I come here I don’t mind. Funny how my brain works. Rain is good for photography and I never regret going out in it with a camera.
Last night I was crossing a bridge back home in Florida and I was behind a big semi rig. The trailer had the name of the company but what I remembered was the city, Vancouver WA. Just north of Portland, that rig was a long way from home. It’s interesting how many cities have the same name. Ontario Canada has a couple of their own, Paris and London. Maybe they started as tributes. If a city did that now would they get sued for copywriter infringement?
The dark Vancouver mornings of January bring rain so regularly that it becomes invisible. I think people pay it little attention. It reminds me of living next to railroad tracks as a teenager, the first night it rattled my bones but after a while the trains just faded into the background. Isn’t it amazing what we become accustom to? Seems we only notice things that we consider unusual, but when they become normal they fade and recede into almost nothing.
This is from the rainy predawn hours of a winter day at Science World in Vancouver. It’s one of the more iconic buildings in the downtown core and at this hour seemed to me like something out of Blade Runner. Actually is wasn’t that early, only about 7:30 but the sun only shines for about four minutes in winter. That’s not true, but it feels like it.
I think that Canadians are a productive lot. With so much time to spend indoors they channel their energies into solving all kinds of problems. I think in general that’s true of countries with long dark winters. On the other hand, in places where it’s always warm, people seem less inclined to spend all that time indoors. Of course this is just a generalization and more than likely I’m wrong. There are a lot of productive people in India and it has a warm climate. Anyway…
Actually, this building is known as Telus Science World. Telus is one of the big phone companies in Canada. If you live in Canada or visit there, you will at once recognize Telus advertisements. They use all kinds of little furry cute exotic animals on posters and billboards. As an animal lover I like the ads and when I’m on a subway I spend a lot of time looking at them. I guess that means they work.