Robinson Park is a preserve in the middle of a suburban setting, and it’s a place I come to get away from that same setting. Most people come during the day, but my favorite times are dawn and dusk. Of course, I’m looking for a rare kind of light.
The image is five shots blended into one. I use HDR techniques when shooting these types of scenes because there is a combination of bright and dark light. It’s closer to what I could see with my eyes but must resort to tricks to get the camera seeing the same thing.
Not only is the light changing minute by minute, but the nocturnal animals also begin to stir. It’s as if the whole place comes alive when the sun goes down. I’m usually rushing to get my last pics before being politely asked to leave by the ranger. Finally, as night falls I return to suburbia from whence, I came. At that moment I genuinely do feel that I’ve been away from it all.
This photo may be my favorite of the bunch from that day at the beach. And it sums up the chill mood of the people that were present at the time. As for myself, I was pretty happy also.
Without photos, memories fade. Life goes on and, we do not think about the details of that day. But when we look at pictures, the feelings, sights, and smells come back. That’s the thing about images; they’re drug-free memory boosters.
Our recollections are a quantum leap beyond what computers do. But that’s changing; AI is closing that gap. But one thing they’ll probably never do is appreciate a sunset. That’s is something only we can do, assuming we don’t forget to go to the beach.
This idyllic scene is from the beach on Anna Maria Island. Florida has a lot of islands and this, to my mind, is one of the best. Regarding beaches the sand is pretty amazing, it’s a white powdery substance more like sugar than sand. But I digress, this is about the photo, not the sand.
Anyway, now and then I get lucky, this is one of those days. I couldn’t take a bad picture if I tried. That makes up for all the other times when I show up and clouds obscure the sun. The success rate of a sunset photographer (such that I am) is disappointingly low. But this was a good day, so all is forgiven.
A “sunset photographer” sounds like a great job, doesn’t it? Imagine getting paid to take pictures of the sunset. You show up to work about an hour before sunset, take photos for about an hour, and then you’re done. In reality, I do things other things than this, but I must say, sunsets, especially good ones, make all the other stuff worthwhile.
The same day another sunset. I’ll be posting several photos from this day because I ended up with five or six good ones; for me, that’s a lot. Truth be told I have a low batting average when it comes to photos, but on this day, I hit a couple of home runs. I only post the photos I truly like; the others get relegated to the archives or reject bin.
I’m not berating myself, it’s just that the hit to click ratio is low. I get carried away when taking sunset photos. But in my defense, it’s also how I get in the zone and it helps me become aware of scenes around me. Taking a lot of photos is a way to get creativity flowing; it’s similar to stretching at the start of the workout.
One thing I like about this photo is how the sun highlights the tall grasses in the foreground. The lifeguard stand is mid-way through the image and the ocean is beyond that. Those three elements create a sense of depth that pulls our eyes into the scene. I also like it because it’s a sunset, but I take a million of those, as you know.
You’ll never guess where this is from. If you need a hint, look for the flag. But seriously, the rain should give it away for sure.
I was wandering around the downtown part of the city on a Sunday morning before my flight home. When I arrived here there was no one around on account of the rain. But, being an iconic spot, within three minutes a bus full of Chinese tourists arrived and started taking selfies. It was a comical scene and so I sat on a bench to watch the ensuing chaos. Five minutes later they climbed back onto the bus and were off to the next location.
Iconic locations are fun to shoot, and with a little effort, you can add your own spin. Many famous photographers seek out the same landmarks around the world. I’m not super motivated to do that. But if I happen to be there then why not, it’s still fun. In fact, it can be more fun to shoot the people at an iconic location than the location itself. Wished I’d thought of that before I took this.
A few years ago, I was in San Francisco and while walking around I stopped at Grace Cathedral. It’s in an area called Nob Hill which is a nice little hike up from my hotel in Union Square. I was looking for a place to rest and the cathedral seemed like a good option.
Because of the hushed atmosphere, I didn’t feel comfortable just walking around taking photos, although it probably would have been okay. However, my camera has silent shutter mode that allows me to take photos without making a sound. Churches are one place I use that, I used it a lot while visiting cathedrals in Europe. But it’s also useful at weddings during the ceremony.
For an American city, San Francisco has some nice cathedrals. My other favorite in the city is Cathedral Of Saint Mary Of The Assumption which I saw on a subsequent trip. I think the best time to photograph cathedrals is on a weekday when no one is there and the sounds are hushed. I suppose we could say that both sights AND sounds played a role in the making of this image.
This was taken at Coquina Beach one evening last week. I took a similar picture a few years ago that I wanted to try and repeat. Over time my preferences and technique evolve and it’s fun to retry shots to see how they come out.
As in an earlier post this week I mention that the software is getting better. Both images are HDR but notice how much better the ghosting is in the newer version. In the older version, you can see double impressions of tall grasses, not so in the new one. I used Photomatix in the old version and AuroraHDR 2018 in the new image. Maybe I should go back and reprocess the old version in AuroraHDR just to see how it turns out.
I know some of the rescuers that work at this beach and these stands are where they spend much of their time. There’s some kind of aesthetic of lifeguard stations on a beach that begs to be photographed. I’m not sure what it is but I have a collection of them. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if there happens to be a nice sunset as well.
This is an HDR image full of fall colors that I took four years ago in New Zealand. It was the first morning of a five-day workshop with Trey Ratcliff. In the southern hemisphere, April is in Autumn so the leaves were turning.
I had recently purchased the Sony A7R and now, four years later, I’m still impressed with the images. Since that time Sony has created two new generations of that camera so I now use the third generation A7R III. Also, since that time Trey and Skylum introduced HDR software known as Aurora HDR. Now Aurora is in its second or third generation as well. As a result, I’m revisiting these old photos with the new software. The software has improved to the point that it’s very easy to make old photos look amazing.
Four years seems like such a long time, I would go back in a heartbeat. For a photographer, New Zealand is a dream. But I did take thousands of photos while I was there so even if I don’t get back right away I still have these photos to look at and enjoy.
This is an HDR shot made from three images. It’s Benderson Park which is a rowing venue in Sarasota. I took this early in the morning when the water was still, and the reflections were clear.
I’m pointing mostly east. Around here the clouds almost always come from the east and dissipate over the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t understand it but for whatever reason, you have to look east to see clouds. Something to do with the Florida geography.
I like images like this. Maybe it’s the reflections or simplicity of the scene. Granted it’s an empty scene, but that suits my aesthetic which is mostly minimalism. In the end, I shoot scenes like this because it’s what I like to do. And that, I keep telling myself, is what matters.
I’ve been processing older photos lately and I ran across this one from three years ago at Far Beach in Key Largo. Going back to review old photos gives me a chance to reflect and contrast. These days I use new software called Aurora HDR and its powerful enough to breathe new life into old memories.
Here is a link to a similar scene from the same day. I processed that one using different software and then added an overlay of texture. My style continues to evolve so who knows what I’ll do in another few years. Nevertheless, this just makes me want to take another look at my earlier photos.
Also, this was taken on my first full frame Sony camera, the A7R. I now have the third generation of that line but looking back I’m impressed with how well it did. It makes me want to dust it off and give it a spin for old time sake, but I will still use the new software. Kind of like going to visit an old friend and bringing a new bottle of wine.