Morning Routine

On most mornings I have a routine, doing the same things I did the morning before. Once in a while, I take photos instead.

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Morning Routine

I’m a creature of habit, and if I don’t put my keys in the same place, I’d spend half my life looking for them. Habits and routines go hand in hand and can be good, or not so good. But you get my drift.

It’s a little like having an autopilot in our car. It allows us to do one thing while doing another. Again, nothing wrong with that unless we forget where we are going.

more of Sarasota from the gallery

I guess my point is that it might be a good idea to step outside our comfort zone now and again to see where we are. For me, that means getting out to take photos. For you, it would be something completely different, but just as important.

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?

Dawn on Deck

Every morning the ship’s crew hoses down the deck before sunrise. It’s the perfect time to capture reflections.

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Reflections on a freshly washed deck before sunrise aboard Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas.
Reflections on a freshly washed deck before sunrise

This is another shot where I used the Platypod. Doing so enables me to include the textures of the deck in the composition. As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s a slightly unusual perspective that adds a little something extra.

more travel photography

I took a ton of these types of photos. I would post them all, but that would get pretty boring. Be forewarned though, I will post at least one or two more. But, if you like this kind of thing, then it’s cool, if not, I’m sorry in advance.

Bay Bridge Sun

I took this the morning after arriving from the east coast. When I woke up, it was before 4:00 AM, so I went out taking photos, and this was the last place I stopped. I started at the Palace of Fine Arts and ended up here at Embarcadero.

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Bay Bridge Sun
As the sun rises through the San Francisco Bay Bridge

It was early on a weekend so the streets were empty and I could get from place to place in no time. Traveling to the west coast is easy to do, going the other way is another matter entirely. That is unless you like staying up late, but I’m more of a morning person, so going west works better for me. Early to rise…, and all that stuff.

california in the gallery

It’s been two years since I took this and looking at it now I thought it was the Golden Gate bridge. But the background doesn’t look right, and the sun doesn’t set or rise this way as far as I know. Something didn’t seem right. Fortunately, this is tagged with GPS coordinates from an app I use; just like iPhone photos, but for Sony. So I looked it up on Google maps and only then did I realized it was the Bay Bridge. Silly me.

Symphony Sunrise

For a photographer, crossing west over the North Atlantic has its advantages. For one, the sun always rises from the stern. Knowing which way to walk on a ship this big is a good thing.

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Symphony Sunrise
Sunrise over the North Atlantic on RCCL’s Symphony of the Seas

The Symphony of the Seas is such a big ship that at first, it can be difficult to get oriented. The first few days I’d walk to the Windjammer only to find I’d gone the wrong way. But then, walking an extra half mile before hitting the buffet didn’t hurt.

more cruise photos

Another advantage is that the days have twenty-five hours. Each night we would set our clocks back one hour. And because we were sailing during the daylight savings cutover, we had one additional long day. As a result, I found myself getting up earlier each day with enough time to walk to the back of the ship without getting lost.

City Pier

This is the old city pier on Anna Maria Island. The “city” is Anna Maria, but if a few beach houses and seaside restaurants make a city, then I’m a monkey’s uncle.

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City Pier

To further make my point, the speed limit is 25mph; I know, because I paid a nice fine for driving 35. But I digress. It’s been over a year since the restaurant on this pier was open. It got damaged in a hurricane, and now it and the dock are being reconstructed. But, as you already know, this is not a city where things move fast.

more from Anna Maria Island

In the city of Anna Maria, there isn’t much to else to do but go to the beach, fish and eat at the restaurants. But then, that’s the attraction. A kind of place where you go to get away from everything else. There isn’t a lot of serious stuff going on, just the odd bit of monkey business; I should know.

Sunrise Composition

Here I am close to home on an early Sunday morning. I was standing at the end of Emerson Point which faces west into the Gulf of Mexico. (I, of course, was facing east). This local park is one of my favorite go-to places for sunrise and sunset.

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Sunrise Composition
Sunrise at Emerson Point in Palmetto, Florida

It rained the night before, so I thought we’d have a beautiful display in the sky with high scattered clouds, but, that was not to be. So instead, I composed this shot which focuses on the foreground elements with the sunrise in the back. If the scene doesn’t turn out how I envisioned, I try to remind myself to work with what I’ve got. Plans often go sideways, but there is usually another angle that’s pleasing or tells a story.

sunrise / sunset gallery

One other thing: because it was Sunday morning I figured I’d be alone. But there was another photographer down by the water, and when I turned around after taking this shot, there was yet another photographer with a couple doing a maternity shoot. So apparently, there was indeed an abundance of other compositions to go around.

Queenstown Sunrise 3

Nearly five years ago I flew to Queenstown New Zealand to participate in a workshop with Trey Ratcliff. Due to jetlag, I woke up on the first morning at an ungodly hour. But after a couple of hours walking around the hotel, dawn began, and we had the most amazing pink sky. It was an excellent start to a week of photography.

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Queenstown Sunrise
I’ve had this in my backlog for a very long time. The biggest challenge was that the sky was so red and orange that it did not seem real. In the original RAW images, it looks like I photoshopped the colors. To make it seem a little more realistic, I’ve desaturated the glow. Usually, it’s the other way around; I might saturate or add vibrancy to give a photo a little extra pop. Not this time.

view the New Zealand gallery

In the grand scale of things, five years is not a long time, but for me, it feels like a lifetime. It was a life-altering trip; it moved me in ways I can’t even begin to describe. I had such a fantastic time that it almost didn’t seem real. Life is rarely perfect, but that week came about as close as I’ve ever known. And it all started on the morning of this sunrise and continued building from there.

Before the Fall

I mentioned the other day on the blog that the Anna Maria Island Pier sustained damaged in the last hurricane. They are now demolishing what’s left as the first step of reconstruction. However, I have a lot of photos of the old one, and this is one I took three years ago. I also posted a panorama of this view about a year ago.

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Before the Fall
The Anna Maria Public Pier before hurricane Irma

There is another pier just up the shore from here. It’s called the Rod and Reel Pier, and it also has a restaurant on it. A while back, that restaurant burned, but like this pier, I have images of it before the fire. Maybe the rebuilt one is safer, but in my opinion, the old one was more photogenic. Nevertheless, it’s still one of my favorite places to hang out.

more images of piers

In another year this will be rebuilt as well. I hope the architects take the time to preserve something of the old look. But no matter, I’ll be there to make another image and document the new pier, which according to news accounts should last about one hundred years. That’s a lot of time and hurricanes to withstand. Possibly I’ll reincarnate and shoot the replacement in the year 2120. You never know.

It’s a Good Thing

This, as they say in the business, is SOOC, or “straight out of camera” for the rest of us. I process images mostly to restore the colors, however in this case no processing was needed. This is exactly what the scene looked like.

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It's a Good Thing
The habit of noticing beauty around you is a good thing

It was early in the morning and I remember thinking how strange the red glow looked. Of course, I took a picture but so did a bunch of other folks that were out walking or jogging. So, you see? It’s not just me that notices these things.

more images with reflections

I’m always remarking on pretty or unusual scenes when I see them, it’s part of my nature as a photographer. Now I’m seeing similar behavior in friends and family. Noticing beautiful scenes is contagious and possibly addictive. Once you start, it’s nearly impossible to stop. But, here’s some advice, it’s okay. Having good habit’s, even if they’re involuntary, is a good thing. And lord knows, we can use a few more good things these days.