Colors and Patterns

The original photo of this was just so–so, but when I took it I was thinking of applying a Topaz Adjust layer to it in Photoshop to give it a painterly look, and to make the colors more vibrant. What is it you ask? It’s a retaining wall designed like waves at a public beach parking lot at St. Pete Beach, FL. I’ve seen a lot of public beaches in my time, and this was one of the very best. Lots of parking (free), clean and large public rest rooms, and a refreshment stand. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 65mm, f5.6, 1/800 sec. Developed in Lightroom 3 Beta 2)

One (only one) Colorful Sunset

When we left for our week–long visit to the Tampa/St Petersburg, Florida a week ago, I was sure I’d be able to photograph some spectacular sunsets. Surely to be excellent candidates for placement on some Florida tourist brochure; or at the minimum, nice photos to print and hang prominently somewhere in our already photo–cluttered house. (Most of my best selections are displayed on our kitchen refrigerator—with magnets like we do with kids’ “look what I made” stuff.) As each day evolved, I looked for clouds to develop as the afternoons wore on. Nada. Not to be. Zero. When clouds were present, they were 100% coverage variety, and lots of water poured down as a result. Nothing that made be want to go “click” with my camera. Then, on the last night we were there, I was rewarded with what you see here. Nothing spectacular, but in the line of what I was looking for. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 120mm, f5.6 w/-2ev, 1/640 sec. Developed in Lightroom 3 Beta 2.)

Tarpon Springs

If you like (a) Greek food or (b) fishing boats or (c) SPONGE fishing boats, then Tarpon Springs, Florida will suit you just fine—as it did for me last Tuesday. On the other hand, if you don’t like bumping into people, or finding a place to park close by, then maybe you won’t enjoy it. But then, you can’t have it all when you’re on vacation. The colors of the docked fishing boats is what I liked the best—as in this photo. A close second favorite were the incredible smells on the warm breezes wafting out the open doors of all the greek cafes and restaurants along the dock area. Greek music ain’t bad either. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 24mm, f11, 1/400sec. Developed in Lightroom 3 Beta 2)

No Fear

Last Tuesday evening I sat on the beach and watched three Florida surfers “do their thing”. This guy was clearly the best, and as I took shot after shot at nine frames per second, I captured some interesting dare devil stunts. They were not on the traditional surf board, but were instead using what I refer to as “skimmers”, where they wildly run into the waves about to crash ashore, and then ride them along as best they can—and in this case see how high they can jump while at the wave’s peak. No way I’d ever try these types stunts, because I have LOTS of fear when it comes to putting my aged body in peril.  (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 130mm, f5.6, 1/1250 sec)

Here today, gone tomorrow

This serene beach scene at St Pete Beach Florida, taken at sunrise, was totally different 24 hours later after the passage of a severe band of thunderstorms, with onshore winds and resulting rough surf. In short, much of what you see here in the background was lost due to erosion. The reason for such severe loss of beach sand was due to the use of  hardened structures (sand bag groins) to supposedly reduce erosion. What I saw happen here is a perfect example in support of those (like me) who oppose such measures. But, what do I know. Only what I see. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 48mm, f 5.6, 1/400 sec. Developed in Lightroom 2.6)

Pastoral Scene

Even with the clouds present, I was able to develop this in Lightroom with a single image HDR layer applied, giving it brighter colors and a nice composition with the small stream in the foreground, the sheep, horses and large bull in the background—all grazing, totally oblivious to my presence. One nice thing about farms in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia is their use of split rail fencing, built in a traditional manner. That gives this image a real historic look, which was my intention. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 50mm, f14, 1/125 sec)


Last September while we were in Northern Arizona, and with my wife’s cousin at the wheel, we drove about ten miles over an incredibly bumpy sand road on our way to see the Grand Falls on the Little Colorado River—according to our tour guide (said cousin) it was one site we just had to see. With me riding in the back seat sucking dust into my lungs by the pound, I suddenly realized what we were doing was not a good idea. Examples: We were in the midst of the desolate Navajo Reservation, with no cell phone coverage, we had no water to drink, and the weak suspension on the car caused me to bounce up and down like a B-B in a tin can. Finally, we arrived at the river which was impossible to get near because of the dry mud flats. More importantly, what once was some sort of access road to the falls was now a rocky trail hardly fit for a mule. So, we got out by the dry river bed, looked around, took a few pictures in the blazing hot sun, got back in the dusty car and faced our necessary and miserable ten mile drive back to the main highway. On the way back, I spotted this old car on the horizon, and figured I needed some sort of positive memory from our adventure of the day—of the YEAR actually! (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 13mm, f11, 1/250 sec. Developed in Lightroom 2.6 with a single image HDR later applied)

The White Barn

As I drove toward Bassett, Virginia yesterday, with rain, fog and clouds all around, I was not really sure I’d find much to shoot with my Canon G11. But, out of the corner of my eye I saw this barn off to the left, back in the woods, and made a note to stop there on my way back home. Bassett is home to the famous furniture maker, whose fate has been linked to the wide spread decline of American industry—and the unfortunate loss of jobs for thousands. But, that’s another story. What I liked about this photo is the way the white barn stands out among the wet leaves and trees, with a small strip of green grass in the foreground trying to show that spring is almost here—thankfully. (Canon G11, ISO 400, 22mm, f7.1, 1.320 sec. Developed in Lightroom 2.6 with a Topaz Adjust 4 layer applied to make the colors “pop” a bit.)