Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Choosing the right light

I made this image last week while on a short camping trip near where I live.  When I am out solely for the purpose of photography I will often times scout out potential locations to photograph in.  I camped in a location that was surrounded by swamps and high water from recent heavy rains.  After many months of drought in Florida, the rains were a welcome relief.  The swamps take on a fresh look and provide a wonderful opportunity to photograph.  I made this image after sunset in a steady drizzle of rain. These are the times I like to photograph the most.  The light is soft without the harsh shadows caused by the sun and the rain gives a silvery appearance to the vegetation.  It usually takes a lot of preparations and energy to access these locations.  I have to plan on what I am going to wear to protect against mosquitoes and the limited equipment I will take on my hike into the swamp.  I made this image with my Sony A7R11 with a Zeiss 18mm lens.  The exposure was 4 sec. @ f11

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fisheating Creek

I was out photographing in the swamps this week at Fisheating Creek.  We have have a steady week of rain and the swamps are full of water.  I prefer to photograph in soft light to reduce the harsh shadows in these contrasty locations.  I made this image after 8 p.m. while it was the raining.  The mosquitoes were vicious and attacked every bit a exposed skin.  I covered up as much as possible but still fought them the entire time I was photographing.  The swamp is a magical place at this time of day.  It is quiet and eerie place to wonder around alone.  I cherish the time when I am out in nature exploring new a area and seeing the beauty of an unspoiled landscape.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Suwannee River

We were on the Suwannee River this past week to do some kayaking and photography.  The water levels are extremely low in Florida due to a severe drought.  We started our trip at the Georgia border and followed the Suwannee River down through Florida until it reached the Gulf of Mexico.  We stopped and put in our kayaks at various locations to explore some of the river as we traveled.  The river looks very different than it normally would with proper water levels.  The wildlife we saw seem to reflect the stressed conditions of their environment.  We camped for a few days at Manatee springs. The spring water there is crystal clear blue and very cool. This young gator laid stretched out on a log in the 96* heat of the day.  He didn't seem to care about me and my kayak as I drifted by.  Soon the rainy season will be here and the water levels will rise and life in the swamps and rivers will return to normal. 

Friday, May 12, 2017


I recently spend some time in Cuba photographing.  Most of my of my days were spent walking the streets of Havana doing street photography.  Havana is an extremely busy city filled with diesel fumes from the many old 50's automobile that have been converted to diesel engines.  For a street photographer Cuba has it all.  The thing I enjoyed the most about Cuba was the friendly people.  They live a hard life but maintain a joyful and enthusiastic outlook.  Cuba has some wonderful artist and I was able to meet a few of them in their studios.  Even though we had some language barriers we could still communicate about the creative process and the focus of their work. I used my Sony mirrorless camera with a couple prime lenses for most of my work in Havana.  The Sony is a small and very easy camera to carry around all day. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thoughts and dreams in Iceland

Iceland is a fascinating place with extreme weather conditions.  The light is always changing as is the mood of the weather.  It is not uncommon to have sun one minute and rain the next.  The wind can blow hard and then quit moments later.  The Arctic sea is always battling the coastline and creating wonderful clouds that come ashore and rise up over the mountains.  It is a quiet and remote land where the everyday world vanishes.  I enjoy quiet places where the land is in its nature state, showing no signs use.  It gives time for reflection and a focus on the real values in life.  It seems our technology has imprisoned us and we have become separated from fundamental things in life.  In someways the technological world has become our real home and the nature world is foreign to us.  Sadly I see most young people living their lives 12" from their nose staring into a screen focused on meaningless information.  So much life and youth can be squandered with such constant distractions. I am not immune to the technology trap we live in, but thankfully I have a greater desire to explore the nature world and seek out the wonders that exist there. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Exploring the swamp

Florida has been under a drought for several months and the water levels are down throughout the state.  Many of the trees in the swamps are showing their roots that normally would be under water.  I made my way into the swamp looking for the best group of trees with exposed roots.  The light was soft and provide a nice glow to the entangled roots.  The swamps are an intriguing place to photograph because of numerous plant life that thrives there.  It is easy to get drawn into concentrating on photography and forget about my surroundings.  I always move slowly and make noise to let the creatures of the swamp know I am in there.  Alligators are always lurking about and it pays to keep a keen eye out for them knowing I am in their environment.  A few days ago I was deep in the scrub photographing and had seven small wild piglets with their mother past within a few yards of me.  Luckily the wind was blowing in at me as I stood frozen behind a large oak tree waiting for them to move slowly pass me.  Florida offers many opportunities for some great photography.  Learning the about the wildlife and their habitat is important when venturing off into backcountry of Florida.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Peaceful Surroundings

One thing I enjoy the most with my photography is the peaceful surroundings I find myself in.  The times that I am out solely for the purpose of photography are the most rewarding.  I am not distracted by other events of the day.  It takes time for me to adjust to a new surrounding and form a new mindset to fully see what is around me.  It is critical to apply some patience when scoping out a new area to photograph.  If you instantly start looking through the viewfinder and moving around with your camera you will overlook much of what is around you.  I try to first view my surroundings without the camera and just look.  It is a technique I used with my large format camera for many years.  Often times I will use a small rectangle viewing card that I hold up to my eye which allows me to move around without the camera and to evaluate the scene for the best composition.  I see many photographers snapping away as they walk around with their cameras.  It is a common mistake and leads to many unwanted images that will have be dealt with later.  It works best for me to first see and then photograph.  Ansel Adams once said, " Any photographer that creates twelve good photographs a year is doing exceeding well".  The key word in this quote is "good".  Practice slowing down and taking your time in order to really "see".