The setting sun descends into the Pacific over the rocks of Moonstone Beach
Although the sunset at Moonstone Beach was not as vibrant as I had hoped, it still turned out to be quite beautiful. The absence of clouds that could turn multi-hued pastel shades meant that all the rays of the setting sun could flood the beautiful California coastline. It’s magic hours like this that allow me to see at least one of the reasons California is called the Golden State. It certainly earned its nickname on this fine summer evening.
I had worked my way down the beach looking for vantage points and foregrounds that could showcase the setting sun and the rugged coastline. I finally settled on a rocky outcrop just off a local park where I could use the ocean as my foreground. I found this group of rocks that were absorbing the incoming tide where I could put the setting sun in the center of my frame.
I don’t normally like to put the most prominent feature of my images in the dead center of my composition. In this case, though, I wanted to feature many different elements including the ocean, the rocks, the graduated color of the sky and the distant hills descending into the Pacific. To do so, this was the composition that was the most pleasing to my eye. I used a relatively long shutter speed of 1/6 of a second to add some blur to the waves and introduce some sense of the action unfolding in front of me.
All in all, I love the image. I think it conveys a sense of the beautiful evening that I experienced. I hope the image conveys some of that sense to you as well. Enjoy.
Seagulls at rest and native vegetation on Moonstone Beach near sunset
I spent an evening on Moonstone Beach hoping for epic sunset conditions. I had hoped for some clouds in the sky that would turn to brilliant red, pink, and orange against the setting sun. Instead I got a cloudless sky. The benefit was that as the sun dropped toward the horizon everything turned golden. There were some pretty amazing shooting conditions for an hour or so.
I made several compositions, but this is one of my favorites. I’ve blown out the sun but it doesn’t take much imagination to visualize what it would have looked like. I managed to capture the backlit vegetation on the cliffs of Moonstone Beach and a flock of resting seagulls on the beach below. This image captures the feel of this part of the central California coast as well as anything else I shot on the trip. Enjoy.
A boardwalk and wildflowers on the Pacific coast at sunset
The central California coast is consistently beautiful. Around just about every turn in the road there is a new pretty sight to view. This shot was taken on a section of the coast with an extensive boardwalk that makes it easy to walk and take in the views. Add in a bit of wildflower creeping onto the boardwalk and some golden late afternoon light and, voilà, you have a magical image. Enjoy.
A Coast Live Oak in a recently cultivated field illuminated by the golden rays of the setting sun
Earlier this summer I had a business opportunity that Pamela and I decided to extend into a vacation and a chance to visit family. My business was in Irvine, CA for a couple of days. Since we were experiencing a bit of early empty nest syndrome with all three of our kids working or volunteering for the summer, we decided to drive on up the coast to visit family and to vacation for a few days.
I have two uncles who decided to move to California after World War Two. One of them passed away several years ago, but the other still lives in San Luis Obispo County. Two of his children who are closer to my age also live there. We’ve been able to visit them a few times over the last ten years or so. It’s always great fun to catch up with all of them. It’s a bonus that the central California coast is an absolutely spectacular beautiful spot in the world.
My cousins live on two adjoining properties located among farms and wineries. The views from all around their home are spectacular. One evening while we were visiting, the light on the surrounding properties turned spectacular. Obviously my attention must have drifted from the conversation to the photography potential outside and my cousin took pity on me. She asked if I wanted to be driven further up the road they live on to a higher elevation where I might catch the sunset. (Have I mentioned how cool my California family is?) I quickly accepted and this shot resulted.
The Coast Live Oak is found throughout much of central and northern California. It is often seen standing alone in a field much as it is depicted here. In the right light the trees are simply beautiful. I think this was the right light. Hopefully I’ve captured the beauty that I saw on the warm, summer evening in the Golden State. Enjoy.
One thing that has been on my bucket list for a while has been to shoot the bird migration at Sanibel Island and the Venice Rookery. Given the facts that I live in Georgia and those locations are only about a nine-hour drive south of my home I should have been before now. Unfortunately each time I’ve considered making the trip something else at work or in my family has become a bigger priority and I couldn’t make the trip.
This past January, however, my wife’s parents decided to spend a month on Casey Key and she really wanted to check in on them to make sure they were doing okay. We decided to combine our interests and visit them and also make a long weekend out of the trip. The plan was to spend a night with them and a couple of nights on Sanibel. I would get to shoot a bit, she could check in on her parents, and we would both get a break from the colder weather in Atlanta.
So, we made the drive and I was able to get up early one morning and visit the Venice Rookery. As it turned out, the rookery was only about twenty minutes away from where they were staying! I had a blast shooting with my new Nikon 300 f/2.8 and teleconverters. Getting close up shots of beautiful blue herons, great egrets, and other migratory birds was a blast. There’s something beautiful and elegant about a bird in flight or interacting with other birds.
Unfortunately the time on Sanibel was not to be. Virtually every hotel on Sanibel was sold out since we were booking last minute. We stayed in nearby Fort Myers Beach but the weather turned rainy and windy. On our last day we were going to at least drive the wildlife trail on our way back to Atlanta, but a flat tire took up all of our time we had allotted for that. Oh well, at least Sanibel and the migratory birds will be there next year. I’m already planning a trip…
A beautiful mural of a boy’s eyes in the Wynwood Walls section of Miami
The Wynwood Walls district of Miami is an amazing place to wander around for a day as a photographer. The artwork is imaginative, colorful, and unique. The more I shoot the more I like vibrant colors and unique patterns. Wynwood Walls has those in abundance. Here are a few murals done in the same genre, and I must assume by the same artist, of faces of celebrities and even some of people I don’t recognize. It doesn’t diminish the quality of the art. These and many of the other murals there are simply beautiful.
A mural in the Wynwood Walls district of Miami depicting Salvador Dali
John Lennon and Yoko Ono as depicted on a mural in the Wynwood Walls district of Miami
A painted wall near the Wynwood Walls section of Miami and a palm tree
I’ve shot in South Beach a little bit, but I wanted to venture out and find some unique Miami scenes to shoot. Fortunately for me I have two teenage daughters who are knowledgable about all things hip and cool. One of them told me about the Wynwood Walls section of Miami. They love to take shots of themselves to post to Instagram and Snapchat in cool, urban locations. Wynwood Walls definitely qualifies as cool and urban.
This shot is actually from the edge of the district, but I really like it a lot. The graffiti is very consistent with other stuff in the area and the palm tree screams south Florida. There’s more to come from Wynwood Walls in the next few posts. Enjoy.
One of a string of unique and colorful lifeguard stands on South Beach in Miami, Florida
For spring break this year, we decided to go as far south as we could reasonably drive in search of warmer weather. It doesn’t get that cold in Atlanta, but, still, after a few months of temperatures hovering around freezing and occasionally dropping well below freezing, sunshine and the beach always sound pretty good. After a good bit of research we settled on a place in North Miami Beach. I wanted to stay away from some of the craziness of South Beach but still be close enough to enjoy it a bit.
So, I took a couple of visits to South Beach at sunrise to see if I could capture the lifeguard stands there in warm, early morning light. My first attempt was a bust because of overcast conditions and a triathlon taking place that day. The second attempt was much more successful. I would have preferred to have a few more clouds in the sky, but I’m still pretty pleased with the results. All of Miami Beach is beautiful, but the lifeguard stands from 22nd Street and southward in general are pretty cool. They are in an Art Deco style consistent with the architecture found in the rest of South Beach. It’s definitely worth checking out if you find yourself in the vicinity. Enjoy.
One of a string of unique and colorful lifeguard stands on South Beach in Miami, Florida
One of the works at Chihuly’s exhibition at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
Pamela and I went with friends on Wednesday night to view the Chihuly exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It’s truly beautiful, especially near sunset and at dusk. The glasswork is amazing and when combined with the beauty of the garden, it really is worth the price of admission. Enjoy.
An Irish country road leading toward Connemara National Park
I’ve talked before about how some shots happen just because you stumble onto them. This is one of those shots. Pamela and I were driving toward Kylemore Abbey and Connemara National Park. We had no real set agenda and we were just taking the roads that looked most promising in terms of scenery and views. While driving the light began to change as the sun danced in and out of the clouds overhead. At the same time we were approaching this row of trees lining the road we were driving on. We both immediately commented that this tree line looked like a poor mans version of the Dark Hedges we had visited earlier in our trip.
We drove through the alley of trees once and I immediately had that feeling that you may know as a photographer. A little voice in my head kept saying “Go back, go back..” Usually, when I refuse that voice I live with the regret of the picture that might have been. I drive on or walk away and have a mental image of the perfect image that could have been. Then there are the times when I actually stop and go back and the ‘perfect’ image that I had envisioned is flawed somehow. But, in this case the image was what I hoped it would be. So, I set my tripod in the middle of the road – while dodging speeding cars heading both ways – and got the shot.
I really like how the image captures the mood of the place. The road leads my eye into the image. The trees have just enough shape to create a moody vibe. And through the trees you can see the fog shrouded landscape beyond. It makes me think of that day and drive even now as I type. I hope you enjoy it as well.