City

Atlanta from Freedom Parkway

Atlanta from Jackson Street, December 2016

Downtown Atlanta skyline as viewed from the Jackson Street overpass in December 2016

The app that I use to forecast sunrise and sunset conditions showed that there was a high chance of a brilliant sunset over Atlanta last night. So, Taylor and I headed down to the Jackson Street bridge over Freedom Parkway to see what might happen. I’ve shot from this location many, many times, but I’ve never come away with the shot I want. Unfortunately, the same was true last night. Conditions were promising, but no blazing sunset over my hometown materialized. Sigh. Conditions were great for the classic twilight view of Atlanta, however. Here’s that shot and here’s to that fiery sunset over the city that I’ve been chasing for a while now.

Eyes on Miami

These Eyes

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.

Salvador Dali

A mural in the Wynwood Walls district of Miami depicting Salvador Dali

John and Yoko

John Lennon and Yoko Ono as depicted on a mural in the Wynwood Walls district of Miami

Graffiti, Miami Style

Graffiti Miami Style

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.

New York City Skyline

Sunset over New York City

A brilliant sunset sky over the skyline of New York City and the Brooklyn Bridge

Manhattan Skyline at Dusk

The lower Manhattan skyline as viewed from Brooklyn Bridge Park at dusk

New York City Skyline

The skyline of lower Manhattan as viewed from Brooklyn Bridge Park

I’ve had some shots on my photo bucket list for quite a while. Those include images from Patagonia, Iceland, and New Zealand among many others. It’s pretty easy for me to justify a lack of images from those locations in my portfolio. I haven’t traveled to those locations… yet.

But, the skyline of New York? That’s hard to explain. It’s not that difficult to get there. The shot itself isn’t technically difficult. I just didn’t have it. So, when Taylor and I began to plan a trip to Boston and New York, I immediately began to think about locations in New York that I would like to photograph. The view from the Empire State building or from the top of Rockefeller Center was one obvious location I wanted. The other that came quickly to mind was a view of lower Manhattan from Brooklyn or New Jersey.

As I began to flesh out the details of our trip it became apparent that the time of day that I could shoot most readily would be sunset. That meant that I would want to put the setting sun behind the city. So, I would be shooting from Brooklyn. As I researched online the spot that came up over and over again was Brooklyn Bridge Park. Since I haven’t spent a lot of time in New York City I had not visited that location before. Frankly, I didn’t know if the area would be safe, well-lit, or even easily accessible. When I talked to my brother-in-law who lives in the city he assured me that the area was perfectly safe and that I would not be alone there.

So, I hopped on the subway and made my way to Brooklyn. After a short walk to the park I was surrounded by other photographers, sightseeing tourists, and plenty of locals who were out enjoying a beautiful late spring evening. Now all I had to get was great lighting conditions for my shots. As it turned out I had perfect conditions and I was extremely grateful for them. To be in the right place at the right time doesn’t always work out for your friendly neighborhood photographer. But, God smiled on me that night.

I shot from several different locations, but I ended up at a seating area that has been created to view the perfect New York City sunset. The seating area is located just south of the Manhattan Bridge. As you can see, there is just enough of an angle so that the Brooklyn Bridge can serve as the foreground for the skyline of lower Manhattan. I sat in that location for a very happy hour and a half just watching and capturing the changing light conditions.

The shot I had in mind when I set out that night is the glowing sunset over the city. It’s a toss-up though whether my favorite is the dusk shot or the later shot with only a bit of glow still lingering in the sky. I love them all. I hope that you enjoy them all as well. And, as always, thanks for stopping by. Enjoy.

The View from the Rock

The View from the Rock - horizontal

The Empire State building and lower Manhattan at sunset as viewed from Rockefeller Center

One of the shots that I hoped I would be able to get was the Manhattan skyline from the top of Rockefeller Center. Unfortunately, on the day we had tickets to go up some rain was forecast for New York City. After discussing it for a while, we decided to go anyway hoping that the weather would hold off until after sunset.

So, we queued up with all the other tourists and waited our turn to ride the elevator up to the observation deck of Rockefeller Center. I could tell from the gathering clouds that our chances were pretty slim for staying dry. Still, the experience was fun and we looked forward to our turn.

Our time finally arrived and we made our way through the queue and into the elevator. When we arrived at the top of Rockefeller Center we took a few minutes to wander around a bit, taking in the view and looking for the best vantage point for the upcoming sunset.

My only mistake was taking the rules posted on the Rockefeller Center website a bit too seriously. There were strict prohibitions of any type of tripod or monopod being allowed. Of course, I immediately saw at least two tripods in use and no one really seemed to care. A bit later on I regretted not having even a small travel tripod. I was able to photograph until the sun actually set, but after that there simply wasn’t enough light for me to hand hold my camera and take a shot without vibration.

The good news was that the incoming storm also created some pretty sweet shooting conditions. I did have to stand through a brief rain shower covering my camera with my rain jacket. But, it turned out to be worth it. There was a brief ten minute or so window where the setting sun dropped below the clouds creating the showers and cast some beautiful golden light on the Manhattan skyline.

The shot posted here was taken in just those conditions. Some of the city lights were coming on at dusk. Some sunlight was creating a wonderful glow on the Brooklyn Bridge and some of the buildings of lower Manhattan. The Freedom Tower stood virtually glowing in the late afternoon light. All in all, it was a pretty amazing experience even though we did get a bit wet. Enjoy.

Toronto Skyline

Toronto Skyline

The beautiful city of Toronto on a late summer’s evening

Last month I had the opportunity to visit Toronto for the first time. Well, my actual destination was Barrie which is almost an hour north of Toronto. But, we went into Toronto for dinner one night and my host graciously drove me out to a point where I could get this vantage point of the city.

As is usually the case with skyline shots, this image was taken a few minutes after sunset. There was still some color from the sun which had dropped below the horizon. There were a few breaks in the clouds as well which allowed the deep blue sky above to show through the cloud cover. By waiting fifteen or twenty minutes after sunset, the building lights of the city were all on and contrasted beautifully with the glow in the sky above. By using a thirty second exposure the waves in Lake Ontario only appear as a creamy texture in the foreground. Surprisingly, there is even a bit of a reflection from some of the brightest lights in the city.

I only was able to spend a few hours in the city, but based on what I saw, I definitely would like to return for a longer visit. If you find yourself in the area you definitely should visit the city. And if you are heading north you should check out Connexus Community Church and their team including teaching pastor Carey Nieuwhof. Thanks for your hospitality, Carey and Connexus team!

Shanghai Skyline

Shanghai Skyline

The brilliant skyline of Shanghai with her illuminated buildings and constant stream of boats on the Huangpu River

Our trip to China concluded with a stop in Shanghai. We were in the city for one full day and two nights. As remote and undeveloped as certain parts of China that we visited were, Shanghai was as modern as any city that you could visit in the West. The juxtaposition between the rural countryside and the modernity of Shanghai was quite amazing. While some parts of China seem to just now be coming out of a deep slumber, Shanghai is vibrant and alive.

Even though we had a long travel day, after dinner I stayed awake as long as possible watching the lights come on from my hotel room. Fortunately, my room faced the Bund, the waterfront area of downtown Shanghai. I was able to take a series of shots from my hotel room featuring the Pearl Tower and skyscrapers of downtown. This image is one of those. You can also see the streak of light from the constant stream of passing boats on the Huangpu River. Enjoy.

Charleston Antique Maps and Prints

Charleston Storefront

The storefront for an antique dealer in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina

I’ve mentioned before how I enjoy walking around Charleston and capturing her stunning visual beauty. This is another example of the type of scene that exists around virtually every corner of the city.

Although the image isn’t technically perfect – the depth of field is a bit shallow so some elements aren’t in tack sharp focus and there may be a bit of blur since I shot it hand-held – I love the textures, colors, and subject matter. Many of the buildings in Charleston are like this one. They were originally faced with brick or stucco, were covered with another layer of brick or stucco, and layers of paint are usually visible. Moisture clings to the walls since it is a humid climate and tinges of mildew hang on some of the surfaces. After a rain, the masonry soaks up some of the rainfall and creates patches of darker colors on the lighter walls. Usually the paint is a vibrant pastel, or in this case red, and the woodwork is adorned with old locks, hooks, mail slots, and other accoutrement. The cherry on the sundae is the name of this establishment and the visibility of old maps and artwork inside the store. It’s an image that is appealing to me on multiple levels.

As you may know, I visit locations and sometimes post the images many months after my visit has concluded. Such is the case with this image. Since my visit in March, my son has grown interested in our family ancestry. As I was helping him with his research I found myself pretty immersed in our heritage as well. As it turns out no one really had tracked the family history of my paternal grandfather. Since I inherited my surname from him and his family, naturally I was curious about his past.

I have met other Hollidays who traced their family heritage to Charleston. So, I assumed that my family would have entered America from there. Much to my surprise, my grandfather’s family hails from Jamesville, North Carolina for as far back as I have been able to trace them so far. However, in doing my research I found that my grandfather and grandmother lived in Charleston for a few years before moving to Tennessee for his work. As it turns out, he lived at 111 Church Street for part of his time in Charleston. That address is less than two blocks from this storefront just south of Broad on Church Street. It’s highly likely since this was in their neighborhood that my grandparents walked past this building often when they lived here in the 1910s and early 1920s!

Carolina Antique Maps and Prints

Charleston Storefront

The storefront for an antique dealer in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina

I’ve mentioned before how I enjoy walking around Charleston and capturing her stunning visual beauty. This is another example of the type of scene that exists around virtually every corner of the city.

Although the image isn’t technically perfect – the depth of field is a bit shallow so some elements aren’t in tack sharp focus and there may be a bit of blur since I shot it hand-held – I love the textures, colors, and subject matter. Many of the buildings in Charleston are like this one. They were originally faced with brick or stucco, were covered with another layer of brick or stucco, and layers of paint are usually visible. Moisture clings to the walls since it is a humid climate and tinges of mildew hang on some of the surfaces. After a rain, the masonry soaks up some of the rainfall and creates patches of darker colors on the lighter walls. Usually the paint is a vibrant pastel, or in this case red, and the woodwork is adorned with old locks, hooks, mail slots, and other accoutrement. The cherry on the sundae is the name of this establishment and the visibility of old maps and artwork inside the store. It’s an image that is appealing to me on multiple levels.

As you may know, I visit locations and sometimes post the images many months after my visit has concluded. Such is the case with this image. Since my visit in March, my son has grown interested in our family ancestry. As I was helping him with his research I found myself pretty immersed in our heritage as well. As it turns out no one really had tracked the family history of my paternal grandfather. Since I inherited my surname from him and his family, naturally I was curious about his past.

I have met other Hollidays who traced their family heritage to Charleston. So, I assumed that my family would have entered America from there. Much to my surprise, my grandfather’s family hails from Jamesville, North Carolina for as far back as I have been able to trace them so far. However, in doing my research I found that my grandfather and grandmother lived in Charleston for a few years before moving to Tennessee for his work. As it turns out, he lived at 111 Church Street for part of his time in Charleston. That address is less than two blocks from this storefront just south of Broad on Church Street. It’s highly likely since this was in their neighborhood that my grandparents walked past this building often when they lived here in the 1910s and early 1920s!