Entries in HDR (91)
I once heard someone say, "everything changes except the Sea." It instantly entered my long term memory and comes to mind quite often. On the other hand, does anything change more frequently than the sky? Is this constant change one of the reasons why people (well, at least myself) love to behold the sky? Is this the reason why the sky is so often photographed? Or is the sky just the most beautiful thing about Earth?
Just 16 minutes earlier, the sky looked like this that evening . . .
I was excited to spot Lake Manatee State Park on Google Maps. It seemed like it was an exciting find as I especially like to visit state parks with lakes or rivers. In fact, it is a very modest state park with one small, but nice access point to the lake, which is itself somewhat nondescript. In other words, the place was basically a desert. The campground was booked solid with it being Labor Day, but the park still felt rather empty. This is normally ok with me, but it seems there was a reason for it being so. Kiki was with us so we could not swim in the lake (against its alligator attracting rules), a prudent precaution by the park, but with a number of people swimming, including children, it would seem quite safe enough and any alligator would be avoiding the human contact of the area. Still, we could have rented a canoe and brought Kiki on the lake that way, and since you can only rent a canoe at the entrance, we thought we should have just rented one then and saved the return trip. However, we ended up being glad we did not fork out the $10 for a 2-hour rental ahead of time as the lake offered no cover and we would have only boiled on its surface with minimal sightseeing opportunities.
Despite all that we enjoyed window shopping as we walked through the campground wondering what all the trailers and RVs looked like inside and had a nice picnic lunch on one of the numerous covered table areas. We even made use of the playground for a bit.
For me it is always nice to get a commercial real estate job because it provides a welcome change of pace to the usual people-based photography I do. In some ways, it is much easier to photograph a bedroom or a kitchen or a living room. Nothing is moving around, nothing blinks, nothing is camera shy, and perhaps best of all it's air conditioned! Then again, lighting a room or small or large size presents its own challenges. Furniture does need to be posed, or rather arranged, for best presentation. Which angle most flatters the room? What elements get left along the edges of the frame (bit of crown molding above) and which get cropped out (painted wall to the right)?
I chose to use mostly HDR to make the photographs for Barefoot Beach Resort in Clearwater. I tried some two-strobe setups, but in the end all but one image I delivered to the client was HDR. The one non-HDR shot was of a small kitchen where I could not setup my tripod, but rather had to climb up on a counter and almost lay down! That was actually kind of fun.
Other challenges of doing open window room photographer include reflections. The above photograph of a master bedroom had a window to the right of the frame which I wanted open (well the blinds actually) as it provided needed light, but it also caused a huge reflection on the painting on the wall above the bed. You cannot see it now because of some careful, and tedious cloning work. Then there was the setup. French doors lead out to the Florida room (middle photo) and are a main feature of the master bedroom. Working with the client we decided that just that much of the French doors in the shot was enough to portray them to viewers while still showing a good portion of the bedroom as well as the hallway to more show some of the layout of the condo.
Working with a tripod and without people as subjects meant I could really take my time and setup and frame the shots exactly how I thought best with input from the client too, without worry of the subject matter getting tired.
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I had been thinking a lot the past few days how long it had been since I went out and just shot for fun, for myself. Last week photography friend Wade suggested we join NPPF's meetup in downtown St. Petersburg. I said sure, let's do it. Then when one NPPF member said we can shoot from the top of the condo building he lives in, equivalent to the 28th floor, I thought wow, can get some new shots of an area I have photographed already almost every which way.
I had also been wanting to give Photoshop CS5's great Photomerge action another try, but one cannot just easily create a compelling panorama just anywhere. However, an open wraparound viewing area twenty-eight stories up is certainly a compelling area.
The rooftop we were on was adjacent to downtown St. Petersburg's newest skyline addition, Signature St. Petersburg, a very aggressive modern condo skyscraper that dominated our southern view, and thus received a lot of lens attention from myself and everyone else in the group. I taught a DSLR Photography Lesson on architecture back in March using the skyscraper as a subject matter.
I like having a high view. For four years in Tokyo I lived on the 11th floor of a building with views of downtown Shinjuku and the sunset. I liked being able to step out onto my balcony and survey all the land before me. There is nothing quite like having a sweeping, bird's eye view.
This was the second time in a week of being high up in a condo with a view of downtown St. Petersburg after never being more than a few stories off the ground in a year and a half. Beholding such a view is starting to feel contagious, although living so high up with a thirsty puppy needing half a dozen bathroom breaks a day would not be so convenient.
The sixth entry in my ongoing Sunny Florida f/11 project is an HDR image of the harbor in downtown St. Petersburg in front of The Pier. Despite the harbor's small size dolphins and manatees regularly swim in it, and pelicans dive alone the seawall on a regular basis. There is something I really like about this harbor myself that is ineffable. The small cluster of trees on the left horizon is my favorite spot in the entire city which offers great views of Tampa Bay to the east and the downtown St. Petersburg skyline to the west. Then in the gap between there and the park on the other side pass dolphins (photographed here) and manatee in water that can be fairly clear at times. It is a position of power commanding viewership over the whole area.