Dec 022012

Here is another shot from my hour spent on the boat dock at the Tampa Bay Grand Hyatt. For this shot I decided to drop the camera down low and extend the docks reach for the horizon. It’s interesting to compare this photo to the other two I’ve already released:

Three Little Birds

Boat Dock in Blue

These photos were all taken within about a half hour as the sun was rising. It goes to show just how much the light conditions change as the sun rises, and how hectic it can be taking advantage of the changes. It can also make it difficult to decide when the right time to take the shot is! I’ve had a number of occasions, for example when I was shooting Horseshoe Bay, where I think I’ve taken all the pictures I want and then suddenly something happens that offers a better photo to send me running around taking them all again.

A boat dock extends to the horizon at sunrise, in front of a pink sky at the Hyatt Resort in Tampa, Florida.

Nov 192012

While I was out on the dock at the Tampa Bay Hyatt a load of birds decided to settle on the end of the dock. It was like a scene from Hitchcock. I set up and took a few photos of the birds. As I moved closer more and more would get scared away. In the end I was left with one bird per lamppost. I knew at the time that having just the three birds spaced nice and evenly made for a nicer composition than the earlier flock.

If you’re interested in seeing the effect that the time of day has on the light in an image you can compare this image to the one shot from earlier in the morning, during the blue hour. Today’s photo was shot shortly before the sun appeared above the horizon behind me and the stark difference in colour is pretty clear. I think there’s about 20 minutes between the two images.

Three birds sitting on the light posts on the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay's Boat Dock

Oct 292012

I recently spent 4 days in Florida visiting my girlfriend. My first two days were spent in Williston. It’s a beautiful area with moss draped trees punctuating fields for livestock. Unfortunately, I’d just done a lot of traveling in a short space of time and was completely worn out when I got there. As a result, I didn’t summon the energy to get the camera gear out until we’d made it to Tampa, where we decided to spend a couple of nights.

We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay and were given the option to stay in the resort area of the hotel which had a pool, tiki bar and table tennis. It was also where this interesting looking dock was located that I’d spotted on google maps. Our first morning there we dragged ourselves out of bed at sunrise and I photographed this dock from the beginning of the blue hour right up until the end of the golden hour. As a result, I’ve got a series documenting the subtle changing of colours from night time until daylight. The first of these photos is the Blue version, below.

Long wooden boat dock with lights on calm blue sea during the blue hour at the Hyatt Resort in Tampa Bay, Florida

Jul 022012

A beautiful, sunset in a quaint Canadian town, provided the perfect backdrop for this calm scene on the shores of Lake Ontario. This was taken just as winter was turning to Spring. It was an early Spring, hence the boats are on the dock rather than in the water chomping at the bit. The serene surface of the lake provided a perfect mirror to help show off the sky.

Only a chain-linked fence threatened to ruin the shot. In a panic, as the light looked ready to fade, I figure out how to use the fence in concert with my tripod to get the shot. You can read more about how I did that here.

Beautiful sunset on the shores of Lake Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake with a boat house and sail boats are on the dock with the lake reflecting the sky.

Jun 062012

Traverse Earth Now on Facebook

You can now follow Traverse Earth on Facebook. I like the look of the page, it’s nice and crisp and inspiring me to redesign the homepage here. It’s also the first place where you can see the new TraverseEarth logo. Likes and shares on Facebook are very much appreciated!

Today’s Photo: After Dark, Lower Zambezi, Zambia

It’s a fairly long journey from Livingstone to Zambeezi Breezers, where our canoe safari started. We stumped up for the first class bus with 4 seats across rather than 5 and air conditioning so it was pretty pleasant.  I spent the time watching the scenery unfold and sleeping. It was actually probably the first bit of rest I’d had in the past week.

The rest continued when we arrived at Zambeezi Breezers and discovered this deck. We plopped ourselves down and had a few beers as the sun went down, watching the hippos commute alongside dugout canoes. Then it was dark and all we could do was listen to the vast expanse in front of us. I decided to try to capture that.

Safari-bound at Zambezi Breezers, sitting on the wood deck over the Lower Zambezi in the night with golden lights in Zambia.

Something Interesting: Carved Book Landscapes

These are really cool! Guy Laramee takes big old outdated books and uses them as his medium to carve striking landscapes. I find the seventh one down particularly impressive. It’s a Buddhist statue set back in a cave.

May 062012

My Gear

I’ve had a few questions about what camera equipment I use so I’ve put together a “My Gear” page outlining what I use and what I like. I’ll update it with more bits and pieces as I get them.

The Waymarker

Setting out on a cloudy day to attempt to photograph Somerset Bridge was never likely to work out well. It did provide opportunity to scout out the area. Upon arrival, it became clear that photographing the smallest drawbridge in the world may not be as easy as expected. It’s beautiful and in a beautiful area but portraying this on camera may not be as easy as it seems.  It was high-tide and one conclusion that can be made is that it will be best to go at low tide, to wade out more in front of the bridge. This would not be possible.

After scouting out the area I went to check out a couple more locations. Unfortunately, as it turned out the researched spots were all on private property. After wandering a bit lost in Hog Bay Park I arrived here, the beach covered by the tide. I snapped a few photos, well after sunset, not really expecting to make anything of them. However, I did get today’s photo. It’s simple, but I like it.

Calm turquoise blue ocean over the rocks with a channel marker alight on the horizon at Hog Bay Bermuda.

Apr 152012

On my recent trip to Ontario I lucked out weather-wise. It was abnormally warm and, despite packing a big jacket, I was comfortable in just a t-shirt most of the time. It felt like the middle of summer. When I arrived at the shores of Lake Huron in Tobermory I found this remnant of winter. Across the water you can see Big Tub lighthouse.

Spring thaw at Lake Huron in Tobermory with snow melting on rocks at lake edge and Big Tub lighthouse across the water

Apr 142012

I was driving westward from the center of Nigara-on-the-Lake, chasing the sunset. The sky had lit up just above the horizon and I was trying to find somewhere to take a few photos of the last light. I came across a small park nestled in amongst a few houses and parked the car. I hurried across the park to find stairs down to the edge of the lake where there happened to be a beach. I fired off a few shots and then finished up with this one.

It was dark enough that setting a small aperture allowed me to smooth out the small waves on the lake and capture some of the underwater details. This is a composite of 7 photos bracketed from -3 to +3.

Last pink tinged light seen reflecting on calm Lake Ontario at Niagara-on-the-lake with rocky shoreline.

Mar 112012

This photo was from last week. I dashed out because I realised there was going to be a great sunset. I planned on getting out to Ferry Reach but left too late. I stopped off on the way and grabbed this photo of a fishing boat sat in its harbor at day’s end.

As I was rushing I shot this handheld using my 70-300mm lens to get in close to the boats. I took 3 exposures and then used Photoshop to align the images prior to running them through Photomatix.

Little fishing boat anchored in its harbor in Bermuda at sunset.

Mar 062012

Waking up before sunrise is pretty easy when you’re sleeping in a mesh tent surrounded by the sounds of wild animals through the night. Light moving across the flat landscape was a welcome sign.

“You’ll hear animals through the night. They’re going to sound very close, but sound travels a long way here.”

That was the last thing our guide said to us before the group separated into their respective tents. It had been raining, a hard rain as reported in an earlier post, so our fly sheets were on. They were heavy with an almost rubbery feel. It didn’t take long until people emerged in the darkness, flashlights in hand, to remove the stifling material. The fear of another downpour led to discussions on whether to leave it on, leave them half on or take them completely off. My tent mate and I settled on taking it all the way off, but laying it down carefully so it could be pulled up rapidly if need be.

Following this we turned to the darkness. A quick waft of the flashlight revealed a disturbing number of glinting eyes – presumably hippos. Hippos that were already on land and probably only 50 meters from us – they looked back, not moving. I guess they were content to munch away on the long grass surrounding us. With this revelation we returned to our tents. Now, nothing but a thin mesh separated us from the elements, and the wild animals. To be honest, this is exactly what I was after. Why sleep in the bush if you’re just going to lock yourself away? Also, it was much cooler this way.

Just as I dozed off to sleep I was startled by the trumpeting of an elephant. It sounded like it had to be on the same island as us but I repeated the mantra “they sound closer than they are” and drifted off to sleep. I was woken regularly through the night by every noise you feel like a night in the African bush should provide. I heard hyenas, lions, more elephant trumpets, and hippos grunting. This was always punctuated by an eerie silence that you knew would be broken at any moment.

My tent-mate, however, was fortunate enough to be awake for our closest encounter. Having been on an elephant back safari just days before he was finely tuned to recognize the sound of elephant dung hitting the ground. He woke up to feel the ground moving and quickly recognized the thudding. It didn’t take long for him to conclude that an elephant was crapping right next to our tent. I asked if he’d turned on his light to take a look, but the closeness rendered him incapable of moving.

We awoke to a red sky, having survived the night, and exchanged the stories of sounds I’ve just recanted here. Then we hopped out to check the area. Sure enough, there was fresh dung right next to our tent.

Following this discovery I set about capturing the sun rise. I’ve got a lot of photos of this scene from the night before. I’m not happy with any of them. This morning, I took only one photo of this scene, and I’m thrilled by it. I find that I’m always happiest with photos I’ve had to wait to take. For this one, I identified where I thought that sun would be coming up, framed up the picture and waited. I waited for quite a while and the sky was pretty blue all the way across. I began to wonder if I’d misjudged the location of the sunrise and somehow missed it. Then the glow intensified and I knew it was about to peak over the horizon. 7 exposures later and I was packing up my gear.

Glorious star-burst sunrise peeking over the horizon on the Zambezi River in Zambia.