Monday, January 28, 2013

Morning In Small Town America

I recently joined a photography group and really enjoy the interesting suggestions to join with others at specific locations to take pictures and compare product. My first outing was a place I had photographed before, Green Cove Springs, Florida. The difference this time: The group would meet at 7am to photograph the sunrise. I tend not to be a good early riser so after a strong cup of coffee, was ready to head out at 5:45 am. As usual, click each photo for a better view.

What really shocked me about arriving so early in the morning was how colorful the beginning of a day could be. I am one of those people who tends to work well into the night, and much like a vampire seeing the sun rise becomes a dangerous thing. But, surprisingly, I felt no ill effects and actually became brave and began to walk around.

The pier, which received a short mention on my previous trip now took on a whole new meaning. It became a beacon of light that would allow me to venture out on to the water.

If you are a regular reader you already know about my desire to see life from a different angle, and the pier was no different. Looking at it from a lower level creates a very different line of sight. And,  highlights the very focused way I guess I see life. From this angle the pier could be a landing strip, an alien space ship, or even a bug of some kind. Interesting what things come to mind when you give it free reign to wander...

Time is passing, and as I gaze off in the distance, I find the spot where the sun will actually rise. A look and then the realization that I might want to find a different spot to view the big event.

More time passes, and finally the big event! The sun begins to slip above the horizon. All of us are in awe that something so simple as the rising of the sun could have so much meaning and beauty. As you can see, I was not the only one struck by the wonder of this moment. Once again, I understand how Mark Twain must have felt as he greeted the morning sailing down the Mississippi River.

Moving along the river to change my spot, I hurry to get in position because with each ticking second the object of my attention is changing as it rises in the sky. Even though the camera gives a slightly red tint to the scene, it still is an amazing sight of something you and I have seen every day of our lives.

We are now almost fully engaged as the glow of the sun casts an even larger shadow across the river. Darkness has lost the battle as sunlight begins to spread across the landscape.

The battle may have been won by the sunlight but not against the computer. Rather than do a color photo I decided to display it in black and white. I got the idea from another photographer who did an amazing shot using that technique. Strange but somehow doing that makes you appreciate daylight.

The session has now come to a close and the camera is loaded with shots. But, just before I'm ready to pack up and head home I spied this tree locked in the tight embrace of some unknown vines. I could not resist, the play of light through the trees and the tangle of vines resembled a wooden Medusa welcoming a new day. And now home and back to bed!

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Little Rhyming Alice In Wonderland

I promised awhile back that I had a new camera and would take more and better video; and after a slow start, I'm ready to begin to fulfill that promise. It never hurts to put a little skin in the game by making an investment to also spur you into action. And so, I have gone out and purchased a photo lighting kit as well.

I probably will not use them all the time but it adds another level of professionalism to my approach. And in that vein, I'm presenting a video of the latest adventure to one of my favorite places: The Karpele Manuscript Museum. They have a current exhibit of nursery rhyme manuscripts which added to the sense of excitement. But, what I also wanted to show was how the museum and each new exhibition creates its own level of wonder and new information that makes it a place to return to.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

When The Old Is New

There is an expression that if you wait long enough, what is old will become new. Every now and then you encounter something that proves the point. I like to wander through thrift stores and frequently find great gems that others have thrown away. The picture below is an example. As usual, click the photo for a better view.

I've beveled it for effect but take a really good look at the two women in this photo. There is something about it that simply called to me. If you take a quick glance, it almost appears that there in the 1920's one of them is checking her iPhone. That was my first take on it. 

It does not tell who took the photo (and it is a real photo) but there is something ever so pleasing about these two quite fashionable women in Paris (my take on it)  deep in a conversation that is very important to them. I guess you could say that is the magic of photography, that here is a simple moment in time that somehow seems just as intriguing today, almost a hundred years later.

I bought the photo and hung it in a very prominent place in my Den, as it gives me something to aspire to in the art of photography. Now that you understand the mystery for me, go back and look again!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Tourists Away And The Locals Play

Have you ever wondered what happens in a beach town when Winter comes and the locals are left to entertain themselves? It is well known that I am a fan of Vilano Beach, a quiet little town near the beach and just north of St. Augustine. And, I guess you could say that is part of the reason I like the place because it is low key and unhurried. As usual, click each photo for a better view.

Last Thanksgiving they began a local tradition called "The Decorating of the Palms", where the palms that line the so called "main street" of the town are dressed up to add a sense of fun and play during the Winter when going to the beach is not an option.

The picture above of the lonely beach pavilion provides a clue that despite the warm weather by northern standards, for locals the beach is less of a focus. But, as you can see, there were still a few brave souls. 

The decorating of the palms ran from the very simple, like this palm that has simple adornment...

to the more dramatic like this mermaid palm that has really gotten the treatment. Mermaids seemed to be a dominant theme throughout the decorating, but I particularly liked this one. 

Someone was really being creative when they came up with this one. I still don't know how they got the boat around the palm but it was a wonder!

And, I could not resist this photographic trick of a shot I took of a bow and a crystal hanging from a palm. I don't like to photo shop pictures (because I feel too much of our lives is artificial) but could not resist taking out the string to make the two seem like they are floating in air.

The local grocery store got into the act with their offering of a clerk helping take packages out to the car. The Publix store in the area should be proud because their entry was definitely creative.

But, strange as it seems, the construction of the new Publix store now means change, or development, is coming to the area. (a view of a really nice mural on the side of the store that helps it blend into the fun aspect of the area).

Development in Florida is hard to avoid, but I was pleased that the new people have adopted the whimsical attitude of the locals. Take for example the Magic Beach Motel (that we always called the "Bunny Motel"). It had fallen on hard times and looked like it might be condemned. The new owners came in and restored it to its kitschy former self, pink flamingos and all. They even dressed their palm as a snow man. 

There you have it folks, the locals at Vilano Beach really do a lot in the off season. And, the Tin Man and the SS Vilano will continue to sail on.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Man Del Brot

For a good number of the general population it is difficult to imagine that math can be fun, or even mysterious. I discovered that fact when Alex decided to become interested in creating fractals as a art form.

The more I got into it, the more exciting and mysterious it became as he produced image after image. I marveled that each represented a mathematical formula and how beautiful that could be.

My great take away from all this was that even in chao there is order. I decided to write about it today because I ran into a article about finding the lost fractals of BenoƮt Mandelbrot.

To illustrate the point, I found a video on You Tube that seems to highlight the world within worlds that is the fractal. You may never look at the world in the same way...