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Alabama 2023, Part II, Ends of Day

March 30, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

In the spring and in the fall, around the two annual equinoxes, a south facing beach like the one in Gulf Shores, Alabama, have one extra advantage. You can observe both a sunrise and a sunset from the same spot and both will be pretty much over the beach for a different mood from the ones over open water. In fact, the whole winter between the two equinoxes you will be able to enjoy both sunrises and sunsets, even if a bit more over the water. As the days extend, the sun will migrate too far over the land to the north.

Setting sun over the beach at Gulf Shores, Alabama.Gulf Shores Beach SunsetGulf of Mexico
Setting sun over the beach at Gulf Shores, Alabama

Nikon D610, Nikkor AF-S 24 - 85mm ED, Aperture Priority +1 EV, 1/125 sec, f/16

Standing at almost the same spot as for the photo above just turned to the left and that is where the sun rose the following morning. For a different mood I went with a long exposure here completely flattening the already calm surface of the Gulf of Mexico. Not sure how but even the slope of the sandy beach disappeared for a complete leveled look of the sand and water.

Rising sun over the beach at Gulf Shores, AlabamaGulf Shores Beach SunriseGulf of Mexico
Rising sun over the beach at Gulf Shores, Alabama
Nikon D610, Nikkor AF-S 24 - 85mm ED, Aperture Priority +4 EV, 25 sec, f/22

First, I tried finding angles that would eliminate. any signs of civilization from my photos. however, as we continued our walk down the beach and the shape of the beach behind us changed it offered the below view including the silhouetted condominiums under the wild sunset colors. 

A distant condo silhouette under bold sunset colors in Gulf Shores, AlabamaSunset Colors over Gulf Shores BeachGulf of Mexico

A distant condo silhouette under bold sunset colors in Gulf Shores, Alabama
Nikon D610, Nikkor AF-S 24 - 85mm ED, Aperture Priority -2/3 EV, 1/125 sec, f/4.5

And finally for the least intuitive view. While this was at sunset the below view is towards the east. There, the bold colors of the sunset were replaced with more subtle pastel tones. And no, the long pier of the Gulf State Park did not hurt the composition a bit. It was visible from quite a distance and it took us a while to realize we would not make it all the way to it that evening.

The Gulf State Park Pier in the distance with painterly sunset colors in the eastern sky.Gulf State Park Pier at SunsetGulf of Mexico

The Gulf State Park Pier in the distance with painterly sunset colors in the eastern sky
Nikon D610, Nikkor AF-S 24 - 85mm ED, Aperture Priority, 1/50 sec, f/7.1

And that is it for today. One beach, many different looks.

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

Alabama 2023 Series: Part I, Houses on StiltsPart II, Ends of Day

Sunny Afternoon at Paradise Isle Resort, Gulf Shores, AlabamaSunny Afternoon at Paradise IsleGulf Shores, Alabama Office and Palm Trees, Paradise Isle Resort, Gulf Shores, Alabama.Office & Palm TreesGulf Shores, Alabama Paradise Isle Resort at Dusk, Blue Hour over Gulf Shores, AlabamaParadise Isle at DuskGulf Shores, Alabama


Alabama 2023, Part I, Houses on Stilts

March 27, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

After two days on the road, we pulled into the Paradise Isle Resort's parking lot, and I knew there would be many photographs of the resorts' buildings on stilts. While it is a common sight along the shore it definitely is not a common sight around Buffalo, New York. I immediately felt a connection and looked forward to exploring the raised house in different light. However, there was something captivating about that exact look in the middle of the afternoon with the sun in my eyes and the backlight skimming the walls of the resort.

I was tired from the long drive and a bit lazy and did not feel like digging out the camera at that very moment even though some lessons of the past went through my head. The light might not be the same again! We might not be there mid-afternoon again! Yet, all I did was pull out my phone and snapped a quick memory that way. For a few days afterwards, my worries kept coming true. Eventually I got my second chance though when we were not exploring elsewhere, and the light was similar to the arrival conditions.

Sunny Afternoon at Paradise Isle Resort, Gulf Shores, AlabamaSunny AfternoonParadise Isle Resort

Sunny Afternoon at Paradise Isle Resort, Gulf Shores, Alabama
Nikon D610, Nikkor AF-S 24 - 85mm ED, Aperture Priority +2/3 EV, 1/60 sec, F/16

The resort offered some other picturesque angles. Here's a pretty basic head on photograph across the West Beach Boulevard. I tried several other angles but in the end liked the simplicity of this one. I also liked how the palm trees fit in this frame.

Office of the Paradise Isle Resort, Gulf Shores, AlabamaOfficeParadise Isle Resort

Office of the Paradise Isle Resort, Gulf Shores, Alabama
Nikon D610, Nikkor AF-S 24 - 85mm ED, Aperture Priority +2/3 EV, 1/200 sec, F/10

Since the houses on stilts also featured outside lamps I had to try a blue hour photo. We were lucky with the week spent there and evenings and nights offered clear skies with some decorative clouds floating by. And yes, I was happy with a scene similar to the opening one, just a few steps back to include one extra unit. I was hesitant about the cars on the right edge but did not have much of a choice as I absolutely wanted to include the utility poles. Why not though? These are vacation houses and the cars belong there.

Paradise Isle Resort at Dusk, Blue Hour over Gulf Shores, AlabamaDuskParadise Isle Resort

Paradise Isle Resort at Dusk, Blue Hour over Gulf Shores, Alabama
Nikon D610, Nikkor AF-S 24 - 85mm ED, Aperture Priority +2 & 2/3 EV, 15 sec, F/10

The next evening we returned early enough to catch another dusk photograph. For this one I went around the corner and looked for a new angle. When I thought I was done someone turned on the light in the window on the right and I grabbed one more photo. And I am glad I did. As I reviewed the whole series it was that last one that came ahead of the rest for me. It added a little extra bonus.

Blue Hour over Paradise Isle Resort, Gulf Shores, AlabamaBlue HourParadise Isle Resort

Blue Hour over Paradise Isle Resort, Gulf Shores, Alabama
Nikon D610, Nikkor AF-S 24 - 85mm ED, Aperture Priority +1 EV, 25 sec, F/11

There you have it, the opening post to another series. Apparently, I am doing really well with the sequels to the other ones (from 2016!).

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

Alabama 2023 Series: Part I, Houses on Stilts

De Immigrant on Mississippi, a dutch-style windmill in Fulton, Illinois (IL).De Immigrant on MississippiRoad Trip Trading Post in Georgetown, ColoradoTrading Post in Georgetown, ColoradoRoad Trip A Rural House, Southern Moravia, Czech Republic, EuropeA Rural HouseTravel


Pineapple, Ananas, Piña, Abacaxi

February 09, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

This time it did not take a long time at all to add to the Animals & Plants photo gallery. After some frogging last time, we're exploring the look of a tasty fruit this time around. First up? A close up, always creating an intriguing pattern of shapes and colors. Sometimes more yellow, sometimes more green, but always tasty unless it's left standing around for too long turning into pineapple wine.

Pineapple Pattern Close UpPineapple PatternA close up on pineapple skin pattern

Pineapple Pattern Close Up
Tokina atx-i 100mm f/2.8 FF Macro, 1/4 sec at f/16, ISO 200

I have had an opportunity to meet and talk with people from many countries and somehow by accident our discussions often turned to a pineapple. While our common language usually was English, we found it interesting that ananas was the word for it in our native languages. And the more people I asked the more of them knew the fruit as ananas.

For the second photo I have gone for a profile. Can you tell this pineapple is looking left? I liked the contrast between the warm colors of the fruit and the black background.

Pineapple Profile, Side Close UpPineapple ProfileThe side of a pineapple, or its profile.

Pineapple Profile, Side Close Up
Tokina atx-i 100mm f/2.8 FF Macro
, 0.6 sec at f/16, ISO 200

And finally, a full head portrait to close us out today. Unlike the two photos above I did not want to go for a frame-filling portrait. Instead, I wanted to give the fruit plenty of room around the edges. I like the mood better that way.

Pineapple, Ananas, Piña, AbacaxiPineappleHow do you say pineapple?

Pineapple, Ananas, Piña, Abacaxi
Tokina atx-i 100mm f/2.8 FF Macro, 0.5 sec at f/11, ISO 100

All photos were captured with a very simple set up. I hung a black velvet fabric behind (and under) the pineapple for a blank black background. Then I placed a single large adjustable LED light (18" FotodioX C-700RSV FlapJack) at about 45 degrees on the left and turned it more right to just illuminate the fruit by the feathered edges of the light. With that set up almost no light was falling on the fabric to the left of the fruit and the right side was far enough to also stay in the dark. In fact, the light was turned more towards the camera than the fruit and was causing a flare despite having placed a hood on the lens. I flagged the light off with a piece of black matboard leaned against the light from the camera side. I manually set the camera white balance to 3700K and the light to 3600K for a slightly warmer rendering.

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

Do you enjoy reading my photography blog? Would you like to see more photographs of the animal kingdom? Visit my Nature - Animals & Plants and enjoy!

Banana FlowerBanana FlowerPlants Catkins, Green Grass Theme, Spring in Western New YorkCatkins, Green ThemePlants A Close Up of Cherry Tree Blossoms at the Buffalo History Museum's Japanese GardenCherry Tree BlossomsPlants


Winter Landscapes from the Southtowns

January 31, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Mamiya 645 1000s, Fomapan 400 Black and White Negative Film.Mamiya 645Fomapan 400 This is a loose continuation of my winter series: Winter StranglerWinter is Here (Again)!, and Winter is Here! The whole series is connected not only by winter but being around the Southtowns of Buffalo, NY and photographed with a medium format Mamiya 645 camera on black and white film. The sad reality of winter in these parts is that sunshine is way too precious and most days are of various shades of gray. various tones of gloom. On the few passing moments when blue sky shows up I am tempted to rush for color film and capture the sight for perpetuity but a look to the west often quickly squashes my hopes as I see the gloom rolling in. This often happens in the morning when the low rising sun has a chance to get under the clouds. Sometimes that light can be so dramatic and tricky that it tricks me into thinking that the gloom from the west are not heat clouds but a rather pretty dark shade of blue sky. And then sun hops above the clouds.

Basketball Hoop, Western New York Winter. Snyder Road, West Falls, NY. Mamiya 645 1000s, Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer.Basketball HoopWestern New York Winter

Basketball Hoop, Western New York Winter, Snyder Road, West Falls, NY
Mamiya 645 1000s, Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer

On days like this snow is a huge bonus. While the sky may be dark and gloomy snow on the ground cleans and brightens everything up. Up is down and down is up. The light comes from the ground.

Car Repair Shop, Western New York Winter. Center Street, East Aurora, NY. Mamiya 645 1000s, Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer.Car Repair ShopWestern New York Winter

Car Repair Shop, Western New York Winter, Center Street, East Aurora, NY
Mamiya 645 1000s, Foma Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer

The Southtowns of Buffalo, NY are in the so called snow belt, the area to the east of Lake Erie that gets most of the lake effect snow. Thus they also provide picturesque winter scenes, whether they are scenic landscapes or ordinary scenes along the small country roads people take daily on their commutes to work. Do they see it all though?

Old Shed in the Field, Western New York Winter, Emery Road, East Aurora, NY. Mamiya 645 1000s, Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer.Old Shed in the FieldWestern New York Winter

Old Shed in the Field, Western New York Winter, Emery Road, East Aurora, NY
Mamiya 645 1000s, Foma Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer

That's one of the reasons I like photography. It helps me pay more attention. I see things, I look for things that I would otherwise overlook. And I see history passing through my mind, things changing, things getting older, and once in a while a new thing popping up. Barns and sheds usually slowly give in to time, eventually collapsing. But here and there, even if rarely, a beautiful new barn pops up and brings a huge smile. Maybe it's knowing it will be there for me to watch forever.

Emery Park Pergola, Western New York Winter, East Aurora, NY. Mamiya 645 1000s, Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer.Emery Park PergolaWestern New York Winter

Emery Park Pergola, Western New York Winter, East Aurora, NY
Mamiya 645 1000s, Foma Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer

The car is parked in a lot now and we're on the foot through the beautiful Emery Park south of the village of East Aurora, NY. And even here it's a twofold story. There's scenic nature, always reliable, always beautiful. And then there is the human side of things, the structures people build. I really appreciate some of the local parks and the fact that the towns, counties, and state usually try to build things in a way that blend better with nature even if those choices are not the cheapest. Look at this stone pergola. Isn't it some much better than some quickly raised shelter? While not on these photos, I was very pleasantly surprised recently as some bridges were being repaired in Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park, NY, and their side walls were wrapped in stone. It gives the parks charm and it makes them happier places to those who pay attention.

Aging Stone Bridge, Western New York Winter, Emery Park, East Aurora, NY. Mamiya 645 1000s, Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer.Aging Stone BridgeWestern New York Winter

Aging Stone Bridge, Western New York Winter, Emery Park, East Aurora, NY
Mamiya 645 1000s, Foma Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer

On that note here's an example of the potential contrast. There's a beautiful old stone bridge crossing the creek but it has fallen into disrepair and will need to be services. Meanwhile, a simple wooden bridge was laid down nearby to keep the trail open. Will the stone bridge be repaired to bring smiles to future generations or will "lack of funding" make this one history? I hope it can be repaired. It would be another reason to smile in this wonderful park.

Freezing Waters, Western New York Winter, Emery Park, East Aurora, NY. Mamiya 645 1000s, Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer.Freezing WatersWestern New York Winter

Freezing Waters, Western New York Winter, Emery Park, East Aurora, NY
Mamiya 645 1000s, Foma Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer

I started with doom and gloom of the Western New York Winter but found happier topics along the way. And as I am getting to the closure of today's philosophical post I can see a very small gap in the clouds. And guess what's visible through it! Indeed, a blue sky!

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

Do you enjoy reading my photography blog? Would you like to see more photographs from Buffalo and Western New York? Visit my Buffalo Cityscapes and Buffalo & Western New York Landscapes and enjoy! If black and white is your cup of tea, why not head over to the World without Color photo collection? And finally, if you enjoy looking at winter scenery, I have the Winter collection just for that purpose.

Snow Covered Spooky Winter Wetlands, Orchard Park, New YorkSpooky Winter WetlandsWinter Snow Covered Winter Entrance to the Wetlands Woods, Orchard Park, New YorkWinter EntranceWinter Through the Winter Landscape, Creek in Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York (NY)Through the Winter LandscapeWinter

Snowy Birdsong Gate in Winter with a Reflection in the Creek, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York (NY)Birdsong Gate in WinterWinter Branches and Trees Dressed in White Snowy Coat for Winter, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York (NY)Branches Dressed for WinterWinter The Creek Guard in Winter, A Old Tree in Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York (NY)The Creek Guard in WinterWinter

 


Ribbit, Ribbit, Croak, Croak

January 23, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

For today's post I am going with a complete change of pace. While I do have a photo gallery dedicated to plants and animals on my website it is the smallest one of them all. Now it will be two pictures bigger!

Sun-Tanning Bullfrog, A bullfrog basking in the warmth of the waning sunshine of the setting sun.Sun-Tanning BullfrogLast Bits of Sunshine

Sun-tanning bullfrog basking in the warmth of the waning sunshine
(The Original/Old) Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR, 400mm, 1/800 at f/5.6, ISO 220

We have a favorite three-mile loop through local wetlands that's great for walks and runs. For variety and beautiful scenery there are three ponds along the way too. That's how we describe where we are on the trail. So here we're by the second pond and in late afternoons it is surrounded by bullfrogs soaking in the heat for the night. I always see them and try to make it by without scaring them. I figure if it were me I would not want to jump into the water yet either.

Peeking Bullfrog, A bullfrog peeking out above the surface of a small pond enjoying the last warm rays of the setting sun.Peeking BullfrogLast Bits of Daylight

Bullfrog peeking out above the surface of a small pond enjoying the last warm rays of the setting sun
(The Original/Old) Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR, 400mm, 1/800 at f/5.6, ISO 450

This evening was different though. Instead of a walk or a run I picked up my camera, a long lens, and slowly walked the trail backwards to get to the second pond faster. And the slow mode of operation continued on location too. I tried to stay low and kept my distance at first, grabbing a few safety photos, then inching forward. And again and again. As usual there were quite a few bullfrogs to photograph each posing differently and using a different strategy for camouflage. I looked for those that were surrounded by greenery for a more picturesque photo. Too much mud did not seem to do it for me.

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

Do you enjoy reading my photography blog? Would you like to see more photographs of the animal kingdom? Visit my Nature - Animals & Plants and enjoy!

Japanese Macaque, Animal KingdomJapanese MacaqueAnimal Kingdom Iguana of Fence Post, Animal KingdomIguana of Fence PostAnimal Kingdom Eye contact with a coyote in the light of setting sun in Sonoran Desert, Arizona (AZ).Coyote in the DesertAnimal Kingdom

 

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