What do you call a place that starts the day with a sunrise and ends with nature's fireworks? I call it Florida in summer. Normally the thunderstorms come in the afternoon but once in a while they'll occur at night. The spectacle is both awesome and beautiful. The lightning flashes occur every few seconds appearing like something out of a science fiction movie. When I first moved here I was awestruck, now I'm more or less accustomed to it.
Most people stay indoors, it's not a good idea to be outside when this happens. Getting struck by lightning is a real possibility in this region. That being said, I was a couple of miles away from these strikes and after just a few shots I retreated to my car. A picture may be worth a thousand words but it's not worth getting hurt over.
But, thunderstorms rarely last for very long. Within a few minutes the lightning stopped, the rain started and it all blew over within about forty-minutes. Even though its officially autumn, the tropical weather continues here in Florida for about another month. Then, sometime in mid-to-late October we'll get a cool front and it all stops as quickly as it started. But for now, we still have a few weeks of nature's fireworks remaining.
On Sunday I spent part of the morning at the pier on Anna Maria Island. This image is a study of sorts. I recently purchased a couple Lee filters and have been experimenting with long exposure daytime photography. In this case the experiment was to see what would happen if I took a long exposure of the sunrise. I used a wide angle so that the pier would be somewhat proportional to the sun. This is exposed for nearly three minutes, 175 seconds to be exact. For an experiment, I kind of like how it turned out.
If you look close you'll see ghost like images of the white egrets that populate the pier in the morning. I would normally try to keep them out of the frame but in this case they're faded presence adds a narrative to the scene, an indication of what was going on at the time. In fact, what was going on is there were fishermen behind me net casting for bait fish. They would dump the catch on the pier and the egrets would snatch up any that didn't make it into the bait bucket. Long story short, I was surrounded by white egrets.
I came here to watch the sunrise on a Sunday morning. As usual I wasn't alone, there are always a handful of people doing the same thing. It's a beautiful place and time of day to be here and it's almost like being in church, there is a sense of reverence. In a way I suppose I was at the weekly Anna Maria sunrise service, only the parishioners were my fellow egrets and fishermen.
This is the central foyer of the Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas. I took this early one morning which is the only time that no people are present. The central column is about eight stories high and is serviced by elevators and stairwells. In the evening this is augmented with a colorful lighting display. I found this perspective through a glass portal at the very top.
At the very bottom is a bar, the next up is a Starbucks, then a champagne bar and so on up the levels. There are game rooms, libraries, areas for lounging, each level is unique. Often we would lean against the banister and watch the band playing music below or perhaps watch a demonstration on cake making. Certainly there are things to do outside, but on an Alaskan cruise there is plenty to do indoors as well.
This is a small ship by todays standards but it's a sister of the first ship I ever saw, the Jewel of the Seas. I was and still am amazed that this type of space and architecture can exist on an ocean-going vessel. Yet to the truly big ships this is unremarkable. I'm a simple man, and to me, this is really really big. Getting on a bigger ship seems like maybe going to the mall with a hotel that floats. The sea is almost incidental.
Anyway, my impression of these ships is one of awe, how they build them is way beyond my ability to comprehend.