That building on the mountain is a church known as Santa Cova de Montserrat. What's impressive is that it's only accessible by trail. Also, it's very near the Abbey of Montserrat in the Catalonian region of Spain. When I took this photo, I was standing not far from the abbey on an overlook near the top of Montserrat. To get up the mountain, we had to drive a precariously steep and winding road.
The landscape here is extreme and, try as I do, still can't imagine how places such as this get built. The construction must take many generations. Projects like this are not something we are likely to see again.
The Abbey of Montserrat is just an hour from Barcelona, and you can see the outskirts of the city in the distance. We didn't plan it right and arrived in the afternoon which meant we only had a couple of hours to explore. But now that we know, next time we'll spend the day exploring much more of this unbelievable monastery in the mountains.
I took this image as I disembarked from the ferry to Victoria a few years ago. That was my first time visiting Vancouver Island, and I remember being thrilled at all the new sites. So, before arriving in town, we stopped here to walk around and take pictures of the scenery.
I used my first mirrorless camera, the Sony A7R. Now, as I go back and look at old photos I haven't processed, I'm surprised at how well the images hold up, even against newer cameras. So I find myself going back to explore old RAW files with more modern tools and each time, I come away with few surprises.
The trip was the beginning of a week on the island, and some of my all-time favorite images came from that trip. There are different climates all across the island, and the geography varies widely. As a result, I was pulling over all the time to take pictures. That meant it took us hours to get anywhere, but since we weren't on a schedule it wasn't a problem, until the last day when we had to be at the terminal on time for the ferry back. That's when I got a speeding ticket, but that's a story for another day.
I've been avoiding it, but on Wednesday evening I went to Bradenton Beach to see the spectacle for myself. If you haven't heard, Florida is in the middle of a massive red tide. So I drove to the beach, and as expected, was greeted with the smell of fish washed up on the shore. Maybe because of the breeze, it was not as bad as I feared. After a few minutes, I relaxed and let it fade into the background.
I came primarily to take pictures of the sunset because red tide or not, when the atmospheric conditions are right it's still astounding to see. However, as I walked along the beach, something seemed out of place. I struggled to put my finger on it as I continued and then it hit me. It was too quiet; there were no birds. All of the gulls, pipers, and pelicans had either succumbed or escaped, and there was not a single one on the beach. The lack of avian sounds and activity left me with an eerie feeling. That was the moment it hit home.
I am heartbroken, of course. I rationalize to myself that we are moving through the worst it, but that we will make it to the other side. The conditions that allow the algae bloom will eventually cease, and the fish, birds and sea mammals will, in time, return. I'm glad I went, and now I know that I will go again because I think it's important to witness it first hand, not just from TV. People are avoiding the shore, and the beach is empty in more ways than one. As for myself, being there to hear its silence is in some way, essential.