This is a country oak I found along the highway in the outer reaches of my county. I see these whenever I drive along the pastures east of my home. Yesterday I just had to stop and take a picture. Normally these oaks are shelter from the hot Florida sun for the cattle and so it's not uncommon to find several in the shade. For whatever reason there were no cattle here and so the simplicity of the scene grabbed my attention.
When is warm and humid, we get these rows of clouds stretching as far as the eye can see. In this case there was another layer above that creating a spectacle in the sky. For whatever atmospheric reason, the clouds form readily at mid day over the rural areas, but as you get closer to the coast and beaches, the clouds disappear; not always but most of the time. On the west end of the county is pristine beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, the eastern end is mostly farming and ranches. The beaches and the rural sections seem to each have their own distinct climates.
After I titled this image Country Oak it occurred to me that indeed this is a common name. There are streets like Country Oak Lane; developments like Country Oak Estates; and schools like Country Oak Middle School, ...the list goes on. I never really thought about it before now, but the idea of Country Oaks seem to be iconic and somewhat popular around here. And here I thought it was all about the beaches.
This was taken inside Queenstown Gardens which is situated right in the middle of Queenstown. It kind of like Central Park for Queenstown, yet even as I write that I know it's not a good analogy. Surrounded by mountains, Queenstown has nothing in common with New York City. Maybe a better analogy would be Stanley Park in Vancouver, yes, I think so. Only Queenstown is not as commercial as Vancouver and is many times smaller. So if Vancouver were one-tenth its size then the comparison might be truer; so much for analogies.
I came here with a group of photographers on the first day of a workshop with Trey Ratcliff. We arrived before dawn along the shores of Lake Wakatipu. We then walked and took photos for several miles, ending up here still quite early in the morning. The shadows were long in the morning sun and the clouds were puffy; all elements to consider in composition, which was one of the themes of the workshop. As compositions go, this is so-so, not one of my best. Even so, looking at this now brings back fond memories of the chilly autumn morning.
After about an hour here we loaded onto a bus and headed for a well-deserved breakfast at a hotel overlooking the lake. After almost two years, I still believe that New Zealand has some of the most scenic landscapes on the planet. I also think they make a pretty good breakfast. So if you can put those two concepts together, that amount sums up my first morning.
Bormuth Tapas Bar is located in the El Born / La Ribera section of Barcelona. It's in a labyrinth of streets and shops. Of all the places I visited in this city, this area was most enjoyable to get lost in. I snapped this shot as I was walking around at night, but later learned from TripAdvisor that it has great ratings. Had I not just left another Tapas bar a few minutes before I would have stopped here for a quick nosh. This area is so fun I could imagine living in Barcelona just to hang out here and talk late into the night, or wander around with my camera.
Tapas is the way to go, a little bit of this, a little bit of that and some good Spanish wine to wash it all down. I've noticed a few Tapas bars popping up near my home in Florida lately. If I were to make a prediction I would guess that Tapas will grow in popularity here in North America. It just seems like a reasonable way to eat, kind of like a Spanish version of Dim Sum.
To take this photo I used an ISO of 5000 which is quite high. That and the in-camera image stabilization allows me to capture a night scenes like this that would not have been possible a year ago without a tripod. Capturing images at night is one of my favorite types of photography, the mood is transformed from the stark light of day and somehow it evokes more feelings and imagination, at least for me.
So here I am, lost in a labyrinth, having just had Tapas and wine, and lost in the joy of my favorite type of photography at the same time. What could be better?