SpaceX sent their new Dragon Crew Capsule on a test flight to the International Space Station early this morning. Night launches are always great to watch and photograph. luckily they all aren’t at 2:49 am! If this test flight goes well, SpaceX hopes to start sending astronauts to the ISS later this year.
On our trip to Toronto Canada last spring my wife and I stopped by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). I saw some photos of the ROM when I was researching our trip. I really liked the geometric architecture, so I definitely wanted to photograph it. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to go inside and take a tour of the museum’s galleries. They have quite an extensive collection.
The original building is a stone Neo-Romanesque style, built in 1910. The modern aluminum expansion called the Crystal, was added nearly 100 years later in 2007. Most of the original building is still visible and the contrast between the two styles is quite dramatic. The public opinion of the new addition was quite dramatic. Like when the glass pyramid was added to the Louvre in Paris, lots of people hated it. I gave these images a dark dramatic look to emphasize all of the drama. Love them or hate them, I enjoyed photographing both the glass pyramid and the Crystal.
I really like all of the angles and geometric shapes of the Crystal. The large glass windows are at the perfect angle to reflect everything going on in the street below. I could have spent hours photographing the changing traffic patterns in the reflections.
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I was taking a drive through the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, near Titusville Florida, doing a bit of bird watching. I was seeing lots of birds but nobody was being particularly photogenic today. Even though the birds are not cooperating, it’s always nice to be out and about in the refuge. I was hanging around thinking that I would like to photograph the sunset. That wasn’t looking too promising either. All day the sky had been blue and cloudless. Not typically the best scenario for a great sunset. Sunsets are very unpredictable, you never know exactly what you are going to get. So I stuck it out taking in the sights and sounds of the refuge. About 45 minuets or so before sunset, I headed to the place that I had in mind to photograph. It wasn’t until I setup my camera and looked through the lens that I noticed the clouds. A few long thin windblown clouds had moved in, creating a very dramatic sky. Things were looking up. Now all I needed was a bit of color. As the sun slowly lowered into the horizon, the color filled the sky. I was glad that I stuck around. So along with your camera equipment, a photographer also needs a bit of optimism and perseverance.
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It was that time of year again, the birds were flying south and so were the birders. That means it was time once again for the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. I had the opportunity again this year to offer my Nighttime Photography Workshop at the A Max Brewer Bridge. We had a great time photographing the bridge, watching birds and dolphins. I had lots of fun, I think my participants did as well. I’m sure they got some awesome photographs. I always spend a lot of time working with the people in my workshop, so I don’t take many photos during the workshop. A few days before the workshop I always get out to take a few test shots. So here are the test shots that I took just before the festival.
Sometimes, when I take photographs, I have a specific purpose in mind. There is some sort of event or place that I set out to photograph. Sometimes, a subject will speak to me; it will demand that I photograph it. Mostly because it is bathed in awesome light and has some incredible shadows. Sometimes, I haven’t photographed anything for a while and my addiction can no longer fight the urge to photograph something. The other day my craving to photograph something had reached it’s boiling point. Just at that moment a leaf on a vine growing on my fence spoke to me. It was back-lit by the early evening sun. The light had created some interesting shadows along the veins of the leaf. It was literally begging me to photograph it. So I grabbed my camera and off I went to the back yard to photograph this insistent leaf. As I took some photos of the leaf, I heard the pleas of some of the other plants. They too wished to be photographed. Not wanting to offend my other plants, I photographed them as well. My plants and my cravings were satisfied, for now.
When you visit Niagara Falls, you need to take part in the more “touristy” activities, that you may try to avoid while visiting other destinations. I’m not sure but I think “touristy” was invented in Niagara Falls. Pretty much since they were first discovered, people have been coming up with creative ways of
taking making money off of people visiting the falls. In the early days there was a big privacy fence all the way around the falls. You had to pay to look through a hole in the fence just to see the falls. Things are somewhat better now, but you still need to reach into your pocket. At least now after you pay to park your car you can walk along the river and get amazing views of the falls. A lot of people could just stop there, what fun is that!
For the more adventurous, you can reach into your pocket again and do the zip-line along the river. We did the Journey Behind the Falls. The journey begins at the ticket window where you reach into your pocket and buy a ticket. From the ticket window you head to the elevator (I would highly recommend a trip to the potty at this point). You end up in a little area where you don your requisite El cheapo plastic
bag poncho. Take the elevator down to a dark wet concrete tunnel. At this point you have two options. One, go to the outside viewing area (very cool). Two, continue down the dark wet concrete tunnel. If you choose option one, keep in mind that you are going to get WET! We maximized our dry time by choosing option two first. Continuing down the dark wet tunnel brings you first to one and then another dark wet tunnel. At the end of each of the two shorter dark wet tunnels, there is an opening where you can see, hear, and feel a wall of water cascading over the opening. You are now well behind the big Horseshoe Falls. Some people seemed unimpressed looking at this big grey wall of water. I think you need to think about the gravity of the situation. You are dozens of feet down and dozens of feet through a solid rock wall, looking at the back side of one of the largest and most fierce waterfalls in the world. You are ten feet away from being sucked into a torrent of water with more force and power than almost anything on the planet. I was pretty impressed.
Now it’s time to get WET! Back through the dark wet tunnel to the outside viewing area. It’s like a huge patio where it’s always raining. The roar of the big Horseshoe falls is deafening. Although you do need to go through a pretty wet area to get there, if you stay to the left side of the patio you will stay pretty dry, what fun is that! If you venture over to the right side of the patio, you find yourself right next to the big Horseshoe Falls. Not only will you get drenched, you can literally feel and hear the power of the mighty waterfall, totally awesome! You will also be able to look down river and get a great view of the American and Bridal Veil Falls as well as the Rainbow Bridge. When you have sufficiently “soaked” in the view it’s time to head back to the top and your next adventure. Oh, and yes, exit through the gift shop please! Try to keep your hands in your pockets.