Sometimes black and white photographs elicit just the right feelings for a scene. I generally prefer color shots, but here's a black and white conversion that I like because of the dramatic stormy skies overhead as the sun sets in Dunedin, Florida. The grain gives it a bit of a classic feel as well.
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a sight to behold here in the Tampa Bay, Florida, area. Spanning 4.1 miles, it ranked No. 3 in the Travel Channel's special of the "Top 10 Bridges in the World." The wide angle focal length I used doesn't show the true scale and grandeur of the structure, but it is massive, rising 431 feet into the air. I don't have a fear of heights but the first time I drove across this bridge I was a little unnerved staring up at the sky and not being able to see the other half of the span. I felt like I was on a roller coaster, creeping upward and waiting to drop off quickly on the downward descent. In this shot the sun is still below the horizon but you can see the light starting to illuminate the sky on the right hand side of the photograph.
I've been searching for a good location to do some long exposure photography with passing vehicles. Here's a shot I made tonight about 30 minutes after sunset. Finding a spot perched a bit above the road isn't the easiest thing here in Tampa, which seems to be pretty flat everywhere. Anyway, I'm still new at making these types of shots, so I'm learning as I go. Please feel free to let me know what you think. As always, click on the picture to see a bigger version, which is a good idea with this shot.
I fought off disappointment recently when I went to photograph lightning for the first time. Instead I had to settle for some airplane shots. The background: Lightning season is here in Tampa. Many of the thunderstorms happen in the afternoon, while it's still bright out. That makes it difficult if not impossible to get the long exposures that help increase your chances of capturing a lightning bolt. Even using a small aperture (f/22), 1/2 second shutter speed and ISO 100 didn't work because the skies were very overexposed. The lightning bolts were lost in a mass of white.
I had never tried lightning photography before, so I learned that I will need to purchase a neutral density filter to shoot lightning in the daytime.
I decided to turn my attention to the world around me, instead of focusing on the lightning I wasn't able to capture. After the storms cleared up, planes resumed their departures from the airport. Here's a shot I think turned out pretty well:
Tonight I tried painting with light for the first time. It was so fun to see the results! Because it was the Fourth of July, I figured it would be the perfect time to try it, with the help of my son and some sparklers. Unfortunately, we only made about a dozen pictures before my camera batteries died. :( I was going to try using a smaller aperture to kill the ambient light more but didn't get the chance because of the battery issue. I actually like the feel of these shots, though, because it tells a little bit more of a story being able to see my son Evin in them. I'm sure we will recreate these soon and see what other results we get because we still have plenty of sparklers left.
This is the Tampa skyline on Christmas Eve. I made these pictures just after sunset from a great viewpoint at the University of Tampa. I'm not sure I'll ever get used to the weather being 80 degrees on Christmas, but I'm not definitely complaining either. It's beautiful here this time of year, and it makes me feel very lucky to be able to enjoy this.
And here I'm including some pictures for comparison. I shot these as the sun was starting to set, so it was already a bit dark.