Privateer Lynx

I had read about this ship coming in to Tampa from Fort Myers called Lynx. The arrival date was set for January 15th. It is a replica of an 1812 warship complete with cannons and full sails. Its path into Tampa would take it through St. Petersburg and under the Sunshine Skyway bridge. It seemed like the perfect photo opportunity so I decided to make the two hour drive down there.

I did some research online to see if I could find the exact time it would be sailing under the bridge, but I had no luck. I went to the website of the ship and contacted their main office. I was told that the ship would be sailing under the bridge at 9:00 am. The next step was looking at Google maps to determine the best shooting location. The south fishing pier looked promising as it was about as close as you could get to the center of the bridge. Also for that time of day the sun would be behind me and should have provided some nice light. I got to the pier around 8:15 and setup my tripod. The sky was kind of overcast so the lighting unfortunately was flat and dull. The wind was blowing so I had to hold my lens steady on the tripod to make sure my photos were sharp. This wasn’t exactly the image I had planned on getting but you have to accept the hand you are dealt and roll with it. In the end though  I was very happy!

In post processing the first image I added a texture to give it a vintage post card look. Kind of like old meets new.

Please be sure to click on each of the images below to view the larger and sharper versions!

The Passage of Time

After the ship sailed under the bridge, I watched it for a few minutes and decided it was time to head to Tampa. I read online that when it was going to be in Tampa that the sails would be down. Since it was scheduled to arrive in downtown Tampa at 12:00 noon, I figured that should give me plenty of time to get another shot of it with the sails still up. When I got over there I drove out to a park that has a nice long fishing pier. I got there about 10:30 and didn’t see any signs of the ship. I waited around for awhile and thought “what if it already passed through here and I missed it?” I took the gamble and left to head to it’s destination – The Tampa Convention Center.  I ended up beating it there by about 30 minutes.

I went up to the observation deck at the back of the convention center to see if I could spot it. When I saw it coming in they had already pulled the sails down. I missed the shot I had planned out in my head but now I had decent lighting so I was still happy. Once the ship was situated in the harbor I went to work. The final image I made is an HDR composed of 6 brackets.

Privateer Lynx

The ship is going to be going back and forth between Tampa and St. Pete until March 13th so I am hoping to get back down there for some more pics.

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Red

On a walk around downtown Tampa, Florida last year, I found a lot of interesting architecture. Armed with my camera and tripod, I set out to capture the beauty of this city. Now normally I drive through the area, casually glancing out the windows and catching some of the buildings,  but parking the car and walking around for a few hours gives a completely different perspective. There are so many things that you just don’t see while behind the wheel. Plus it’s great exercise!

As I was strolling down the street, I came across this building. What struck me most was the rich texture of the red brick facade. It popped out between the other buildings. Traffic was minimal as this was taken on a Saturday, so I didn’t have to worry about too many pedestrians or cars moving through the shot. The reflections in the windows were an added bonus.

This building houses a cafe and a restaurant on the bottom floor and a law firm on the 2nd and 3rd floors. For a little bit of history about this building click here – 110 East Madison.

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Please be sure to click on the image below to view it in full-screen mode to see all of the details!

Red

Monster Jam

This past Saturday I got to attend an event that I have not been to for a long time. The Monster Jam! Held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, they put this on twice a year usually a couple of weeks apart. Big giant trucks completely modified and ready to run over anything in their path. It’s an extremely impressive show to say the least. The day started off with a pit party at 2 o’clock. The trucks were all situated in an open area across the street from the stadium. Autographs and photo opps were available for those willing to stand in line. The pit area closed off about 5 o’clock and all of those in attendance were treated to a parade of 4×4’s crossing the street. Upon entering the stadium and taking my seat, I was ready for some action! The show started with some midget race cars running around the track followed by demolition derby cars. When the monster trucks came out they drove around the track showing off. The loud rumble of raw horsepower shook the entire stadium – it was awesome!

(Note: Please click on each image to view them full screen!)

Iron Man

The track was setup with a few junk cars that you knew we’re going to be smashed. Oh the anticipation! First up was the qualifying rounds. Two beasts squared off against each other to see who could make their laps the quickest.

El Toro Loco

Once a winner was determined, it was time for the freestyle event. All of the advertising leading up to this night was touting a monster truck doing a backflip! And it was absolutely awesome!

Maximum Destruction

A couple of old junk rv’s were brought out and they were turned into dust by the end of the show.

Ice Cream Man

All in all it was a totally amazing night of destruction. If the Monster Jam comes to a town near you, be sure not to miss it. You won’t be disappointed!

War Wizard

Lots of air was used tonight!

Wolverine

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Sunset on the Serengeti

No not the African plains but Florida! Busch Gardens theme park in Tampa to be exact. Photo opportunities abound when you pay a visit here. There is a variety of animals to see and learn about. This image features three of their stars: a Reticulated Giraffe and two Marabou Storks. This was a perfect day for taking pictures as it rained off and on all day. The clouds would come and go opening up briefly to let the sunlight in. I was walking around taking pictures of the birds when I spotted this lone giraffe. He kept getting closer to me and I had the hopes of getting a close-up shot. He stopped at a comfortable distance from me and stayed where he was. With him keeping a close watch on me, I setup the shot to include the two storks with the giraffe in the background. I got four shots before he turned and ran away. The color in the sky and the giraffe staring right at me was my favorite shot.

To enjoy a larger view, please click on the image below!

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The 2012 Book of Lists Party – My Favorite Night EVER!

I just had the opportunity to be involved in what was probably the most exciting evening of my life. I had an invitation to an exclusive party at the Tampa Bay Times Forum to celebrate with the people who made it into the 2012 Book of Lists – a book published annually by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Months back I had entered one of my photographs in the books yearly search for artists. They wanted pictures representing the Tampa Bay area. I entered a picture that I had taken of beautiful downtown Tampa looking across the waterway. I was so excited in October when I found out I was one of the 13 artists chosen to be in the book! As time got closer to the publish date I could not WAIT to see it. The book was scheduled to come out on December 23rd. On December 22nd I received a call from the production director and she said she wanted to congratulate me personally because I made this years cover! I had no idea – it was a complete and awesome surprise! The party was incredible. Close to 800 people comprised of the executives who made it in the book of lists and their guest attended the party. There was tons of delicious food and drinks at every turn. The entertainment included an aerial artist, a band called the Vodkanauts – who were great! – a magician, and an ice carver just to to name a few. I got to walk the red carpet and pictures were taken of all the guests with fresh fake snow! Haha! The book cover was displayed everywhere and the highlight for me was seeing it displayed on the Jumbo Tron right in the middle of the forum through the entire night. It was truly a magical evening I will never forget. I am honored that I got to be part of such a wonderful night. This is definitely something to go down in my memory book.

Click on first picture to view gallery:

2011 Jeep Patriot

This is my new baby! It’s a 2011 Jeep Patriot that I just bought at the beginning of May. Been wanting to get a picture of it but I wanted to find the right background. I finally found the perfect spot Saturday June 11th. At the University of Tampa located close to downtown Tampa. I really liked the way the tree in the background framed the Jeep. I love the way the brick cobblestone street and the brick on the building tie in together. I have to say this is a fun vehicle to drive and after only having it just over a month I’ve put over 2000 miles on it! This is a 3 exposure HDR shot on a tripod.