Category Archives: Photography

Kind Of A Port – Puerto Plata

Taino Bay Harbor. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Because there are so many cruise ships sailing these days, the cruise lines have been looking for more places to stop. And because cruise passengers like to spend money in ports, more and more countries have been trying to attract cruise ships. In some cases, ports are being “invented” where there haven’t previously been cruise ports. Often, these ports are being developed in conjunction with, and most likely significant investment from, the major cruise lines. One of these is Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic.

Cruise ship pier in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Celebrity Constellation in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

We visited the Dominican Republic once previously, on a Carnival ship that docked in Amber Cove, which is another recently developed port just up the coast from Puerto Plata. Amber Cove is frequented by ships in the Carnival family, namely Carnival, Princess and Holland America. We did an island tour on that cruise, so we had seen most of what we wanted to see. Highlight for me was a visit to the Brugal rum distillery, but since I can buy their products at home, we didn’t think a follow up visit was needed. 😉

Cruise ship pier in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Excavator with interesting bucket. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

The port area in Puerto Plata is called Taino Bay, and it contains the requisite spending opportunities. Taino Bay is still in the development stages, but there are plenty of shops, many of which offer locally made crafts and other wares. We picked up a couple of souvenirs, but mostly used it as a way to get off the ship, stretch our legs and take a few photos.

Taino Bay Harbor. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Taino Bay Harbor. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

What I enjoyed most about Puerto Plata was that the shop owners and workers were very polite. They seemed happy to see us and were not pushy or aggressive like in other ports. It was a welcome change, and I hope it stays that way!

Flowers. Taino Bay Harbor. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Flowers. Taino Bay Harbor. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Flowers. Taino Bay Harbor. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Taino Bay Harbor. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Taino Bay Harbor. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

What Are You Taking Pictures Of?

Dining Room ceiling, Celebrity Constellation

We were sitting at breakfast one morning, waiting for our food. I was looking up at the dining room ceiling and decided to take a few pictures. A really nice man at the table next to me turned and asked, “could I see what you were taking pictures of?” I showed him the screen on my camera, and I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was something like “fascinating” or “interesting” or “excuse me I need to go now.” Just kidding about the last one. 😉

Dining Room ceiling, Celebrity Constellation
Dining Room ceiling, Celebrity Constellation
Dining Room ceiling, Celebrity Constellation

Two Thoughts On A Similar Subject

The North Davidson (NoDa) area of Charlotte

Sometimes I just read a line that resonates with me. I came across these two over the last day:

From The Online Photographer: It’s one of the cool things about getting older…sooner or later you live in the future.

Directional sign on the Royal Promenade aboard Allure of the Seas

From Douglas Adams (Hitchiker’s Guide) via Terence Eden via Om Malik:

– Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

– Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

– Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

Johnny Rockets diner on the Boardwalk aboard Allure of the Seas

Its interesting when you think about it. My grandmother, born in 1908, always talked about how her mother would be amazed with the microwave oven, invented, according to the Wikimonster, in 1955. Today we can’t imagine a home without one. Now, I imagine describing to my dad some of the technology we currently use. He was a “shade tree” automotive mechanic, aspiring electronic tinkerer and auto racing fan, among other things, so today’s electronic everything would be his microwave. But it seems like we have a lot more of those things today than we did 50-ish years ago. Maybe it just seems like more magic.

What will ours be?

‘Watch Your Step” signs in Cental Park aboard Allure of the Seas
Sign in front of the Westin Hotel in Charlotte

A Few More Fuzzy Photos

Morning on the beach. Carolina Beach, North Carolina

Monte enjoyed my motion blur photo from a couple of days ago so I thought I would serve up a few more. Sometimes the camera moves, sometimes the subject moves.

Lots of motion blur here today as we await Ian’s arrival. It’s been rainy, breezy and chilly – a good day to work on photos and watch Formula 1 practice! Ian keeps angling further east of us, which is good for us but unfortunately not so good for someone else. Should be by us by morning, hopefully!

Morning on the beach. Carolina Beach, North Carolina
Morning on the beach. Carolina Beach, North Carolina

Another Morning On The Beach

Morning on the beach. Carolina Beach, North Carolina

I turned the alarm off this morning and went back to sleep, but woke up 15 minutes later and knew what I had to do. 😉

Once more it was worth the effort.

Morning on the beach. Carolina Beach, North Carolina
Morning on the beach. Carolina Beach, North Carolina
Morning on the beach. Carolina Beach, North Carolina
Morning on the beach. Carolina Beach, North Carolina
Morning on the beach. Carolina Beach, North Carolina

More From Bermuda

I got a bit out of sequence with my Bermuda posts and intend to finish them up this week. Here are a few more photos from our Day One tour around the “west end” of the island outside of Hamilton. It included stops at an apartment complex where we saw examples of lower-end (although still pretty nice!) housing and a higher end neighborhood. We made a stop at the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, The Reefs Resort and Club, a beautiful oceanfront resort that we could easily go back to, and the Port Royal Golf course, which hosts a PGA tournament in October.

Interesting factoid: the white roofs are symbolic of Bermuda because the houses collect rainwater from the roof system to cisterns beside or below the structure. Water is very expensive to buy, and outside the cities there is little to no infrastructure. The design of the roof has multiple benefits. Made of limestone it is heavy and not easily shifted by hurricanes. In the past the limestone was covered in a lime mortar, which had anti-bacterial properties. Today, the mortar has been replaced by paint. It’s still white, because this reflects ultra-violet light from the sun, which also helps to purify the water.

Bermudans are very water conscious. In fact, one of our guides told us he uses a bucket to collect the water that runs while he waits for his (solar heated) shower to warm up. He uses that water for other household purposes rather than waste it.

Tale Of A Print

Fishing trawler “Cape Point” in the marina at Southport, North Carolina

I don’t do much to promote my work these days, and never really have, actually. I did assignment work for a couple of magazines and I had photos with a local stock agent at one time, but both of those went away as microstock took over. Since then it has been completely hit or miss. Now, I mostly give prints away to friends and family, but once in a while I get an inquiry from an art consultant, magazine or website wanting to purchase a print or license an image. Mostly by accident, I’ve actually sold some photos that now hang in pretty interesting places.

A few weeks ago I received an email from a partner in a new restaurant (now open) out on the coast of North Carolina. It’s called Salt 64 and is located in Oak Island. Turns out the chef is the former chef at a restaurant we’re familiar with in Mooresville, NC. And he is friends with a friend who runs a frame shop and gallery there. Small world.

So Erika (the partner) found this photo of mine on my website through a search, and wanted to know about buying a print of it for the restaurant. She said that she was decorating the restaurant with local photography, that the boat “Cape Point” is owned by a cousin of the chef, and she wanted to surprise him with the photo. So I had a print made and shipped to her. She loves it and so does the chef!

I asked her to pay me in food, so Kathy & I are going to head out to the coast in a few weeks with plans to stop by Salt 64 for dinner one night! Can’t wait to see my photo hanging on the wall!

By the way, not to give away trade secrets, but when I got the request for a print, I went back and re-processed the photo to make it more print-worthy. I had done some very basic work on the original version, but decided to use some of the tools in my Lightroom toolbox to kick it up a notch or two. I often do that anyway with photos I plan to print, but this one just hadn’t hit my radar. While the old version was pretty nice, the new one is really nice, I think!

Originally processed version

Modes Of Transport: Bermuda

Here is a brief look at a few of the forms of transportation on the island of Bermuda.

Small cars are big in Bermuda. Buses only hold a dozen or so people. Even the garbage trucks are small. Much more practical cars than we have here in the states. Electric vehicles are also very popular – the island is so small that you don’t need to worry about range, and with the tiny cars they are easy to park. Just don’t bring a lot of luggage!

The guy in the wheelbarrow? No idea! He might have been injured, but more likely had overindulged on Dark & Stormys. 😉

Why We “Process” Our Photos

After (L) and Before (R)

Often, a non-photographer will ask me if I “Photoshop” my photos. My answer is usually something like “I don’t use Photoshop, but I do process my photos.” The follow up is usually some version of “why.”

As we photographers know, cameras today give us lots of latitude for exposure adjustments, which is what I use the most, along with straightening horizons (a lot!), removing dust spots (almost as much!), cropping, contrast & saturation adjustment, and more. And while it is possible to get way beyond reality, I tend to try – as we all do – to improve upon reality just a bit.

After (L) and Before (R)

Ansel Adams is credited with the words “Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships.” A bit modest, perhaps, but that pretty much summarizes – with a bit of humor – what we do and why.

After (L) and Before (R)

Here are 4 photos I made at the summit of Haleakala that show what I mean. The ideal time to get even lighting in the crater is when the sun is directly overhead. But that unfortunately is one of the hardest conditions to photograph anything else! So I did my best to counteract the highlights and shadows in order to bring everything back to what my eye was able to perceive.

After (L) and Before (R)

No Thanks, I’ll Watch

Tree trimmers trimming the palm trees at the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort in Wailea, Maui

There are a number of professions I have always been thankful to not have experienced. Anything requiring a safety harness or hard hat would fall into that category. Climbing trees with a machete hanging from my belt would double my resolve!

Tree trimmers trimming the palm trees at the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort in Wailea, Maui

One day at our hotel we received notice that a crew would be trimming the palm trees the next day. As it turned out, they started working right outside our room as we were enjoying our morning coffee. It was interesting to watch, but I wasn’t about to consider a return to the work force.

Tree trimmers trimming the palm trees at the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort in Wailea, Maui
Tree trimmers trimming the palm trees at the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort in Wailea, Maui
Tree trimmers trimming the palm trees at the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort in Wailea, Maui
Tree trimmers trimming the palm trees at the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort in Wailea, Maui
Tree trimmers trimming the palm trees at the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort in Wailea, Maui
Tree trimmers trimming the palm trees at the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort in Wailea, Maui