Making a slight diversion from working on and posting about Italy photos….
I first heard the term “stochastic photography” in a post by Ctein on The Online Photographer way back in 2010. It’s sort of a refined version of pointing your camera at something, taking a boatload of pictures and hoping some of them come out in a way that is pleasing or that somehow meet the intention of what you were trying to capture. As in “I’ll know it when I see it.” I don’t always remember to use that technique, although I often recognize situations where it might be appropriate. Sometimes I even have my camera with me. While I don’t generally care to make my photographs “about the technique, ” sometimes the technique helps to define the photographs. Post-visualization perhaps, rather than pre-visualization?
Kathy & I spent 4th of July week out in eastern NC, in New Bern and Belhaven. One morning we stopped at the Bell Island Pier, which is a fishing pier within the Swan Quarter National Wildlife Refuge, near Swan Quarter, NC. It was a beautiful day, with towering cumulus clouds and a deep blue sky. I noticed the reflections of the sky in the water and decided to see what I could get.
Over the course of about 4 minutes I fired off a little more than 100 shots. It’s a little hard to tell which ones are “successful” but I’ve put together a little collection of a few that I liked. The ones that “feel right” to me have a nice balance of light and dark, color and no color, with an interesting pattern. I may decide later on that there are others I like or some that I don’t like, but that’s part of the fun!
I don’t usually get too excited about software, but the most recent update to Lightroom has me pretty intrigued. Most of the changes were cosmetic in nature, related to the layout of certain menu items. But Adobe has introduced some new and improved Develop profiles that I really like. I’ve never been able to come up with black & white conversions that I was consistently happy with, but some of the new profiles are pretty sweet. I might even give Monte a run for his black & white money! The color profiles are pretty nice too. I’m still working and fiddling with them, but I think I may have found some new tools!
Another highlight of our recent cruise and part of our chef tour was a tour of the galley. We have done galley tours before on numerous cruises, but ordinarily they are held in the morning, and the most exciting thing you see is someone making gravy! For this tour we were taken through the galley during dinner service, and it was quite an experience!
It’s been a long time since I worked in any kind of restaurant environment, and I’m not sure I actually qualify to say that I worked in any kind of restaurant! But the things we found most impressive were how clean and organized things were, and how friendly everyone was, especially while they were busy. I took a lot of photos on this tour, and these are just a few, to give you a “taste” of the experience!
In my earlier post about the Conch Guy I mentioned that we had taken a tour in Nassau with one of the chefs from our ship. In addition to the fish market, we visited a roadside vegetable stand, a couple of guys cutting up coconuts for juice and meat, as well as a distillery. Here are a few more photos from that trip.
Our guide was Chef Stephen from Jamaica, and he explained a lot about the different things we saw and how they were used in island cooking. While we or the chef weren’t permitted to bring anything back to the ship due to health regulations and ship policy, Stephen used many of these same ingredients and themes when preparing the meal that we had back on the ship that evening.
In a separate post I’ll share photos from our galley tour. But unfortunately I was too busy enjoying the food to take any photos at dinner!
One of the ports on our recent cruise was Nassau, in the Bahamas. We did a shore excursion there that involved touring some of the island’s fish and produce markets with one of the chefs from the ship. One of the stops on our tour was at a roadside fish market where fishermen brought in their fresh catch. Coolers after coolers with fish of all types – including snapper, grouper, mahi and lobster.
Also at this stop was a tent where a man was shelling conch for conch salad. If you aren’t familiar, a conch is a sea creature that grows in those beautiful pink shells that everyone likes to collect. He used an ax to punch a hole in the shell in just the right spot, then dug the conch out of the shell with a knife. The conch was then chopped up, marinated and mixed with veggies for a salad. Delicious!
Watching the conch man work the shells was as interesting as eating the conch. Kathy asked him if he ever cut himself. He just smiled and said, “sometime, mon, but not in a long time!”
Cedric commented on my last post about how the lack of people contributed to the “Tranquilidad” of the scenes. Of course not all of my photos were devoid of people, as the people are a large part of what makes San Juan special. Here are a few photos “with” people as a counterpoint against those without.
Kathy & I recently returned from a cruise to the Caribbean. We’re getting pretty good at the cruise thing – this was our 23rd cruise – but we’re still practicing!
This cruise was on Celebrity Summit. Celebrity has become our favorite cruise line, mostly because they just know how to do good food and good service. While all of the lines are good, we’ve come to really like Celebrity.
Summit is one of Celebrity’s older ships, but we chose it because it is one of their smallest, at just 2,000 passengers. The ship we were on last year was over 4,000 passengers, while we saw a ship this time that was over 6,000! While I would love to experience one of those ships, that’s just a shipload of too many people!
This cruise was supposed to stop at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, but Punta Cana doesn’t have a dock for the cruise ships so it is one where they need to take passengers ashore using tenders. The seas were too rough there for tendering, so we ended up in San Juan, PR instead. While we looked forward to Punta Cana, we love San Juan and were not at all disappointed to end up there.
Kathy & I spent our time in port walking around Old San Juan. We had lunch (and Pina Coladas!) at a nice restaurant that claims to be the birthplace of the drink. More to come on that, but for now, here are a few random photos from our time walking the streets of the old city.
As much as Kathy & I love to travel, we often talk about the fact that there are a lot of interesting things to do right here in Charlotte. Things that people come from all over the country – and even the world – to experience, and we have never been. So a few weeks ago we decided to try something new – to be tourists in our own town and start checking out some of the things we take for granted.
After a nice breakfast we headed to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art for an exhibit of photography that includes work by Paul Strand and of contemporary Mexican photographers. The office where I work is directly across the street from the Bechtler, and our bank gives us free admission once a month, but we had never been!
Next we rode the light rail out to visit Doc Porter’s Distillery, where we took a tour and sampled their products. This little distillery is cranking out bourbon, rye whisky, rum, gin, vodka and soon, malt whisky. Nice people and a good story, and well worth the effort to get there.
So a day of photography and booze – how hard is that?!
I don’t usually go looking for Christmas-themed photos, but sometimes they just manage to find me. 😉 This was shot in Belhaven, NC last year. And when I shot it I commented that it would be my Christmas wallpaper for this year. And so it is!
We’re headed for Belhaven again this coming weekend. There’s no telling what photographs might find me while we’re there. Might even be another Christmas scene. 😉
Kathy travels to Minneapolis regularly for work – her company is headquartered there. A few weeks ago she went and allowed me to tag along. A group of folks that I support at work are located there, so it gave me an opportunity to meet people that otherwise I would only know by phone and email.
While we were there we took some time to get out and explore. It was my first time there, and my first time to see the Mississippi River from somewhere other than an airplane. Here is a baker’s dozen of my photos from that adventure.