Tuesday, May 10, 2011


We just came back from an overnight trip to Miami, where we had a lot of fun, photographing Amanda and Scott's Romance Day. It was a long day but worth it. We drove the two hours to Miami and went straight to our hotel, the Marriott Biscayne in Miami. We dropped off our luggage, waited a half hour then drove over to pick up Amanda and Scott at their apartment. 

For the next six hours we drove and walked around Biscayne Island and the city of Miami. Actually, we walked a lot and drove just a little. For those of you who are not familiar with Florida, I should explain that the temperatures are already in the mid to high 80s. This I love but walking around for the better part of six hours carrying about 17-22 lbs of equipment in the heat can tire you out. 

After the photography, the four of us went to eat at Joe's Stone Crab, a really wonderful restaurant in Miami. When we arrived at about 8PM, we were told there would be an hour wait but it was air conditioned and it served cold drinks and we all were very hungry. Did I mention they served cold drinks? Not just drinks but cold adult beverages!! We decided to wait the hour!! 

By the time we ate, (great food), we arrived back at the Marriott about 11PM. We went to sleep around midnight and I awoke at six this morning. We left the Marriott at about 8:00 AM and after stopping for breakfast, we were back in our house by 1130AM.
We are both a little tired and we are leaving tomorrow morning for St Augustine's to try and photograph some newly born chicks. The idea of doing the post production on all the images we shot yesterday is at the very least an ambitious idea. I did want to post something on this blog today but while the images are from yesterday, they are not from the romance day.

So you're a photographer and your room is on the 21st floor of a hotel. How much time do you spend in front of the TV? The answer is if you're these photographers, not very much time at all. I was in the room not more then four minutes when I picked up my camera and went out to the patio. 

I should mention that one of my very favorite movies is Rear Window; the version starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly not the regrettable remake starring Christopher Reeves and Daryl Hannah. Whenever I am standing on a hotel's balcony or looking out a hotel's window, I cannot help but think of that movie. It is about a photographer who is laid up with a broken leg who spies on his neighbors and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder. It is directed by Alfred Hitchcock which tells you it will be a fun movie to watch.

I do not turn my lens on the windows of neighboring buildings, ethics forbid me: ethics and lawsuits; unlike Stella, Thelma Ritter's character in the movie.

Stella: I'm not much on rear window ethics!

But I do always like to see what images I can capture from this limited viewpoint; to challenge my creativity.

Lisa (Grace Kelly): I wish I was creative.
Jeff (Steward): You are. You're great at creating difficult situations!

We spent about 20 minutes in our hotel room when we arrived and I spent 10 of those on the patio (my rear window). I started looking for interesting images and found the pool 21 floors below us.

There was only one person in the pool and I really liked the point of view looking down into the pool. I used my 70-200 VR 2.8 lens, of which the regular readers of this blog are familiar, it is one of my favorite lenses. I love the way I can carve out both small intimate landscapes or panoramic images.  

Stella (referring to the Jeff's telephoto lens): Mind if I use that portable keyhole?

I framed this image so that you mostly see the pool and this gentlemen relaxing on a tube of some sort. I really like the image but I knew I would've rather had just the man and the pool but I didn't think Phyllis would go down the 21 floors and ask the guy to get into the proper position for my shot. Plus, I was pretty sure if she did, the image I would get would include one of his fingers, telling me I was number one!!

Stella: Intelligence. Nothing has caused the human race so much trouble as intelligence!

Then one of any photographers least appreciated tools came to my rescue; luck, happenstance or karma whatever you call it. You would be amazed at how many times it comes into play when shooting candids or nature. Even inspiration at times needs help!

Lisa: Where does a man get inspiration to write a song like that?
Jeff: He gets it from the landlady once a month!!

As I watched, another man jumped into the pool and swam to another part of it and just stood there. I quickly snapped off two shots before he started moving around. This is one of them.

You can see how I used the rule of thirds in both of these images. I almost always do unless it is one of those times that I break the rule!!! I really love the simplicity of this image.

We needed to leave the hotel at that point and I quickly looked around and saw this scene. I loved the composition as soon as I saw it. The biggest challenge was getting all the people in the shot using the lens I had. This was the image I captured.

We then left and photographed Amanda and Scott as I mentioned earlier. When we returned at 11PM, I was way too tired to trust my camera in my hands out on the patio 21 floor ups. 

I awoke at 6AM and within two minutes, I was on the patio in my underwear (what I do for my art!!!) taking pictures of the sunrise over Miami Beach.
 The image above was about 10 minutes before the sun rose. I love the pink hues hovering over the blueish green hues and the skyline's silhouette dividing them.
 As the sun approached the horizon, the colors turned more towards the warm pink hues.
  When the sun became visible, the colors turned a warm orange.

  I love the textures, hues and detail in this image.

So there it is my tribute to Rear Window. My nest posting (probably Wednesday) will have images taken during our romance session. Here is a little sample:

I love the juxtaposition of the people in swim attire and this great looking couple in formal wear walking among them.


Alpana Jaiswal said...

so this is why you were missing...loved these pictures and the description of your trip,good you had a nice trip..will look forward to the rest of the pictures..

melissa said...

geez jim, when you wrote tuesday on your wall, i thought no blogs til that day :P... but i was very glad to see that you made one from miami... although i was really waiting for the romance (couple) :P...please forgive me if i laughed at the first shots you got...i would've preferred seeing that person for real :P... it was such a relaxing sight...at first, i thought, it was okay not to force some pictures inside your story... but then again, as the story progressed, i began to be more interested because there was a variety of photos i could look on...a plus factor were the lines you sandwiched in between the story and the photos... it's like being in three places at one time---your thoughts, the movie, and miami... i learned another thing today, the 'texture' of the photo... wow... thanks for capturing the changing hues of the sky... i liked it truly at the height of the sun--- the strong orange color made me 'feel' the warmth of the sun... then of course, your strongest point,putting the best picture at the end... wow...a glimpse of what i will be seeing in the next blog :P... the contrast of attires did contribute the uniqueness of the shot ;)... hooray, i made another blogpost in your comment section... :p... grazie tantissimo for sharing your stories and your photos... now let me take another look at the pool :P...

Ann said...

Love the sunrise photos, esp. the 1st one. And the romance photo is great!

Finding One's Way said...

Love the solitary pool man... Very hot photo...
Glad you returned safely

Aaron said...

Hey Jim,
Great pictures...maybe you are onto a new genre "pool photography"
:) My favorite is the before sunrise pic with the pink hues.

I love how the sky looks before the sun rises there are always so many different colours.

alejandro guzman said...

Great story as I love the rear window.
Asymmetry are my favourite groupings in all things whether it be with photos or displays. (used to be the only straight window dresser).

Thanks for the fun read mate.


FAYErydust said...

Wow! Awesome! You didn't invite us huh. :) Anyways, You have to visit Philippines if you're planning to go to white sand beaches! :)

Corinne Rodrigues said...

Jim - Rear Window is one of my all time favorite movies! I love how you weaved those dialogues into the post and interspersed them with those brilliant photographs!

Rimly said...

Wow Jim you are amazing! I loved that movie "Rear Window" and yours was spectacular. Loved the one with all those lounging by the pool side. For a moment I thought the last woman was looking up at you taking that shot but on closer look I realized she was busy talking on her cell. After seeing the last picture I am really looking forward to the next post. Loved the ones of of the sunrise as they changed hues. It was indeed God's handiwork through you.

sukanya said...

meant the attired vs. the non-attired! sorry!

sukanya said...

loved the last one....the attired vs. the ono...great pics...looks like you had a great trip.

Healing Morning said...

The end of the sunrise series - the water looks like heavy dupioni silk! Just lovely, Jim, and as is the norm when I see your work, it dredged up a big sigh from the heart. The very first sunrise shot w/ all the pinks was equally beautiful.

Hey, just a suggestion for lugging of photography equipment - why not get one of those handy rolling luggage dealies?

~ Dawn