Night Lightning at Lake Worth Beach – 8-13-15

I was fortunate enough to photograph another storm recently. They are a daily occurrence in South Florida’s tropical savanna climate. The most ideal time for me is when I am able to take photos of lightning, at night, without actually getting rained on. This particular combination is not nearly as frequent. A perfect storm within a storm if you will.

I know my camera is weather sealed. I am just too paranoid about being outside in the rain with electronics. I suppose it’s about as crazy as someone putting plastic on their furniture. No offense to anyone who still subscribes to this practice…

I was able to find a few places at Lake Worth beach that allowed just enough cover to keep my gear dry while taking photos.

I made the mistake of going under the pier and there was a couple under it. A lot of giggling ensued and things were just entirely too creepy so that didn’t last long. I also found out that it’s not wise to try and take long shutter shots when the tide is able to reach your tripod. It makes for a rather unstable platform.

Luckily I was still able to come away with the following photo.

Lake Worth Beach - 8-13-15 - Lightning between Florida and Freeport Bahamas


Lake Worth Beach Night Lightning 7-30-15

Micaela and I were grocery shopping a few nights ago and I couldn’t help to notice the constant flashes of lightning just east of our location. We luckily live approximately a mile from the ocean and  I was long overdue for lightning photos. It was not raining at the moment so I was already considering the possibility of lightning photos. I quickly used my android lighting tracker titled Blitzortung Lightning Monitor. Really amazing and easy to use program to find out exactly where lighting is striking, it’s frequency, etc.

In a matter of seconds it was evident the lighting was situated between between Lake Worth, where I live, and the Bahamas which is a short distance away off our coast in South Florida.

I drove home to drop the groceries and Micaela off and then was at the beach within 2 minutes. Unfortunately by the time I arrived the flashes were no longer constant.

Luckily I will still able to pull of a couple shots.


Lake Worth Beach Night Lightning 7-30-15

Lake Worth Beach Night Lightning 7-30-15

I was hoping to be alone…

Yesterday morning was interesting. I was up at 5:00am and made coffee and quickly gathered my gear to take some photos. When I arrived at the beach the only visible lights were on the pier; otherwise the sky was dark. As my my eyes adjusted I noticed something approximately 20 feet in front of me. I assumed it was a patch of seaweed. As the sun was rising it became evident the vegetation, rocks, etc. was actually someone who was sleeping on the beach.

And I thought I would be the first one on the scene?

My goal was to take shots without any people in it. How did that work out up ask? In utter failure!

Instead the result was the following:

1. Sleeping person
2. Couple in the water
3. Man texting while holding a fishing pole
4. A boat which pulled close to the shore during the shot

All I was missing was a hot air balloon, blimp, :fill in the blank:

Maybe next time…

Marley – You talkin’ to Me?

Marley - You talkin' to me?

Marley is the typical bully breed. You don’t feed or walk him at specific intervals. He just doesn’t allow it. Instead Marley puts on a show of theatrics that would leave any seasoned thespian feeling somewhat inadequate.

It begins with a sigh. A very faint one. This is the stage of protest that makes it difficult to discern between the early evolution of his temper tantrum or his perpetually putrid case of the winds.

His plea starts innocently, but quickly escalates to an ear piercing bark that will have you up and ready to cater to his every need.

“Cappuccino Marley?”
“Filet Mignon?”

I’ve often wondered how we can break him of this nasty little habit; one of dozens.

I took this photo with my newly acquired 50mm 1.4 Super Takumar. I quickly knew his demeanor was perfect to portray him as the gangster he has become.

Kayla’s Plight

Kayla's Plight

Kayla was clearly the head of the canine household prior to the introduction of Mia. Kayla threw societal tendencies and preconceived notions of male dominance out the window. She was the alpha no matter how many times Marley failed in his attempts to mount her and wined repeatedly about the pecking order that she firmly established. She lacks any trait whatsoever that would indicate subservience; it certainly isn’t running through her veins. She was always bigger, stronger, and meaner; albeit sweeter if you were on her good side.

Marley looks like a tough guy, but he is such a softy. Him sleeping early 12/4/2014
Marley - Sleeping as Usual

Then came Mia… Deanna had seen a couple different American bulldogs that were in need of loving homes. They were in differently places hours from south Florida. I had suggested we go to the local pound because we have dogs locally that need homes.

On the way into the facility we noticed individuals waltzing out and even happier dogs whose lives were potentially sparred from a death sentence. We entered the first of two large buildings that house the dogs. Keep in mind it’s towards the end of summer and the heat in south Florida is humid and downright staggering. Between the heat, lack of air conditioning, and smell emanating from the stalls of scared and sick animals it was borderline nauseating.

We slowly made our way past each dog. There were signs posted not to touch the animals, but we knew better. How can one not pet a dog? It’s even more of a challenge when they collectively give you their puppy eyes.

We noticed numerous that were cute and many that looked like they had very difficult lives. We went into the second building and it was a similar experience. I did my best to focus on breathing out of my mouth so I wasn’t fully enveloped in their condition.

We talked to an employee about the adoption process and she let us know her shift was ending. We heard her yelling at some of the dogs to pipe down. Not in a violent way, but when your mother tells you to be quiet. It was obvious she loved animals. She mentioned she had more than a dozen on a large piece of property. It was nice to know they were cared for by someone who had so many herself and truly loves and understands their personalities and concerns.

Deanna mentioned she was hoping to find an American bulldog and the woman’s face lit up. “American bulldog! Did you see the one over there?”  I thought surely she must be mistaken. Deanna could spot an American bulldog in a M16 going mach 1 past the eukanuba dog show with one eye closed.

She escorted us over to Mia’s cell. We noticed a dog, but it was no American. There was another breed in front of us at that point in time. Each cell has an entrance on either end of its long rectangular shape and there is some kind of gate in the middle to create two separate halves if necessary. She explained the dog was very scared and injured. She was trying to escape out of her cell and jumped straight up and got her dew claw caught between the bars and either broke it or tore it completely off. That particular detail escapes me now.

She called her pre-adoption name a few times and we finally noticed her down the long corridor. She must have been all the way at the other end during our initial pass. When she faced us it was obvious she was an American bulldog. Scared, but she was definitely what Deanna had been looking for. We were told she was recently picked up and they give the rightful owner a certain length of time to claim her. She said knowing the area she was picked up the owners would not be back to pay the $400+ fees to take her home again.

How could someone mistreat me? Mia playing with a toy shortly after she was adopted  
Mia Photoshoot

After speaking with the woman and starting the pre-adoption process we walked back over for another look. She was not responding to us and obviously frightened. I think I would be too if I were confined in an area like that. It was evident, aside from her current location, that her previous owners did not have her in the best conditions.

After repeated attempts I decided to do what Deanna normally despises. I pulled out the dog baby talk! Some background to be fair. Marley will start humping all humans in sight and Kayla gets excited and it just turns into a dog frenzy that often evolves into a fight. This time though it was welcomed. “HEY PRETTY GIRL!!” in my best falsetto. She slowly walked over and we stroked her sweet face. She walked away and almost seemed surprised she came to us. I did it again and she came over again and stayed a little longer to humor us.

The day arrived when it was finally time to rescue her from this dreadful place. She was scared to leave her cell. Maybe it was safer than her previous home? It took a little coercion to get her into Deanna’s car. I followed behind and our next fear was how she would react to Marley and Kayla or vice versa.

We were more cautious of Kayla because up to this point she was the alpha. She loves humans and is an amazing guard dog. God forbid you are a squirrel, dog, or human she doesn’t like and she lets out a very scary bark and can be ferocious.

The woman at the pound said she has had different doggy cellmates and was perfect with the animals, she just doesn’t seem too fond of humans.

One of us walked Mia by herself from a distance and another walked the other dogs. We just walked by and allowed Kayla and Marley to visually see her. They didn’t seem bothered. Why is my human walking this other dog?  Nope, didn’t seem to happen. They never skipped a beat. We repeated this process for what seemed like an eternity getting them closer and closer to Mia. Mia, at this point, would walk everywhere with her tale UP between her legs. Not just down, but somehow wrapped around underneath she was so absolutely frightened.

Eventually we had them all walking together and Mia was getting along great with Marley and Kayla. Well, not the other way around. Kayla was suspicious from the beginning. Marley I think sensed her puppy sensibilities and knew he finally had someone to play tug-o-war with because Kayla surely didn’t humor him anymore.

After a couple of months Mia now walks proudly outside. Her long tail seldom tucked. There are still times when the wind blows hard and she is scared, but it’s less frequent and she is getting better as the days pass. Deanna always wonders what she experienced that shaped her fear. I would rather never know the details.

Kayla mounts Mia on an almost daily basis, but Mia is not scared. I picture Kayla in this photo asking me why we had to get Mia?

The pecking order may soon change…

Mia playing with her toy on 12/4/2014
Mia playing with her Toy


Introducing some old friends

Introducing some old friends

Pictured from Left to Right
Asahi – 28MM Super Takumar – 1965
Asahi – 150mm Super Takumar – 1965
Nikon FG – Film Camera – 1982 (the baby here)

Introducing Some Old Friends

Ever wonder why the photos from modern digital cameras have such a different feel? I am not talking about the horrible camera in your cell phone, but a professional DSLR vs an SLR like my Nikon FG pictured in this photograph?

The latest lenses have advancements that, in my opinion, give a more clinical feel to photography. I desire distortion and grittiness at times. I want there to be uncontrollable lens flare when looking towards the sun. Many characteristics that are tamed with advanced optics are brought back to life when using older equipment.

My solution? When I want to take a more retro approach I use my Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm lens which is to the camera right. The first iteration was introduced in 1962. Mine is the latest version which was manufactured in 1965.

Just to provide a bit of perspective the number one song that year was “Wooly Bully”! The Hully Gully dance has gone extinct, but the Asahi’s are alive, well, and being traded in an online auction as you read this.

The other lens to camera right is an Asahi 150MM super takumar when I want a little more reach.

Do you know what I really love about both lenses? They are fully manual in operation. If you like to just put the camera in auto and let it make every decision for you these are not the lenses you want to purchase; you don’t do this… right?

You want to change the aperture setting from the camera? Surely you jest! Oh those numbers will show different values as the lens bellows gregarious laughter! Embarrassed you finally realize you control the aperture from the lens itself…

If you like to take complete control of your photography (manual mode people) and you are not caught up in the “ONLY CANON/NIKON” glass is the best then do yourself a favor and pick up one of these lenses with an adapter.

The focus ring is absolutely smooth and they are built like tanks.

I’ll post later about my love affair with my film Nikon FG featured in the picture.

Lastly – stop worrying about purchasing the latest equipment. Learn how to exploit every last ounce of technology from your SLR both film and digital.

If you are fortunate enough to be selling vast quantities of these lenses and prices have surged as a result of this rant – you are welcome!

Treat Me with Kindness

Treat Me with Kindness

Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.

Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.

Speak to me often, for your voice is the world’s sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.

When it is cold and wet, please take me inside… for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements… and I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth… though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land… for you are my god… and I am your devoted worshiper.

Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.

And, beloved master, should the Great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest…and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.  – Beth Norman Harris

Meet Tootsie

Meet Tootsie by Roberto_Aloi
Meet Tootsie, a photo by Roberto_Aloi on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Tootsie is my little tortie manx who is approximately 3 years old. This shot was taken on 6/17/11 with my studio strobes. My intention was to take photos of water splashing after dropping objects into it. Tootsie made it a point to lay down on my tabletop and do whatever was necessary to be the center of attention. She has the typical comical manx appearance with big bright surprised looking eyes/expression.

Graffiti Art by Eduardo Mendieta

Via Flickr:
Eduardo has some superb graffiti that has been showcased in various places in West Palm Beach. I previously knew of one that I used to see when I frequented a certain club.

Today while walking downtown west palm beach I stumbled upon two next to each other. I saw them previously on his website, but had no idea they were in my own backyard!

It was a nice surprise.

Please visit his site to view the entire mural as well as his other artwork.