A fountain in Tampa

I caught this shot (is caught even the right word?) in downtown Tampa a while back on my quick trip through there.  Sunset was approaching and I wanted to be somewhere downtown.  I was hoping for a reflection of the skyline in the water, but I could never find a good spot for it, and I guess I ain’t smart enough to use Google Earth before I arrive to figure these things out.  It’s funny - or sad, really - that I used to travel to Tampa at least twice a month, but this was years before I got into photography, so despite being familiar with the town, I wasn’t  “photography-familiar” with it.  I really had no idea where to go and shoot.  How many wasted opportunities I wonder?  Oh well, live in the present and all that.  I am making up for it now though!  Anyways, I found this open park area with these fountains, and with the light quickly departing I set up and rolled off lots of different shots.

Ybor City scene

Ybor City is a historic district just a stone's throw from downtown Tampa.  It was founded by cigar manufacturers and populated with thousands of Cuban immigrants.  Nowadays, it still maintains its historic charm and has become populated with bars, restaurants and stores as well as all the historic cigar shops.  It's a very interesting place to walk around with a camera.  I spent a couple of hours strolling through the neighborhood and found this scene at one of the many outdoor patio bars.  And yes, Guinness is good for you!

Tampa baggage claim

On my trip to Tampa, FL a while back, I happened to stay in the hotel which was connected to the airport.  At first I thought that would be a drag, however it gave me the opportunity to shoot in the airport at night when everyone was gone, which was cool. This is baggage claim.  Not much else I can say about that!

Last light in Tampa

Sunset just rocks, even when you don’t get to shoot it.  The light is just so awesome.  Take this shot, for instance.  I was walking around in downtown Tampa, FL and just could not find a good vantage point for the city and the sunset together.  I used to travel to Tampa all the time, but that was over 10 years ago and I wasn’t carrying a camera with me back then, so I didn’t know the good spots.  I came across these fountains - and I like shooting fountains - so I set up and caught the last bit of light as the sun disappeared.  I just thought the colors and light were fabulous.

This is a single exposure image that I ran through HDR Efex Pro, and then made some minor adjustments in Viveza, which is also an amazing product!

Going up

Well, this was a great weekend for me from a photography point of view, and I didn’t even take any pictures.  It was great for 2 reasons: my Aperture 3 upgrade arrived, and so did my NIK Software Complete Collection (including HDR Efex Pro!).  In other words,  I got a lot of new software toys.  I have been using Aperture 2 for a couple of years now, and finally just upgraded to v3 which is awesome!  The capabilities of this product continue to impress me, and there are a lot of great presets included which are fun and functional!  I haven’t had much time to play with the NIK Software collection yet, but I have run a couple of single frame photos through HDR Efex Pro (such as this one) and I am very impressed!  What a cool product!  As a result of now having these products, I can see that I will not be using Photomatix much any more (HDR Efex Pro is that good!) and who needs Photoshop anymore (Aperture 3 is that good!)?

This is one of those shots that is a result of just messing around with the camera.  I was in Tampa, FL last week for a couple of days, and though I took some shots, I was not finding anything that really inspired me.  I was back at my hotel, which was conveniently attached to the airport, so I just wandered over there one evening hoping to find it empty.  Bingo!  I find most touristy places are great to shoot really early, while the tourists are sleeping, but most airports are best to shoot late because no one sticks around any longer than they have to!  I basically had the airport to myself, which was kind of interesting.  I just started trying different camera tricks with the escalator, and finally settled on this one, which involved having my camera on the tripod, sitting on an escalator step, and going up.  It wasn’t a particularly long exposure - about 2 seconds - but it was enough to blur out the sides while I rode it up and back to my room.  It’s always fun to experiment!