Saturday, December 31, 2016

Then and Now

If Fort Myers were in England it would still be in its infancy, but it's pretty old for southwest Florida. In our Historic River District there are quite a few buildings more than a hundred years old.  I like to photograph the old buildings, out of a sense of history as much as art.  This is a relatively new building, but it will be old some day.  It was built in about 1999 as the City Pier - a home for the Buquebus, a high speed catamaran shuttle to Key West.  The Buquebus never happened.  From 2008 to 2013 the building was the home of Art of The Olympians, established by the family of the late Al Oerter, artist and four-time discus gold medal winner.  Now it is the office of Allure, a luxury condo development yet to be built.  The Allure folks brought these large metal sculptures to the River District, about two dozen of them scattered about.  

Anyhow, here are two photographs of the City Pier, then and now.


© 2016 Buck Ward                       The Photographist                  

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A New Tool

Several months ago I downloaded some new software - The NIK Collection, in particular Silver Efex, a black and white editor.  I had heard about it.  I knew some photographers used it, but I was satisfied with my aging version of PhotoShop.  Then,  last April it became available for free.  It still is, as far as I know.  Look it up.

I had been making photographs that just weren't satisfying.  That's been the story for quite a while, as evidenced by the paucity of material posted here on this blog.   I had worked with this one in PhotoShop, treating it the way I usually do.  It just didn't work.  So I thought I'd give Silver Efex a shot and booted it up.  It has presets; so I ran through the selections.  Many of them were unimpressive and some looked just like the results I had gotten using Photoshop.  But a few got my attention.  Below are two versions of a picture I had made that morning, predawn.  The lower one is the PhotoShop conversion and the upper one is a Silver Efex preset with some additional PhotoShop editing.  I found the difference to be remarkable.  Wha'dya think?

I still haven't figured out how to use Silver Efex.  It's a thing I keep meaning to do, to run through the tutorials and learn how to use it.  My great talent for procrastination intervenes.  But it has the presets.  You don't need to know anything; you just click on the preset and see how it looks: Nope, nope, nope, pretty good, nope, nope, even better, nope nope, that's it!

So, I tried it on some recent also-rans and came up with some that aren't so bad.


© 2016 Buck Ward                       The Photographist                  

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Fire on the Presli Jo

I saw the smoke, a black plume in the early morning twilight. It was at the yacht basin. When I got there, I could see flames, but there were no fire trucks around. A big yacht horn sounded, loud and long. I called 911 on my cell phone. They didn't answer and then a cop car drove up. I hung up and took a picture (above) with my phone. Another cop car drove up. I was going back to my car to get my camera. The cop parked behind me told me to go away, so I moved the car. Still no fire trucks.


I got my camera and telephoto lens out of the car and found a place where I could see the fire. It was a small sailing yacht, fully engulfed in flames. 


Finally I heard the siren of a fire truck, and I saw the red lights. The fire burned. I couldn't see any fire fighters and the fire seemed to go on and on. After a while I saw a stream of water from behind another yacht. It was like a garden hose but it did seem to reduce the size of the flames. Then the water stopped for a while, then started again more vigorously. Pretty quickly, the flames went out. 


I shifted my position and I could see a small crowd of fire fighters and other people on the dock. One was holding a hose, spraying the ill-fated sailboat, which was still steaming. Then a fire boat came and slowly towed the burnt yacht out from among the other berthed yachts and out into the river, to the outer dock. I could see the name, the Presli Jo. 


By this time, the sun was coming up and I went on my way, like the cop had told me to do.

© 2016 Buck Ward                        The Photographist