Dark Descent, Niagara Falls, NY 2006
This week is Art Basel Miami Beach. The largest Fine Art Gallery on the Planet lasts from Tuesday, December 3rd through Sunday, December 8th. Additional Art venues can be found in huge tents such as Art Miami, Red Dot, Spectrum, Miami Project, and other pop-up and semi-permanent sites such as Aqua, etc., around Miami Beach and Wynwood.
Above is my tribute to the international Fine Art vibe of this week. Shot from a great distance away and lit by the numerous spot lights focused on the falls, the water plummets into the abyss creating an explosion of mist. The image has traveled as far as China, at least via the internet. Although the title was changed to reflect their cultural differences, I still appreciate the International exposure..
White Farm, OH 2013
From the series: Magical Midwest http://www.barrystevengreff.com.
Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, 2013.
Strike Right, Hollywood, FL 2013
An uncommon late November lightning storm reminded me of how much I enjoy capturing lightning strikes. Unlike many other photographers that shoot lightning, rather than simply concentrating on the bolts themselves, I seek to make the strikes an integral part of the composition of the image. In order to do this it is essential to monitor the storm, its direction and the timing between flashes. Since Florida storms tend to move quickly, all of the above needs to be done quickly, and safely. The image above was captured from across the North Lake in Hollywood, Florida after the height of the regular summer lightning storms.
Lightning, Florida Everglades 2010
Following a storm approaching through the Florida Everglades, I captured this scene with bolts on both sides of the tree as the storm moved. At night, as in the Hollywood image, a tripod and remote cable release allow you to leave the shutter open in order to capture the strike. In the Everglades image, it was still daytime and without a Lightning Trigger (that captures lightning during the day), I had to improvise. Counting seconds between strikes I was able to capture three different bolts in separate images as the storm moved. The black vultures in the tree were unfazed by the strikes and were an added bonus in the final images.
Luckily for me, lightning strikes… more than twice.
Sunset Pier and Crescent Moon, Naples, FL 2008
Although images of sunsets and silhouettes are all too common, tweaking the usual formula can result in something different.
In this image, the lavender sky was reflected in the long exposed soft movement of the Gulf of Mexico. Then, the thin slice of Crescent Moon just above the Pier helped make this sunset silhouette.. a little bit more distinct.
Indian Blue Peacock, Profile, Davie, FL 2012
As rare and beautiful as a White Peacock is (see last post), to me there is nothing more spectacular than a perfect specimen of the more common, male, Indian Blue.
The best time to photograph them is during mating season when they are showing off their magnificent plumage to the far less colorful females. Upon spotting a potential mate, the males back up toward the females, spread their feathers and shake them rapidly, as if vibrating (no pun intended).
To capture the brilliant colors of this creature, the best light is not bright sunlight, but cloudy or overcast lighting that brings out the richness of the blues and greens. Here I used depth of field to separate the two sides of feathers from the neon blue neck, creating a unique and interesting composition.
So, when it comes to photographing passionate Peacocks on a cloudy day, I am clearly a …fan.
White Peacock, Davie, FL 2013
Peacocks are known for their brilliant colors, especially the males, who open and fan their long tail feathers to get the attention of females.
A much more rare example of this beautiful peafowl is the White Peacock. These are not albino but a color variation of the India Blue Peacock. They start off yellow as chicks and turn all white as they mature. This particular male lives at Flamingo Gardens in Davie, Florida. While all of the others are “Blue” or the colored birds more commonly seen, this bird stays away from the rest as if it were not welcome.
A sad commentary on the isolation of being different… yet no less beautiful.
Dusk, Dania Beach, FL 2013
Sanibel Sunset, Sanibel-Captiva, FL 2013
In South Florida, the driving distance from the East to the West Coast is about 2 hours. In the East, the Atlantic Ocean routinely has bigger wave activity then it’s sister coast, which is the calmer, usually flat, Gulf of Mexico.
In these two particular Sunset Seascapes, the tidal activity is reversed with a calm Atlantic and an unusually rough Gulf tide. Both shot just after sunset, the reflected sunlit clouds show that, although the sun always sets in the West, Mother Nature does not play favorites.
On any given day she can provide you with a great show on either coast… You just have to be there to see what happens.
Cascade through Old Man’s Cave, Hocking Hills State Park, OH 2013
For more Black and White falling water, I go to this misty image of a hard flowing cascade through Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills State Park http://www.hockinghills.com. Standing just past the safety barrier (don’t try this at home) to get the best composition, I held the tripod still on the slippery rocks as the thunderous water rushed past me and the rain fell.
Lucky to not lose any equipment (or my life), when you have the rare opportunity to find yourself in a special place like this, you have to make the most of it.
Additional images of this, and of surrounding areas, can be found at http://www.barrystevengreff.com in the Portfolio entitled Magical Midwest.
Granite Flow, Boulder, CO 2008
The image above was created at Boulder Falls, outside Boulder, CO during a light rain. The overcast weather created muted light to enable a tripod-assisted long exposure. The light rain accented the gray granite rocks through which the water cascaded.
After catastrophic flooding in and around the Boulder, CO area recently, the re-building efforts are taking place. The rising water destroyed homes, roads and communities in areas that serve as gateways to the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Anyone wishing to help can do so at: http://rdcrss.org/1993W8e .
Waiting Driver, NYC, NY 2013
Lines, South Street Seaport, NYC, NY 2013
The Plaza, NYC, NY 2013
Walking 5th Avenue, NYC, NY 2013
It’s been a long time since my boys and I used to hang out in the city as kids. From Elmont we would walk to the Arnold Palmer’s Dry Cleaners and catch a bus to the train station. Change at Jamaica and next stop, the Big Apple. Now, some of them live in the City and I have visited many times over the years.
During those visits I always try to bring back images of New York City.. as I see it. Here are a few I created while in Manhattan for my Gallery Exhibition.
Never Forget, 911 Memorial, NYC 2103
Waterfall, 911 Memorial, NYC 2013
To Heaven, Tower One, World Trade Center, NYC 2013
Having visited the 911 Memorial after my NYC Gallery exhibition, I can attest to the beauty, serenity and reverence one feels at the location. The landscape images of the Memorial show how the beautiful waterfalls cascade into the exact footprints where the buildings stood.
The image of the new Tower One reaching into the heavens… speaks for itself. Lest we never forget.
Three Horses in Snow, Colorado 2010
Three Horses grazing after an unexpected, brief summer snow in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. A scene like this called for Black and White. The composition of the horses within the frame and their respective poses are what make the image. Watching for head, leg and tail movement all go into the final image. Including some grass on the bottom frames the scene.
Ok, so the original lyric was about Rock and Roll… and I like that too.
Sunset Mountain, Winter Park, CO 2007
In contrast to my last post, other sunsets are spectacular. Case in point, we were driving to Winter Park from Denver a few years back and looking for the condo we were going to stay in for a few days. It was getting close to sunset and as a photographer who loves shooting landscapes, the last place you want to be when the sun is setting…is in a car.
We finally located the place and I ran inside to check the view (which is my primary requisite for any vacation rental) and there, through the wall of windows, I saw the scene above. I barely had time to grab my tripod and set up to shoot the scene when the beautiful sunset light was gone. I did manage to get off a few great captures in the brief moments I had before the light disappeared.
Moral of the story, even in photography (maybe especially in photography)…timing is everything.
The Birds, Florida Everglades 2008
Birds in Tree, Dayton, OH 2013
Many sunsets are not very photogenic. On those days, I look for a subject to silhouette against the darkening sky. Birds in trees are a good candidate for these type of images. Shoot up into the trees as the sun is setting while concentrating on the composition and keeping the subject sharp.
Since the colors on these days leave alot to be desired, black and white can salvage the scene. So, rather than packing up and going home on these questionable sunset evenings, get creative and you might just go home with a keeper.
Waxing Gibbous, 2009
With today’s modern technology, good cameras and lenses can shoot great distances. At first glance this image might seem as if it had been shot from an approaching space shuttle. To the contrary, I captured the Moon in a Waxing Gibbous phase, craters and all, from the driveway in front of my house…on Earth.
Utilizing a Canon 50D camera, a 100-400mm L lense and setting an ISO of 2,000, I was also able to expose the surrounding stars. No telescope, just a tripod, remote shutter release and some patience. Now, that’s over the Moon.
Ascencion, Newport, KY 2009
Full, San Francisco, CA 2009
Long having been a popular series, here are a couple of installments from FLOW: Isolated Portraits of Jellyfish. Each respective image in the series is named from the impression I get by the particular shape and form captured therein. As examples. in these two I see the first jellyfish ascending to the surface while the second seems to have a full bell of tentacles that are overflowing out.
Shot through glass at various Aquariums around the U.S. the color and natural beauty of these magnificent creatures work well in commercial, residential and marine settings. Whether exhibited alone or in groups, the images can be traditionally framed as Fine Art prints or mounted on stainless steel behind acrylic (which really make the images pop).
Many more can be viewed at www.barrystevengreff.com in the portfolio entitled: FLOW.
Gray Cat, Green Eyes, 2013
Cream Cat, Cream Eyes, 2013
Brown Cat, Yellow Eyes, 2013
More images from my new series of Feral Cats, Born to be Wild. Unique in their colors and eyes, they make for an interesting, albeit skittish subject. Feral Cats are domestic cats that are born in the wild. They are distinguished from stray cats, which are lost or abandoned pets. Although they are born and live outdoors without any human contact or care, they are sometimes adoptable and can be tamed by humans, provided they are removed from a wild environment before truly feral behaviors are established.
Although difficult to determine accurately, feral cats have been reported to live a median age of 4 years, with a maximum of about 8 years. By contrast, in captivity their pampered indoor male counterparts live an average of 12 to 14 years, with females on average, living a year or two longer. Hence, it pays to be kept… and female:) Just kidding…no letters/e-mails please.
Clouds on Fire, 2013
Beautiful Storm Clouds, 2013
Hole in the Sky, 2012
Gray Skies, 2012
Sometimes the best photographic scene is not readily apparent anywhere around you. It may not be to your left, your right, or even behind you (but it is good practise to check all of the above).
On those days that there is nothing within sight to shoot, there is always one more possibility. Mother Nature often paints a beautiful picture with her constantly changing cloud configurations. In particular, impending storms can create, and the setting sun often illuminates, remarkable formations. So when there is nothing apparent to shoot on good old Terra Firma, point your camera skyward and you never know…things could be looking up.
Beautiful Storm, Alligator Alley, FL 2013
Living just east of the Florida Everglades we experience some intense storms during the summer. Using radar on weather apps I can pinpoint the time and direction of the storms and head in front of them to capture the darkening skies. On this particular day there was a weather alert for a severe line of thunder storms coming in from the west. Driving out to meet the storm, at the edge of the Everglades I witnessed some of the most ominous and beautiful storm clouds I had ever seen. They reminded me of the early scenes in the War of the Worlds movie (the Spielberg/Cruise version) with fierce winds to match.
Everglades Canal, Alligator Alley, FL 2013
I photographed this beautiful storm from various angles, including above a canal framed by power line towers that run along the edge of the Everglades.
Storm Over US 27, Weston, FL 2013
Finally, I captured this view, which I wouldn’t suggest anyone try, from the middle of the vast U.S. 27 Highway that runs north and south through the Everglades. This “vanishing point” image features the lights of an oncoming car under the massive storm clouds. Seconds later the sky opened up and torrential rains poured down. By then I was back in the car following the radar to stay in front of the storm. After years of practise, and always done with caution, storm chasing is not to be taken lightly.
You should always respect Mother Nature.
Rainbow Flight, Weston, FL 2013
(It seems the image above was not showing for a while, so I re-posted it… must have had something to do with the ghostly light).
One evening as the sun set, looking up into the sky there appeared a rainbow from the refracted light. The eerie glow stayed in one spot for several minutes and in that time a passenger plane flew directly through it, at least from my angle.
I captured the image just as the plane flew through the rainbow (no Photoshop here). I wonder what the scene must have looked like…from inside the plane.
Independence Day Display, BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL 2013
After moving way back last year to see many displays at once (see my previous post, Full Moon and Fireworks), this year we moved back in and concentrated on one great display. The BB&T Center (where the Florida Panthers play hockey) http://www.thebbtcenter.com/ hosts a July 4th Party that ends with a great fireworks display.
After being ordered away from the launch site by Sunrise’s Finest, we settled on a location further North and I used a long lens to get close to the bursts. This is my Fine Art take on what I saw. I look forward to printing them and offering three or four together to add beauty and color to any residential or commercial space.
Full Moon Fourth of July, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 2012
For a change in the usual fireworks vantage point we moved back and up last year. That is, rather than watching from up close, we went to the top of the highest point in Broward County, Vista View Park, and watched multiple fireworks displays as they took place across the County. Although not as impactful as seeing a good display close-up, this did offer a new point of view.
The addition of the full moon was only possible when a cloud crossed in front of it, allowing the camera’s shutter to remain open long enough to capture several firework bursts without blowing out (over exposing) the moon. Happy Birthday U.S.A.
Northern Crested Caracara, 2013
The Northern Crested Caracara is a member of the Falcon family, but unlike the Falco falcons in the same family, the Caracaras are not fast-flying aerial hunters, but are rather sluggish and often scavengers.
An unusual looking bird, the top head feathers are black and tighly coiffed (ala Fonzie) and it has white feathers coming out and down from its bright orange face that looks like the beard of an old Amish gentlemen. I thought the unusual combination made for a striking portrait.
Island in the Sun, Florida Keys, FL 2012
Two Trees, Florida Keys, FL 2012
Heading south from Miami, the road eventually narrows into just two lanes, north and south. The Overseas Highway is a 127.5 mile highway that carries U.S. Route 1 from Homestead/Florida City south to Key West at the end. All along the way the road is surrounded by water, islands and wildlife.
Seen in countless movies (remember the limousine chase in Schwarzenegger’s True Lies) http://bit.ly/1bqdZ55 and the majority of television car commercials, the road through the keys is a unique and beautiful place to travel and photograph. And when you reach the end to Key West (AKA Margaritaville), you can enjoy, as Jimmy Buffet sang, a Cheeseburger in Paradise http://bit.ly/11rWT17 …or at least a slice of Key Lime Pie, which is as good as it gets and where it originated.
Black Cat, Aqua Eyes, 2013
Siamese, Blue Eyes, 2012
Feral Cats are a breed of domestic feline that are born and/or survive outdoors rather than living as house pets. They either hunt for their own food or are fed by humans in their immediate surroundings. In South Florida, many of the local tourist venues that exhibit captive wildlife, also have Feral Cats living on the premises.
While shooting the formerly wild animals in many of these locations for the Series: Of the Wild, I noticed that in addition to the type of common cats you might see on the street, there were many with unique, even striking features. Eventually, I decided to do what I do best and capture the beauty of these hybrid, varied species of feline. As is my signature style, the images are shot outdoors in natural light, cropped tight to emphasize their personality as seen through their beautiful eyes and …on the animal’s terms. Due to their wild nature, capturing the images is often challenging because they are very skittish subjects and don’t usually pose for the camera.
Nevertheless, for all cat lovers, witness the birth of a new series, Feral Cats, Born to be Wild.
By the Sea, Deerfield Beach, FL 2013
Time and Tide Waits For No Man, Deerfield Beach, FL 2013
To create low light, dusk Seascapes such as these, you need: a.) patience, b.) a tripod), c.) a shutter release cable and d) bare feet. The patience is required to wait until just the right light, here, just after sunset. The tripod is a necessity to hold the camera steady to allow for a long exposure to capture the smooth motion of the ocean. The cable release adds an additional amount of steadiness when clicking the shutter. The bare feet are required because you will get wet, and you will sink into the sand as the tide ebbs and flows beneath you.
Here are some tips to avoid disaster, and hopefully capture a great image: a.) keep the camera strap around your neck in case somehow the camera becomes detached from the tripod (nothing worse than an SLR in sea water,) b.) aim one of the Tripod legs down towards the ocean so it remains somewhat steady as the surf comes in and goes out, c.) force the tripod legs deep into the sand (inevitably, it will still move with a big wave, but try to hold it down when that happens, d.) keep the shutter release cable high, (I lay it around my neck), so it won’t get wet dangling down, e.) pay attention to the waves in the background as well as the tide in the foreground to create a solid composition.
Do all of the above and you may come away with something great. Worse case scenario…there is no place better to find yourself as the sun sets on another day.
Flamingo Triptych, 2009-2013
While we are on the subject of Flamingos (from my last post), an additional Triptych available to collectors is the Flamingo Triptych which was created from 2099 through 2013. Three images of three different birds exhibit the diversity in color and design of the beautiful feathers seen on different animals. This piece can add some beautiful color to the right residential or commercial space.