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Clearwater Beach is a haven for the adventurous, the artistic, and the free spirit. The drum circle there attracts performance artists of all types; most notably, those dancing with poi and fire. Poi are orbs attached to a rope or chain that is spun around to create beautiful, momentary kaleidoscopes of flame and color, ephemeral and temporary works of art. some are composed of blinking lights and plastic, while traditional poi is a wick material that is lit aflame. I’ve been practicing trying to capture images of the dancers with various methods. My favorite way to photograph the event is to use a remote flash or two on a tripod to capture the image of the dancer, and then the slow shutter speed will create the trails. The challenge, for me, is to capture the face and figure of the subject spinning the flame with as little blur as possible but still letting the light trails get some length.
The event is every Saturday evening at 9pm, but usually doesn’t get going until a little later. As the night goes on, the performances become more and more elaborate and spectacular. There are nearby conveniences, too, which makes this location perfect. Right on the beach, there is a shop that sells food and drink and even beach supplies. Locally, one can leave the beach after a great night watching the fire spinning and find excellent eateries of all price ranges within a couple miles.
- Sunsets at Pier 60 – Includes map, directions, and calendar of Pier 60 events
- Tikituna’s Videos
Last evening we visited Ybor City. Aside from having a good time, I wanted to experiment with my remote flash unit. Nikon’s creative lighting system is excellent, and the SB900 flash is a fun toy to play with. The flash unit can be fired remotely and wirelessly, with no need to be tethered to camera. The flash is triggered by the pop up flash on the camera.
My method was to place a Gary Fong Lightsphere collapsible diffuser on the SB900. And since the flash unit is triggered by the pop up on the camera itself, I used a Gary Fong diffuser on the pop up, as well. I shoot with a Nikon D90 which can be placed in “commander mode” which allows for the remote triggering of the external flash.
I had fun with the project. You can set the flash unit on the ground or on a table, or even give it to someone to hold and aim it like a flashlight. It made for some interesting effects. All night, I experimented with getting the flash as far away from the camera as possible or aiming it from odd angles to play with shadows.
While in Ybor, we shopped, ate, and strolled around, just snapping away while my friends took turns holding the flash unit.
We hit a store called Agora which had everything from old antique tabernacles to candles and incense. The inventory was stunning. Small, reasonably priced gifts from around the world were everywhere. You could easily go in and spend $50 and come out with quite a haul. On the higher end of the inventory you” find everything from furniture to unique, salvaged items that have character beyond belief. Any decorator or designer looking to find something unique should check it out. Agora’s website is down for redesign, which is disappointing considering their amazing inventory.
We also hit up New York New York for some pizza. Even though it was busy night, the service was great. It was fast and courteous. The crust was superb, and the toppings fresh. I whined a little about wanting more sauce but, overall, a very good joint to pick up a pizza. We also went in to Buddha Lounge, but just to take pictures of the gorgeous decor. If we hadn’t already stuffed ourselves silly on pizza, we probably would have had a go at their menu.
I’d like to do some more experiments with maybe more flash units and diffusers. Much fun, more to come.
Recently I photographed a beach wedding at Fred Howard Park Beach in Tarpon Springs, Fl. Its another of our favorite beaches as it makes for some spectacular sunsets. The wedding was perfectly timed and the sun fell into the water on a warm, breezy day. The sky was a canvas of warm reds, golds, oranges. The whole ceremony was punctuated by the songs of sea birds, the rolling of the waves, and the sweet, salty breeze tussling the tops of the palm trees. It was small, intimate, and absolutely full of magic. Not a thing was out of place. Everything from rose petals in the sand to the torches flaming on the beach set the stage for romance, love, and memories to last forever.
The officiant of the wedding was Adrian Robins, who offers officiating services. She can be reached at 727-564-1893.
Come visit our state. Come to Florida. Come to the Tampa Bay Area and experience the best of our state. If you plan on going anywhere in the next few weeks or months, come see why we love our land. Florida has over a thousand miles of beaches that are safe and welcoming. Come visit and see why Floridians love it here.
And, although I might be a little on the biased side here, I encourage you to specifically visit the Tampa Bay area.
A few weekends ago we visited Caladesi Island in honor of Natalie’s birthday and to have a test photo shoot, with Natalie acting as her own model. Micheal went with us to enjoy the sunny, sandy day, and also to help steer the rays of the sun with our large reflector.
To get there, you have to first go to Honeymoon Island and park your ride and then hop on the ferry or rent a kayak to go over to the island. Being that the forecast called for rain later in the evening, we chose the ferry. The admission that day was $12.00 per person and $6.00 for kids. I assure you that the price is well worth it. What you end up with on the other end of that foamy, misty, ride is genuinely priceless.
It was a quick, breezy ride to a long wooden dock. We stepped out into what is a strange little nexus of gift shop, restrooms, boat dock, and the awesome beauty of raw, nearly pristine nature. Right behind the most excellent concession stand that carries a surprisingly large menu just hidden behind the restroom and a thick tangle of trees the view opens up into an expansive, lush 661 acre park. “Breathtaking,” is the most apt way to describe this beach. It is raw, primal, and still very much under the control of Mother Nature. There are clearly marked areas that which a human foot simply cannot tread. Every step you take on this sand is magic, and the air shimmers with gold and blue, and the song of the sea alone is enough to make you fall into a dream state, contentedly walking to the rhythm of the waves running up to embrace the shore.
We either swam or just laid back in the sun most of the day. Wildlife is incredibly varied and abundant, and very vocal. We lounged on the sand, listening to the birds sing, or bobbed up and down in the warm, clear water. We took a few photos here and there but spent most of the time just being silent, taking in all that we could of the jewel that is Caladesi Island.
Natalie and I had the fortune to visit Michigan this summer and run around all over Muskegon. Summer flowers were blooming everywhere. Beautiful buds sprang forth on every hillside, driveway, and even on the side of the road. Large, abundant flowers, heavily laden stalks of corn, and produce of all types were visible in fields simply by driving down a country road on the way to the next town or a trip down to the cool shores of Lake Michigan. This time of year, Michigan was alive and thriving with vegetation of all sorts.
During our stay, Natalie’s mom and sister Sarah took us to the Farmer’s Market in Muskegon. It was the middle of the week, so only half of the market was occupied, but we were simply floored at the variety and quality of the products available. Corn was especially good. I purchased a variety called “Peaches and Cream” which was an almost candy-sweet, juicy bi-color ear of buttery goodness. We bought and ate plenty of goods during our stay. The vendors and shoppers alike were friendly, smiling people. Everyone seemed to be having a good time at the Farmer’s Market. Not to mention, the best blueberries in the world were in season.
While there, the vendors were kind enough to allow me to snap picture after picture. I tend to go a little nuts when we have the camera with us. I took shot after shot of everything from crisp, brightly colored radishes to deeply hued and unusually shaped eggplants. It was a culinarian’s dream come true.
The market is open May through December Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Make sure to visit the official site for information, the special events calendar, and even a video about the market.
According to the market’s official site, “The Muskegon Farmer’s Market is a division of the City of Muskegon and is dedicated to showcasing the best in locally-grown foods, flowers, nursery stock, handicrafts and baked goods. The Market also hosts a giant Flea Market where everything imaginable is sold.”
If you ever find yourself anywhere near Muskegon, it is most certainly worth a drive. A sea of flowers, piles and piles of the best produce Michigan has to offer, and dedicated vendors make this a must-visit for any cook or anyone that just happens to like to eat.
Natalie’s latest painting of the goddess Nyx has just been completed. Its fifth in the series so far, and probably my favorite one to date. It is hypnotic and has a certain pleasing symmetry. But that’s just me, and I am admittedly biased.
The painting is the result of what Natalie had called the “Fairy Photo shoot” which took place in May. We had a few friends over and had an absolute blast.
The actual photo shoot planning started months before. Natalie placed a casting call to models on Model Mayhem, a social networking site “Where professional models meet model photographers.” Natalie’s plan was to do a Fairy shoot and take images of models in whimsical dress she will then use as a reference when creating the pastel itself.
Through Model Mayhem we electronically met model Jessika Napua Akana. She and Nat exchanged a few emails and we decided to meet at Sacred Grounds coffee shop to discuss the shoot. Jessika proved to be very professional and contributed plenty of great ideas and was a joy to work with. We also met with our good friend Georgette Khaziran who is an absolutely exceptional hair and makeup artist. After a few rounds of meeting and brainstorming, we chose a date and made it happen. We had three models that day. Natalie would also act as a model with Jessika and another one of our dear friends. It was really a great collaborative effort. Everyone was creative, inspired, and focused on making the shoot a success.
I pulled double duty. I was photographer as well as chef. The day was going to be a long one, so I wanted to make sure we had all sorts of drinks and edibles. I think I shot a few thousand shots that day, while Mikey and George, and another pal acted as grips. In the following weeks we spent some time each night removing the blurries, the unfocused, and the somehow unusable pictures, we still were left with many hundreds of excellent photographs.
Sorting them, going through them, rating them, was a process that took time. Natalie wanted to find the right shots and do something incredible. After completing long and difficult task of sorting, she finally had a few chosen that she could use for pastel work.
Nyx is the first picture to come out of photoshoot.
Georgette Khaziran is available for appointments at Verdecia Salon in Citrus Park,
call 813-852-1509 to schedule an appointment.
Georgette did the hair and makeup for the three models. She also did it twice for each model since we had a costume change. She was amazing. When she wasn’t in the changing room working on models, she was out on set with me touching up and arranging hair dynamically as the shoot wore on. Absolutely incredible. She ran about the set with a curling iron and makeup palette making sure the models were always presented in the best light possible. And also, to drop a shameless plug, she is currently a stylist at Verdecia Salon which is next to Citrus Park Mall. Call her for a cut or color, she does phenomenal work. She has a wide range of services to make you look drop-dead gorgeous.
Special thanks to Michael, George, and all of our other friends that were a part of this shoot. Can’t wait for the next one.
The following is a slideshow showing with a few sample images from that day.
If you’d like, you can also check out the full image gallery.