Top of the Rock | New York City

I love this photo. There are a million pictures of the Empire State Building from pretty much everywhere in NYC. It can be exhausting to try to find an angle that hasn't been exploited yet, so I didn't even bother. The reason I love this one so much is because I had to wait and wait and wait like every other sucker to get to the top of Rockefeller Center and squirm my way through the crowds to the edge to get this view. They do not allow tripods (and I wish they didn't allow selfie sticks) because otherwise it would be "Lord of the Flies" up there. I fought off mouth-breathing tourists for elbow room to get 6 inches of free space on the railing to get this shot. I scoped this shot out years ago but wanted to wait for One World Trade Center to be done so it would be standing proud in the background.

I love being amidst the buildings and looking at the thousands of glowing windows. Getting lost in my thoughts. Who's working late? Who forgot to turn their light off? Where are all these people going and coming from? Then I was jabbed in the ribs by a 10 year old and I decided it was time to pack up and go.

End of the Line

Cut away view of the Bahia Honda Rail Bridge

Bahia Honda State Park | Florida Keys

On January 22, 1912, Henry Flagler rode the first passenger train on his brand new extension of the Overseas Railway disembarking at Key West, Florida. When Flagler announced his plans to extend the railway from Miami to Key West, it was considered foolish. However, later on, it was considered the eighth wonder of the world.

The railway lasted until 1938 when it was purchased by the state and converted into a passenger vehicle highway. This particular section of the Overseas Highway closed permanently in 1972 when the new bridge opened. The bridge here at Bahia Honda spanning 5,055 feet was and possibly still is the longest pin-connected truss bridge in the United States.


Map of the entire proposed railway. Hanging at the South Florida Fairgrounds.

Newspaper enlargement hanging at the South Florida Fairgrounds.


Read more about the bridge and Henry Flagler!

A Secret Viewing Spot?

A Secret Viewing Spot?

Las Vegas, Nevada

It is hard to see but I am pretty sure there are people in the rotunda on top of Bellagio in this photo; I am very jealous.

Near the end of a 12 night working stay in Vegas, I had some free time to walk the strip with my camera. When I got to Bellagio they were doing some kind of maintenance or testing on the fountains. They kept going off every few minutes sometimes with music and sometimes without. As unpredictable as it was, I certainly enjoyed the extended "show". 

I often catch myself being guilty of trying to "fit everything in" and trying to open up my wide angle lens just a little bit wider. So on this particular evening, I only carried my 50mm prime lens and left my other lenses at the hotel. I know that if I had my wide angle lens with me I would have tried to get the whole hotel in the shot, but I am rather pleased with how things turned out... 

Griffith Park

Griffith Park

Griffith Park | Los Angeles, California

I always assumed that Griffith Park was named after D.W. Griffith, he did after all film the battle scenes for "Birth of a Nation" inside the park. However, it is actually named after Colonel Griffith (whose full name is Griffith J. Griffith, which I love) who started an ostrich farm there in 1882. In 1896, Griffith donated 3,015 acres of land to the city of Los Angeles and the park officially came into existence.

Griffith had grand plans for the park and most of them came to fruition though it took a little longer than he wanted due to his reputation being tainted from non-fatally shooting his wife in 1903. He envisioned an observatory, a boys camp and a girls camp, a planetarium, an aviation research center, and possibly more. The two crowning achievements (in my opinion) that remain today are the observatory (featured in the photo above) and the amphitheater now known as the Greek Theatre; both of these were finished in the 1930's. Though it has long since disappeared, the park did have an aviation center for a few decades, the Griffith Park Aerodrome.

On June 30th, 2015, a Japanese style tea house was erected in the park without a permit and presented to the city as a gift, though it appears the tea house only lasted a month. Also in the park, is a pine tree that was planted in 2004 in memory of Beatle George Harrison, though sadly (and delightfully humorous at the same time) that tree died of a beetle infestation.

I love Griffith Park.

After Shabbat

After Shabbat

Jerusalem, Israel

Shortly after watching evening prayers at the Western Wall at the start of Shabbat we went for a walk through the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. One of my favorite aspects of Jerusalem is the small meandering walkways in the older parts of town. The gentleman in this photo was presumably on his way home from the Western Wall. This cat was just sitting and watching everything that was going on, which is probably my favorite part of this scene.

I don't love the metal railing or the yellow fire hydrant but at least you know this is real life :-)

Dear Google Photos or: How I Made This Instagram Photo

The Phoenix Mountain Preserve as seen from Shadow Mountain.  

The Phoenix Mountain Preserve as seen from Shadow Mountain.  

I just recently started making a concentrated effort to start sharing more of my photos and Google Photos has been a tremendous help in this process. I signed up for Google Photos almost immediately and started to upload everything but my raw files. This took several weeks to complete but everyday I enjoyed looking through the new creations that Google would make for me and skimming through old photos.

Seeing the photos that Google has turned into animations, or stylized, or made into a tone mapped HDR would remind of me of locations that I had long forgotten I had visited and photographed. Then I could also scroll through well over a decades worth of images to find something worth sharing. Something that would have otherwise continued to live in obscurity. 

There are other services offering very similar features but I decided to upload my entire library to Google Photos for several reasons: 

  1. Free storage if you don't keep the original file in the cloud.  
  2. Nothing is stored on my computer or mobile device. Apple Photos will store most of your data in the cloud but tries to optimize the local storage used. I already have the original files stored on my computer so I don't want to store them twice on the same drive. 
  3.  The "Creations" are neat. Not life changing but I really enjoy having them made for me. Shows me my photos from a different perspective and reminds me of things I have forgotten about. 
  4. The opportunity cost is worth it. I know Google makes money off of me and I am more than okay with that because they give me products and services that I love to use. 
  5. Its not platform dependent.  

A couple months after all of my jpegs were uploaded I decided to upload all my raw photos (except for most timelapses and most panoramas) and that's where this Instagram photo came from. I was scrolling through the Google Creations and I saw that Google had gotten its hands on one of my panoramas from a small mountain near my house. It took a single portion of the pano and combined the bracketed images into an HDR for me. It was something I would not have put together on my own but I really liked it once I saw it. 

The image as it appeared in Google Photos on my phone.  

The image as it appeared in Google Photos on my phone.  


I opened it in Snapseed directly from Google Photos on my phone and made some minor adjustments. And that was it, fast and easy.

This image certainly doesn't represent a glorious moment in time nor is it perfect (Google messed up the clouds) but it is something that I feel is worth sharing and it would have gone unnoticed for the foreseeable future without Google Photos. 

This map shows where the photo was taken from, not the mountains in the photo.