Aimlessly exploring towns is one of my favorite things to do.  Whenever I travel, I love to see the main tourist sites, but i also love to go off the beaten path a bit and see what everyday life is like for the locals. I love different cultures and I love just witnessing them and contrasting how different some people’s ordinary life is from mine. Yesterday I had the opportunity to do this in Fort Lauderdale.  After we went to church in Miami, we stopped in Fort Lauderdale to grab some lunch.  I wasn’t quite hungry yet and figured that rather than eatting in a neat little coastal town like this, I would rather walk around the town and see what life was like there.  My journey ended up taking me to the beach. Here I saw a few surfers who were just enjoying the afternoon by riding a few waves in. There were also a few skim boarders who would try to catch the tail end of the wave before it receded back into the ocean.  What an extremely chill way to spend the afternoon.  There were also a few families enjoying the sun together with picnics and playing paddleball.  One man even found the luxury spot of sprawling out in a hammock suspended between two palm trees, the epitomy of rest and relaxation.  Another man was scouring the beach with his metal detector trying to find any lost treasures that fell out of the pockets of casual beach goers. One last man I met was a Jamaican man.  He was visiting some family there and he was complaining about how cold the 70 degree weather there.  Of course that was extremely warm for me compared to the 20 degree weather we had left in Cedarville, but definitely cold compared to the 90 degree weather they had had a week prior.  He actually helped me out with a few shots.  I was having fun shooting this very tame group of sea gulls right along the waters edge but I wanted to get some action out of them. So I had my jamaican friend gently throw some shells  at the gulls just to get them to stir a little bit.  He did a great job and gave me the opportunity to catch some great detail of the birds in action.  Gulls may be annoying but they really are quite beautiful birds contrasted against the deep blue water.  Over all it was a great afternoon for catching Fort Lauderdale in action from the surfers to the gulls. A peaceful Sunday afternoon.

ImageThese were shot with my Nikon D600 with both the 28-75mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8.







14 hours was all it took of straight driving through the night to make it to Daytona for the sun rise. And to be honest, the sunrise was kind of disappointing. There was very thick cloud cover, and the clouds didn’t absorb the colors of the rays as much as they just blocked the sun completely until all of a sudden it was light out. There were a few strokes of brilliant color, but not enough to really compose a very dramatic scene. I was really excited about this shoot because it was one of my first experiences with my brand new Nikon D600. In fact, the extra hour we had between arriving in Daytona and the suns expected arrival, I couldn’t even sleep, but instead messed around with some of my camera settings to make sure I was as prepared as I could be during the short window of time that was the sun rise. Before the sun rose, I was even able to test out some of the capabilities of my camera in very low light situations. The first shot you see here was one that just made me know I made the right decision to upgrade to a full frame sensor as soon as I could. I shot that at ISO 400 with f/5.0 and shutter speed of .3 s on a tripod. I was also able to experiment with the mirror lock up and remote shooting settings to reduce camera shake even more. I was just blown away when I saw the result in the viewfinder. Soon after, the sun began to rise and so I went and focused my attention on trying to grab those colors, But as I mentioned, unfortunately the colors weren’t as stunning as I was hoping, However, the phenomenon of seeing the world turn slowly from night into day was an amazing experience. That led me up to the pier to see all of the early morning fishermen who were trying either catch their lunch or catch their living off the pier of the boardwalk. There were both professionals and hobbyists up there and they were catching quite a few fish. It was really awesome capturing these men in there environment just doing something they were passionate about and in such a cool setting. The best part about this photo outting was that I was done by about 7:30 and still had the rest of the day to do stuff in Daytona and Orlando such as check out a local coffee shop, visit the Daytona speedway, visit Full Sail University, visit Relevant Media Groups headquarters and talk to one of my biggest role models, Cameron Strang, go thrift shopping, check out a few of Orlandos finest malls, and finish of the day by watching my first ever live NBA game in the Amway center (and all of this was done on less than an hour of sleep). This break has been incredible already and its barely just begun. Most of my friends haven’t even arrived in Florida yet!