i paparazzi   Leave a comment

Dinner For Two

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

I am often struck, as I travel throughout the world, how often I feel like any one place feels like another. That where I am in that moment could easily be a thousand miles away and look and feel exactly the same. It underscores how very much alike we all are. How we want the same things for ourselves and the ones we love. That we need to fill our hearts, minds and bodies with nourishment is no different today than it was 50 years ago. This scene is being repeated a million times over as you read this text. Don’t you think that’s crazy? And even more mind noodling, is that it will take place again and again and again beyond our days.

A recent epiphany came to me. According to a Google search I just conducted, the oldest person alive is 115 years old. That means that 116 years ago not a single living soul on this planet existed. No one, not one of us existed. Very likely in 116 years from now, none of us will exist then. It’s not a morbid fascination, but the realization that life really does go on and that this scene will be not much different in that foreseeable future. People eating, socializing, laughing, and crying, all the while as time goes by.

This is why photography so fascinates me. It stops that moment and cements it into history. A record of a single brief 1/125 of a sec when time stood ever so momentarily still.

Today we reflect on what was by comparing the history of things to the present. Black and white photography helps us put some perspective, albeit of an infinitesimal amount,  of that recorded history.

And so it is, that history repeats itself, and will again in the future, with or without me to help record it.

Dinner For Two

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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The Jaguar   1 comment

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

The hood ornament of a classic car offers a variety of symbolism for its brand and its driver. I’m not a huge “Jag” fan, but this classic hood ornament on a well preserved classic caught my attention. I learned a long time ago to shoot in “aperture priority” mode in my camera and over the years forgot why. The recent acquisition of some great lenses for my camera reminded me why. Depth of field is a tool in every photographers toolkit and when used properly can be an effective method of drawing attention to a particular area of the image. This is a bit of an extreme example, but I like how it makes you feel like the jaguar is really going to leap off the car.

Today’s subject is a bit of a departure from recent posts, but I wanted to share this image as it is a recent favorite.

Thanks for stopping by.

The Boutique Art Deco Hotels of South Beach, FL   Leave a comment

Rarely am I satisfied with my architectural photography. Buildings, cityscapes, right angles, and flat colors, offer little enthusiasm for photographic exploration for me. When compared to landscape, people, animals, even the studio, the subject of architecture is not high on my list of themes to explore. So it was indeed a rare opportunity and surprising pleasure for me to explore the Art Deco boutique hotels that neighbor one another along Ocean Dr. in South Beach, Fl.

Royal Palm Shorecrest

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

Elongated parallel lines stretching into the sky with elements of color to accentuate the style suited my wide angle lens and a subtle use of high dynamic processing pulled out the detail that might otherwise have been lost to a “normally” exposed image. Partly cloudy skies, my favorite when photographing landscapes and now cityscapes, helped add just the right amount of contrast to the architecture to bring it to life.

Park Central Hotel

PAC_4218

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

The nostalgia of South Beach was enhanced by the occasional hotelier who parked an antique car outside their front entrance. No doubt if this were a B&W photo, it could easily appear to have been taken in the 1930’s.  Below is an extract from Wikipedia regarding this particular style of Art Deco architecture called Streamline Moderne.

In the 1930s, an architectural revolution came to South Beach, bringing Art Deco, Streamline Moderne, and Nautical Moderne architecture  to the Beach. South Beach claims to be the world’s largest collection of Streamline Moderne Art Deco architecture

Streamline Moderne, sometimes referred to by either name alone or as Art Moderne, was a late type of the Art Deco design style which emerged during the 1930s. Its architectural style emphasized curving forms, long horizontal lines, and sometimes nautical elements.

Breakwater Hotel

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

14th Street Restrooms

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

Not to be overlooked, even the public restrooms that appear along the public beaches are styled in the Streamline Moderne motif.

Still Waters – The National Hotel

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

Miami in February can still have a chill in the air and this empty pool was evidence of that. The early morning sun cast just enough of a shadow through the palm branches to make for a wonderful reflection in the still waters.

Miami Nightlife

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

The night in Miami offers a completely different experience as the true life of the city emerges. I have long outgrown the desire for late nights and dancing; to be honest I never really had them, however if you are prone to shake a leg or move a hip at the hint of heart pounding dance music, this is your town.

Miami isn’t for everyone, but it is for many and for me it is a city I hope one day to return to.

Thanks for stopping by.

South Beach – Lifeguard Stands in the Morning   Leave a comment

On a recent trip to Miami I decided to rise before the sun (and my meetings) to enjoy the early morning sunrise and smell of the salt air as the waves crashed against the shore. This was my first time to Miami and to the area of South Beach. It is a sight to behold.

Below are a series of images of the life guard stands that dot the shoreline every 500 yards or so. Built to replace the original structures damaged when Hurricane Wilma hit in 2006, the lifeguard stands are fully functional and used daily.

10th Street Lifeguard Stand

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

16th Street Lifeguard Stand

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

15th Street Lifeguard Stand

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

14th Street Lifeguard Stand

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

13th Street Lifeguard Stand

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

12th Street Lifeguard Stand

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

The quiet morning walk along the beach was a great way to start my day and though the sun soaked bodies that typically dot the beach are also a main attraction of South Beach, the peace and tranquility of the morning offered this somewhat introverted photographer time to enjoy the simple beauty of the rising sun and the warm glow of light as it enveloped the delightfully colored stands the lifeguards call home.

Napa Valley in the Fall   2 comments

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography

Napa Valley, like most wine producing regions has a mystique all its own. There is of course the wealth effect of fine wine and certainly Napa, like many famous wine regions, suffers the ills of the highbrow, that for me can sometimes be off-putting. Be that as it may, there are many welcome and hospitable vintners who, once past the pretense, proudly share the history, flavors and nuance of their wines. Fall in Napa is a sight and smell to behold. Driving along  Redwood Rd. towards Hess Collection winery, in the rolling hills north-west of Napa, the air is filled with the aromas of grapes crushed and fermenting as well as those still hanging from the vines.

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography

Honestly, I can’t say for sure what I was smelling but it was sweet and delightful. Late October generally marks the end of the harvest, so I was a bit surprised to see grapes still hanging from the vines.

Hess Collection is a winery owned by the Swiss art collector, Donald Hess, on land leased from the Christian Brothers, who occupy a nearby retreat and conference center. Nestled in the hills 7 miles from Napa, this quiet location offered a nice respite for a quick afternoon visit to the area.

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography

I quietly approached the chapel and found someone who kindly gave me permission to photograph the interior of the church. This image is composed of 9 frames so that I could capture all the highlight and shadow detail. Despite the lack of ornate architecture, the rich colors of the wooden pews and tile floor provided a pleasant contrast to the white walls  balanced with the wooden trusses of the ceiling.

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography

I was pleasantly surprised to see grapes still hanging on the vines, expecting to see empty vines with fading fall colors. Instead, I was greeted with plump bunches of  bright blue grapes, suspended against green, rust and orange leaves and twisted brown vines. After a light wine tasting I headed back along the quiet roads to make one more stop in Napa for a late lunch.

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography

The Uptown Theater, in downtown Napa,  made for one last series of photos before I left the area for the day. I could not help but add a duotone effect to add to the nostalgia of the art deco theater. For a brief moment, I was taken back in time and imagined the theater in its days of antique cars, wealthy local socialites draped in fur and black tie affairs that surrounded the Golden era Hollywood premiere. Those really were the days.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Place a Lucky Penny For Someone Else to Find   Leave a comment

This is something I do. I have for some time and it amuses me. I’m not sure how it started, but one day when my pocket was full of change, I thought to myself, where will this change end up? Whose pockets will these coins fill in the future? Pennies have become another of our many abandoned objects. “Things”, we have little use of and that have literally and figuratively no value, save that of the “lucky penny”‘ which for every penny in every pocket the potential exists. So it was on that day, when I first placed my lucky penny in plain sight, that it’s real value was realized. I never wondered before how lucky pennies became lucky pennies, but now that I have created dozens, perhaps hundreds it doesn’t really matter?

The beauty of my lucky penny making was partially lost on me until yesterday. I knew that that lucky penny would bring a smile to someone’s face and that was the delight in it. Creating the moment of surprise and joy for a stranger who I would never meet, was all the more sweet for me. Think about the last time you discovered a lucky penny. Did it not feel like you were 9 all over again?

When retelling the story of making lucky pennies over dinner with colleagues I was expecting nothing more than a few chuckles and odd looks at a habit I amused myself with. Instead, I received the following response, “making lucky pennies creates good karma”. I honestly never thought about that. It was never my intent to create good karma, only to amuse myself in the thought of putting a smile on someone’s face over the discovery of a little copper piece of metal.

In the early morning hours, lying awake in yet another time zone, that thought stuck with me. What does it mean to create good karma? How is karma measured and do I deserve it? My lucky penny making was never about that, and yet I can’t help but think that in some small way, my little gesture to the world may indeed be returned to me in some fanciful way.

Traveling as much as I do, gives me time to be alone with my thoughts and it is at these moments that I conjure up these crazy musings. We can all use some good karma, so I’ve decided to dedicate this imageless blog post to extending my lucky penny making to the world.

The next time you reach into your pocket or change purse and pull out a penny, place it in plain sight for someone to find. We need more lucky pennies in the world.

Thanks for stopping by.

Posted October 31, 2012 by Paul Coffin in Travel

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The Photo That Got Me Started   Leave a comment

Landscape #1

© 1980 Paul Coffin Photography

In a recent blog I read, a question was posed about the photo that got you started. It made me think and I went deep into my archives to find that one image that I could trace my love of photography roots to. As it happened I found a few. Not surprisingly, they were landscapes and seascapes that  also had the sun low in the sky, reflecting on the water. It was 1980 and I was 15. I had purchased my first camera, a Nikon FE with my newspaper route money. I wasn’t aware then, as I am now, the impact photography would have on my life, and how ultimately, it would shape the person I would become and how I see the world.

It never ceases to amaze me, how at a very young age, our personalities, tastes, sense of humor and overall sense of who we are is cemented forever. I see it in my own sons over and over. Who they were when they were 5 or 15 or 20 is fundamentally who they are now.

If you are not living a life that is true to who you were when you were young, look back into your personal history books and pick up an old hobby. I firmly believe it is what keeps us young at heart and is at the core of who we are.

Landscape #2

© 1980 Paul Coffin Photography

Posted October 28, 2012 by Paul Coffin in Art, Landscape, Maritime, Nature, Photography

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