Blue Hour at the Olympia


Blue Hour at the Olympia by Chip Bunnell PhotographyMy summer has been extremely busy with out of town activities. I am truly grateful for each and every opportunity I have had and the amazing people I have met. From a smoked salmon vendor at a Helsinki farmer’s market, to the baker of incredible fresh French baguettes in Claude Monet’s home town, to a creative musician that uses his former baby shoe as a striker against a metal gas can to keep rhythm in WI, well, you can see what I mean. Each day I saw and each person I connected with, whether it be a new face or a familiar family member, left a lasting memory and added another line in the list of this adventure called “my life.”

Last Friday, my grand adventure brought me back to my home turf in South Florida. A photowalk in downtown Miami was set up to celebrate the arrival of a famous HDR photographer, Trey Ratcliff. While photography is typically a relatively solitary activity, this event brought together well over 50 phellow photographers (or is it ‘fellow fotographers’) to take on the night streets and all the urban scenes we could find.

One such place that caught my attention was the historic Olympia Theater. The older marquee still has its lights blazing brightly to announce its place on Flagler Street. The magic of “blue hour” gave a rich contrast to the yellow glow of surrounding street lights. I added energy and motion to the scene by capturing light trails from the passing cars. A single, slightly blurred pedestrian on the right cross walk introduced the human element. To me, this image represents not only the reality that others around me saw, but the surreal reality I envisioned that night.

Photo Stuff: Single frame, 4.3 second exposure on a tripod. Processed in LR and Topaz Adjust 5
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PORTRAIT :: High Steel


High Steel Construction Workers by Chip Bunnell Photography

Click to Enlarge – See the Details

It has been said that if you want to hide something, simply hang it above people as they never look up. The typical human world is viewed by looking straight ahead. Occasionally we look down to make sure we don’t trip. Maybe we look left or right when called, but our field of vision is focused at eye level. With a camera in hand, my goal is to find the sights and angles others do not see. It feels as though this opens a new world of sights and surprises that many others never know is happening. A walk through downtown Miami afforded me a chance to once again prove this fact.

Miami is again in a cycle of revitalization and growth. Old buildings are getting a good old fashion South Florida facelift while others are being born right before our eyes. On the ground, ugly barricades and dark mess securing the area are the normal scene. High above, well that’s where the real action is happening! Add a long lens and you almost feel like you are part of another world. Tiny details become real as you are teleported from the ground to a new level high above the street.

This particular building is in the early stages of its long life. Tons of rebar are connected to form the rigid skeleton of the new high-rise. Like yellow spiders, these workers scurried up and down, side to side as they performed tasks that are critical to the future building’s success. Small wires tie together steel bars. Bunches of steel bars are attached to larger frames of wire panels. Layers of panels are connected to even more steel as they slowly and meticulously  build their towering creation.

Soon, the spiders will have moved on. Concrete will have covered their grid masterpiece. What they spent weeks or months completing will never be seen again. Years later, the city will welcome the newest addition to the skyline. Only they, and the lucky few that looked up on that sunny Saturday afternoon, will remember how the yellow spiders’ skills in weaving their high steel web made it possible for many others to have freshly painted offices, the smell of new carpets and a wonderful view.

Single Image, Processed in LR and Topaz Clarity