Last fall, the Photoshop Elements team ran a contest on Facebook called Sensational Friends that asked the community to submit photos of the loved ones that make their lives “sensational.”
Our grand prize winner, Terence H., received a trip for two to Miami and a copy of Photoshop Elements 11. He was kind enough to share a brief summary of his vacation and some photos from his trip.
After a luxurious limo ride, a speedy check-in and complimentary champagne at the Z Ocean Hotel, my wife Julie and I were taken to our spa suite. King-sized down bed, huge balcony with a hot tub, a shower the size of a small apartment, complimentary espresso machine … it goes on. “Wow” doesn’t do it justice.
We hit Ocean Drive first for a stroll, soaking up the warm sun, the gentle ocean breezes and the smells of all the delicious offerings at the patio restaurants. South Beach is all about Art Deco architecture. Each building is different, some are all angles and edges, others are sleek and smooth. All of them are colorful, pastels during the day and bathed in neon at night. I thought my camera was going to have a meltdown.
Our concierge hooked us up with a last-minute reservation at De Rodriguez Cuba for what he promised would be the best meal we’ve ever had. He was right – authentic Cuban cuisine and every taste was a new and delicious experience.
At night, Ocean Drive really came alive! The street flooded with people, music poured out of each hotel and bar, and exotic cars lined the strip. Ocean Drive pulsed with energy and glowed with neon.
I grabbed my camera gear and strolled the beach at 7 a.m. to shoot some local architecture amid the joggers, walkers, bikers and roller-bladers. I could have done that all day, but we had sights to see!
After a great breakfast with Julie at The Carlyle, we took another walk and decided to jump on a double-decker bus for a tour of South Beach and Miami, a great way to see the sights and learn some local history.
Dinner that evening was at a romantic outdoor patio table at Flame Caffe & Grill. Afterward, the sun had set and Ocean Drive was alive again. We checked out some of the hot spots, and had dessert and drinks at the famous Cordozo Hotel.
I was awake and on the beach for some photography at 6 a.m. I sat quietly by one of the iconic lifeguard stations, waiting for the sun with my camera ready. Slowly the sky began to glow, a sliver of golden-orange sun appeared; as it climbed, I could see it moving. My shutter clicked away and I swear I could feel the earth turning beneath me. It only lasted a moment, but it felt much longer.
After breakfast, I rented a bike and explored more of South Beach. I pedalled the boardwalk and rode down Ocean Drive, shooting video and taking photos. I even rode along with three Miami Beach police officers on bike patrol.
We spent our last few hours at South Beach sitting in the sun, drinking milkshakes and buying souvenirs for our two boys.
Thank you so much Adobe, we had a blast! And a very special thanks to my sensational friend Julie. If she had not come into my life, none of this would have ever happened.