Lookout Tower

Rick Schwartz Florida, Landscape, Manatee County, Nature, SonyAlpha 0 Comments

This is from Robinson Preserve in Bradenton. The reflection of the lookout tower caught my attention as I rode a bike along a trail. Normally the water is not this still during the day but there was no breeze on this warm winter day in February.

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Lookout Tower

Lookout Tower in Bradenton’s Robinson Preserve

These towers appear in most Florida nature preserves and state parks. I realize now it’s because the land is flat and a tower is the only way to see over the ground cover. I’d never seen these where I grew up in California because they have mountains and all you have to do is climb a hill.

As well, there are fire lookout towers across the state amongst the farms and ranches. The geography breeds an abundance of lightning which in turn creates brush fires each year. When I first arrived in Florida they made an impression on me and now I know why there are so many; flat land.

Landscape gallery

There are three towers that I know of nearby my home, this being one. I’ve taken pictures atop all three. They are for me the next best thing to having a drone for photography. One of these days I may get a drone so I don’t need a tower. Until that day I’ll look for nearby towers or bridges when I want to see the Florida landscape.

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All Roads Lead to Sarasota

Rick Schwartz bridge, Florida, Night Photography, nightphotography, Sarasota, SonyAlpha, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

When it comes to taking photos, this is my favorite section of Sarasota. On the left is the fishing pier, which I’m standing on and on the right is the Ringling Bridge that leads to the center of town. I take so many pictures from here that I’m at risk of running out of views. Not this time because it’s a perspective I haven’t yet captured. It reminds me of the saying about Rome, only in this case all roads lead to Sarasota. That could be a metaphor for something else.

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All Roads Lead to Sarasota

All Roads Lead to Sarasota

It’s silly but I have an ongoing fear that I’ll run out of things to take pictures of. Nothing could be further from reality because the possibilities are infinite. Yet each time I go out I feel that fear. Maybe it’s just part of the process, a propellant for creativity. I compartmentalize it so it doesn’t take control of me but it’s always there. I can acknowledge it without letting it change my agenda. It’s a reminder that art and creativity are tangible and as such there is resistance to succeeding.

I think about these things a lot. That’s because I take the time to write about my images. That in turn causes me to explore my thoughts, motivations and ideas around images. Any time you do that it invariably leads to these questions; what is art, where does it come from, where does it lead? And in the end the answer is always the same, all roads lead to self discovery.

Sarasota Images

So perhaps the new perspective that I found for this area can be an allegory for self awareness. That’s my two cents on the matter.

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Reflections on the Water

Rick Schwartz Florida, Manatee County, Night Photography, nightphotography, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

Every now and then if there is no wind and the tide isn’t moving, water in the river becomes smooth. When it happens it creates the conditions for night photography with reflections on the water.

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Reflections on the Water

Reflections on the Water

This is an area where I walk my dog near the Manatee River. However I rarely see it like this. So while walking Mr. Wiggles I noticed and decided to come back. Later that night I packed my camera and drove back to this spot in a residential neighborhood. It was a little strange because I probably looked suspicious there late at night. After a few minutes I decided it was enough and decided to leave before someone called the police. Not that I was doing anything wrong, I’m just saying I had that feeling.

I will tell you that getting good photos is damn inconvenient. There is effort involved and it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. So I try to get as many compositions as possible when I’m out. If I’ve already expended the effort I may as well make the most of it. At least I’ll then have more images to choose from. Often my favorite is not the one I planned on; more often than not actually.

night photos

Despite the bother of it all I wouldn’t trade it for anything. For the little bit of energy I expend I get a lot in return. In my world, images are art and the more I’m doing that the better life is. But nothing in life is free, even if it doesn’t cost money it takes effort. However I get way more out of it than I put in, and that makes it worth all the effort and complaining of my alter ego.

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Minimalism Dreamscape

Rick Schwartz Florida, Landscape, Manatee County, photography, SonyAlpha, Tampa 0 Comments

This is an example of a minimalism dreamscape. It’s a scene I recently witnessed one morning while the fog was clearing from the Gulf of Mexico. Because it was morning there was an even light across the water and sky. A few moments earlier the fog obscured the horizon line between the sea and the sky. It almost felt like flying.

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Minimalism Dreamscape

Minimalism is about space that we impregnate with our thoughts and dreams. By placing our thoughts into the space we find ourselves inside the scene. The point is to leave room for interpretation. We each fill in with something unique, we see the scene in our own way.

Sometimes during the day my mind wanders and random thoughts pass through. It’s as though my subconscious is bubbling to the surface for a brief moment. Minimalism provides a canvas for that to occur whether we realize it or not.

other dreamscapes

This image is a dreamscape because it is not real. There are hint’s what I did this in the image. But more importantly it represents a feeling or idea that I have. Sometimes pictures are better than words for conveying ephemeral ideas like that.

The point of this composition is to leave room amongst the sea and sky for your thoughts.

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Sunrise in Siesta Key

Rick Schwartz bridge, Bridges, Florida, Landscape, Macphun, Night Photography, nightphotography, Sarasota, SonyAlpha, Sunset 0 Comments

I took this last year during a sunrise in Siesta Key. I like wandering around and taking pictures here. The beaches are some of the best in the world. But this time I’m looking at bridges rather than beaches. This is one of two bridges to the mainland and I’m standing in a little park where tour boats pickup guests.

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Sunrise in Siesta Key

Sunrise in Siesta Key

Speaking of tour boats, I did a fishing tour last year not far from here. Normally people come back with bags of fish but I wasn’t so skilled. I’m not cut out for fishing, not patient enough. When I do fish I feel like I need to have a beer or two, it goes down hill from there. Nevertheless, thousands of fishermen around this part of Florida are very productive. They are just as serious about fishing as I am about photography. Perhaps I could offer to take their photo when they catch “the big one”.

Speaking of taking photos of fishermen, that’s exactly what I did later on this morning. A family of fishermen (or fisherpeople?) noticed me an asked if I could take their picture. Normally folks just hand me a cell phone but this time they asked if I’d do it with my own camera. So I did and ended up sending it to them later. They liked it so much they use it for their Facebook profile.

beach gallery

Speaking of Facebook, did you know you can follow me on Facebook? Go on over here and say hello: https://www.facebook.com/JustEnoughFocus . While you’re doing that I’m going to take a break from Facebook and go take more fisherman pictures.

Speaking of which….

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Light, Reflection and Color

Rick Schwartz amsterdam, Bridges, canal, europe, netherlands, SonyAlpha, streetphotography, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

This is a long exposure I took while walking under a bridge in Central Amsterdam. The hanging vertical lights and their reflections created an eerie effect. It’s a public space that’s transformed into a surreal display of light, reflection and color by night. Just one of many surprises I found while walking around the city of Amsterdam.

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Light, Reflection and Color

Light, Reflection and Color under a bridge in Amsterdam

I spent a lot of time along the canals at night. It seemed perfectly safe, save for the odd solicitations in a certain quarter not to be mentioned; but that’s another story for another day. No matter where I turned there were lights reflected on the water. If you’ve followed me you know that’s too much for me to resists; the lights that is.

I stood at this spot for a while taking pictures. Every now and then this space was filled with the rumble of trains passing overhead. I passed this same spot in a canal boat tour earlier in the day and it didn’t look anything like this. I would never have guessed it could be transformed like this at night.

European gallery

The reason I came to Amsterdam is that I had some photos being shown in a Museum in Harderwijk at an event sponsored by BTP and Rinus Bakker. My plan is to come back for the next showing and spend a little more time exploring places like this. Until then I’ll have to be content with my memories and photos.

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Sutro Baths

Rick Schwartz beach, california, HDR, Landscape, san francisco, SanFrancisco, SonyAlpha, Sunset, travel 0 Comments

This is an example of looking in the other direction during a sunset. The warm light and color in the clouds can be just as valid an image as the sunset itself. These are the Sutro Baths which are at the north end of Ocean Beach in San Francisco. I took this from the Cliff House Bistro where you can eat with a view of the Pacific. I stepped outside to take a few pics of the sunset and then turned my camera north to capture this.

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Sutro Baths

Sutro Baths in San Francisco

Earlier in the day I was on those mountains across the bay at Point Bonita Lighthouse. It’s a thirty minute drive over the mountains with spectacular views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

I did not see whales on this visit but have at other times seen Humpback and Orca. I managed to get a few images last time but they didn’t turn out that great since I was too far away.

The Sutro Baths used to be covered by a big structure. There were seven pools that were heated to different temperatures. The baths could be filled at high tide in about an hour. These remnants are all that’s left of what was a popular attraction in late 1800’s. However they are still filled at high tide. At low tide there is a small beach just below the rocks.

San Francisco images

Anyway, this is a place to walk and hike around the cliffs and trails and look out to the sea. I recommend it if your in the area. And who knows you might even see a whale or two.

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You Got My Attention

Rick Schwartz Florida, HDR, Landscape, Manatee County, Nature, SonyAlpha, Sunset 0 Comments

I’m driving home early one morning and look over to see this scene in the East. Sights like this are like unexpected bonus points. I look over and say to no one in particular, “Okay, you got my attention”. Of course I want to take a photo. I was a few minutes away so I kept my calm, made it home and ran in to grab my camera.

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You Got My Attention

I’m driving along, look over and say “You Got My Attention”

Lately I’ve been taking photos around my town. I’m finding spots I never knew existed. Or sometimes I just stick with places I know. This is obviously of the latter variety.

To get an image like this I took five bracketed photos and combined them. I blended them manually because different areas of the frame look good depending on the exposure. Without that technique the sky would be over exposed and the foreground under exposed. Our eyes see a wider range of light than a typical camera sensor, especially in extreme cases like this.
The sun rays are what caught my attention. I see these regularly around here because of the low clouds in the morning and afternoon. The trick is having a camera ready because it doesn’t last long.

sunrise images

Occasionally we all see nice scenes when out driving. If we happen to notice we’ve usually forgotten in the next minute. However as a landscape photographer I try to notice. It drives me crazy if I don’t have my camera, but when I do I’m very happy. I’m not sure if that’s completely mature of me but I suppose there are worse things to get emotional about.

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An Ageless Confrontation

Rick Schwartz Florida, Landscape, Macphun, Manatee County, Nature 0 Comments

It seems there is an ageless confrontation between the water and the land. The water attempts to reclaim the land. The land fortifies itself with mangroves. I think the water eventually wins. Sooner or later the land is consumed by the water. Then during another ice age, the water will recede and the land will again take prominence.

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An Ageless Confrontation

An ageless confrontation between the land and the sea

 

For this I used a wide angle lens. When I do that I am trying to capture as much of the sky as possible. This is an ultra-wide angle so everything seems to converge on the horizon. This was taken in an area of mangroves in a near by state park. The mangroves cover a narrow peninsula that extends into the Gulf of Mexico. If it wasn’t for the mangroves the peninsula would have eroded away by storms long ago. That’s a testament to how important mangroves are to the land.

Florida is so flat that it will be one of the first to succumb to the sea. In geological time frames, it wasn’t too long ago that this area was submerged, it will surely happen again.

landscape images

I think if it was possible you could re-visit the earth every million years and it would appear quite different. Nothing in the physical universe is permanent, nor should it be. We are all part of a slow motion cycle of destruction and construction. In fact, that’s one thing that never changes.

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Little Beach with a View

Rick Schwartz beach, Florida, HDR, Landscape, Manatee County, Sunset 0 Comments

This is an image of the mangroves in Palmetto near my home. It’s a little hidden beach not far from the road. I never knew it was there until I noticed a trail leading into the bush. Much to my surprise there’s a little beach with a view of the sunset.

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Little Beach with a View

Little beach with a view near my home in Palmetto

It’s been said that photographers should first learn to shoot images around their home before venturing out. Years after hearing that I have to agree. In my case the more I explore the more I discover. It’s amazing how many things we overlook when we’re not looking.

I think sometimes children see more than adults. That’s because they have natural curiosity and are more likely to explore. That was true of me as a kid. Through photography I’m getting some of that curiosity back. I suppose it was always there, just dormant for a while.

beach images

Another nice thing about taking pictures around home is that it requires little effort. There is not a lot of travel and within fifteen minutes of walking out the door you can be taking photos. That’s a big plus when you have other responsibilities besides running around like some kid exploring the neighborhood.

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