A couple of mornings ago I came to this park to take pictures. It’s only a few minutes drive so its convenient for me to get here and back before breakfast. Lord knows I can’t miss breakfast.
Now for whatever reason, we get these amazing popcorn-like clouds coming out of the East. They glide in from the middle of Florida over the land and then stop abruptly at the coast. So if I were to turn around and face west towards the Gulf of Mexico the sky would be cloudless. I think that’s strange and it drives me nuts. I would love to take pictures of these clouds over the beach but they’re never there, they’re hovering inland. I have no idea why that happens but I do notice it quite a lot.
From my home office I have a window that looks east and I can see these clouds during the day. I’d rather be out taking photos of them than working so I was pretty happy that I came this morning; just as I was about to leave I noticed them. All good things come to those who wait. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
This is another image from Egmont Key near Tampa. I like to describe it as a deserted island because that’s what it is. You can take a ferry here but there are only two scheduled trips a day. Once you get here there are no concessions, only a lighthouse, a dock, and miles of empty beaches. I walked the whole length of it a few weeks ago and it was, I must admit, a little therapeutic.
Switching gears for a second, last night I watched a show on cable about people that move to Alaska. It basically followed them as they hunted for a house and during that they would describe why they wanted to re-locate. Invariably people wanted to get back to a simpler way of life.
I think there’s something to that, as we live complicated lives we foster a desire to return to something more meaningful. For me that means walking a deserted beach once in a while with nothing but the sound of the wind, the waves and the gulls to contend with.
I think peace is a state of mind. Maybe the trick is to find that deserted beach in my mind and go there for a few minutes each day. I’d also like to go to Alaska or a deserted island but sometimes the oasis in my mind might be a little more accessible.
Every now and then I’ll come to Sarasota to take pictures before dawn, more often at night, but once in a while in the morning. I’m fascinated by bridges and I can never get enough of them as it pertains to photography. The challenge is finding a new way to compose a photo of a bridge I’ve already shot dozens of times. This is the Ringling bridge, named after John Ringing of circus fame. Since this area is the original home of the circus a lot of things around here have Ringling in the name.
For some reason I never shot this perspective from this side, I’ve done it from the other side but not this side. You can just make out the other side which is known as Bird Key, it has a bunch of beautiful homes along the water.
I shot this on a Saturday about an hour before sunrise, even so the bridge was already full of runners. It’s a magnet for joggers since it has huge sidewalks and it’s the only thing around resembling a hill. In any case, I walked around here for about a half hour until I was satisfied and then headed to another location across the bay where among other things, I composed more photos with this bridge in the background.
I guess you could say this bridge is a muse of sorts.
Florida is a retiree heaven. Afternoons like this are when you find people out strolling about, sitting on piers and basically passing the time. I wonder if I’ll ever do that, it seems a little to passive for my taste, I’d rather be taking pictures or riding a bike, but you never know. All the retirees I know say they are more busy after retirement than before. That’s counterintuitive but in a way makes sense.
This is a lazy afternoon scene at the pier in Terra Ceia. These mangroves created a natural frame leading to the water along the boardwalk. Mangroves are everywhere along the coast and are responsible for Florida being on the map. A slight exaggeration but they prevent the erosion against the tide and storms. So unless you are on a beach, you’ll see these mangroves everywhere, and thanks to them Florida hasn’t yet washed away.
Getting back to the main subject, I do spend a lot of time where people are strolling, even if I’m not strolling myself. People like to stroll where the scenery is nice and of course that’s where I like to take photos. So even if I don’t end up retiring and going for a stroll in the afternoon, I’ll have plenty of knowledge on the subject. I’ll become what is known in industry as a SME; a Subject Matter Expert. Having lived in retiree heaven I’ll have an encyclopedic knowledge in the ways, means and methods of strolling.
It was fairly early when I came upon this heron in Sarasota. My plan was to get a sunrise shot over the city from the end of the boardwalk, but at the same time I didn’t want to disturb Mr. Heron, he was there first. I stopped a ways back and contented myself taking his picture. After a few minutes he didn’t move so I decided get closer so I could shoot the other way. As it turns out he let me come right up. As long as I didn’t make any sudden movements and looked the other way he didn’t seem to mind. For me it was a nice standing there in the quite of the morning, doing what I love to do and in the company of Mr Heron.
Turns out he was scanning the water below for a fish that might swim by. Not too far off in the other direction was another heron along the bank next to a tree. It was in that direction I was shooting the sunrise so I tried to incorporate her in the composition as well. But before I left this spot Mr. Bird flew over to other one, …Mrs Bird perhaps?
I walked down to where they both now stood in the water and took a few more shots, incorporating them both as best I could, not always with success. Again, as long as I didn’t show any signs of aggression they both let me get pretty close. At one point, they even got into a little tussle amongst themselves; most certainly a Mr and Mrs. Nonetheless, they didn’t seem to mind my presence.
Whether or not I got any good shots on this morning, just being here in the presence of Mr and Mrs Heron made the entire excursion worthwhile.
These surf kites at the midpoint of the Sunshine Skyway in Tampa and can be seen for miles away whenever there’s a breeze. Once in a while I’ll pull off the highway to watch. The main impression I get is of the contrast of these colorful canopies moving against the sky. They are mesmerizing to watch and this is a simplification of that scene as it appears in my minds eye.
The wind here changes direction from one day to the next and depending on that the surfers alternate from one side of the causeway to the other. The spectacle of the scene is so compelling it’s a wonder there aren’t accidents as drivers crane their heads to get a look.
In my way of thinking, I’m always trying to simplify things. I work and live in a complex world and what helps is if I can simplify the complexity a bit. I do this by removing things that I feel are unnecessary to the central core or subject of a thing. In this case, the subject is little colorful kites in a big sky, so to convey that I needed to remove as many distractions as possible. I think this might not be a bad philosophy to live by. In fact it’s called de-cluttering, and now there are de-clutter coaches you can hire to help with de-cluttering you life. We’ll, I’m no guru or coach, but I do like to get to the essence of a thing, and in this case, it’s all about the kites.
Maybe like a lot of you, I sit at a desk all week. Monday through Friday, day-in, day-out. I restrain my movements to a few square feet while I talk or listen endlessly on meeting after meeting. The week is a progression of days leading ever so slowly to the last hurdle, Friday. On Friday morning emails are tinged flippant references to what awaits in another eight hours. Then finally, after an eternity, it comes.
This is what decompression looks like, a central mass expanding. Friday feels like this.
Friday night, Saturday and Sunday during the day are all free. Free of deadlines, free of worries, free of compression. Then, sometime Sunday afternoon or evening, the realization that it’s almost over kicks in. I watch my favorite shows, think about what I wish I’d done, go to bed.
Monday morning is all business, get the dog walked, get to work, get through e-mails before my first meeting. Settle in, focus on the task, narrow my center of mass. Five more days to go.
This was the scene as night descended on the Fort DeSoto fishing pier. I can never get enough of this place and will probably keep coming back here again and again. I took this as the sky turned from blue to black and the mood and scene changed by the minute. My perspective is towards the West which means it looks out into the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This is the direction the cargo and cruise ships take when leaving Tampa.
I like the idea of looking out to an infinity of space. I think it plays a bit of havoc with my mind since I can never fully appreciate the size and mass of things like oceans, but then maybe I’m not meant to. Suffice to say its food for thought, forever an enigma.
Piers or old bridges that have become piers are used by fishermen at all hours of the night here in Florida. Right now it seems we’re in a good fishing season because I’m seeing a lot of people with fish in their buckets or on their lines. Getting outside on a warm night with a fishing pole is probably the closest thing to heaven for many who live or visit here. Myself, I’m just happy to take pictures of the scenes, thats my form of heaven, that and the deep blue bottomless sea.
This is from my trip to New Zealand a couple of years ago where I participated in a photography workshop. After all of the time that’s gone by I still have a lot of photos in my backlog to process. Here we were standing on a hill one afternoon overlooking Queenstown. That trip went by so fast I’m glad I have photos to re-live it in little increments later.
Whenever I go somewhere new it can be a little disorienting. By that I mean I’m never to sure which way is north south east or west. I remember having that feeling when I was here and struggling to sort it out in my mind. I love going back to Google Maps or Google Earth to look at places I’ve been and get a proper sense of direction and location. It’s helps me to integrate the experience after the fact.
For instance, with this shot I keep expecting to see the river, but it’s to my back as I was facing south. When we headed to Glenorchy, I thought we were driving south but it’s actually north. And if all that isn’t enough, on the last day I took a helicopter through the southern alps during which I had zero sense of whereabouts. Thankfully I was geotagging my photos, so now years later I can go back and begin to piece the locations together into some kind map of the journey.
Perhaps the sense of not knowing where we are in a new land adds to the sense wonder and excitement. I think perhaps, there might be something to that.
I was driving to the park the other day with my dog and looked over to see these horseback riders going the other way. It’s not everyday that you see a bunch of horses swimming the other way, but there they were. Actually this is well known in my area. Along the causeway in Bradenton people come to ride horses in the water. It’s a fun thing to watch and many times I’ve pulled over to look at the horses, but this is the first time I saw them all in the water at once so I couldn’t resist taking a photo.
My dog is so funny, he’s normally so quiet, but when he sees horses or cows he loves to bark. I’m not sure what it is but I think they might be big dogs to him. Whatever the case, it’s hilarious since he’s so quite otherwise. Suffice to say he got in a few words as these “big dogs” passed us by.
The big puffy clouds seem to make the whole scene surreal. This is my favorite time of year in Florida, the weather is perfect in every way. Of course that’s why so many people come here to get a break from the cold and snow. In another month we’ll start getting humidity and thunderstorms and then there is a completely different type of drama in the skies. Also, I think once it gets hotter the horses really like coming here to cool off. Not a bad way for the big dogs to spend the afternoon.