Colors of Venice

With a title like that you’d think I was referring to the town in Italy. On the contrary this namesake town in central Florida has its own colors painted in the sky. Sometimes I’ll head down here if we’ve had rain showers since that’s usually followed by a sunset. This day was no exception and I’m glad I made the effort.

Colors of Venice
Colors of Venice Florida at sunset

I’ve posted different versions of this pier, but the sky ensures each one is unique. Landscape photography in Florida usually has the sky play a major role. At times my photos are tied to the whims of the weather. I know that sounds strange but I think there’s more than a grain of truth to it.

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Even if I go out and the clouds are not cooperating I still end up walking the beach. I have little to lose and everything to gain chasing clouds for a good shot. That reminds me of storm chasers, I’m kind of like that although I’m more of a sunset chaser. Much less risk and stress involved.

Morning Reflection

The fishing pier at Bradenton Riverwalk is another favorite composition of mine because of how the light plays on the still waters. I’ve taken this shot several times before and I’ll probably continue to take more when I end up here in the morning. I suppose I can start a fishing pier gallery before too long.

Morning Reflection
Morning Reflection at Bradenton Riverwalk

As soon as the sun rises the breeze starts which then disturbs the glass-like surface of the water. But during those few minutes at dawn this is what it looks like.

As you probably already know I love reflections in the water, there’s something surreal about it that transforms an ordinary scene in a way that’s hard to explain. I look for reflections whenever I’m out shooting and the more I find the better. Sometimes even a puddle of rain water will do. Reflections are like portals into another world, one that insinuates something more ethereal.

More images of the Riverwalk in Bradenton

So yes, I’m a big fan of reflections, and since this place is close to home you’re likely to see more of them in the weeks and months to come.

Sarasota Low Down

This image for me is a study in composition. To get this image of apartment buildings in Sarasota I placed my camera at the level of the water on a tripod. These kind of shots work best when the water is calm so that the reflections are rendered in long lines on the water’s surface. I took this with a 35mm lens so that I could use a wide aperture. That means I could ensure the focus on the buildings was sharp while allowing the reflections to appear naturally soft.

Sarasota Low Down
A perspective of Sarasota from low down

These buildings face west so they have a view the sunset across Sarasota bay. However for me they create a nice scene for night photography all by themselves. I have often looked at these buildings and wondered how I could capture them. I think the low perspective works well.

see more night photography from the gallery

Often I’ll see a scene and think there’s something about it that I want to capture yet may not be sure what it is or how to go about it. In this case I just kept trying new things until something worked. It took a little effort as I climbed over some rocks in the dark and placed my tripod in the water, all the while trying not to get my camera wet. But in the end I’m happy with how it turned out and can now look for more compositions using the same technique.

Scrub at Dusk

I took this in St Petes Beach a couple of weeks ago. The sun was coming down over the beach and there were people relaxing in hammocks just behind the dunes. I thought to get this low perspective and focus on the scrub rather than the scene. Basically I’m using the prominent part of the scene as backdrop. At times like this I try to look past the obvious and see something different in a scene. In this case I chose to focus on the dune and scrub while leaving hints of the hammocks as backdrop.

Scrub at Dusk
Scrub at dusk on St Petes beach

As a photographer I am immersed in the visual arts. As such I tend to be stimulated by visual nuances all around me. I’ve learned to allow myself to see more than the obvious. It reminds me of a simple rule for photography which is to look the other way. There’s a lot of wisdom in that because it challenges the idea that the obvious is most interesting.

Other images from Pinellas County in Florida

When the sun is at a low angle there are all sorts of compositions that present themselves differently than when the sun is high in the sky. Something as simple in a change of light is enough to create highlights that accentuate the shape and nature of things less obvious. Noticing this is a simple pleasure and just one of the many rewards I get through the practice of the art of photography.

Venice Beach and Pier

This is Venice Beach and Pier. It’s one of the best places to go on the west coast of Florida for a sunset. Right behind me is a beachside restaurant called Sharkey’s and if you come here in the evening you will be treated to a view like this while you have dinner.

Venice Beach and Pier
Venice beach and pier in central Florida

This is easily one of my favorite places in all of Florida. I love the restaurant, the pier the water; this is such an awesome place that you’d easily spend hours here without even noticing. That happens to me a lot when I come here, losing track of time is probably the easiest thing to do. They really should post warning signs, “Caution, the management is not responsible for your losing track of time”. I mean really, it’s just like that.

More images of piers from the gallery

Isn’t that why we come to places like this? To just let go of things and be happy? This is the place for that. Anyway, I always get carried away with my camera when I come here. I never know what to expect and I always get more than I hoped for. The Florida experience in a nutshell. Lose track of time, forget what you came for, leave happy.

Lady in Repose

Another perspective the Ringling bridge from last weekend. I was in another section of the city taking photos and headed home. But then I had one last idea and stopped near the theater for this perspective. I have a collection of images of this bridge in the gallery. I suppose the same would be true of the Golden Gate if I lived in the San Francisco area. For me it’s this bridge in Sarasota.

Lady in Repose
The Ringling Bridge in Sarasota at night is like a lady in repose

You never know how a picture will turn out when you first take it. I have two distinct personalities when it comes to photography. One loves to take photos and gets carried away when I’m out shooting, I can a ton of bad shots. The other is a little more thoughtful and comes to the forefront when I download the images onto my computer. He basically filters out all the shots that don’t make the grade. All that said, I almost cut this one but decided to work with it a little, this is the result. So my two photographic personalities are not at all cut-and-dry, there’s a lot of give-and-take.

more images of the Ringling Bridge in Sarasota from the gallery

Selecting photos I’ve shot is very subjective. Someone else might select entirely different images, and to tell the truth I might also depending on my mood. In any case, this image is all about the shape of the bridge and the monochrome treatment is all about accentuating that shape. My idea for this image of the bridge is like a lovely lady in repose.

After the Storm

Last night I went to the jetty in Venice Florida. I’m standing on the south jetty looking across at the people on the north jetty. Even though we are close it takes about fifteen minutes to drive to the other side. Nevertheless, both sides are full of people at this hour because it’s one of the best places to watch the sunset. We had a big storm blow through the previous night so I think people showed up to enjoy the scenery.

After The Storm
After the storm at the North Jetty in Venice Florida

I’m not a fisherman, but if I was this is one of the places I’d be hanging out at, it seems the jetty is always full of fishermen and pelicans waiting for scraps. Actually the pelicans were fishing too, so I guess that’s a good sign. Pelicans are no dummies and if they’re diving for fish you know it’s a good spot.

more images featuring minimalism from the gallery

This time of year we get a lot of storms. Even though its summer, sometimes it seems like winter on account of the wind and rain. The flip side is it creates a lot of drama in the sky which I enjoy watching and photographing. Yet the temperature is still very warm even during a storm. For me it’s too warm to even wear a raincoat, if I did I’d be sweating in no time. Umbrellas are no good either because the wind is so strong. Best thing to do is wait it out then go right back outside and do what you were doing. That, my friends, is what we call a tropical climate.

Perico Preserve Path

This is a path through a just opened park near my home known as Perico Preserve. Like many of the preserves in the area it’s a habitat for shore birds and other forms of wild life such as tortoises. It was my first visit and I was pleasantly surprised by the experience of walking through it’s pathways. As preserves go, this is a gem. I think for me it will be a regular stop as I am a voracious consumer of landscapes for photography.

Perico Preserve Path
A path in the newly opened Perico Preserve in Bradenton Florida

This is a section of the path between ponds. The paths are made from crushed shells which are abundant in this area. The first time is always a bit magical because I don’t know what to expect around each curve. This natural arch seemed like a gateway to what lay beyond the next bend.

more landscape photography in the gallery

I was here only two days ago and since that time we’ve had some heavy rains. Rains are the life blood of the preserves so I’m keen to go back and see the effect on the land. I suspect much of the wildlife will be out in full array enjoying the additional moisture.

Off-season at the Beach

Last week I met my friend at St Petes beach here in Florida. The thing that struck me was how empty it was. It seems like just a few weeks ago we were knee deep in spring break and the beaches where super crowded. Now that it’s warm up north most of the visitors have gone so beaches are just sitting empty.

Off-season at the Beach

In a way it reminds me of the best time of year to go to Disney World. Years ago I went the week after school started. You get all the same attractions without the lines or crowds. The park is still geared up for the crowds so you get amazing service as well. It’s the same here at the beach, the hotels are in top form so you can pretty much have your cake and eat it too.

More beach images from the gallery

My friend had a room up on the fifth-floor overlooking the beach and I was blown away at how few people I could see from that vantage. Yes, I was there in the evening, but still, what a beautiful sight. Later we sat down at an outdoor restaurant by the water and just before sunset we got up to grab a few pictures. Rather that shoot into the sun, I looked the other way to catch the warm colors against the yellow concession stands. Anyway, aside from the odd tropical storm in summer, this is the place to be and right now is the time to be here.

The Last Pass

Yesterday I went to Sarasota to look for some scenery around dusk. The place in mind was closed so I drove on and pulled over here. From the time I got out of my car I probably had only four minutes before the sun went down but it just worked out anyway. I parked, noticed the skimmers plying their trade, grabbed my camera and sat down on the seawall to take some pictures. I kept watching out of the corner of my eye to see when they were coming and quickly tried to snap a shot as they were directly in front. I have a lot that didn’t work so well but this little bird just nailed his mark. Awesome-possum.

The Last Pass
The last pass of a skimmer before sunset in Sarasota

The other place I was planning on going to was closed because they were filming. They had actors, lights and cameras. That little detour costs me about ten precious minutes as the sun was falling. But in the end it all turned out good. I may be naive but I like to think that I ended up where I was supposed to be regardless of my plans.

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I don’t know what it is about these skimmer birds, but as soon as the sun went down they stopped skimming. In a way, they were just as rushed as I was, trying to get in every last pass as they scooped up little fish for dinner. As soon as the sun went down they were back to the nest or wherever it is that they go. So maybe the sun going down creates a kind of last minute panic to those who depend on it. Whatever the case, we each made our last catch.