Morning Sunburst

A morning sunburst of light is projected from behind the clouds. This was from behind our house in Palmetto Florida. I noticed these rays for several days in a row on account of the type of clouds, this time I was within reach of the camera. In fact I took this though an upper window, right through a glass pane. Normally that’s not optimal but this time it worked out.

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Morning Sunburst
Morning sunburst in Palmetto Florida

How can you not be happy when you see this? Its like a wake-up call from the sun itself, “time to get out of bed!”.

I don’t pull out my camera that often at home but this time I couldn’t resist. We get equally awesome scenes in the evening in the other way, but there are just too many distractions with houses and such.

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For some reason this reminds me of a corny TV commercial of a guy dressed in a sun suit. He’s a hopelessly optimistic and talking about breakfast, I think it’s an ad for Jimmy Dean breakfast food. In any case he ends up making everyone feel better.

Back to the real world. Now that we are all awake its time get up and get breakfast. I’m just say’in.

Stuff of Dreams

The sunrises and sunsets in the last week have been the stuff of dreams. That’s because we are transitioning between seasons and thunderclouds are being replaced with wispy Stratus. This has had me a little stressed, as I’ve been too busy to get out, or more accurately, I’ve had really bad timing. By the time I notice its too late, or at least I think it is. All that aside, on this morning I grabbed my bag, still in my workout clothes and headed for the river. I stood out on this pier for a four-minute exposure of the sunrise over Bradenton.

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The Stuff of Dreams
The stuff of dreams is what this scene in Bradenton Florida reminds me of

What I find so fascinating is that the exposure shows the movement of the clouds which seem to travel in different directions depending on their altitude. I suppose a pilot or someone more acquainted with weather knows of the phenomena, but I’m a simple man and I get amazed by such things.

It was rush hour and the bridge was packed with traffic, but of course it doesn’t show up on account of the length of the exposure.

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So anyway, I managed to reduce a little stress by getting here on this morning, but there are many more times I have missed. I should be happy when I see a beautiful scene, but if I don’t have my camera I end up wishing I did. I think that’s a hazard of the occupation, as a photographer it’s hard to turn off the need to capture and just enjoy the scene, unless of course I’m taking pictures. But I’m working on it and one day I’ll be happy either way, with or without my camera.

Sea and Sky

The Sunshine Skyway is almost ten miles long and as you drive across you have great views of the sea and sky. When you are in your car it looks like you are driving into the sky. Maybe that’s where it got its name, (that’s just a guess on my part).

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Skyway Clouds
Sea and Sky from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge

On this morning I came to a little island on the northern stretch to take pictures. 
In the summer the clouds form large columns that tower miles into the sky. When the sun is low on the horizon the light hits these columns at different angles depending on the elevation. What I notice is that the lower section of the cloud columns have warmer colors whereas those higher up tend to appear white. My guess is there are more particles in the lower atmosphere.

In Florida, when you see thunderclouds in the afternoon the variation in colors is hard to miss. In this image the clouds are about fifteen miles in the distance but you can still see the variation in colors.

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This is another long exposure panorama. It’s a thirty-second exposure that I took one morning just after dawn. I stitched two images to create the panorama. This vantage point is about ten minutes from home so it’s an easy spot to get to. I had to cross the bridge to get here and then again to get back. I suppose that means I had my head in the clouds at least twice before breakfast. Not an unusual thing for me I suppose.

Lights Reflecting in Sarasota Bay

Lights reflecting in Sarasota Bay on a recent evening. I’ve taken similar images but of course each one is a little different. This is a long exposure panorama of three separate images; the exposure is about ten-seconds and it makes the water look smooth. Panoramas over the water work well only if the water is smooth. Otherwise there are noticeable lines where the wave patterns are stitched together. That’s because the waves from each picture are in different positions and don’t match when combined. A little tip for the day.

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Lights Reflecting in Sarasota Bay
Lights Reflecting in Sarasota Bay

I’m addicted to long exposure photography, I love how it transforms a scene, making it seem almost serene. I’m also addicted to night or low light photography, I like how the mood shifts when the bright light of day fades. When I get to combine the two I’m in my happy place. It’s a lot of fun and I never quite know what I’ll end up with. The main thing is to keep experimenting and, of course, having fun.

panoramas from the gallery

Anyway, now that the weather here in Florida is finally cooling a bit from the long hot summer, an evening outdoors can be refreshing. A cool dry breeze is something I haven’t felt around here in about six months, so now that thats starting I think its time to get out and enjoy the weather. Not that I need an excuse but for me that means doing more long exposure panoramas. Stay tuned, more images to come.

The Old Pier

This is the old pier in St. Petersburg Florida. I took this a couple of years ago before they began tearing it down. In fact, they just removed the last piece of it couple of days ago. A new pier will be built in two years, but in the meantime pictures are all we have. It’s a little sad.

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The Old Pier
The old pier in St Petersburg Florida

I liked the old one, it had a certain charm to it. But St Petersburg is a thriving city and they want something new that reflects a more modern aesthetic. Two years is a long time to wait for the new pier.

From a photographic perspective I’m a pier fanatic. When you stand next to one it creates a leading line out into the water. When you stand on top of one it’s more symmetrical. This pier is (or was) the largest in central Florida. It’s the only one I know of that you could drive on. I suppose that’s why the new one will take so long to build, it’s a large project.

sunrises photos from the gallery

I just happen to notice this image at about the same time as I read about the completion of the demolition. A coincidence I suppose, or maybe it’s the ghost of the old pier reaching out for one last hoorah. Whatever the case, may she rest in pieces.

A Walk in the Park

I got this one afternoon when I decided to take a walk in the park. This is Stanley Park in Vancouver and is one of the best urban parks in North America. It rivals Central Park and Golden Gate Park. I took this at a little pond known as Lost Lagoon where there are some resident swans. You can usually line up a good shot if you just wait for the right moment.

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A Walk in the Park
A Walk in the Park at Lost Lagoon, part of Vancouver’s Stanley Park

Waiting for the right moment is good advice for landscape photographers. If you stay in a single spot long enough, something is bound to happen. It’s all a question of how long you want to wait. Usually I’ll walk up on a scene and not see anything in particular. The scene can be like a puzzle, however it almost as though a sixth sense tells me there’s something there. I just have to recognize it, compose it, and take the photo. So it could be a matter of focusing in on a small area, or it could be just slowing down and waiting for something to unfold. It’s an inexact science but the longer I wait, the more likely I am to walk away with something worth my time.

Another little technique to add to this is pick a time of day when you think something might happen and then get there a little earlier. For instance, in Florida, right at the crack of dawn the pelicans will fly from their nighttime resting spots to their daytime fishing locations. So if you want to get a sunrise with some pelicans flying by, you get there a little early and wait, but be ready because you might only get one chance, believe me I’ve missed more than I care to admit.

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With this image I planned to come in the afternoon because I knew the sun set across the water from a section of the path. So I got there, waited, noticed the swan swim by, then click and I had my image.

Oh, and one other thing, if you’re going to be out in nature, bring mosquito repellant. I got swarmed as I stood here and waited. Next time I’ll take my own advice and bring some.

Bridge Street Pier

This is another shot taken next to the Bridge Street Pier in Bradenton Beach, Florida. In the morning everything is quiet as the pier casts long reflections on the calm waters of the Inter-coastal. This is my favorite time of day to get photos of places that are normally much busier during the day. Next to me sat a couple on a bench drinking coffee and watching the sun rise. Not a bad way to start the day.

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Bridge Street Pier
Bridge Street Pier in Bradenton Beach Florida

I’ve taken a lot of pictures from here but when I take the time I can usually find a different perspective. So even if I’ve been here, the photo is unique in some way. I don’t mind repeating myself if I’m taking pictures of something pretty and I’m having fun. Whomever said you can’t repeat yourself forgot to send me the memo.

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For me, photography is a state of mind more than anything. I have an idea what I want to convey, something peaceful, calm and serene. So no matter where I am I just figure out how to do that. If my inclination was to show some form of action or interaction, I’d take a completely different approach. Photography is a state of mind and if you constantly practice your images reflect that state of mind. That’s not to say I have a peaceful, serene and calm mind, but that yearning is what I focus on.

Anyway, now that I have you in a peaceful state of mind, maybe its time to get a cup of coffee. Or glass of wine depending on the time of day.

Sarasota Bay Last Sunday

This is a long exposure of Sarasota Bay last Sunday afternoon. The exposure is a little over two minutes so you can see the movement of the clouds and the water appears still. In a normal exposure you would see boats in the water. Because the boats are moving they are not exposed and it appears deserted and serene. In reality the scene was serene but not deserted. On a Sunday afternoon everyone is out on the water, and I do mean everyone.

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Sarasota Bay Last Sunday
Sarasota Bay last Sunday and the Ringling Bridge – a long exposure

This is another one in a series of photographs I’ve taken of the Ringling Bridge. Close to home it’s one of my favorite subjects. I’m always looking for new perspectives and different angles of it. In this case I was a couple miles away at a little park called Nora Patterson Bay Island Park which is at the entrance to Siesta Key. Use of a telephoto lens allows me to frame end to end like this. I think the next time I come here it’ll be in the evening so I can get this scene after dark; I’m curious to see how that will look.

This is the best time of year to be here in Florida. Its low season before the population expands with visitors and snowbirds. It’s also the time of year that we get a break from the heat, the weather is perfect, not too hot or too cold.

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So it was this perfect day with the perfect weather that I had this little park to myself. Imagine that, having this view to yourself, alone with your thoughts. I suppose its a common thing because its such a small park, but still, it’s quite the thing, don’t you think?

Walking into Robson Square

Walking into Robson Square on a Saturday night I took this image in the rain. I know the folks in Vancouver get tired of the rain but I don’t live there and so I kind of like it. Mainly because of how it makes the streets shine and everyone is walking around with umbrellas. I don’t get to see a lot of that back in Florida. First of all, people don’t carry umbrellas. If it’s raining you just wait in your car for a few minutes and it’ll pass. Secondly, we only get rain in the summer, its pretty dry in the winter. So when I come to Vancouver in the winter, I’m okay with the rain while everyone else is more or less resigned to it. Maybe it would be different if I lived there.

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Walking into Robson Square
Walking into Robson Square in Vancouver at night in the rain

Another difference is that Vancouver has a vibrant downtown scene. Most of the city centers in Florida are deserted after dark, everyone lives in the burbs, or by the beach along the water. In Vancouver you can go out walking at night and there is a lot going on; food vendors, restaurants, sights to see, and everything is within walking distance.

Differences are what makes traveling fun; seeing and experiencing different things. I live in a place where people travel to for their vacation, so I’m just like the people in Vancouver, I take it for granted. The tourist down here can’t get over how pretty everything is. That’s just how we’re made, we get used to things and then we might just need a change of scenery.

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I took this photo hand held at ISO 10000. Hand holding camera to take a street scene is only possible with the latest technology in my Sony camera. The camera sensors are getting to the point where they’ll be better than our eyes in a very short time. In the meantime, I’ll take my eyes and go out looking at new things when I travel.

When we are Happy

When we are happy we’ll do all kinds of things. I am reminded of my little dog who, when he gets happy, puts on all kinds of antics. Like my little doggy I am prone to a little silliness as well. And if no-one else is feeling the same, I can always count on him to join in the fun. We are very similar in that respect, when we feel a flow of energy things are good.

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When we are Happy
When we are happy we can let lose a little

For me this image is a metaphor for breaking through and getting a shot of good energy. Just a few minutes before I took this it was raining, then the clouds began to break up and the sun created this display in the sky. Life is full of these kinds of moments and weather has a way of demonstrating this with natural displays of the elements. Lucky for me I was here to capture this display with a camera.

This is in Venice Florida on Florida’s gulf coast. It’s one of my favorite places. It’s an area a little removed from the hustle and bustle and a good place for me to walk the beach and take pictures. Actually there are a lot of places like this in Florida, but I have a few favorites.

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Anyway, it’s the beginning of another week and I was thinking I needed a little good energy to start the week. Looking at this reminds me of the feeling I had when I took this image. This is a metaphorical Monday morning cartwheel to get us through the week.