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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Each time I travel to San Francisco I pass over the Bay Bridge. This new section was recently completed after a monumental construction project. Now they’ve started deconstructing the old one which sits adjacent to this. Finally after many months it’s getting so you can take a picture of the new bridge without it being crowded by the old one.
I took this from Treasure Island which is halfway between San Francisco and Oakland. Fortunately it was calm that night so as to produce the colorful reflections on the water.
I take pictures of bridges because I find them fascinating and especially enjoy images at night. That’s because bridges form leading lines for our eyes to follow. They also have repeating elements to provide a sense of scale and direction. The link below is a collection of bridge pictures from places I’ve been.
I grew up near San Francisco so I’ve been over the old bridge countless times. Maybe in a hundred years we’ll all fly drone cars and won’t need bridges. Until such time they’ll keep building new ones and i’ll keep taking pictures of them at night.
It never really occurred to me, but birds learn to fly. They aren’t born flying and after they hatch much of their development is learning to fly. They learn by watching their parents and practicing all of the little steps until they master each one. It takes a lot of practice.
What got me thinking about this is an eagle-cam on YouTube. I’ve watched as the egg hatched and grew to an almost full grown eaglet in just under three months. E9, as he is known, will soon leave the nest and strike out on his own. I’ve watched with fascination as he’s practiced daily all of the little skills required to fly. Sometimes he’ll flap for minutes while balancing on a branch.
In any case, observing the behavior of E9 and his parents has provided a window into their world. Now when I see a bird I have a new appreciation for its early development.
A few days back I went out on a windy day to take some pictures and noticed a flock of gulls by the water. As they flew against the wind they were nearly stationary in their forward motion. That allowed me to capture some gulls in flight with the bridge in the background. They were quite skilled at flying in blustery conditions. And of course they’ve had plenty of practice.
This is a long exposure of the marina in Palmetto. Once the sun goes down the glow on the horizon fades for about an hour. The last few minutes of the glow are almost imperceptible yet appears more pronounced with a long exposure. This is image is eight-seconds and of course was taken with a tripod. Because the glow is more pronounced it contrasts with the night sky directly overhead. It’s a unique lighting situation that I was fortunate enough to capture. The scene is enhanced even more by the color of the thin clouds above the boats.
I didn’t know ahead of time these conditions were occurring. But I had my camera and was looking for something to capture. Taking the time to notice what is happening is a skill. This scene was not apparent with a casual glance. To see a scene like this I need to slow down and put myself in a different mindset. In that mindset I’ll see scenes I’m not necessarily looking for.
My theory is that interesting things appear around us all the time. The challenge is to get past that little voice that insists there is nothing to look at. I get that a lot when I go out to do photography. To push past that takes will power. It produces rewards by simply continuing when I think I should give up. I surprise myself sometimes at the shots I get. It’s not that I’m super talented, it’s more that I give myself opportunities. The more I do that the better my chances. That sounds like a sports metaphor but it’s equally applicable to photography, or, any other worthwhile endeavor; at least thats my theory.
This shot is from a section of Sarasota where I was taking pictures at sunset. When doing that a good rule of thumb to turn around. During that time of day the light is typically good in all directions. This scene is enhanced by the soft light of the golden hour.
The tallest building on the right is the Ritz Carlton hotel. It’s distinctive architecture is part of the Sarasota skyline. I ate dinner here a couple of times and for desert had the chocolate martini.
This section of the town is one of the most iconic. I’m standing adjacent to the main bridge which connects the city to Lido Key. Runners, walkers and bikers all use the bridge for exercise. Behind me is the pier and a park were folks come to fish or view the sunset. On the other side of the street is the main marina where sailboats and yachts are anchored. Finally, straight ahead is the downtown section with restaurants, shops and entertainment.
So this is an area where there is much to see and do. That’s the main reason I come here to take pictures. But this time I decided to turn around and ignore the obvious for just a minute. By doing that I found a new composition. But to tell the truth, that’s easy to do in any direction around here.
I shot this in December when the conditions were favorable for fog. It’s an opportunity to capture familiar scenes in a different light. Advection fog occurs when warm air passes over cool water causing evaporation. I live near the river so I notice it just by looking out the window. I headed out one evening to shoot night scenes across the river in Bradenton.
If you notice, fog changes our perceptions. Sounds are slightly muffled and distances are cut short. It can be intimate or confining. It creates a sense of seclusion in a place that might normally seem open and exposed.
Like the transition from day into night, fog creates another type of transition from sharp to soft. With weather transitions, there is usually a bit of magic just after it occurs. It’s something new and is a transformation from clarity into a soft glow.
By using a high ISO I am able to capture these scenes at night without a tripod. Fog creates a visual playground for me as a photographer. It casts everything in a different light and invites fresh interpretations. The same can be said for inclement weather, however fog is the least troublesome to work in.
To took this picture as I stood over a canal to the intercostal waterway. I was in the village of Cortez where there are many little outdoor restaurants by the water. Its one of my favorite places to come for an authentic Florida experience.
This bridge is one of two that cross over to Anna Maria Island. Both are draw bridges and each time I cross I secretly hope to get stuck. The draw bridge takes five or ten minutes to operate and during that time you turn off the engine and watch the sailboats, dolphins and fishermen.
As I write this we are in peak tourist season. Its spring break and people are here to enjoy the weather and beaches. Because I’m a resident I don’t always keep track of these things. But as soon as I walk into a restaurant or try to drive somewhere it becomes apparent.
As well it is also spring training season for baseball. We have a perfect storm of sun seekers and sports fans. It’s fun to see and good for the local economy. Merchants look forward to this all year. I’m pretty relaxed about it all and as I said, even look forward to getting stuck on one of the many bridges.
Not that I should need an excuse, but traffic over a bridge is one way to slow down, enjoy the sights and imagine what its like to be a visitor on spring break.
So often when I walk my dog I wish I had brought my camera. This time I decided to bring it so I could stop at this marina and capture the final glow. It was worth having to carry the camera along with a leash and poop bags for the full length of the walk.
Normally I would just use a cell phone but this time I wanted to see if a real camera made a difference. The iPhone is good but the Sony can get so much more detail and dynamic range.
I like taking my dog with me when I’m shooting landscapes. He loves to come for the ride and I enjoy the company. It’s a mutual partnership. Sometimes I’ll be holding him on the leash with one hand and taking pictures with the other. If he sees another dog and pulls the leash it can get tricky. That happened on this shot as I was composing the shot. It’s all good and in the end we both got what we wanted.
I try not to get too serious when I’m taking photos. Once in a while having a dog along helps me keep it light. It’s important to have fun because that gets reflected in the final images. Ironically, if I get too serious I’m not as relaxed and I’ll miss things.
We don’t have mountains in Florida so as photographers we look to clouds for inspiration. We get all kinds depending on the time of year. These here are typical for winter, in the summer they are even more dramatic. You could say these are our mountains in the sky.
I took this last week after the rain passed. It was the kind of rain that washes everything and then breaks up in the afternoon, just in time for a sunset. That happens regularly because of the Florida climate. The heat during the day creates disturbances and then the sun recedes and the energy dissipates. As a result we get these displays which keep cloud watchers like me busy.
Often there are evenly spaced rows of puffy “cotton-candy” clouds. For some reason they only appear over the land, never the shore. Broken clouds like these at sunset are my favorite. I used a wide angle lens so they appear to converge on the horizon.
Because of the geography and heat, clouds are part of the landscape here. They are stand-ins for mountains and you can’t help but notice them. If I was a mariner I’d know how to read them and know what they foretell. Nevertheless I think a little bit of that ability rubs off on anyone who takes the time to look up and wonder.