This is an example of what happens when you just sit still and let things happen. I sat here on the shore of Tampa Bay watching the sunrise. I wasn’t doing much, just sitting and watching when all of a sudden this egret landed only a few feet from me. He didn’t seem to mind me as long as I didn’t make sudden movements.
Egrets are one of the more adaptable birds to human activity. It’s not unusual to see them in the parking lot of a grocery story. In fact one day I had one on my windshield when I pulled into a parking stall. I think they’re the graceful cousins of seagulls.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m no expert on birds. However living in Florida you get exposed to them all the time. And in many cases they can enhance an image.
I’ve seen real bird photographers, they’re the ones walking around with the big ten-thousand dollar lenses. To get a closeups of a bird from any distance takes “big glass”. I on the other hand only take images of birds if they happen to be there. I’m not sure I have the patience nor time to devote to wildlife photography.
A theme this week seems to be birds. For what ever reason I’ve been processing bird images to share. Yesterday I posted an eagle, today a heron sleeping by the causeway and tomorrow will be an egret. When I take so many photos near the water it’s hard not to capture birds.
If framed properly birds can enhance a scene. When a bird is sitting still during a sunset it adds an extra element to the story. We unconsciously sympathize with other creatures, human or otherwise. So a heron sleeping on one leg at the waters edge adds a little interest to the scene as well as a sense of depth. Of course with minimalistic landscape scenes like this, whatever that story means is a little different for each person.
I took this one evening on the way to the beach. Its at a causeway in Bradenton Florida that leads to Anna Maria Island. On the weekend it’s busy but during the week it’s a bit quieter. Weekday sunsets are my favorite time to drop by here. I’m not the only one, I’ll see people pull up with lawn chairs just to watch the sunset. It’s a ritual for many around here.
Whenever I see these birds I try to stay back. I use a telephoto lens and shoot from a distance. For me it’s important not to disturb the scene and approach as a silent observer. I capture the scene and then steal away with my purloined images like a thief in the night. Of course, your story may differ.
This week my intention was to capture the full moon, but for one reason or another I was striking out. So yesterday morning I stopped at the Palmetto Estuary near my home. I parked and walked out to the viewing platform. Much to my surprise I saw was this juvenile eagle in the moonlight about fifty feet away. As a photographer I know these opportunities don’t come along everyday.
I don’t know much about birds but this year I’ve been watching a YouTube channel on the progress of an eaglet known as E9. I’ve come to learn a little about the behavior of eagles as they grow from a hatchling. I believe this to be a juvenile because the head is not completely white. Feel free to leave a comment and correct me if you know otherwise.
When I was growing up eagles were an endangered species. Since then the populations have recovered and sightings are more common. Because of their history I am still amazed at the site of these apex raptors. Having watched so much of their behavior this year I’ve also learned about their significant intelligence. It’s a real eye opener for anyone who might think otherwise.
Eagles like this are accustomed to our presence. This guy (or gal) never moved the whole time I was shooting. I guess that’s not surprising since they hunt, nest and breed in our towns and urban landscapes. Hopefully we can remain mindful of that by providing them the spaces they need to thrive and co-exist along side us. We will all be better for it.
This is Hotel Europe in Vancouver’s Gastown. Gastown is a once-rundown-but-now-trendy section of the city. The last time I was in this area I walked around in the evening.
There is no end of things to see especially if you like photography. In fact, several years ago I was here with my wife when she booked a photowalk with Susanne at Vancouver Photowalks. I highly recommend it if you’re so inclined. She knows the city and you’re guaranteed to come home with some epic shots.
This is a heritage building built in 1909. There are a lot of restored buildings that give the area its character. The streets are made of bricks and there is an ancient clock operated by steam. You could eat in a different restaurant every night and do an epicurean tour of the world. Each time I come back this section of town just keeps getting better.
Normally I take a tripod with me at night but this time I was just out for a stroll, not really intending to take a lot of pictures. I ended up wishing for a tripod, but made due with a high ISO instead. This was taken handheld using ISO 5000. Even though I’ve had this Sony camera for a couple of years I’m still amazed at what it can do. Maybe one day tripods will become obsolete as well.
The West coast of Florida is lined with barrier islands known as keys or cays, We call the water behind the keys the intercostal waterway. In a boat you can travel up and down the state inside the intercostal. Every five miles or so channels appear between the islands. This is midday at New Pass in Sarasota. For some reason the water here is always a turquoise green color, probably due to the white sand.
I’m standing on a bridge that connects Ledo Key with Longboat Key. We were out for a Sunday drive and it seems our Sunday drives always end up here. At mid-day everything is so bright you really need to wear sunglasses. In general I like to shoot scenes in less harsh light but I’ve always liked the colors here and wanted to capture it.
This spot where I’m standing is next to the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. It’s one of the foremost marine biology research and rescue centers in the US. It’s worth a visit if you’re in the area. Standing by the water you’ll see all manner of marine life. I’ve seen manatees, sharks, dolphins and manta-rays not to mention all of the fish that keep the anglers busy.
This is also one of those bridges I love to get stuck on. It’s a draw bridge and whenever a sailboat comes along the traffic stops and you just have to sit there and look at this scene. I can think of worse places to be stuck.
For me this brings back idyllic childhood memories at the beach. I’m grown up but I still relate to what these children are doing. I think we all do.
I am fortunate to live near a beach like this. I can just hop in the car and be here in a few minutes. When I see that the conditions are good in the evening I’ll drive over. By conditions of course I’m referring to photographic conditions. For me that means nice clouds.
I took this at the height of spring break so there were tens of thousands at the beach. Even after living here for over a dozen years it still surprises me. At sunset everyone was lined up by the waters edge taking photos. Maybe a million pictures were taken within a five mile radius of me. It was kind of funny because I suddenly became aware that everyone was doing the exact same thing. And I thought I was the only one.
Lately I’ve been working with prime lenses. This was shot with a Sony 55mm prime at F1.8. That just means I have a narrow depth of field with which to create a sense of distance. The blurring is on purpose, the out of focus areas give the image a dreamy quality, not as much realism.
There were so many people that I chose to focus away from the crowds. You would never know hundreds of people were all around me as I took this. By simplifying a scene I’m better able tell a story. The story in this case is that the children are playing and in a world all their own, oblivious to everything around them. And for them this will surely become an idyllic childhood memory.
This is a cityscape panorama across Sarasota Bay. To create this I took three vertical images using a 55 mm lens and then stitched them together in Autopano Giga. The reason I did that rather than use a wide angle lens is it creates a realistic view of the scene whereas wide angle lenses tend to distort the sky. Each method has its use.
My guess is that these sailboats are in a mooring field. There is another mooring field on the other side of that bridge just out of sight. That one is busy but this one seems to be long term as I’ve seen the same sailboats sit here for years.
The day was a little hazy but the clouds added an extra dimension to the sky. These types of scenes, urban panoramas across the water, represent a technique I find appealing. Sky and water frame a cityscape and create a different perspective. It’s a little like looking down from an airplane only in this case we’re looking across. I have a coffee table book I’m working on called Sea and Sky; it has a few images like this.
Another thing I like about these stitched-together panoramas is that the image is very high resolution. That’s good for two reasons; it allows the viewer to zoom in and explore the details and, it can be used to create large prints. This resolution of this image can produce a print that is six feet across without losing detail. That makes it suited for large spaces like offices or hallways.
In a few years camera sensors will capture more detail than they do today. Actually these already exist but are specialized for surveillance and mapping. However soon even landscape photographers like myself will have them. And when that happens we’ll be able to pass the time just exploring the details of a scene like this on someone’s large wall.
As the name implies, the Cliff House restaurant is atop a cliff overlooking the pacific. This is a long exposure I did a few months ago. I came back about a month later and each time I was lucky enough to see a good sunset. As a result I have a tonne of pictures from every angle and many of them like this taken long after the sun went down.
I used to shoot film and photos like this were impossible. You might get close but it was trial and error and required precise measurements, settings and calculations of exposure length. Now in the age of digital I can have images like this in a matter of minutes and know exactly how it turns out. So it’s no wonder people like me love shooting in low light. It’s a relatively new phenomenon in the age of photography.
Speaking of cameras and the age of photography, that giant camera at the edge is a Camera obscura. The idea was first used in the 1600’s as a painting aid. It’s an ancient device that employs the same principal as a pinhole camera by projecting a reflected image on a wall or table. Here is a reference to it on wikipedia.
I wonder if cameras will become obsolete in some future timeline of ours. They have come so far in a few hundred years and things are not slowing down. Maybe our eyes will get replaced with hi-definition sensors and view screens and then we can choose to save images or share with others in a virtual reality universe.
Would the people that invented the Camera obscure recognize the cameras of today? In that same vein then I will not recognize cameras a hundred years from now. Given where we are headed with sensor tech and VR, perhaps my idea is not so far fetched.
Here is a group of people watching as a pod of dolphins pass by Emerson Point. I was too busy composing my shot and only when I got home did I realize they were watching dolphins. If you click on the photo and zoom in you can see them just offshore. These highly intelligent animals are common in Florida so sightings are not unusual.
Whenever we have visitors come to Florida we hope they get to see dolphins. It seems that if you’re looking for them they don’t show, but they’re always around when you’re not.
I barley made it here in time to take the photo. I couldn’t make up my mind whether I should go out. I procrastinated and then decided to go at the last possible moment. To make matters worse I was rushing to get to the shore and then got stuck behind a couple of slow cars. When I got here I only had about five minutes to get a few shots. As I looked for compositions I saw this group and stood behind them as they gazed westward. In the end I captured a few images that I was pleased with.
All of the apparent nonsense, from slow drivers to my own indecision were for nothing. Often when I’m rushing, things don’t work out the way I think they should. The trick with landscape photography is to go with the flow. It’s easier said than done but things work out anyway. That’s what I’ve noticed over the years and it reinforces my idea that photography is reflective of a state of mind.
This is early Twilight along the Sunshine Skyway. Normally it’s crowded but at this hour there was just me and a couple of fishermen. Behind me is the Skyway and so I’m facing towards Tampa Bay. It’s about eight miles across to the other side. The lights are from the small town of Ruskin.
I stood here composing the shot thinking it was strange that the palm trees cast such long shadows. I couldn’t figure out how they were formed because there was no light behind them. Later I realized the shadows were coming from behind me. I can be slow at times, especially so early in the morning.
I came here to shoot the sunrise and ended up exploring several locations within a half mile. This is a nesting and feeding area for sea birds. There’s always something interesting to see if you just sit and observe. What caught my eye here were the trees standing alone. Normally there would be a bunch of parked cars so this is the only time to capture the trees alone like this. I’m always on the lookout for lone trees as a subject for photography.
Anyway, I sat here for about twenty minutes just enjoying the view. I wanted to sit here until the sun rose, however I thought if I did that I might miss other sights so I moved on. I’ve got to hand it to those fishermen, they see a lot of nice scenery. They stay in one place and watch the world come to them.
I am probably a little to much of a busy body to be a good fisherman. That’s why I stick to photography.