A branch hangs over the water along the Sunshine Skyway in Tampa. This image was taken at dawn one weekend.
During the weekdays, the skyway is inundated with cars commuting to work in the various counties that surround Tampa Bay. I traverse three counties just to get to Tampa, one county twice. The weird way Tampa is carved up, Hillsborough County is on both sides of Pinellas County, on the same highway.
Nevertheless, this is a long exposure that I took from Hillsborough County looking back at Manatee County. The Skyway is an impossibly long crossing of Tampa Bay. Not only is it a scenic drive, but it’s also a recreation area and one of the best rest stops in Florida.
Foreground elements are essential, especially in environmental or landscape shots. They’re a good idea anyway because they tend to be the first thing we focus on. As our eyes wander, we travel from foreground to the background. The trick in photography is to make that journey enjoyable.
This is a common scene at the beach and a good illustration of why I prefer the west coast of Florida.
Or for that matter, the west coast of anywhere. Sure, you can get up early to see the sunrise on the east, but it’s not the same. Watching the sun sink into the ocean at the end of the day is observed facing west only.
According to astonomy.com, about half of the galaxys rotate clockwise like ours, and the other half counterclockwise. That means that planets in other galaxies, and maybe a few in our own, have planets with the sunset in the east — something to think about.
At the tip of Longboat Key is a beach strewn with the remnants of past storms. It creates a surreal scene, and it’s a nice place to hang out.
The beach is only accessible by hike so, it becomes a bohemian camp of sorts. You feel very much away from it all here. Each time I come, there are groups of people in temporary camps with hammocks hanging from the trees. Sometimes they are playing music or singing, like gypsy gatherings in a Patrick Rothfuss novel.
Each time I come there is something to see. I always bring my camera looking for stories. Stories are little vignettes of life that, when we see, it sparks our imagination. In that way, the photo doesn’t have to be too complicated. I think this photo is an example of what I mean.
I like to walk by restaurants and see what the people are eating. It’s also fun to take a picture and freeze the moment so I can decide later if I want to go back.
This is another South Beach night scene. I shoot in places where there are a lot of folks out at night. People are relaxed, and it shows when you catch them unaware. But if they see you, faces change in a blink.
We had friends over recently, and Marlise told everyone to act naturally as she snapped some photos. Of course, it had the opposite effect; we all posed and looked unnatural. I guess the tip of the day would be that if you want people to act natural, don’t announce you are taking a photo. Unless, perhaps, you are working with actors who are trained to look natural.
The area is known as Gastown, and it has a lot of places to hang out. You could eat at a different place each night of the year. Whenever I’m in town, I come here and shoot night scenes. It’s been a few years so I can’t wait to come back. And unlike the glass towers a few blocks away, this Gastown is in a universe all it’s own.
Anyway, if you go to my gallery and enter the keyword “ManateeAvenueBridge” in the search, you’ll get all the versions of this bridge I’ve taken over the years. In another five or ten years I’ll probably have quite the collection. Then they can rename the bridge after me. It will be called the Rick Bridge, or not.
Here is another photo from Nice France. I took this as I walked around the streets above the harbor on a hot August morning.
The hill above the harbor is steep, and I remember thinking to my self that I didn’t want to get too hot first thing in the morning. So I paced myself and took slow steps, trying to avoid exertion. That was a fool’s errand because I quickly became covered in sweat no matter how slow I walked. I ended up getting ice cream for breakfast to cool down. That’s just how I roll.
Nevertheless, I prefer to walk around these little streets as opposed to the more famous beaches of Nice. Beaches I have all around me in Florida, so when in Europe, I like unique places like this; even when covered in sweat and eating ice cream.
About five years ago I took a drive up the coast from Vancouver. I took this at a little community called Lions Bay.
This image has been sitting in my rejects file for a year or two. Now and then I look at the rejects and see if I should reconsider any. My perspective changes so much that, given a little time, I might change my mind.
To be clear, most of my photos deserve to be in the dust bin; they are not that interesting. I usually wait at least a week, typically much longer, to post a photo. It takes a little time to look at a picture dispassionately and decide if it rises to the level. But even then, it’s all subjective, and what makes a good photo is entirely in the eye of the beholder.