Sunset Watchers

Most people leave the beach at the end of the day. That’s when the second shift starts and all the sunset watchers show up.

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Sunset Watchers
Sunset from the north shore of Longboat Pass

That’s good for me because I’ll be driving against the traffic to get to the beach on time. If you’re one of the three people reading my blog, you know I’m a procrastinator. So, even though the traffic is going the other way, more often than not I am rushing to get there before the sun goes down.

more from Anna Maria Island in the gallery

After I finish taking photos, I still get stuck in the traffic leaving the beach. That’s no problem though, being stuck in traffic with the beach on one side and no place to be is a dream. I roll down the windows and inch along. I could do that all day.

The Real Thing

I used to have a thing about benches. Now its beach chairs and umbrellas. At least I’m progressing.

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The Real Thing
An afternoon on Bradenton Beach Florida

When I take photos of random people on the beach, I try to remain conscious of their privacy, lest I have them sign a release form. But when it comes to objects, everything is fair game. I once did a commercial beach shoot. There was so much involved, from legal to logistics. I prefer just to walk around and take pictures of interesting things, or people.

see the beach gallery

Putting people or chairs in a shot causes us to imagine ourselves in the scene. If we see people, we subconsciously become them. When we look at chairs, in our mind’s eye we find ourselves sitting in them. We project ourselves with our thoughts without even realizing it; it’s a habit we all have. Sometimes I feel I’ve been somewhere having previously only looked at it in pictures or videos. But, as they say, there’s no substitute for the real thing.

Cocoa Beach

Here’s a shot that I took with my iPhone as we left Port Canaveral on the inaugural Atlantic crossing of Symphony of the Seas. Not bad for a two-and-a-half-year-old iPhone.

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Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach from the deck of Royal’s Symphony of the Seas

I was up on the top deck without my camera as we pulled out of port. I wished I had my Sony because there was a lot of hoopla surrounding the first U.S. docking of the world’s largest ship. But, as the old saying goes, the best camera in the world is the one you have with you. In my case, that means the iPhone 7 plus. I think it did a pretty good job.

more iPhone images from the gallery

Nevertheless, I processed it a little in Skylum’s Luminar, and this is how it turned out. I like this perpendicular perspective of the beach. It’s a minimalist landscape shot, but not too shabby. One of these days I’ll get around to upgrading my iPhone to a new model and get even better pictures.

Siesta Time

We walked down the road looking for a place to chill and found a quiet little beach bar with tropical beverages. It was our third stop, and it was a charm.

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Siesta Time
Hammocks at the Blue Angel in Cozumel, Mexico

It’s called the Blue Angel, and it’s about a mile south of central Cozumel. If you’re in the area, you can’t go wrong. It’s a resort and dive shop, and from what I could see, very laid back. There were half dozen cruise ships in port, so this is a spot to get away from crowds.

check out the panorama gallery

We’ve had a problem with red tide in Florida, so it was refreshing to see so many fish in the clear turquoise water. There were divers and snorkeling which we lazily watched all afternoon. It’s the kind of place I could waste away in Margaritaville. I can envision myself napping in one of these hammocks half the day and the other half looking for my lost jigger of salt.

Mangrove Glow

A few days ago I had a bright idea to take some photos. Somehow, I managed to leave with enough time to get here and set up the shot without rushing.

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Mangrove Glow
A mangrove plant at Emerson Point in Palmetto Florida

I usually procrastinate and then end up dashing out the door. But once in a while, I do it the proper way, whatever that is. I am continually going between calm and panic in my photography. Kind of like life I suppose.

more mangroves from the gallery

Lately, when I know I’m shooting into the sun, I’ve been using my high-quality Sony 24-70mm f2.8 GM lens. It’s a lot heavier than my standard travel lens, but man-o-man, the quality comes through. I notice the difference because I take and process so many photos, but most folks would never know. That’s okay because I take these landscape photos for myself. And as the saying goes, whatever makes me happy.

Rocks, Pier, Water and Sky

This is a near reproduction of an image I did a few years ago. The angle is different, but the story is the same; rocks, pier, water and sky.

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Rocks, Pier, Water and Sky
A dramatic sunset from Fort DeSoto Pier in St Petersburg, Florida

I’ve changed the way I take and process photos so this is perhaps the upgraded version. Everything else in life gets updated, why not pictures? I must have deleted the first one because I can’t find it. But it’s not just my imagination because I printed it and sold a few copies. But now, I prefer this version.

more from the sunset gallery

As time goes on, I see many more things in a photo, some good, some so-so. Much of my earlier work I would like to redo, a 2.0 gallery if you will. And eventually, I will because I keep going to the same places. And if I think about it, I’ll probably never stop doing that. Just going back to the same areas, and taking upgraded photos until we get to version X. At least that’s the theory.

City Pier

This is the old city pier on Anna Maria Island. The “city” is Anna Maria, but if a few beach houses and seaside restaurants make a city, then I’m a monkey’s uncle.

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City Pier

To further make my point, the speed limit is 25mph; I know, because I paid a nice fine for driving 35. But I digress. It’s been over a year since the restaurant on this pier was open. It got damaged in a hurricane, and now it and the dock are being reconstructed. But, as you already know, this is not a city where things move fast.

more from Anna Maria Island

In the city of Anna Maria, there isn’t much to else to do but go to the beach, fish and eat at the restaurants. But then, that’s the attraction. A kind of place where you go to get away from everything else. There isn’t a lot of serious stuff going on, just the odd bit of monkey business; I should know.

#venicefl

The problem with a place in Florida called Venice is that if you Google “Venice,” you’ll end up in Italy. Even if I search my website, I get Italy. Using the hashtag “#venicefl” helps sort that out.

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#VeniceFL
Here is an old photo I took of Venice – the one in Florida (not Italy)

That’s the thing about living in the new world, a lot of places get named after the old world. If you’re someone like me that was born here, its confusing as heck. (I never said I was bright.) It’s like when someone in Ontario Canada mentions London; or the poor souls in Paris Texas.

Venice photos from Florida and Italy

Hashtags aside, I took this with the original Sony A7R. By this time I owned it for over a year and was thoroughly happy with it. Now I’m on the third generation A7, but am going back with newer software. The updated software breaths new light into these old shots. This is processed with Aurora HDR 2019, and after looking at what it can do with these old photos, I’m going to be going back to have a second look at a few more.

Windblown Palms

Here is a shot I took last year in Sarasota. It was one of those rushed shots that I was frantically trying to capture as the sun disappeared. The windblown palms added drama to the scene which meant that a three image HDR was out of the question. Nevertheless, I was able to get this with a single exposure from that fantastic Sony sensor on the A7RII.

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Windblown Palms
A scene near the Ringling Bridge in Sarasota, Florida

I took this with a super wide angle 12mm lens. I don’t use it as much as I’d like, but this is an example of what it can do. In a lot of cases, it’s too wide for my needs. But still, it’s nice to have it in the kit.

more from Sarasota County

One thing it does well is to include a lot of the sky. In this case, that’s what I wanted because of the clouds and colors. But at other times it can leave a lot of empty space. Anyway, I’m happy with how it turned out with the combination of the windblown palms, leading lines and dramatic clouds.

Focus Stack

I took this earlier in the year before the red tide came in, back then there were plenty of seabirds trolling the coast for fish. The red tide is finally decreasing so hopefully now the birds will return in more significant numbers.

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Focus Stack
A sand piper on one pier and people on another

Here’s an interesting photo that uses focus stacking to get the effect of both the foreground and background in focus. It’s a typical scene along the beach with the ever-present sandpiper.

More from Anna Maria Island

To make this I took two photos, one focused on the piper and one on the people further off. Then by blending the two, they both appear in focus. This technique is not so good for scenes like this because the movement of the water complicates the blending. You can see a little blurriness between the two in-focus points. Nevertheless, I think the overall effect is rather nice.