Sky with Diamonds

The highlights in the clouds remind me of the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. I don’t see Lucy, but I do see diamonds.

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Sky with Diamonds
Light patterns in the sky above Robinson Preserve in Bradenton Florida

In the sky, we see whatever we want to see. Psychoanalysts have been using this trick for years to pull things out of our subconscious. Clouds present a daily Rorschach Test, teasing out things we hold below the surface of awareness. The key is to notice what we see and then think about why.

more cloudscapes in the gallery

The more abstract something is, the less rational it is. While rationality is necessary to navigate life, suspending it from time to time allows us to experience a different perspective. In my mind, a little vacation from the demands of an overactive mind is probably healthy, and maybe even necessary.

Miami Marina

I took this picture at three in the morning as our ship entered the port in Miami. I am surprised it turned out given that we were moving at it was dark.

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Miami Marina
A marina as seen from a ship entering the Port of Miami

Its the second time I’ve taken this same perspective from a ship. The first time was a year earlier when I used an f2.8 lens; this time I used an f1.8: the f1.8 aperture is wider which allows more light and, creates a better result without too much noise.

more from Miami in the gallery

Anyway, we were arriving back from Europe, so the early morning hour didn’t seem too bad. And, after being at sea for about ten days, I was not about to sleep in as we returned to civilization.

Low Hanging Branch

A branch hangs over the water along the Sunshine Skyway in Tampa. This image was taken at dawn one weekend.

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Low Hanging Branch
From the Sunshine Skyway in Florida

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.

more from this area in the gallery

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.

Bridge Again

I take a lot of photos of this bridge; I should open a gallery and call it the Manatee Bridge gallery. With these types of scenes can you blame me?

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Bridge Again
Another image of the Manatee Avenue Bridge in Bradenton, Florida

What makes this so mesmerizing is the calm water of the intercoastal. When it’s like glass, it reflects everything and creates a dreamscape-like effect. That’s what I strive for but rarely achieve.

more bridges in the gallery

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.

Skyway Bridge

I take a lot of pictures of this bridge because it’s so close to home. It’s the biggest thing around, way bigger than a bread box.

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Skyway Bridge
A long exposure of the Sunshine Skyway

Do people still use bread boxes these days? Whenever I buy bread, it goes in the freezer. But I digress; the bridge is the biggest thing around, so it’s the center of a lot of attention. I’m all about iconic photos close to home like this.

more of this bridge in the gallery

This photo, in particular, is a long exposure that was taken with an ND filter. The picture is 46 seconds long which is why the water appears flat. Usually, I might use Photoshop to create the same effect, but in this case, there is little, if any, Photoshop involved.

Yet Another Supermoon

Is it just me or does it seem like we get a lot of Supermoons? This is a picture of the last one, which is the one before the next one.

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Yet Another Supermoon
The super-moon over the Manatee River in Bradenton, Florida

These moon photos are a bear to take. Unless you have a very long lens, like 600mm or more, the moon doesn’t look that big. Also, the composition is a little tricky because if you expose for the moon, everything else is too dark. If you expose for everything else, the moon is too light.

see the panorama gallery

In the end, I created a composite with two photos. The moon exposure is combined with the bridge exposure. Despite the challenges, it’s a lot of fun, and I’ll probably plan on doing another one. With all these supermoons coming, I’ll have plenty of chances to get it right.

New Bridge

The new bridge at Robinson Preserve presents an open invitation to cross over to a winding trail with ponds, marshes, and wildlife on all sides.

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New Bridge
A bridge in Robinson Preserve

The image I posted yesterday was not far from this spot, but the weather could not have been more different. That image was on a foggy morning, and this is at the end of the day. The light in each tells an entirely different story.

check out the panorama gallery

As usual, the story is mostly in our mind. With these types of landscape images, we all see the same thing, yet we fill in different details. And, as with life, we perceive in it what we want to see. I think self-projection is one of the purposes of art, to allow us to muse upon things that are reflections of ourselves.

DeSoto Bridge

This bridge is a commuter’s nightmare, but before dawn on the weekend, it can look pretty awesome.

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DeSoto Bridge
The bridge between Palmetto and Bradenton in Florida

It’s amazing how smooth the water looks in a long exposure. I could shoot these all morning if the sun didn’t rise. But, as the saying goes, the son also rises. Actually, that saying doesn’t apply, and I’m mixing metaphors, but we’re all friends here.

more in the night gallery

They say this bridge needs to be replaced. It’s over fifty years old and, as I mentioned, the traffic on it sucks. But, there is a bright side. Getting stuck on a bridge in Florida is not so bad; you just roll down the window, crank up the tunes, and enjoy the scenery.

Tropic Winter

I took this on that windy January weekend in Tampa Bay. Contrary to popular belief, we do get a little winter weather down here. A little.

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Tropic Winter
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge on a blustery day in January

When it gets cold in Florida, we complain about it. Basically, we feel entitled to good weather all the time. When it’s not, we get our noses out of joint. Nevermind it’s fifty degrees warmer than up north, we just can’t afford those fancy coats Y’all have. That’s not true, I have one in my closet, somewhere.

more images of this bridge

Anyway, we had a chilly January. We didn’t get frost or anything, but we did have to put on shoes and long pants. That sucks. But now it’s February and its back to sandals and shorts. See how I say that like it’s the most normal thing in the world? So, for the time being, I have nothing to complain about.

Mordor Condos

This is some early morning light coming in from the east. An overactive imagination would say those are condos from Mordor. Not that I have an overactive imagination.

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Mordor Condos
Dramatic light and clouds over a condo on the Manatee River in Bradenton, Florida

I’m usually up early, but I’m busy going to the gym and getting dressed, not necessarily in that order. But often I’ll manage to look east and see some fantastic light. The problem is I’m too wrapped up in the daily routine to do anything about it, like stop and take a picture.

see the sunset/sunrise gallery

But this time it was a Saturday, and I met a friend, and I didn’t have to go to the gym. I’ve been sitting on this image, but now it’s starting to grow on me; if for no other reason than the light and drama it holds. And, after a week of daily routines, I could use a little drama.