Emerson Point

To get here, you walk through a jungle trail, and it’s easy to get a bit disoriented. That is until you pop out from the brush at sunset.

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Emerson Point Clouds
Looking out to sea from Emerson Point

The image I took here is similar to one I did from the same spot a half dozen years ago.

The clouds and weather ensure each image will be different, and I never tire of it.

more from Emerson Point

Due to the full range of light and the difficulty of shooting into the sun, this is a combination of at least five photos. I combined the images with AuroraHDR and then parts of it re-layered in Photoshop. In some respects, this is a painting, in that the light was blended to create a picture. That creative process I find satisfying, even if it is the same scene on a different day.

Simple Seascape

This image is from Ken Thompson Park in Sarasota on a hot summer afternoon. So hot, in fact, that three minutes later I was back in the car.

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Simple Seascape
A minimalist seascape from Ken Thompson park in Sarasota

There are a couple of reasons I like this photo; one is the minimal aesthetic, and the other is that its same spot I took an abstract picture with an iPhone 5.

A photo I took with the iPhone 5 in the same spot

The abstract I took during a sunset that was like nothing I’d ever seen. I didn’t have a camera, so I used an iPhone. Not that it matters.

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The two have nothing in common, yet I stood at the same spot for each. It just goes to show what imagination, setting, and post-processing can get you.

When I See It

If you head down this road for three minutes, you’ll end up at the gulf. If you go the other direction for about two hours, you’ll end up at the Atlantic. Only in, Florida.

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When I See It
The sun sets over Emerson Point in Palmetto

I was leaving the gulf and stopped for a different shot when I happened to look back; that’s how I came to take this photo. Most of the pictures I take originate from this rather haphazard approach. That’s not to say I don’t occasionally plan; it’s just that planning and this type of photography are only loosely connected. Having a plan gets me out of the house, and that’s where the connection ends.

more images with clouds

Once out of the house, the struggle is figuring out what photos to take; to solve that I try to stay open and aware of what’s around me. Over the years, I’ve developed an aesthetic which largely stems from my personality. So, when I go out to take photos, even though I may not know what I’m looking for, I will generally know it when I see it.

Brain Games

Here is one of the trails at Emerson Point that I recently explored. If it weren’t for that they are well-marked, I’d still be in there somewhere.

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Brain Games
A boardwalk at Emerson Point Preserve

When you look at this photo, something might seem a little off. The path appears level yet distorted. Can you guess what it is? Spoiler, …the boardwalk ascends a hill, it’s not level. Once you know this, the sense of distortion disappears.

more photos from Emerson Point

Our brain is the most complicated thing known to science. But neuroscientist can do all sorts of little test like this to point out the contours of aspects we are only beginning to understand. Check out this short demonstration of the blind spot which we have that the brain fills in. Most of us never even know we have one. I certainly didn’t until a few days ago.

Yellow Stand

A hilarious rant about the Florida heat

These last few days it’s been unbearably hot. The last thing I’d want to do is be sitting here all day; unless of course I had nonstop margaritas.

Yellow Stand
The bike rental stand at Fort DeSoto Park in St Petersburg Florida

The image is a redo of a photo I processed six-years ago. Here is the original…

Original processing of the bike rental stand that I did in 2013.

Because the tools and my techniques change so much, I like to redevelop images to contrast and compare to my former self. There’s no right and wrong, just different ways to see the same thing.

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As we head into the middle of summer, I am looking forward to some downtime under a tiki hut sipping a frosty little drink with an umbrella. Umbrellas in glasses are a crucial element for survival in harsh environments. This is an important fact you may wish to keep in mind. You’re very welcome.

River Reflections

The reflections along the Hillsborough River are entirely peaceful. That is until you realize alligators lurk just below the surface.

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River Reflections
Along the Hillsborough River in Florida

But if I was an alligator, this seems like the perfect place to live. I’m living in a state park, I don’t get harassed, there are plenty of turtles to munch, and I don’t have to get stuck in someone’s pool and have my jaws taped shut.

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In reality, alligators have it hard. Only a small percentage make it to maturity. The most energetic, most intelligent among them live out their full lives. And the luckiest of those are living here in these beautiful parks.

Longboat Key Public Pier

Docks are kind of a big thing here; everybody seems to have one. Dock Life is the new Salt Life; only you don’t get wet.

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Longboat Key Public Pier

Not that I know the first thing about docks or salt. I’m one of three people that doesn’t have one. Most of the docks in Florida are private, and they have No Trespassing signs posted. That’s a shame, but I suppose it makes sense.

more images featuring piers

Anyway, some of the best are public, like this one in Longboat Key.
It’s next to a couple of restaurants so you can dock the boat and have dinner. Near my home is a commercial marina with a couple of hundred yachts. It’s also next to a restaurant, appropriately named the Dockside Grill.

Hollow Cypress


Check out this amazing video by Hiroshi Kondo

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The hollowed out Cypress tree is along a path I was exploring recently. I’m pretty sure this is a nightly meeting place for gnomes.

Hollow Cypress
A gnome home in Hillsborough River State Park

The fun thing about a path through the woods is you see different things in each direction. I walked about a mile-and-a-half in one direction but missed this completely, then found it on the way back.

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The little stubs grow up from the roots and are known as Cypress Knees. It’s thought their purpose is to provide stability to the swamp floor or, extra oxygen to the Cypress during times of flood. These are the best guesses of the scientists, but no one knows for sure. However, if you look closely, you can see they are actually sleeping gnomes. And I didn’t need science to figure that one out.

Lower Path

There are two paths along the river; one higher up and one lower down at the bank. The alligators prefer the lower one.

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Lower Path
Along the lower path in Hillsborough River State Park

The problem with the higher path is there is too much growth to get a clear shot of the river. So every fifty yards or so I’d make my way down here to set up for a photo. It’s amazing how the sense of hearing becomes heightened at such times.

A sign between the upper and lower paths

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I’ve been in Florida for a while, so I’ve become familiar with some of the animal sounds. I also carefully scan the water and banks all around to ensure I’m not disturbing them. Alligators don’t want anything to do with us, and if you’re mindful and steer clear, there will never be a problem. With this knowledge and care, I spent much of my time on the lower path.

Rainbow Chair

Where there are rainbows, there must be rain. In Florida at this time of year, you can count on it every day.

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Rainbow Chair
A view of the beach at Fort DeSoto Park

Look close, and you’ll see the Sunshine Skyway Bridge under the rainbow. I used a wide angle lens, so the bridge seems far away. Here is a panorama I took on the same day.

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I took this about five years ago at Fort DeSoto Park. Looking at it now I wish I’d used a smaller aperture so the foreground would be sharper, but I like the photo anyway. Sometimes I try not to sweat the little stuff if I like the image. Technically the picture is a bit subpar, but I like the shot anyway, and in my mind, that’s what counts.