I use minimalism and negative space in artistic leaning photographs to show a connection to the environment. For whatever reason, I’m wired to wonder how and why things exist within a broader context. One way of perceiving a situation is by taking a step back. It seems that I do that a lot, so it’s only natural it would come out in my photography.
Here is a scenic section of road through Myakka State Park. It’s not too far from the campground, so it’s not uncommon to see cyclists and hikers.
Spanish moss hangs from the oaks all around this region. Where I live, we have oaks draped with it. Squirrels and bird use it for nests, and after a storm, enormous loads of it get blown to the ground.
There are several roads like this in the vicinity. I think they’re called canopy roads. There is one just outside the park that I’ve taken photos of a couple of times.
I’ve tried taking pictures of the oaks and moss near my home, but there are too many houses in the background, it’s not the same. So when I’m out and about in this area, I’m always on the lookout for these types of scenes.
The other day I was at Myakka River State Park to try out some experimental gear. I didn’t have a plan other than to line up a few landscape shots. As I sat on a bench working with the apparatus, a mama and baby Limpkin strolled by.
They were eating snails and clams. The snails were easy enough to catch and eat. The clams they would batter with their beaks to break open the shells. I was no more than six feet away and what I found surprising was that, as long as I remained still, they tolerated my presence.
There’s nothing better than to observe wild animals in their natural habitat. The baby Limkin was more wary of me, but the mother seemed to decide that it was more important to eat than worry about me. Or maybe she did both. Whatever the case, it was a rare privilege I’ll not soon forget.
Sunday is a day off, so I drove around looking for things to shoot. But as it turned out, the sky was overcast, and everything seemed dreary. After a couple of hours looking for something interesting, I stopped at Benderson Park and got out of my car. Two minutes later there was a thunderclap, and it started to rain.
I looked for shelter, but the camera and I ended up getting soaked. Nevertheless, I tried taking a few shots, but in my opinion, the pics were not very good. So I gave up on my plan and walked back along this path to my car thinking it just wasn’t meant to be. At the last minute, I turned around took this one last picture. Oddly, I like how it turned out and was happy with the result.
It can be frustrating looking for new images; mainly when close to home and I’ve seen everything a million times. Also, landscape scenes at midday can be uninspiring, especially in an urban area. But add a little rain or lower the lights and the mood changes. That’s when I begin to get a little inspiration from my muse whom, up until that point, had taken the day off.
This is an HDR shot made from three images. It’s Benderson Park which is a rowing venue in Sarasota. I took this early in the morning when the water was still, and the reflections were clear.
I’m pointing mostly east. Around here the clouds almost always come from the east and dissipate over the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t understand it but for whatever reason, you have to look east to see clouds. Something to do with the Florida geography.
I like images like this. Maybe it’s the reflections or simplicity of the scene. Granted it’s an empty scene, but that suits my aesthetic which is mostly minimalism. In the end, I shoot scenes like this because it’s what I like to do. And that, I keep telling myself, is what matters.
I took this two years ago and just now got around to processing it. I have a lot of little shots like this that sit on the hard drive waiting their turn. If I go out today and take some pictures, chances you’ll see it by 2020. But if some of them are really good, next Tuesday after my one o’clock.
This was the main attraction on the midway at the Sarasota Balloon Festival last week. I took this on the first night before the crowds arrived.
Sometimes I use this technique to show a scene in relation to the space it occupies. In this case, I’ve included a larger than normal portion of the dramatic sky. To get that I used a 12mm lens which makes the Ferris wheel appear small and the clouds to converge.
Another technique would be to use a drone to get an aerial perspective. However, it was a hot air balloon festival and I just assumed there would be a drone ban, that was not the case, so I’ll know for next time.
Here is another balloon from the festival last week. If nothing else, it whets my appetite for doing more of these. This kind of image checks a lot of boxes for me: it’s at night, colorful and simple.
It’s an example of how I try to simplify a subject to give it a stronger voice. At an event like this, there are a lot of people walking around, other balloons and basically, a bunch of commotion. But I walked around this one balloon looking for an angle that would minimize the distractions. I also used Photoshop to blackout a bus and truck. So, the combination of composition and post-processing allowed me to create a simpler scene that focuses on just the main subject.
I gravitate towards simplicity in photography. I suppose it’s a form of meditation and a break from the barrage of daily life. So, there you have it, one big reason why I like balloons. And you thought they were just for flying.
This is a section of the midway accompanying the Sarasota Balloon Festival last week. I went on the first day which was a weekday and it happened to be a little chilly by Florida standards. After watching the display of the balloons glowing at night I wandered over here to take a few pics. It was kind of eerie with music, lights, vendors and no one else around.
Just looking at all the various food vendors made me hungry. It was the one time I could walk right up and not wait in line, but I passed on the opportunity and continued taking photos, eating when I got home.
I enjoyed the hot air balloons so much that I came back with my family the next night. That was Friday and by that time word of the event spread and there were tons of people. The midway filled up, the vendors were busy, and the lines were long – the world was right again. But I’m glad I had the opportunity to see it all lit up with nobody about. If nothing else it quenched my appetite for fair photos.
Yesterday was the first day of the Sarasota Balloon Festival. I’ve never been to one of these, so I wandered over in the evening. The wind was prohibitive but at the last minute a few of the rigs inflated and put on a little glow show. They were tethered with ropes, but as they inflated the wind caused them to tilt like this. Just the spectacle of it was kind of cool, such massive devices with nothing but air, glowing and blowing in the wind.
That was just the first night so I’ll check the weather and head back over to see more. Balloons are a great subject for photography. When I showed up there where no less than two dozen tripods setup and everyone else was snapping pics on their phones. Here’s a quick video I took with my iPhone.
There is also a carnival, so I wandered over to take some pictures of the midway with all the food vendors and rides. It reminded me of when I traveled all over the state of California from fair to fair selling magazines. I worked for a company that set up a booth and for a while I became a carny of sorts. That’s how I spent my high school summers and the smell of the funnel cakes brought all that back.