Bodacious Sky

I took this from the Green Bridge in Bradenton on a particularly bodacious evening. Does anyone use that word anymore?

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Bodacious Sky
The sunset over the Manatee River in Bradenton

Bodacious is a west coast word, but I’m from there, so I get a pass. For some reason, a lot of new words come from California. When I was ten, I made up the word “bad” to mean awesome. I actually thought I invented that. Imagine my surprise when I heard it on TV. Surely I picked it up subconsciously somewhere.

visit the sunset gallery for more like this

My vocabulary is not particularly great, enough to get by. But I do get impressed by words all the time. I love the dictionary feature in Kindle. Depending on the author, I might just spend a lot of time in there. It’s not as easy as making up my own words, though.

Dee Wright Observatory

This spot is from a massive lava flow, surrounded by volcanoes on all sides. I wouldn’t want to be here when the next one blows.

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Dee Wright Observatory
Lava fields in Oregon

Living in Florida, it’s easy to forget there is a healthy amount of volcanic activity in the pacific northwest. It wasn’t my plan to visit volcanoes, but little did I realize, most of the mountains in Oregon are.

more images of mountains in the gallery

If I recall, Oregon and Hawaii are in the “ring of fire,” and we all know Hawaii is quite active. When I first arrived at this spot, I was struck by how fresh the flows looked; I thought maybe they were ten years old. It was more like fifteen-hundred years, which, as we all know, is just a blink of an eye in geological terms. As amazing as it was, I was still glad to leave before mother nature decided to blink again.

Old Church

Here is a pro photographer that used only an iPhone for 6 months. I love this…

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I took a picture of this church along one of the lesser-known highways in Florida. I just thought it looked kind of old-school.

Old Church
An old church along state road 50 in central Florida

When driving in the country, I look for things that stand out, and this fit the bill. It was, in fact, a Sunday but late enough that it was empty. It doesn’t look to me like it has airconditioning so, on a summer day in Florida, it’s probably hotter than purgatory inside, give or take a few degrees.

more churches in the gallery

Not long after this stop, I started entering the suburbs of Orlando, and from that point on, everything is new-school. The only things that look old are facades made to look that way. So, getting out of the city to see throw-backs is pretty cool, even if it is hotter than the devil’s den.

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.

Bradenton Causeway

The Bradenton causeway has advantages over the beach. You can park at the water’s edge, and there aren’t nearly as many rules.

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Bradenton Causeway
The causeway in Bradenton Florida

At this spot, you can generally see horses in the water. But I was here on a Monday, and they weren’t. The causeway isn’t fancy, but if you want to spend time at the water without the parking hassles, this is it.

more palm trees in the gallery

Many people prefer the beach with its powdery white sand. However, a lot of the locals come here. Just drive up, pull out a lawn chair and Bob’s your uncle.

Lone Oak

Whenever I drive these roads, I have my eyes peeled for lone oaks. They add a natural aesthetic to the interior landscape of Florida.

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Lone Oak
An oak tree along highway 35A in Central Florida

Much of the state is agricultural and along the highways are pastures with these massive trees. They provide shade for livestock and, lucky for me, are not shy about posing for photos.

more images featuring trees

There is a theory in science that consciousness is present in all things. It’s tricky to know what to make of that given our limited understanding of the subject. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to feel the presence of something when standing near these great living creatures. It makes me wonder what we’ll eventually learn through science and if, it will validate that sixth sense we sometimes have about certain things.

Mouth of the Manatee

I took this photo at the mouth of the Manatee River. I live further upstream in the esophagus.

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Mouth of the Manatee
The view from DeSoto National Memorial Park in Bradenton, Florida

It’s curious how we anthropomorphize everything. DeSoto National Memorial Park is in the heart of Bradenton. Having grown up in the west, I still find it odd to have a national park in an urban area.

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To see the sunset like this, you walk into the park after closing. Doing so I thought I’d be alone but found a crowd along the shore, all with the same idea. After sunset, I took a quiet trail back to avoid the crowds. However, the trails have lifesize cutouts of historical figures, and more than once, I was startled by conquistadores and aboriginals staring back at me. It was a little unnerving, to say the least.

Florida Flora

Whenever I visit a preserve in Florida, I spend time trying to figure out what to shoot. Sometimes the answer is right in front of me.

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Florida Flora
Flora from a park in Central Florida

There is beauty in endemic flora that’s easy to overlook. I tend to get preoccupied with subjects and the composition, but simple scenes like this are as vibrant as any mountain landscape; it’s a matter of perspective and scale. There are realms within a tangled garden, micro-ecosystems that, while imperceptible to us, are just as alive.

more images of nature in the gallery

Our minds operate in familiar regions; we habituate our vision to the human society we know. But shift focus just a little, and there are other worlds in plain view we rarely acknowledge.

Beach Battle

There is a barrier of dunes that run the length of Anna Maria Island. Plants grow in the dunes and as a result, protect it from the onslaught of the sea.

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Beach Battle
These dunes prevent erosion of Anna Maria Island

It’s incredible how nature comes up with devices to protect one thing from another. The forces of nature are regularly at war, and the results of the conflict create a boundary that, in this instance, we call a beach.

more from the beach gallery

Sometimes I like to get down into the trenches with the troops. In this case, I found a path through the dunes at Manatee Beach. People came to enjoy the sense of peace and tranquility. However, as summer approaches, it will invariably bring new storms that test the resolve of these little dunes. May they hold fast and secure.

Obstructed View

There are so many mangroves along the water that quite often the view is obstructed. But maybe in some cases, it’s a good thing.

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Obstructed View
An obstructed view of the gulf through the bushes in Emerson Point, Palmetto

I was walking along a hidden shoreline at Emerson Point in the afternoon when I took this photo. I’m not sure what prompted me, but it seems the focus on the foliage is the subject of this image.

my favorites gallery

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.