Game of Chance

Lately, it seems we are on a streak of winning sunsets, so I decided to drive over here at dusk. It was a short drive and a short walk to get here, but I’m glad I did it. It was a win.

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Game of Chance
Dusk at Perico Preserve in Bradenton, Florida

It’s a game of chance when I go out for sunsets. We often get cloud banks just offshore. I think it will be good, I drive over, and then it’s a dud. It’s a gamble I’m willing to take. But lately, the odds have been good, and I’m getting a little payoff.

see the landscape gallery

This image is comprised of six different frames. I focused on the foreground, took three bracketed shots, then the same thing on the background. I combined everything in AuroraHDR and Photoshop. I did it in a way that everything appears to be in focus. Then, one last stop in Luminar for some final touches. In reality, there were a few more minor steps here and there, but that’s the gist of it.

The moral of the story is, …hmmm, there is no moral. Just a little luck.

Florida Landscape

Landscape photography is the most natural thing to do around the section of Florida I live in. And since its so easy, I should be doing a lot more of it.

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Florida Landscape
A golden glow over the pond at Neal Preserve in Bradenton, Florida

But life gets in the way. There are dozens of perfect evenings that I let slip by. No matter what I’m doing, I still look out the window to see what I’m missing. I think sailors do the same thing.

Florida gallery

I don’t get a lot of opportunities to take pictures of the mountains. I think of that as landscape photography. However, in Florida, we use clouds as stand-ins for peaks. They are usually interesting enough to fill up the top half of a frame. Throw in a sunset and Bob’s or uncle.

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.

Green Spaces

There is something about a stand of palm trees that begs to be photographed. These are from a nature preserve surrounded by urban sprawl.

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Green Spaces
A park that provides a refuge for nature in Bradenton

I have never been forward thinking enough to be passionate about green spaces and parks. But as I get a little wiser, I’m grateful to other people that are. This park is named after the late Tom Bennett who was a local resident. Apparently, he and his family were indeed passionate about green spaces, and I have them to thank for this photo.

more greenery from the gallery

I once had a colleague in Toronto who invested in land to be used as a wild preserve. She only wanted the property to be left to nature and not developed. That was a long time ago, and since then, Toronto has gone crazy with development. As I think back, I see that she was a visionary and, I wonder if she held out. For the sake of short-sighted folks like me, I hope she did.

Morning Starbucks

A state of confusion is normal for me, at least until I have my morning Starbucks. And this where I get it on a ship.

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Morning Starbucks
The eye candy of design and architecture aboard Sympnony of the Seas

There’s a lot to sort out in this image; art, mall, elevators, and a window looking out, to name a few. This is on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas. What makes it confusing (at least to me) is that everything is on a different deck. I think they should rename it Skyscraper of the Seas. I’m just saying.

more architecture photography

I took this from deck seven on my way back from a morning walk around deck fifteen. The Starbucks is on five. There are so many decks it’s hard to keep track of where to go, which is why I need a morning Starbucks.

Last Bit of Sun

This photo is created with the 2019 version of AuroraHDR. Skylum, the company that creates AuroraHDR, has outdone themselves this time.

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Last Bit of Sun
A scene from Neil Preserve in Bradenton, Florida

That’s good for people like me that take a lot of bracketed shots. This is a three frame HDR that I processed with both Aurora and Luminar. Luminar is the other software from Skylum that is a lot like Lightroom, only easier to use and, in my opinion, better. In truth, I use a lot of different tools including Lightroom and Photoshop; it’s all good.

check out the sunset gallery

I ran into a guy today that showed me some jaw-dropping photos of Iceland he took with his phone. The colors and detail were so amazing that I thought they were processed; no, straight-out-of-camera. That just goes to prove that the processing is not everything. Placement, composition, a sense of balance can produce better photos than all the processing in the world. All this hocus-pocus is just icing on the cake, so to speak.

Walk the Walk

Sometimes you need to walk the walk. If you do, it may as well be by the river in the evening when I’m taking photos. That way if you happen to step in front of my camera, it might make for a good picture.

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Walk the Walk
Someone walks along the river in Bradenton Florida

Every day I try to come up with a few sentences about a photo that I’m publishing. Maybe it’s not necessary, but I do it anyway to add to the story. I never know what I’ll write, but something usually comes to mind, like a memory of the moment when I snapped the shutter.

more from the Manatee River

But sometimes I draw a big fat blank and can’t think of a thing to say. At those times I resort to a little creative writing. Yes, you are correct, this is one of those times. Today, I can’t think of a thing I want to say about this photo. It’s just some guy along the river that walked in front of my camera.

Regatta Pointe Marina

I took this image from the dock at Regatta Pointe Marina in my hometown of Palmetto. The marina is a few miles up from the gulf on the Manatee River. It has a restaurant that does good business on account of the views. I’m not a boater or sailor so, when I come, it’s to have a meal or take photos, or both.

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Regatta Pointe Marina
This is facing west to the Gulf of Mexico from Regatta Pointe Marina

I have sailed out of here once and also out of the marina on the opposite side of the river. Both were charters, and both times it was a great experience. You bring cheese and wine, sit topside and enjoy the views and breeze. That’s my idea of a good time.

browse the full gallery

I came here because the colors in the sky were shaping up and this was only a few minutes away. When I feel the urge to capture a sunset without planning, I’ll rush to the river and point west. Here at the marina, there were plenty of people walking along the dock. A few were diners, a few were boaters, but just about everyone stopped to watch at the view.

Little Dunes

When I hear the word dune, I think of the desert, but these along the Florida beach are a different variety. Unlike the shifting sands of the Sahara, these are covered with plants and are meant to hold their shape in a storm. They are what keeps us from being washed away completely.

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Little Dunes
A sunset along the beach on Anna Maria Island

If you look carefully through the top of the dune, you’ll see orange tape marking a sea turtle nest. Scores of volunteers comb the beach for nests, erect barriers, and take careful notes over the incubation period. Once hatched, they’ll dash for the water so as not to be eaten by birds. Only a few survive to adulthood; it’s a rough start to what will hopefully become a long life in the sea.

check out the gallery here

Nothing is permanent, yet everything is trying to hold on. The dunes and turtles are both pitted against the forces of nature. Perhaps the tension in the environment is what produces the beauty on earth. It seems that elemental pressures are a creative force. Without them, we’d all be washed away and overrun with too many sea turtles. On second thought, you can never have too many sea turtles.

Sunrise Composition

Here I am close to home on an early Sunday morning. I was standing at the end of Emerson Point which faces west into the Gulf of Mexico. (I, of course, was facing east). This local park is one of my favorite go-to places for sunrise and sunset.

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Sunrise Composition
Sunrise at Emerson Point in Palmetto, Florida

It rained the night before, so I thought we’d have a beautiful display in the sky with high scattered clouds, but, that was not to be. So instead, I composed this shot which focuses on the foreground elements with the sunrise in the back. If the scene doesn’t turn out how I envisioned, I try to remind myself to work with what I’ve got. Plans often go sideways, but there is usually another angle that’s pleasing or tells a story.

sunrise / sunset gallery

One other thing: because it was Sunday morning I figured I’d be alone. But there was another photographer down by the water, and when I turned around after taking this shot, there was yet another photographer with a couple doing a maternity shoot. So apparently, there was indeed an abundance of other compositions to go around.