The Swamp

This swamp is in Florida and is a good thing, meaning we don’t want to drain it; instead, we want to protect it as a national resource.

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The Swamp
An image from the Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida

The swamps, marshes, and bogs are quite beautiful. I did not expect I’d ever consider the swamp as beautiful before visiting, I was wary of what I might find. But once inside, I was struck by its vastness, rich biodiversity, and remoteness.

my favorites from the gallery

I am not a naturalist and know very little about the ecosystem of the Big Cypress National Preserve, but if you want to know more, one recommendation is to visiting Clyde Butcher’s site. Not only is he a passionate advocate for maintaining our natural habitats, but his photographic legacy is considered a national treasure.

Bayou Small Talk

Here is a scene from along the bayou nearby. A lot of wildlife lives here, in fact, I could hear a boar thrashing around not far from me.

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The bayou in Palmetto, Florida
The bayou in Palmetto, Florida

I’ve driven by here but never really noticed the vibrancy of the greenery. Maybe it was produced by the soft even light from the overcast sky. Whatever the reason, it was enough for me to pull over and captured it with my camera.

more from the landscape gallery

While I stood in front of the car taking this, a fellow walking his dog came along and asked what I was taking a picture of. He thought maybe I had seen a boar, but I told him I was just impressed by the scenery of the bayou. He seemed to ponder this for a minute and then, agreed that I was on to something. He then proceeded to tell me stories about the boars and the local trappers. I suppose that’s how you make small talk in the bayou.

Golf Course Palms

I’m an occasional golfer, I like to play now and again. Lately, I’ve been bringing my camera so that the time spent is not entirely wasted.

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Palm trees on a local golf courseĀ 

Golf courses are one of the few places where you can get good pictures of trees standing alone. In fact, there are a lot of pretty scenes on a golf course sure to catch the eye of a landscape photographer (not that I know any).

more images featuring palm trees

When I bring the camera, I take it out only when we’re waiting for the party ahead. That’s a forced stop and the only time to not worry about playing too slow. As you may know, if you play too slow, you can feel the scorn of the people behind as they wait for you to move. So it’s always a balancing act, take a photo, but don’t dilly dally and hold up the whole damn shooting match. (I mean that in the nicest possible way).

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.

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.

Lone Tree

Trees in a field are usually found in clusters. So when and I see one I might stop suddenly to take a photo, hopefully without causing an accident.

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Lone Tree
A lone tree that I found on a drive on Sunday afternoon.

In this case, I saw the tree and continued driving until I could safely make a U-turn and park along the highway. But if there are no cars nearby, I may just hit the breaks and back up along the curb. That’s a bad idea if someone is in the car, but by myself, it works.

more from the landscape gallery

Lone trees are an easy subject. There are (pardon the pun) the low hanging fruit of landscape photography. Just find an angle that frames a solitary tree in its surroundings, and you have the makings of a good photo. In this case, I also have foreground and background elements that provide a sense of placement and perspective. And to top it off, no one was harmed in the making of this photo.

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.

Tree People

To me, this looks like someone got trapped in a tree by a magicians spell. With Holloween coming I was looking for something scary, and this is the best I could come up with.

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Tree People
A scary tree at the Ringling estate in Sarasota

This unusual tree is on the Ringling estate in Sarasota, otherwise known as Ca’ d’Zan. It’s where John and Mabel Ringling lived and, now is a museum with sprawling gardens on Sarasota Bay.

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This also reminds me of an Ent of LOTR fame. Of course, we have Peter Jackson’s idea what they looked like; but before that, when I read the books, I imagined something like this. Maybe trees do have awareness, and we can communicate somehow. That would be a lot of fun, not scary at all. I’ll look for something more frightening.

Sandstone Tower

Here’s another perspective of the sandstone formations I saw while visiting Wisconsin Dells. We took a boat tour up the river and made a couple of stops to see the formations. These are the kind of things I’d expect to see in Arizona, not Wisconsin.

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Sandstone Tower
One of many sandsctone towers at the Wisconsin Dells

We were here at the hottest time of the year. It’s funny because when we leave Florida in the summer and head north, we expect we’ll be getting moderate weather. During peak summer months, that’s not the case; it’s hot all over.

landscape gallery

To create the star effect I set the aperture to f16 and positioned myself with the sun peeking out. F16 makes the aperture opening very small, and that creates a flaring or starlike effect with bright lights. However, it was so sunny I couldn’t be sure it worked until a few weeks later when I got home to look at the results on a monitor. Here, in the comfort of A/C, I can confirm we have a hit.