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.

Bok Path

Sometimes life is like walking down a garden path, other times, maybe not so much. Either way, it would be a loss not to notice the scenery.

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Bok Path
The path through Bok Tower Gardens in Florida

I took this from Bok Tower Gardens last year. It’s a favorite place for weddings and of course wedding or engagement photos. It’s not so touristy that it gets overcrowded. If you’re into landscape or wedding photography, put this on your list.

more from Bok Tower gardens in the gallery

The only problem with outdoor weddings here in Florida is the risk of thunderstorms. But they only last a few minutes and then afterward the paths have a sheen and the plants glisten. I was only here to take pictures of the scenery, and after waiting out the storm took a bunch of shots like this.

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.

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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.

Sky with Diamonds

The highlights in the clouds remind me of the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. I don’t see Lucy, but I do see diamonds.

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Sky with Diamonds
Light patterns in the sky above Robinson Preserve in Bradenton Florida

In the sky, we see whatever we want to see. Psychoanalysts have been using this trick for years to pull things out of our subconscious. Clouds present a daily Rorschach Test, teasing out things we hold below the surface of awareness. The key is to notice what we see and then think about why.

more cloudscapes in the gallery

The more abstract something is, the less rational it is. While rationality is necessary to navigate life, suspending it from time to time allows us to experience a different perspective. In my mind, a little vacation from the demands of an overactive mind is probably healthy, and maybe even necessary.

Midnight Sun

This was taken about three years ago in Alaska. It was around eleven o’clock at night as the sun slowly inched down. Then, just a few hours later it would creep back up.

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Midnight Sun
The midnight sun in Alaska

I took the picture from a ship as we sailed north. This scene was repeated in an endless succession of mountains and untouched wilderness. I was blown away at the vastness of natural landscape here. Until you experience it yourself, it’s hard to imagine. And it’s equally hard for me to convey in writing.

more images from Alaska in the gallery

If you have never been to Alaska, put it on your list. There is nothing like a lot of open space and massive mountain peaks to clear out the urban cobwebs and refresh one’s sense of perspective.

Wreck Beach

This is a section of Wreck Beach near the University of British Columbia. It’s secluded which accounts for it being a favorite among nudist. I visited it fully clothed in winter.

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Wreck Beach
A beach at the far edges of Vancouver, BC

I like this in a geeky kind of way because both the foreground and background elements appear in focus. It’s also very different than the beaches back home in Florida. Sometimes I post photos just for the scenery and memory, and I suppose this is one of those.

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Thank goodness for old photos, I would forget so much without them. There is so much going on in the present, that the past gets crowded out. Not that I want to live in the past, but pictures pull together things I’ve done and places I’ve been which helps provide the backstory to where I am today.

Magical Walkway

This is a magical walkway leading to a hidden land where the sun rests each night. Or, its a boardwalk over the Mangroves in Palmetto. We report, you decide.

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Magical Walkway
A walkway in Emerson Point, Palmetto

All the pictures I’ve published this week are landscapes with water and clouds. Perhaps that has me in a mood to concoct fantasies about the scenery. Fantasies are natural for children, why not us?

more from Emerson Point in the gallery

I think it’s cool how the leading line points to the sun. I got this photo from my 2015 archives. Maybe it was my lack of imagination that kept it hidden for so long. Or, perhaps it was meant to be buried forever, protecting the secrets of Neverland from humanity.

Low Hanging Branch

A branch hangs over the water along the Sunshine Skyway in Tampa. This image was taken at dawn one weekend.

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Low Hanging Branch
From the Sunshine Skyway in Florida

During the weekdays, the skyway is inundated with cars commuting to work in the various counties that surround Tampa Bay. I traverse three counties just to get to Tampa, one county twice. The weird way Tampa is carved up, Hillsborough County is on both sides of Pinellas County, on the same highway.

more from this area in the gallery

Nevertheless, this is a long exposure that I took from Hillsborough County looking back at Manatee County. The Skyway is an impossibly long crossing of Tampa Bay. Not only is it a scenic drive, but it’s also a recreation area and one of the best rest stops in Florida.

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.

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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.

Beach Fog

The other day I went to the beach to watch the sunset, but the beach was covered in fog; time to execute Plan B.

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Beach Fog
A foggy day on Longboat Key

Plan B is to try and make lemonade out of lemons. This shot is one where a hole opened up in the sky just as some birds flew by. Photos like this in the fog have no shadows because the light is very even. I think photography in this type of soft light is more comfortable on the eyes when we look at it.

more from the beach gallery

Even without the fog, some of the best landscape photos are taken when the sun was lower, and the light gets diffused by the atmosphere. Or, when there are enough clouds in the sky to diffuse the harsh sunlight. The sun is an unfathomably harsh body that can rip everything to shreds in an instant if it were not for the amazing conditions we have here on Earth. Knowing this and having the opportunity to photograph it is pretty awesome.