This looks out across the water from a few inches up; like what you might see if you were treading water.
For this low angle, I picked up a new gadget called a Platypod. It’s a little stand that makes it easy to take pictures from the ground. I even took it on a recent trip overseas rather than a tripod. There were a couple times I could have used a regular tripod, but the small size and versatility of the Platypod outweighed that.
This low perspective is a little less common and adds a little something extra. Raise the camera to eye level, and the scene changes completely. But down low, the water becomes a foreground element which, is a neat little trick in an of itself.
This is looking up the Manatee River in summer. After a few minutes we got a thunderstorm for about twenty minutes, then a crazy sunset; every day like clockwork.
The one-second shutter speed makes the water smooth, like the calm before the storm. I’m nervous when out in these conditions, the air is thick, and it’s only a matter of time before lightning strikes. We get more lightning than anywhere on earth because of the geography. My heightened state of nerves battles it out with my need to get a good picture.
The thunder clouds always come down the river, from east to west. Often, if we’re at an outdoor restaurant along the water, we can watch the clouds heading towards us. The river is about a mile wide, so it has its own micro-climate. After the storm passes, we brush the water off the table and, enjoy the rest of the meal, just like clockwork.
This simple image is a long (one second) exposure from the side of a ship. These are swells from hurricane Oscar that was over a thousand miles away.
The captain took us south to avoid the worst of it, but for about two days we saw some impressive swells, more massive than these. Even the largest cruise ship in the world will rock in these conditions. The swells hitting the side of the boat sounded exactly like waves crashing on the shore. It was relaxing, and for two nights we slept with the balcony door open so we could hear the soothing sounds.
To make a one-second exposure in daylight, I set the aperture to f40. That’s a tiny aperture, maybe the smallest I’ve ever used. An F-stop higher than 20 does not have a lot of practical uses, but long exposures are one. One second is long enough to make an in-camera motion blur effect without resorting to photoshop tricks.
With the pace of things being what they are, a little chill time can be a good thing. It’s something we all probably need a little more of. Sometimes I try to meditate, but often I end up falling asleep.
I took this photo of myself on a quiet evening in Bradenton, but I wasn’t really relaxing, I was setting up the shot, setting the timer, clicking the shutter and then running up to sit in the shot. But if we ignore all that, its a pretty chill shot.
This morning I took a yoga class that ended with a few minutes of meditation while laying on our backs. I became aware of my breathing and let my thoughts go. A few minutes later when we were all standing the instructor walked over to a couple of people still on the ground to wake them up. I had to laugh inside because that’s precisely what happens to me most of the time.
I know I shouldn’t spend time wishing I was somewhere else. However, I do. Except when I’m here, then I don’t.
When I have a vacation coming up, I wish I was there already; but if I were, it would be over sooner, and I’d be back to the real world when I should be on vacation. The only other option is to make life one big vacation. Yeah, like that’s going to happen.
If life was just one big vacation, would I want to go to work? I think I know the answer to that. Sometimes I have too many thoughts for my own good. The best cure for that is a beach-view of the sunset on Friday. There’s plenty of time for the other stuff on Monday.
I used to live in Canada and wondered what it would be like to live in a place like Florida; now that I’ve been here fifteen years I know, hot as hell.
It’s called the sunshine state for a reason. The sun is white, hot, and intense; which is why I remain most of the time indoors. I look forward to the few months I can wear a sweatshirt.
Like anything, you adjust with light clothing, hats, and sunglasses. If however, you work outdoors, then you cover up. Outdoor workers cover from head to toe in the most intense heat and humidity imaginable. Think about that.
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 scene that I took from along the river a few years back. I’ve been going through the catalog looking for old photos, and this caught my eye.
I added a color filter and straightened the horizon; all in all, that took about 3 minutes. I’ve not done much to process this photo which stands in contrast to other images that I’ve spent hours processing; like the one yesterday. The pendulum swings both ways.
If you are into photography, I have some free advice, do what makes you happy. Whether that means processing a lot or none at all, follow your heart. I’ve spent years studying and learning from others, but that’s no substitute for my “voice” or style. If we do what makes us happy, the rest will fall into place. That’s it for the free advice. For the next one, I’ll need 25 cents.
This image is the golden door at the base of Bok Tower in Central Florida. I was here the other day taking pictures of the gardens and just before leaving noticed this elaborate door. Surely it is an element of some fantasy novel I haven’t read yet.
Florida is mainly flat, and the tower is on the tallest hill of the Florida peninsula at 295 feet above sea level. Add the tower’s 205 feet on top of that, and it’s easily the tallest thing around for maybe fifty or a hundred miles.
While I was there, music from the tower’s carillon bells resounded throughout the gardens. Perhaps someone was playing them or, maybe it was automated. I didn’t take the tour to find out.
A thunderstorm rolled over, and the bells abruptly stopped minutes before lightning hit the top of the tower. The tower has lightning rods, so it’s perfectly safe, but I would not want to be the one striking those bells in a storm. Unless perhaps, it was part of the plot of that novel I’ve not yet read.
I’ve been avoiding it, but on Wednesday evening I went to Bradenton Beach to see the spectacle for myself. If you haven’t heard, Florida is in the middle of a massive red tide. So I drove to the beach, and as expected, was greeted with the smell of fish washed up on the shore. Maybe because of the breeze, it was not as bad as I feared. After a few minutes, I relaxed and let it fade into the background.
I came primarily to take pictures of the sunset because red tide or not, when the atmospheric conditions are right it’s still astounding to see. However, as I walked along the beach, something seemed out of place. I struggled to put my finger on it as I continued and then it hit me. It was too quiet; there were no birds. All of the gulls, pipers, and pelicans had either succumbed or escaped, and there was not a single one on the beach. The lack of avian sounds and activity left me with an eerie feeling. That was the moment it hit home.
I am heartbroken, of course. I rationalize to myself that we are moving through the worst it, but that we will make it to the other side. The conditions that allow the algae bloom will eventually cease, and the fish, birds and sea mammals will, in time, return. I’m glad I went, and now I know that I will go again because I think it’s important to witness it first hand, not just from TV. People are avoiding the shore, and the beach is empty in more ways than one. As for myself, being there to hear its silence is in some way, essential.