Sailors Delight

The saying goes “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning”. And as it turns out, it’s mostly right.

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Sailors Delight
The view from Fort deSoto Fishing Pier

Having said that, because Florida is a big peninsula, the weather can be unpredictable, especially in the warmer months. Tropical storms boil up from either direction in little time and dissipate just as fast. But for the most part, the old sayings are still relevant.

see the sunset gallery

This photo points out over the Gulf of Mexico, so if I launched a sailboat directly west, I’d end up near Corpus Christi. But even though the skies say it’s okay, it’s not something I’m likely to do. I’m no sailor, and I prefer to stay away from the open seas in a small boat. I’m a cruise ship kind of person and a rough day of sailing means having to wait in line at the seafood buffet.

Bridge Again

I take a lot of photos of this bridge; I should open a gallery and call it the Manatee Bridge gallery. With these types of scenes can you blame me?

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Bridge Again
Another image of the Manatee Avenue Bridge in Bradenton, Florida

What makes this so mesmerizing is the calm water of the intercoastal. When it’s like glass, it reflects everything and creates a dreamscape-like effect. That’s what I strive for but rarely achieve.

more bridges in the gallery

Anyway, if you go to my gallery and enter the keyword “ManateeAvenueBridge” in the search, you’ll get all the versions of this bridge I’ve taken over the years. In another five or ten years I’ll probably have quite the collection. Then they can rename the bridge after me. It will be called the Rick Bridge, or not.

Ducks in a Pond

On a foggy morning, I walked a path in a local park. In the mist, everyday things seem different, almost mysterious.

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Ducks in a Pond
Taken in the fog on a recent morning at Robinson Preserve

Nothing could be more ordinary than ducks in a pond, yet the fog added an element more akin to a painting than photography. I recently mentioned the idea that simple images can resonate. For me, this is an example of that.

see the landscape gallery

This was taken at Robinson Park in Bradenton. It’s in a new section that recently opened to the public. I never know what I’m going to see or, how I’m going to see it. But with the fog, no matter how ordinary, chances are it will add a whole new dimension to the scene.

Stern Morning

Crossing the North Atlantic in a straight line, each morning you could watch the sunrise from the stern of the ship. Without this constant, there is little else for orientation.

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Stern Morning
Watching the sunrise from the stern of the ship

Admittedly, getting up early on vacation to watch the sunrise sounds insane. But crossing the ocean on a ship leaves plenty of time to nap throughout the day. Trust me; sleep is not a problem.

more monochrome images from the gallery

Likewise, in the evening you could see the sunset from the bow, but, at that time it seems you’re always busy getting ready for one thing or another. So early mornings and late evenings are the best time to take pictures on a cruise ship. And that, my fellow travelers, is your cruise ship tip of the day.

Cocoa Beach

Here’s a shot that I took with my iPhone as we left Port Canaveral on the inaugural Atlantic crossing of Symphony of the Seas. Not bad for a two-and-a-half-year-old iPhone.

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Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach from the deck of Royal’s Symphony of the Seas

I was up on the top deck without my camera as we pulled out of port. I wished I had my Sony because there was a lot of hoopla surrounding the first U.S. docking of the world’s largest ship. But, as the old saying goes, the best camera in the world is the one you have with you. In my case, that means the iPhone 7 plus. I think it did a pretty good job.

more iPhone images from the gallery

Nevertheless, I processed it a little in Skylum’s Luminar, and this is how it turned out. I like this perpendicular perspective of the beach. It’s a minimalist landscape shot, but not too shabby. One of these days I’ll get around to upgrading my iPhone to a new model and get even better pictures.

Egret on a Tree

These egrets will sit on trees to preen while keeping an eye on the fishermen and their catch.

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Egret on a Tree
An egret perched on a tree in a Florida bayou

I took this at a bayou that is also a state preserve. Florida preserves give wildlife a safe place to thrive outside of the urban sprawl. Egrets are opportunists that adapt to just about anything. Often I’ll see them on the front lawn looking for lizards. It’s not uncommon to see them perched on the roof of a car.

more bird images

However, just because they adapt doesn’t mean they’re not skittish. If you get too close, they’ll fly away, so I had to keep a comfortable distance to capture this photo. That meant using a 70-200mm lens with a 2x converter for a total of 400mm. It’s rare that I carry that combination, but I’m glad I did on this day.

Village Across the Water

This is the back side of Bradenton Beach, the front side is, uh, a beach.

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The village of Bradenton Beach as seen from across the inter-coastal waterway.
The village of Bradenton Beach as seen from across the inter-coastal waterway. 

The little beach town is surrounded by water because it sits on Anna Maria Island. The back side faces the intercoastal waterway and is the place where all the boats dock. It’s also where you’ll find a lot of fun things to explore, like restaurants, galleries, and fishing piers; not to mention other little villages like Cortez.

more from Anna Maria Island in the gallery

I shot this picture at water level using a Platypod on a remarkably calm night; usually, there’s a little chop. This is also a prolonged, thirteen-second exposure, so it makes the water appear even smoother. Then I stretched the lights a little downwards to accentuate them. But at the end of the day, if you squint your eyes a little, this is exactly what you would see on most evenings along the inter-coastal waterway. But if that doesn’t float your boat, there is always the beach on the other side.

Angry Seas

Isn’t it funny how we anthropomorphize all things? Here are some defiant colors against the angry Mediterranean.

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The tempestuous Mediterranean as seen from the port of Barcelona
The tempestuous Mediterranean as seen from the port of Barcelona

I do it all the time with animals, but between you and me, I think most animals have emotions, so it doesn’t seem like such a stretch. However, sometimes I do it for the weather or inanimate objects; then I’m surely projecting my own feelings into the world. The sea can’t really be angry, can it?

more minimalism in the gallery

As we journeyed out into the North Atlantic, things got worse. There was a hurricane a long way off that roiled the ocean. The winds across the deck were seventy-five miles an hour, and the swells fifty feet high. At that time I looked out at sea from the comfort of a massive cruise ship and tried to imagine myself on a small ancient craft crossing the ocean in the midst of a storm. Admittedly I had feelings, but I’m pretty sure the sea had none at all. And that was maybe, just a tiny, bit, scary.

Down Low

This looks out across the water from a few inches up; like what you might see if you were treading water.

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Down Low
Along the inter-coastal waterway in central Florida

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.

more water in the gallery

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.

River Storms

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.

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River Storms
Typical summer day as a storm travels downriver.

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.

more from the Manatee River

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.