Last Call at the Pier

I love the pier at Fort Desoto Park in St Petersburg. Not always, but often at dusk, the colors in the sky get so amazing that I go a little crazy with my camera. But the sun eventually sets, and I head home after an hour like a drunken patron after the last call. I wish it would last longer, but I’m glad its over. I know I have to leave so I can get up and go to work the next morning.

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Last Call at the Pier

As the light fades at Fort DeSoto Park Pier

One of the places I want to go (big time) is Iceland. But in the back of my mind, I wonder how I would survive. I see myself getting in a photographic frenzy, taking photos of waterfalls and landscapes to the point that I drop dead from exhaustion. But then, I can think of far worse ways to die.

more images with waves

But back to the beach here in Florida. When the conditions are like this, I go into hyperdrive. My mind is simultaneously racing and remaining calm. If I get too excited I’ll make mistakes or worse, drop my camera. It’s important to keep moving, but not frantically. And I don’t even know what the next image will be. I walk on when I finish one and look for another. Imagine if I did that all day in Iceland. I would inevitably end up lost or dead or at the bar until the last call.

Frothy Monkey

Just before leaving Chattanooga we stopped here at the Frothy Monkey for lunch. The Frothy Monkey is a hip coffee bar attached to the old train station next to where the Chattanooga choo-choo sits on display. So perhaps these windows were once part of the old station.

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Frothy Monkey

Inside Chattanooga’s Frothy Monkey

In any case, it’s a cool place to hang out, and I’d do just that if I lived here. But we were leaving town on a Sunday afternoon and had many miles to drive. Nevertheless, my eye was attracted to these reflections. They’re similar to water reflections, only on a table top. I find that the whole reflection dynamic adds a new quality to the photo.

favorites from the gallery

I ended up buying a Frothy Monkey cap as a souvenir. As we left, I threw it in the back seat of the car, and that’s the last I’ve seen of it. Maybe it’s still stuck under a seat or in one of my bags; I need to look for it. I wanted to have a little something to remind me of how hip this place is. Until then I’ll have to use this photo for that.

Before the Fall

I mentioned the other day on the blog that the Anna Maria Island Pier sustained damaged in the last hurricane. They are now demolishing what’s left as the first step of reconstruction. However, I have a lot of photos of the old one, and this is one I took three years ago. I also posted a panorama of this view about a year ago.

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Before the Fall

The Anna Maria Public Pier before hurricane Irma

There is another pier just up the shore from here. It’s called the Rod and Reel Pier, and it also has a restaurant on it. A while back, that restaurant burned, but like this pier, I have images of it before the fire. Maybe the rebuilt one is safer, but in my opinion, the old one was more photogenic. Nevertheless, it’s still one of my favorite places to hang out.

more images of piers

In another year this will be rebuilt as well. I hope the architects take the time to preserve something of the old look. But no matter, I’ll be there to make another image and document the new pier, which according to news accounts should last about one hundred years. That’s a lot of time and hurricanes to withstand. Possibly I’ll reincarnate and shoot the replacement in the year 2120. You never know.

Lone Tree in the Park

I saw this tree while driving past a park in the heart of Kansas City. I like the idea of a tree standing alone. I saw a lot of those in the Dakotas during my road trip. But in general, I was going too fast to pull over on the busy interstate.

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Lone Tree in the Park

A lone tree in Kansas City’s Penn Valley Park

I was a little frustrated at not getting all those shots on the highway, so when I drove past this park, I stopped right away. Finding a tree isolated from others is rare.

This image is a little deceptive. First, I’m shooting up a hill where the horizon line blocks the trees behind it. In that way, it creates an illusion that there is only one tree. Secondly, using Photoshop, I carefully removed a radio tower on the left.

more minimalism in the gallery

So now it looks the way I wanted. The idea behind this is to achieve a minimalistic aesthetic. A simple image of a single subject is a favorite pursuit of mine, even when driving.

Old Photos Old Piers

Here’s a photo I took over three years ago when I still had my Nikon. Now and then I go back to old images and process them with new tools. What’s unique about this images is that the pier no longer exists, it’s replaced by a stronger one. With the tropical storms we get each year, the piers and docks take a beating and, as you can see, eventually need replacing.

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Old Photos Old Piers

An old photo of a pier that’s long since been removed and replaced.

In fact, that reminds me of the Anna Maria Island Pier. It was ruined in a hurricane last year, and it’s now demolished for new construction. It will be rebuilt, along with a restaurant in about a year. I have a ton of images of the old one, so maybe I’ll repost one this week.

more from the beach gallery

Images are memory aids. Without the pictures, we would forget the things from the past. When finding this picture in the backlog, I forgot for a minute where I had taken it. I’m so used to the new pier that I almost forgot how the old one looked. Pictures are like vitamins for the memory or some such thing.

Calm Before the Panic

This picture is a shot from the outskirts of Emerson Preserve in Bradenton. Whenever the water is still like this, I jump at the opportunity to create images featuring reflections. They impart a sense of calm, however, for me, taking this picture was nothing short of panic.

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Calm Before the Panic

A calm scene at the edge of Robinson Preserve in Bradenton

To get here, I walked through the brush to the bank of the water next to a kayak launch. I wanted to be right over the water, so I had to step in with my tripod. I was surprised as my tripod quickly sank in the mud; however, it stabilized, and I took this image. Nevertheless, it didn’t feel right, and I felt like I should get out. As I turned to leave, I realized I too was sinking.

reflections in the gallery

The mud turned into a quicksand-like substance and I, along with my expensive camera and tripod started to go down. It was only with great effort that I managed to save my camera and free myself. I walked back to my car coated in a layer of mud and a little shaken, yet thankful that I managed to keep the camera above water. So now, ironically, when I look at this calm scene, I feel a twinge of panic.

Highway 240

Highway 240 loops through the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. I took this photo near the entrance to the park. The geological formations of The Badlands are amazing to look at, but in this frame, I was looking at the winding road ahead. The entire thirty-mile loop is scenic winding roads with turnouts every half mile or so.

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Highway 240

The road that loops through Badlands National Park

If I had a motorcycle, this is where I’d ride. The road has everything, curves, hills, and of course scenery. When I came through here, it was a couple of weeks before Sturgis, and already groups of bikers were riding in that direction. I met one biker from Montreal when I took this photo. We chatted for a while because we were both into photography.

more photos with grass

In these grassy plains are hundreds, if not thousands, of prairie dogs. We’d stop along the side of the road and watch their antics; it was a regular circus. We continued down the road, eventually arriving in Rapid City. That night we had a massive thunderstorm, like those we get in Florida. It made me think about the constant erosion of this landscape as well as all those groundhogs hiding in their burrows.

Water Hazard

The other day my wife and I played nine holes at a local course. I’m not a good golfer, but it doesn’t mean I won’t bring my camera. As we were waiting for the group ahead, I grabbed this photo of a water hazard at the third tee.

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Water Hazard

This was taken from the third tee at Buffalo Creek Golf Course in Manatee County

During the week I rarely get out during the day. That’s a shame because the first part of the day is when we get these puffy clouds. Florida is hot as hell, and somehow that creates these evenly spaced clouds. But I digress, when I squint my eyes the reflections on the water reminded me of a kaleidoscope, and that’s why I took this photo.

more reflections

The thing about the golf course ponds in Florida is they nearly all have alligators. We didn’t see any in this one, but in two others we did. When I first came to Florida, it was a little freaky, but now I’m used to it. They do their thing, and we continue hitting little white balls. But if the ball goes into the water hazard, it’s not advisable to fish it out. I’m just saying.

Manhattan Vignettes

Here is a series of shots I took last year when in NYC. I walked to Times Square late at night in the pouring rain. While that may not sound fun, it’s an excellent time to do street photography. The combination of lights, reflections, and umbrellas create scenes that are fun to watch, in a people-watching kind of way.

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Manhattan Vignettes 1

Crossing the street in a downpour

Manhattan Vignettes 2

Kissing in the rain

Manhattan Vignettes 3

Not enough umbrellas

Manhattan Vignettes 4

Odd man out

Manhattan Vignettes 5

A lot going on in this scene

Manhattan Vignettes 6

I wish you called a cab

Manhattan Vignettes 7

Where is our Uber?

Manhattan Vignettes 8

No words

Because of the rain and the late hour, there were far fewer people out than usual. If you’ve ever been to Times Square then you know that’s rare. It meant I was able to capture little vignettes without too many distractions. Each of these photos tells a different story from that evening. It is up to you the viewer to imagine what that story is.

street photography gallery

As the name of the series suggests, I’ve employed a vignette technique to each of these images to draw attention to the people. The setting, while electric, is only that, a setting. Each story is as different as the people that inhabit them.

Ruby Falls

The last stop of our road trip was Chatanooga Tennessee. We passed it on the way up and made a note to stop here at Ruby Falls on the way back.

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Ruby Falls

An underground waterfall in Chattanooga, TN

This 145-foot waterfall is inside a mountain and over 1000 feet below the surface. The caverns are limestone eroded by the water over millions of years. There is some info on the geology at Wikipedia.

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To get here, you take an elevator down into the mountain and walk half a mile through narrow caverns. If you’re not used to tight spaces, it can be a little claustrophobic, the thought of millions of tonnes of earth and rock above your head is unsettling. But our guide was kind enough to point out that in the event of a cave-in they had insurance and, we would all be covered.