Fortunate Enough

Rick Schwartz Florida, HDR, Macphun, Manatee County, Night Photography, nightphotography, photography, SonyAlpha 0 Comments

This is a long exposure of the marina in Palmetto. Once the sun goes down the glow on the horizon fades for about an hour. The last few minutes of the glow are almost imperceptible yet appears more pronounced with a long exposure. This is image is eight-seconds and of course was taken with a tripod. Because the glow is more pronounced it contrasts with the night sky directly overhead. It’s a unique lighting situation that I was fortunate enough to capture. The scene is enhanced even more by the color of the thin clouds above the boats.

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I Was Fortunate Enough

I was fortunate enough to capture the light of dusk

I didn’t know ahead of time these conditions were occurring. But I had my camera and was looking for something to capture. Taking the time to notice what is happening is a skill. This scene was not apparent with a casual glance. To see a scene like this I need to slow down and put myself in a different mindset. In that mindset I’ll see scenes I’m not necessarily looking for.

boats in the gallery

My theory is that interesting things appear around us all the time. The challenge is to get past that little voice that insists there is nothing to look at. I get that a lot when I go out to do photography. To push past that takes will power. It produces rewards by simply continuing when I think I should give up. I surprise myself sometimes at the shots I get. It’s not that I’m super talented, it’s more that I give myself opportunities. The more I do that the better my chances. That sounds like a sports metaphor but it’s equally applicable to photography, or, any other worthwhile endeavor; at least thats my theory.

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Section of Sarasota

Rick Schwartz Bridges, Florida, Sarasota, SonyAlpha, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

This shot is from a section of Sarasota where I was taking pictures at sunset. When doing that a good rule of thumb to turn around. During that time of day the light is typically good in all directions. This scene is enhanced by the soft light of the golden hour.

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Section of Sarasota

This is an iconic section of Sarasota

The tallest building on the right is the Ritz Carlton hotel. It’s distinctive architecture is part of the Sarasota skyline. I ate dinner here a couple of times and for desert had the chocolate martini.

This section of the town is one of the most iconic. I’m standing adjacent to the main bridge which connects the city to Lido Key. Runners, walkers and bikers all use the bridge for exercise. Behind me is the pier and a park were folks come to fish or view the sunset. On the other side of the street is the main marina where sailboats and yachts are anchored. Finally, straight ahead is the downtown section with restaurants, shops and entertainment.

sarasota gallery

So this is an area where there is much to see and do. That’s the main reason I come here to take pictures. But this time I decided to turn around and ignore the obvious for just a minute. By doing that I found a new composition. But to tell the truth, that’s easy to do in any direction around here.

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Night Scenes Across the River

Rick Schwartz B&W, Florida, Manatee County, monochrome, Night Photography, nightphotography, SonyAlpha, streetphotography, Urban 0 Comments

I shot this in December when the conditions were favorable for fog. It’s an opportunity to capture familiar scenes in a different light. Advection fog occurs when warm air passes over cool water causing evaporation. I live near the river so I notice it just by looking out the window. I headed out one evening to shoot night scenes across the river in Bradenton.

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Night Scenes Across the River

Night Scenes Across the River

If you notice, fog changes our perceptions. Sounds are slightly muffled and distances are cut short. It can be intimate or confining. It creates a sense of seclusion in a place that might normally seem open and exposed.

Like the transition from day into night, fog creates another type of transition from sharp to soft. With weather transitions, there is usually a bit of magic just after it occurs. It’s something new and is a transformation from clarity into a soft glow.

monochrome-ish shots

By using a high ISO I am able to capture these scenes at night without a tripod. Fog creates a visual playground for me as a photographer. It casts everything in a different light and invites fresh interpretations. The same can be said for inclement weather, however fog is the least troublesome to work in.

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Canal to the Intercostal Waterway

Rick Schwartz bridge, Bridges, canal, Florida, Manatee County, Night Photography, nightphotography, SonyAlpha 0 Comments

To took this picture as I stood over a canal to the intercostal waterway. I was in the village of Cortez where there are many little outdoor restaurants by the water. Its one of my favorite places to come for an authentic Florida experience.

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Canal to the Intercostal Waterway

Canal to the Intercostal Waterway in Cortez Florida

This bridge is one of two that cross over to Anna Maria Island. Both are draw bridges and each time I cross I secretly hope to get stuck. The draw bridge takes five or ten minutes to operate and during that time you turn off the engine and watch the sailboats, dolphins and fishermen.

As I write this we are in peak tourist season. Its spring break and people are here to enjoy the weather and beaches. Because I’m a resident I don’t always keep track of these things. But as soon as I walk into a restaurant or try to drive somewhere it becomes apparent.

more night scenes

As well it is also spring training season for baseball. We have a perfect storm of sun seekers and sports fans. It’s fun to see and good for the local economy. Merchants look forward to this all year. I’m pretty relaxed about it all and as I said, even look forward to getting stuck on one of the many bridges.

Not that I should need an excuse, but traffic over a bridge is one way to slow down, enjoy the sights and imagine what its like to be a visitor on spring break.

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The Final Glow

Rick Schwartz Florida, HDR, Manatee County, SonyAlpha, Sunset, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

So often when I walk my dog I wish I had brought my camera. This time I decided to bring it so I could stop at this marina and capture the final glow. It was worth having to carry the camera along with a leash and poop bags for the full length of the walk.

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The Final Glow

The Final Glow

Normally I would just use a cell phone but this time I wanted to see if a real camera made a difference. The iPhone is good but the Sony can get so much more detail and dynamic range.

I like taking my dog with me when I’m shooting landscapes. He loves to come for the ride and I enjoy the company. It’s a mutual partnership. Sometimes I’ll be holding him on the leash with one hand and taking pictures with the other. If he sees another dog and pulls the leash it can get tricky. That happened on this shot as I was composing the shot. It’s all good and in the end we both got what we wanted.

I try not to get too serious when I’m taking photos. Once in a while having a dog along helps me keep it light. It’s important to have fun because that gets reflected in the final images. Ironically, if I get too serious I’m not as relaxed and I’ll miss things.

manatee county gallery

While I would like to take credit for this image, some part it goes to Mr. Wiggles, my trusty sidekick and assistant. I’m not sure if you can tell but we both had fun.

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Mountains in the Sky

Rick Schwartz Florida, Landscape, Manatee County, SonyAlpha, Sunset 0 Comments

We don’t have mountains in Florida so as photographers we look to clouds for inspiration. We get all kinds depending on the time of year. These here are typical for winter, in the summer they are even more dramatic. You could say these are our mountains in the sky.

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Mountains in the Sky

Mountains in the Sky – Florida Clouds

I took this last week after the rain passed. It was the kind of rain that washes everything and then breaks up in the afternoon, just in time for a sunset. That happens regularly because of the Florida climate. The heat during the day creates disturbances and then the sun recedes and the energy dissipates. As a result we get these displays which keep cloud watchers like me busy.

Often there are evenly spaced rows of puffy “cotton-candy” clouds. For some reason they only appear over the land, never the shore. Broken clouds like these at sunset are my favorite. I used a wide angle lens so they appear to converge on the horizon.

cloudscapes

Because of the geography and heat, clouds are part of the landscape here. They are stand-ins for mountains and you can’t help but notice them. If I was a mariner I’d know how to read them and know what they foretell. Nevertheless I think a little bit of that ability rubs off on anyone who takes the time to look up and wonder.

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At the Waters Edge

Rick Schwartz beach, Florida, Landscape, SonyAlpha, Sunset 0 Comments

I took this in front of a beach restaurant last Sunday. We like coming here because we can eat at the waters edge and stare out to sea. We arrived for a late lunch that turned into an early dinner and then decided we might as well stay for sunset. Sometimes its best to go with the flow, especially on a weekend.

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At the Waters Edge

At the Waters Edge in Bradenton Beach

Staring out to sea is like staring at a fire. It’s something that speaks to our subconscious. Once you start it’s hard to stop, like a long hot shower.

This is my interpretation of the scene that evening. By that I mean I imagined the girl on the beach was soaking in the sun and that it was rejuvenating her. I removed people because in my mind this is not about a busy beach. In this story she is alone with her thoughts.

A lot of people come here from all over to escape the cold and soak up the sun. Our heroine is surely one of these people.

I am glad to see the reaction of others because it reminds me of how fortunate I am. I spend a lot of time on photography and that takes me to the waters edge. I try not to take it for granted.

More Beaches

I just read that the Gulf of Mexico will be warmer than usual this summer, that the water temperature has remained high this winter. That’s good for the visitors here now; however in summer we’ll have more storms and the scene will look very different. Regardless, I’ll probably come back to capture someone else staring at the sea. The weather may change but our need to sit at the waters edge will not.

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Things We Overlook

Rick Schwartz beach, Florida, HDR, Landscape, Macphun, Manatee County, Nature, SonyAlpha, Sunset, urbanexploration 0 Comments

Lately I’ve been taking photos close to home. No matter where we live there are things we overlook. Yesterday I posted a photo along a busy highway. By simply turning around the scene looks remote and secluded. A theme for me in photography, and I suppose life, is perspective. It informs much of what I do. I look for a perspective that resonates amongst the distractions of an urban setting.

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Things We Overlook

Things we overlook in our own backyard

The other night I walked along a trail by the river to take photos of the sunset. As I was returning to my car I noticed this mangrove along the shore. Normally they are clustered together but this stood out with its extended roots. The roots are what protect the shores of Florida from erosion by tides and storms. They are vital to the ecosystem.

Sometimes I see unexpected things by simply turning the camera in a particular direction. From that comes vignettes of nature like this. Most of us live in urban landscapes. As much as I crave nature in national parks, I spend most of my time amongst roads, buildings and power lines.

palmetto photos

Maybe it’s a form of preference. I look for things I need to see. I see them because I’m looking. And at times like this day I see things I wasn’t even looking for. “If you try sometime, you get what you need.”

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Slightly Different Light

Rick Schwartz beach, Florida, HDR, Manatee County, SonyAlpha, Sunset, Urban, urbanexploration 0 Comments

This is a park bench next to the river. If I could order coffee from this spot it wold be perfect. I could however get a cup at Dunkin Donuts and sit here at sunrise. This is an urban beach with a busy highway just behind me. This is also an example of taking some common scene from an urban setting and portraying it in a slightly different light.

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Slightly Different Light

Showing a common scene in a slightly different light

An HDR image, this is made up of three exposures. I manually blended the exposures to get the mood I wanted. The main focus is the light of the sun reflected on the water and table. I took this as the sun was just emerging between two layers of clouds.

I had taken several other shots of just the water and the clouds, but thought they lacked a foreground subject. So I used the picnic table to provide a sense of depth.

Tens of thousands of people drive by this spot every day, but here I’m using my imagination to make something out of nothing. Its a way to practice the craft and make soup out of stone. It’s not a fantastic image, but it was fun to shoot and process.

other images of this river

Actually, on a Sunday when there isn’t the usual commuter traffic on the roads this is a very nice spot to have a picnic. Anyway, enough said, time to go get a coffee.

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I’m Not the Only One

Rick Schwartz Florida, Landscape, SonyAlpha, Sunset, Tampa 0 Comments

This was taken after a couple days of rain. When it finally cleared up the clouds looked like feathers in the sky. I procrastinated and by the time I decided to take pictures there was not much time left. I quickly drove to a nearby spot by the bridge. Simultaneously as I pulled up so did several other vehicles. It seems I’m not the only one looking for a sunset at the very last minute.

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I'm Not the Only One

I’m not the only one looking for pictures of the sunset

I stood across the street from the water so as not to be obtrusive as I captured this fisherman in profile. He looked up anyway then turned around to take his own picture of the sunset with a phone.

A little to the right a family of seven poured out of a minivan to snap pictures and selfies along the seawall. They must have taken dozens of photos in the fifteen minutes before they loaded back in the van and drove off. I’m sure the pictures were on Facebook and Instagram servers before they ever got home.

It boggles my mind to think how many photos are stored in the cloud. It reminds me of the Akashic records. According to eastern philosophies the Akashic records are a repository of everything that has transpired on earth, maybe even beyond. It seems to me we’re in the process of creating our own digital Akashic records. Now imagine that these photos and videos are all linked together by an enormous Google mind. We could have a record of nearly everything. Of course the digital version only begins within the last ten years, but going forward we have much of it covered.

sunset images

If I’m going to contribute to the photo memory of our planet then I want to save some seaside scenes like this. My photos will be under the sunset section. But if you can’t find them there you could always go back to the Akashic records, they should be in there somewhere.

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