Loopy Carpet on the Beach

May might be the best time of year here along the gulf coast. I get the feeling I’ve said that before, perhaps I need to change up my story a little. In any case, it’s low season and just before summer kicks in. It’s warm, not too hot, the clouds are high, the evenings are late, and the sunsets are golden.

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Loopy Carpet on the Beach

A study of natural texture on Anna Maria Island

Today I’ve focused on the foreground element along the beach. It’s a blanket of needles from an overhanging branch. The texture and loopy pattern look to me like a carpet, as though the needles are organized that way. If nothing else, the image is a study in natural textures.

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Everyone else was watching the sun go down, and I’m back here concentrating on the ground. That sounds a little loopy I know. But I have a million shots of the sun, and my real motive is to see how many times I can use the word loop in a blog post. Looping back to the main point, I try to look for things that are visually interesting to put in the foreground. Then, I wait for the sun to set and they seem even more pleasing to the eye. Anyway, this is another compositional idea that I use from time to time.

Bench View

I took this about four years ago when I was in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. It’s a part of the Wild Pacific Trail that traces the coastline. It’s a well-maintained trail with benches like this every half mile or so.

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Bench View

A bench with a view along the Wild Pacific Trail

I was here in late August (or “Fogust” as the locals say) when a thick fog would roll in most afternoons. You could see it sitting just offshore, and then at the right time it would approach and before you could say Foghorn Leghorn, you were in it. In this image, you can see it about a mile offshore.

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Benches or empty chairs in an image allow us to imagine sitting there in the scene. Our eyes follow the direction it points, similar to a leading line, only with a different device. When a photo makes us look in a particular direction, it has captured our imagination as we weave our own story in the scene. However, if it has thick fog, that would be something different entirely.

Urban Mangroves

In this picture, I’m looking south over the Manatee River towards Bradenton. These are the mangroves that line it from its source to the sea. Mangroves form an essential part of the ecosystem by protecting the shore from erosion.

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Urban Mangroves

A little nature in an urban setting

Believe it or not, this is across the street from the Bradenton Area Convention center, so while it looks like a nature shot, it’s in the middle of a suburban setting. Mangroves are protected in Florida, so there’s little chance they’ll be affected by development. Despite the activity all around, they continue to protect rivers and coastlines.

more from my hometown of Palmetto

The reason I took this was for the reflections. Its a repeat of a shot I’ve done in the past and the results are similar. However, the clouds are never the same. And because it’s only a 2-minute drive from home, this is something I see often. No matter how many times I see this, I never get tired of nature inside an urban landscape.

Dancing Dining Cocktails

A while back I met a friend for dinner here at Citywalk in Orlando. It was on a Monday and one of the slowest days of the year. The ordinarily crowded scene was utterly empty. It’s not often you get that here.

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Dancing Dining Cocktails

Citywalk in Orlando’s Universal Studios theme park

I didn’t go to take pictures, but I brought my camera anyway. I captured this as I was heading back to the car. It was a one picture trip.

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I’m attracted to the neon signs because it reminds of the work of Thomas Hawk, he has an extensive collection of neon signs on Flickr. However, this being Universal Studios it is a little more contrived. Tom’s work is authentic Americana along the highways and thoroughfares of the country. In any case, if it wasn’t for his work, I might not have thought to take this. The influence I get from photographers like Thomas Hawk is essential to me.

Round of Applause

I cannot help that I love to take pictures at the beach. Living where I do it’s unavoidable. As problems go, it’s not a bad one to have. In this image, I’ve lingered after the sunset when the clouds were just right. This specific time is my favorite because the light is somewhat rare. The color creates a glow that beckons to something beyond.

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Round of Applause

People walking the shore of Manatee Beach on Anna Maria Island

On this evening, after the sun had set, a group of a dozen people sitting together gave a round of applause. That’s not as uncommon as you may think. It seems odd, but after you’ve seen it enough times, it’s not.

other beach images from the gallery

People begin walking home, and I like to capture them walking along the shoreline. While the colors and scenery are beautiful, I believe that adding people helps us project ourselves into the scene. I can easily imagine walking along the shore at dusk or just sitting there looking out to sea. And if you see me clapping, maybe you’ll understand why.

West Vancouver View

The walkway is in a familiar spot of downtown Vancouver that looks across the bay to West Vancouver. If you look closely, you can barely make out the snowcapped peaks rising above the city. I’ve wandered here many times for the view but this was my is my first attempt at capturing it.

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West Vancouver View

The view of West Vancouver from atop the Cactus Club Cafe

It’s part of a structure that houses the Cactus Club Café but also has a walkway on the roof made of grass. It’s next to the conversion center which also has a grass roof.

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The whole place is unique, but if you live here or have visited a lot like me, this gets overlooked. Everywhere you look in this section of town is unusual architecture and public art. It’s a feast for the eyes that’s balanced by the natural scenery. Just another little vignette of Canada’s west coast city by the sea.

Other People’s Ideas

Monday night after the rain stopped, I drove over to a little park that I recently heard about through a hot tip. It’s one of those parks that are known only to the residents. We seem to have a lot of those hidden gems in the area. Nevertheless, it quite often affords the kind of view ordinarily reserved for waterfront properties.

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Other People's Ideas

From Rose Park in Bradenton Florida

Here I’m posing with the help of a ten-second timer, which was barely enough time to get into position. My first attempt caught me in mid-stride. I thought that adding a human element to the drama of the scene worked well. I got the inspiration from New Zealand photographer Mike Langford whom I met on a trip there a few years back. Here is a link to his photo on Pinterest and here is his website.

my portfolio

To tell you the truth, I get inspiration from a lot of different photographers, too numerous to mention. I spend a lot of time looking at their work and then when the situation arises; I’ll incorporate an idea into my photo. Sometimes, I even come up with ideas of my own. And then, ten years from now someone will say the same about me. It’s all just good energy going around.

Cimitero di San Michele

The view of a little cemetery island in the city of Venice. I haven’t yet explored it, but probably will the next time. My first impression was of a military fort, and I suppose with San Michele in the name that’s not too far off. Nevertheless, it looks to me like an entirely different space away from the crowds.

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Cimitero di San Michele

Cimitero di San Michele as seen from the northern side of Venice

My intention for this image is minimalism. It could easily have ended up as a tourist photo but, I saw this idea in my head when taking it. When I’m walking around a crowded area, I have to think hard about how I might like an image to look, especially if I want to go minimal. Coming up with ideas is the first part of the creative process.

more minimalism in the gallery

Crowded spaces can also be fun to photograph, especially if there is a story to tell. For instance, a crowd of people on a bridge, or a city scene. But sometimes I find myself moving away from the crowds, if not physically then mentally. By putting my mind in a quiet place, I see things in a slightly different light, or so I like to think.

The Takeaway

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had some fantastic sunsets down here in Florida. I’ve been busy but managed to get to the beach on Saturday for a few shots. Not that that’s the only reason I go to the beach.

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The Takeaway

From the dunes at Manatee Beach

The real reason is for the air, the sound of the waves and sights. They quickly take my head out of whatever state of mind I’m in and clear the cobwebs. Telling myself I’m going for photography gets the wheels moving, being there gives me a whole lot more.

One takeaway here is that this image uses focus stacking. That’s a technique where I take one photo focused on the foreground, and another focused on items further away and then blend them. This way everything appears in focus. The results are pleasing for landscape photography where you want to see as much detail as possible. It’s also great for printing because everything is in focus.

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Anyway, while I’m doing all those fancy techniques, I’m at the beach, walking along the shore and having fun. In retrospect, that’s the real takeaway.

Memories Fade

This photo may be my favorite of the bunch from that day at the beach. And it sums up the chill mood of the people that were present at the time. As for myself, I was pretty happy also.

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Memories Fade

An image stokes the memory that would otherwise fade

Without photos, memories fade. Life goes on and, we do not think about the details of that day. But when we look at pictures, the feelings, sights, and smells come back. That’s the thing about images; they’re drug-free memory boosters.

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Our recollections are a quantum leap beyond what computers do. But that’s changing; AI is closing that gap. But one thing they’ll probably never do is appreciate a sunset. That’s is something only we can do, assuming we don’t forget to go to the beach.