Mood Swings

The weather can be a metaphor for emotions. It can be bright and sunny one day, gloomy the next.

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Mood Swings
A moody day on Longboat Key, Florida

I can imagine wind as a metaphor for thoughts, blowing through the mind, never-ceasing. We draw on the forces of nature to represent our inner experiences. Maybe our internal environment follows some of the same laws of physics; like fluid dynamics.

more images with a pier in the gallery

Anyway, this picture is of two people fishing at the pier on a foggy day. At least, that’s what it appears to be on the surface. Beyond that, it could be something much closer to home.

Tweet Storm

I have never been at the center of a Tweet Storm unless of course, we are referring to squawks on the beach. Maybe this is a good metaphor for that.

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Tweet Storm
Sunset on Anna Maria Island

Speaking of which, I just heard the in-depth interview of Jack Dorsey on Sam Harris’s podcast. The guy is pretty zen, way more than I expected. Long story short, Twitter is a work in progress and, from what I can glean, Jack has his heart in the right place.

more photos with birds from the gallery

I’m not much of a Twitter guy, I just tweet my photos, but that’s probably not the ideal use case. I do like to follow certain people, but I’m not really into participating in public discourse. I’m more contemplative and keep my thoughts to myself. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing; but let just say, it is what it is.

Bigger Than Us

One of the reasons I do seascape photography is that it reminds me of things bigger than myself. It’s easy to forget that we are part of a much larger universe.

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Bigger Than Us
A seascape from Venice Florida

When we are children, everything is new, and we are often in a state of awe at the world around us. Then we develop thought patterns and an ego. We get through life by constructing a story of who and what we are. But that inward-looking drive comes at a cost: we forget the awe.

more minimalism from the gallery

When I create images with a minimal theme, the open space is a reminder to myself, and anyone else, that we are part of something beyond the daily grind. Once in a while, I like to remind my self of that.

Beach Fog

The other day I went to the beach to watch the sunset, but the beach was covered in fog; time to execute Plan B.

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Beach Fog
A foggy day on Longboat Key

Plan B is to try and make lemonade out of lemons. This shot is one where a hole opened up in the sky just as some birds flew by. Photos like this in the fog have no shadows because the light is very even. I think photography in this type of soft light is more comfortable on the eyes when we look at it.

more from the beach gallery

Even without the fog, some of the best landscape photos are taken when the sun was lower, and the light gets diffused by the atmosphere. Or, when there are enough clouds in the sky to diffuse the harsh sunlight. The sun is an unfathomably harsh body that can rip everything to shreds in an instant if it were not for the amazing conditions we have here on Earth. Knowing this and having the opportunity to photograph it is pretty awesome.

Sunset Watchers

Most people leave the beach at the end of the day. That’s when the second shift starts and all the sunset watchers show up.

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Sunset Watchers
Sunset from the north shore of Longboat Pass

That’s good for me because I’ll be driving against the traffic to get to the beach on time. If you’re one of the three people reading my blog, you know I’m a procrastinator. So, even though the traffic is going the other way, more often than not I am rushing to get there before the sun goes down.

more from Anna Maria Island in the gallery

After I finish taking photos, I still get stuck in the traffic leaving the beach. That’s no problem though, being stuck in traffic with the beach on one side and no place to be is a dream. I roll down the windows and inch along. I could do that all day.

Pelicans Preening

Cortez is one of the last fishing villages on the east coast of the United States. That would mean these pelicans picked the perfect place to live.

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Pelicans Preening
Sea birds in Cortez, Florida

We came for the annual fish festival and left stuffed to the gills. They had every kind of fish dish you can imagine, and then some.

Fishing vessels were docked alongside the processing plant, and I captured these fellas preening themselves, oblivious to all the commotion around them. Sea birds in Florida coexist with fishing and are not afraid of humans at all.

see more images featuring birds

Anyway, this reminded me that I need to come back to Cortez on a regular workday to see everything in action. It’s one of the first places I came with the new Sony camera about five years ago, and I always find something interesting to shoot here. And, as one of the last villages of it’s kind, it is a little bit of history.

Cormorants

If a cormorant is out of the water, it will spread its wings to dry off. On this morning, however, they were still dry.

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Cormorants
A scene from Robinson Preserve in Bradenton

These birds spend a lot of time under the water catching food. It’s a little ironic that they even though they have feathers, they are excellent swimmers and spend a lot of time underwater. When they are fishing, you might only see their snake-like head and neck pop-up for air. We also have snakes in the water, so seeing a Cormorant’s head pop-up might give you pause.

more from Robinson Preserve

Just as often they’ll sit on a low branch or along the shoreline with their wings outstretched. Initially, I thought that it was to ward off predators by making themselves seem more prominent. But in fact, it’s to dry their feathers which are not as water repellant as other birds like ducks or pelicans.

A Good Life

Pelicans are always sitting on posts waiting for fish to swim by. Who would have thought life could be so good.

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A Good Life
A Pelican sits on a post in the Manatee River in Palmetto

As soon as the sun goes down, they fly back to their nesting site and settle in. At dawn, you see them flying to places like this to catch fish. Dawn and dusk are the best times to capture pelicans in flight.

see the sunset gallery

This is from the Manatee River where there is always a lot of fish. Sometimes man and bird are hunting the same fish. When fishing you should always bring a pair of gloves and needle nose pliers. That’s so you can grab the pelican and free it from your hook. It happens all the time. So, other than the occasional brush with us, they have it pretty good on the Manatee River.

Myakka Heron

I drove through our local state park the other day. Typical for this time of year, Myakka River State Park is flooded from recent rains and the rising of the river. I stopped at a submerged path next to the river and watched as Egrets, Limpkins, and Herons forage for food in the shallow water.

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Myakka Heron
This photo was taken on a flooded trail next to the Myakka River

Also typical for this time of year is the oppressive sun and heat. But this section of the trail is covered in a thick canopy. The shade was a welcome reprieve and the scene was quiet and peaceful.

more birds in the gallery

I set up with a tripod at the edge of the water and tried not to move too much. Once I was still the birds would ignore me and I managed to get a couple of shots like this. The light would filter through in beams and illuminate small sections. I caught this heron (at least I think it’s a heron) at just the right moment.

Limpkin Kin

The other day I was at Myakka River State Park to try out some experimental gear. I didn’t have a plan other than to line up a few landscape shots. As I sat on a bench working with the apparatus, a mama and baby Limpkin strolled by.

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Limpkin Kin
A couple of Limpkin in Myakka River State Park

They were eating snails and clams. The snails were easy enough to catch and eat. The clams they would batter with their beaks to break open the shells. I was no more than six feet away and what I found surprising was that, as long as I remained still, they tolerated my presence.

more landscape photography

There’s nothing better than to observe wild animals in their natural habitat. The baby Limkin was more wary of me, but the mother seemed to decide that it was more important to eat than worry about me. Or maybe she did both. Whatever the case, it was a rare privilege I’ll not soon forget.