Bradenton Causeway

The Bradenton causeway has advantages over the beach. You can park at the water’s edge, and there aren’t nearly as many rules.

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Bradenton Causeway
The causeway in Bradenton Florida

At this spot, you can generally see horses in the water. But I was here on a Monday, and they weren’t. The causeway isn’t fancy, but if you want to spend time at the water without the parking hassles, this is it.

more palm trees in the gallery

Many people prefer the beach with its powdery white sand. However, a lot of the locals come here. Just drive up, pull out a lawn chair and Bob’s your uncle.

RR Crossing

If you’ve ever had a drink of orange juice, chances are it crossed these tracks. The Tropicana train crosses this river.

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RR Crossing
Tracks crossing the Manatee River to the Tropicana Plant

I live within earshot, so I hear the horn in the morning and at night. It’s part of the soundscape of my hometown. The idea of a town having a soundscape is new to me, but if I were blind, I’d know it very well.

more railroad images

If you look closely at the patterns on the water, you can see the direction of flow. The eddies caused by the supports are on the downstream side. But as this river flows into the ocean, the direction changes with the tide. As the tide changes, the flow is non-existent. But that’s another shot for another day.

Mouth of the Manatee

I took this photo at the mouth of the Manatee River. I live further upstream in the esophagus.

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Mouth of the Manatee
The view from DeSoto National Memorial Park in Bradenton, Florida

It’s curious how we anthropomorphize everything. DeSoto National Memorial Park is in the heart of Bradenton. Having grown up in the west, I still find it odd to have a national park in an urban area.

check out the panorama gallery

To see the sunset like this, you walk into the park after closing. Doing so I thought I’d be alone but found a crowd along the shore, all with the same idea. After sunset, I took a quiet trail back to avoid the crowds. However, the trails have lifesize cutouts of historical figures, and more than once, I was startled by conquistadores and aboriginals staring back at me. It was a little unnerving, to say the least.

Florida Flora

Whenever I visit a preserve in Florida, I spend time trying to figure out what to shoot. Sometimes the answer is right in front of me.

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Florida Flora
Flora from a park in Central Florida

There is beauty in endemic flora that’s easy to overlook. I tend to get preoccupied with subjects and the composition, but simple scenes like this are as vibrant as any mountain landscape; it’s a matter of perspective and scale. There are realms within a tangled garden, micro-ecosystems that, while imperceptible to us, are just as alive.

more images of nature in the gallery

Our minds operate in familiar regions; we habituate our vision to the human society we know. But shift focus just a little, and there are other worlds in plain view we rarely acknowledge.

The Nest

This newly constructed building is a wedding venue at Robinson Preserve. If anyone objects to the union, they fall through a trap door and come out the bottom.

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The Nest
The Nest at Robinson Preserve in Bradenton

When not used for weddings, it’s available for corporate events or education. It’s called the NEST which stands for Nature, Exploration, Science and, Technology. It’s one of the more compelling structures to come along recently, so naturally, I had to take a photo.

more architectural images in the gallery

The preserve borders on the Gulf of Mexico so it’s built up high on legs to avoid a tidal surge. I’ve seen a lot more of this type of construction lately. With the new summer storm season starting shortly, it’s probably a wise idea.

Around the Corner

It’s too easy to spend time in the future worrying about what’s just around the corner. But “spending time” is a misnomer: we cannot spend what we don’t have.

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Around the Corner
A winding path at Robinson Preserve

Maybe one day we’ll figure out how to time travel. When that happens, will we be in a memory or a moment?

more images of paths in the gallery

In our minds, we time-travel quite a lot. The irony is, it wastes time. I’ve heard and read that time is an illusion, something in our minds. Not being in the present is like a treadmill that never stops. Maybe it’s better to just try and be present in the moment.

Sky with Diamonds

The highlights in the clouds remind me of the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. I don’t see Lucy, but I do see diamonds.

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Sky with Diamonds
Light patterns in the sky above Robinson Preserve in Bradenton Florida

In the sky, we see whatever we want to see. Psychoanalysts have been using this trick for years to pull things out of our subconscious. Clouds present a daily Rorschach Test, teasing out things we hold below the surface of awareness. The key is to notice what we see and then think about why.

more cloudscapes in the gallery

The more abstract something is, the less rational it is. While rationality is necessary to navigate life, suspending it from time to time allows us to experience a different perspective. In my mind, a little vacation from the demands of an overactive mind is probably healthy, and maybe even necessary.

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.

Early Walk

This is a section of the Riverwalk in Bradenton. I’m not sure why people wake up before dawn on the weekend and come here. Nevertheless, there we were.

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Early Walk
Predawn along the river in Bradenton

Come to think of it, there are always people here, at any time of day. It’s just one of those places people like to hang out. I’m surprised there aren’t more restaurants here.

more black and white from the gallery

Often, I operate with a sleep deficit. I should stay in bed on the weekend to catch up a little. But it’s also the perfect time to get out and take these kinds of photos. I’ll have plenty of time to sleep when I die.

Reflected Lights

I’m a sucker for reflected lights on the water. But to get this glassy effect I had to get up and cross the bridge at an ungodly hour.

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Reflected Lights
Building lights reflected on the Manatee River

I make it sound harder than it was because I regularly wake up at an ungodly hour to go to the gym. So on weekends when I don’t workout, taking photos is a good alternative.

more night photography in the gallery

I took this picture of condos in Palmetto from the Bradenton side of the river. I’ve been waiting for the right time to capture this scene. It needs to be somewhat dark, the building lights on, and the water still. During the day it’s a boring scene, but just before dawn, it seems to work. On this morning I got them all together so now I can check this one off the list.