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.

Yet Another Supermoon

Is it just me or does it seem like we get a lot of Supermoons? This is a picture of the last one, which is the one before the next one.

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Yet Another Supermoon
The super-moon over the Manatee River in Bradenton, Florida

These moon photos are a bear to take. Unless you have a very long lens, like 600mm or more, the moon doesn’t look that big. Also, the composition is a little tricky because if you expose for the moon, everything else is too dark. If you expose for everything else, the moon is too light.

see the panorama gallery

In the end, I created a composite with two photos. The moon exposure is combined with the bridge exposure. Despite the challenges, it’s a lot of fun, and I’ll probably plan on doing another one. With all these supermoons coming, I’ll have plenty of chances to get it right.

New Bridge

The new bridge at Robinson Preserve presents an open invitation to cross over to a winding trail with ponds, marshes, and wildlife on all sides.

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New Bridge
A bridge in Robinson Preserve

The image I posted yesterday was not far from this spot, but the weather could not have been more different. That image was on a foggy morning, and this is at the end of the day. The light in each tells an entirely different story.

check out the panorama gallery

As usual, the story is mostly in our mind. With these types of landscape images, we all see the same thing, yet we fill in different details. And, as with life, we perceive in it what we want to see. I think self-projection is one of the purposes of art, to allow us to muse upon things that are reflections of ourselves.

Ducks in a Pond

On a foggy morning, I walked a path in a local park. In the mist, everyday things seem different, almost mysterious.

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Ducks in a Pond
Taken in the fog on a recent morning at Robinson Preserve

Nothing could be more ordinary than ducks in a pond, yet the fog added an element more akin to a painting than photography. I recently mentioned the idea that simple images can resonate. For me, this is an example of that.

see the landscape gallery

This was taken at Robinson Park in Bradenton. It’s in a new section that recently opened to the public. I never know what I’m going to see or, how I’m going to see it. But with the fog, no matter how ordinary, chances are it will add a whole new dimension to the scene.