Bridge Lights

The same spot that I posted from last week. Taken only thirty minutes later but, turned out entirely different.

Daily Image
Lights from the Manatee Avenue bridge reflect on the water after dusk in Bradenton
The lights from the bridge reflect on the water after dusk in Bradenton

It’s an excellent example of how light changes everything so thoroughly. In the other photo, the main subject was the warm light of the clouds, in this one, it’s the lights from the bridge. Both reflected on the water, and each tells a different story.

check out all of the daily images

I’ve taken a million photos of this bridge. Because of that, I’ve avoided it for the last year or so. I happened to be in the neighborhood and couldn’t help myself. But with a spectacle like this, could you blame me?

Down Low

This looks out across the water from a few inches up; like what you might see if you were treading water.

Daily Image

Down Low
Along the inter-coastal waterway in central Florida

For this low angle, I picked up a new gadget called a Platypod. It’s a little stand that makes it easy to take pictures from the ground. I even took it on a recent trip overseas rather than a tripod. There were a couple times I could have used a regular tripod, but the small size and versatility of the Platypod outweighed that.

more water in the gallery

This low perspective is a little less common and adds a little something extra. Raise the camera to eye level, and the scene changes completely. But down low, the water becomes a foreground element which, is a neat little trick in an of itself.

Bay Bridge Sun

I took this the morning after arriving from the east coast. When I woke up, it was before 4:00 AM, so I went out taking photos, and this was the last place I stopped. I started at the Palace of Fine Arts and ended up here at Embarcadero.

Daily Image

Bay Bridge Sun
As the sun rises through the San Francisco Bay Bridge

It was early on a weekend so the streets were empty and I could get from place to place in no time. Traveling to the west coast is easy to do, going the other way is another matter entirely. That is unless you like staying up late, but I’m more of a morning person, so going west works better for me. Early to rise…, and all that stuff.

california in the gallery

It’s been two years since I took this and looking at it now I thought it was the Golden Gate bridge. But the background doesn’t look right, and the sun doesn’t set or rise this way as far as I know. Something didn’t seem right. Fortunately, this is tagged with GPS coordinates from an app I use; just like iPhone photos, but for Sony. So I looked it up on Google maps and only then did I realized it was the Bay Bridge. Silly me.

River Storms

This is looking up the Manatee River in summer. After a few minutes we got a thunderstorm for about twenty minutes, then a crazy sunset; every day like clockwork.

Daily Image

River Storms
Typical summer day as a storm travels downriver.

The one-second shutter speed makes the water smooth, like the calm before the storm. I’m nervous when out in these conditions, the air is thick, and it’s only a matter of time before lightning strikes. We get more lightning than anywhere on earth because of the geography. My heightened state of nerves battles it out with my need to get a good picture.

more from the Manatee River

The thunder clouds always come down the river, from east to west. Often, if we’re at an outdoor restaurant along the water, we can watch the clouds heading towards us. The river is about a mile wide, so it has its own micro-climate. After the storm passes, we brush the water off the table and, enjoy the rest of the meal, just like clockwork.

Bridge Perspective

This image shows an unusual perspective Tampa Bay’s Skyway bridge. I was standing along a seawall at a rest stop along the causeway that connects the two sides. The bridge appears small, but it’s close to 400 feet high.

Daily Image

Bridge Perspective
An unusual perspective of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Florida

I’ve been sitting on this photo because I can’t decide whether I like it or not. I overthink things, but it does have some redeeming qualities, so I guess I like it for now.

more images along the Sunshine Skyway from the gallery

However, I do love this location on the bay because it’s one of the few places on the west coast where you can see the sunrise over a vast body of water. And now as I’m writing this, I’m deciding that I need to get up early and come back. Maybe I can try this shot again and settle once and for all if I like it.

Old Photos New Software

This is an HDR image full of fall colors that I took four years ago in New Zealand. It was the first morning of a five-day workshop with Trey Ratcliff. In the southern hemisphere, April is in Autumn so the leaves were turning.

Daily Image

Old Photos New Software
This is an old photo I processed with Skylum’s Aurora 2018

I had recently purchased the Sony A7R and now, four years later, I’m still impressed with the images. Since that time Sony has created two new generations of that camera so I now use the third generation A7R III. Also, since that time Trey and Skylum introduced HDR software known as Aurora HDR. Now Aurora is in its second or third generation as well. As a result, I’m revisiting these old photos with the new software. The software has improved to the point that it’s very easy to make old photos look amazing.

New Zealand gallery

Four years seems like such a long time, I would go back in a heartbeat. For a photographer, New Zealand is a dream. But I did take thousands of photos while I was there so even if I don’t get back right away I still have these photos to look at and enjoy.

Sunset over the Ringing Bridge

As a photographer I wonder if the architects of this bridge designed it with the setting sun in mind. It’s positioned such that in you get this view in the afternoon as you cross over to Bird Key. Sometimes if we are going to dinner in St Armand’s Circle we’ll cross the bridge at this time; heaven forbid I should have a camera.

Daily Image

Sunset over the Ringing Bridge
I think the architects of the Ringling Bridge had this scene in mind.

If you scan through my portfolio, you’ll see a lot of photos on or, around this bridge. And yes, some were taken when I was heading to dinner. However, it’s such an iconic location that I’ll keep coming back to hopefully find something slightly different. I’ve worn it out for sure, but hey, who’s counting?

more sunset images

Often on a Sunday morning they’ll close the bridge for a run because this is the closest thing we have to a hill. Florida is really flat. If you want to see the landscape the easiest way is to walk or run up to the middle of the bridge. Of course, you could also stand on the top of a nearby hotel, but then you’d miss out on your exercise, not to mention the intentions of the bridge builders.

Dinner Along the Canal

Here is a little section of a restaurant along a canal in Venice. Our timing was fortunate because we were seated right away while others who came later had to wait; Italians are late eaters. We enjoyed an amazing meal seated along the canal on a warm summer evening. For the life of me I can’t remember what I ordered but I do remember it tasted very good.

Daily Image

Dinner Along the Canal
Italians love to eat late dinners and talk for hours into the night.

As chance would have it we were surrounded by tables of Americans, even though there were people from other countries as well. On one side was a group of college girls and on the other was a couple of producers with their wives. There was a film festival going on and I could hear everything the producers were saying. It was one of those situations where you can’t help but hear the conversation, the tables were very close. Somehow the producers started talking to the girls since one of them was trying to break into the business. And on and on and on….

European gallery

Being an American tourist myself I try to be a little circumspect, I know that a reputation proceeds us. There’s nothing wrong with American tourists, but every so often you can sure pick them out. I know I’m a little too quiet, but I prefer to soak up the ambience. That includes the gondolas, lights shining from windows on the canal, amazing Italian food, wine, and occasionally the conversations of my fellow Americans.

Super Blue Blood Moon over Sarasota

Here is the super blue blood moon over Sarasota’s Ringling bridge. Boy, what a commotion this created. I was standing by myself along the water, nearly hidden by brush along the side of an empty section of road. Some passerby must have seen me and looked over to see what I was doing.

Daily Image

Super Blue Blood Moon over Sarasota
This spectacle create quite the stir, around the world and right behind me.

As I was absorbed in my camera settings and composing the shot, I was oblivious to everything around me. At one point I heard someone’s voice and looked up to see a crowd of people standing behind me. There was all manner of smart phones taking this same picture with the little LED flashes going off.

Continuing the task at hand, a few minutes later I heard the sound of screeching breaks and horns. It seems the stopped cars nearly caused a traffic pileup. We were standing along a causeway of sorts with no safe place to pull over and park. Nevertheless, it seemed I started a trend, and everybody piled on for an iPhone photo.

more night photography

In the end I got a shot I had in my mind. Just taking a quick look at twitter there are millions of people doing the same thing. Anyway, I’m adding this one to the pile, even if it did nearly cause a pileup.

Rainy Bradenton Sunrise

Here is a shot of the Bradenton Riverwalk on a rainy morning a couple of years ago, just as the sun is about to rise. Living where I do I prefer to have water as a feature in my environmental shots. If I go outside it’s almost unavoidable. The water creates provides a basic building block with which to build a composition.

Daily Image

Rainy Bradenton Sunrise
A rainy morning at Bradenton’s Riverwalk

Another thing I look for is leading lines. In this case it’s a guardrail, but it could also be more organic elements like a path or shoreline. The line leads the eyes of the viewer into the picture where our imaginations begin to find root.

More photos in the rain

Finally, quite often I prefer to have some human element. In many cases it adds a level of interest that subtly draws the attention even more. It’s not uncommon to project ourselves into the scene through the perspective of a human figure. In this approach the person can be blurred or abstracted so not to provide too many details. These things are better left to our own imaginations.