Tropic Winter

I took this on that windy January weekend in Tampa Bay. Contrary to popular belief, we do get a little winter weather down here. A little.

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Tropic Winter
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge on a blustery day in January

When it gets cold in Florida, we complain about it. Basically, we feel entitled to good weather all the time. When it’s not, we get our noses out of joint. Nevermind it’s fifty degrees warmer than up north, we just can’t afford those fancy coats Y’all have. That’s not true, I have one in my closet, somewhere.

more images of this bridge

Anyway, we had a chilly January. We didn’t get frost or anything, but we did have to put on shoes and long pants. That sucks. But now it’s February and its back to sandals and shorts. See how I say that like it’s the most normal thing in the world? So, for the time being, I have nothing to complain about.

Mordor Condos

This is some early morning light coming in from the east. An overactive imagination would say those are condos from Mordor. Not that I have an overactive imagination.

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Mordor Condos
Dramatic light and clouds over a condo on the Manatee River in Bradenton, Florida

I’m usually up early, but I’m busy going to the gym and getting dressed, not necessarily in that order. But often I’ll manage to look east and see some fantastic light. The problem is I’m too wrapped up in the daily routine to do anything about it, like stop and take a picture.

see the sunset/sunrise gallery

But this time it was a Saturday, and I met a friend, and I didn’t have to go to the gym. I’ve been sitting on this image, but now it’s starting to grow on me; if for no other reason than the light and drama it holds. And, after a week of daily routines, I could use a little drama.

Queenstown Bridge

This is the bridge where Lake Wakatipu ends and enters the Kawarau River. Or, at least it was. Since I took this, they built a new bridge that’s not nearly as photogenic.

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Old Queenstown Bridge
This old bridge in Queenstown has been replaced

I took this on my first day in New Zealand as I was walking around getting the lay of the land. The bridge was next to the hotel. I must say, that trip was probably the most fun I’ve ever had. It was a photography workshop with Trey Ratcliff, and it was a doozy. Everything, from the scenery to the food was over the top.

See the New Zealand gallery

I’ve been looking at some of the photos I took while there and am post-processing them with the newer software. At the time I was using the A7R which was relatively new at the time and, the choice of lenses was limited. That was two generations of A7R ago, and the RAW files are holding up quite nicely. But boy, what I could do now with the newer camera. Without a doubt, I very much want to go back.

Moody Skies

Some days the skies can be really moody, especially when everything is grey and overcast; this is a little like that.

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Moody Skies
The DeSoto bridge between Bradenton and Palmetto

I pulled this image out of the archives from a couple of years ago. The bridge is near my home; one I’ve taken many times. It’s the minimal aesthetic of the three elements; bridge, sky, and water that appeals to me. There’s no story here, just a scene.

more minimalism in the gallery

The bridge is getting old. The planners say it’s at the end of its life and a new one needs to be built. I wonder what this scene will look like in five years from now. It could be very different, or not so much. However I can surely predict that the clouds and water will still be around, and on some days it will be just as moody.

Fishing Pier 4.0

Some scenes like this I keep coming back to. But since the sky is different each time it counts as a new pic. I’m not trying to justify it, I’m just saying.

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Fishing Pier 4.0
The fishing pier at Bradenton’s Riverwalk

I’ve posted this same scene at least three times; here, here and here. I considered not posting yet another, but I like it and so why not? It makes sense to repeat a composition over time to gauge subtle difference as your technique or gear changes.

more images from the riverwalk

This is the first time I used the GM lens for this scene, and so now I can take the time to notice that. I’m doing that with a few repeat scenes, and I’m enjoying the results. I usually save the GM lenses for commercial or portrait work, but I’m starting to use them for landscapes as well. Anyway, here is the latest version of the pier in Bradenton’s Riverwalk. Stay tuned for version 5.0 in about a year.

Bridge Lights

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.