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.

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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.

Entrance to the Gulf of Mexico

The DeSoto National Memorial is a park with trails through the mangroves at the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico. I keep coming here to capture scenes along the water. Like most parks in this area it closes at sunset. But in this case I lingered to capture the vibrant tones past dusk.

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Entrance to the Gulf of Mexico
Entrance to the Gulf of Mexico in Bradenton Florida

I get spoiled with our sunsets. Well not really spoiled, but I do get overloaded with so many sunsets this time of year. With a great sunset each night I get a little complacent and then all of a sudden I miss a really good one. That happens several times a week. I have an unrealistic desire to capture every sunset. I will be first in line to pre-order one of Elon Musk’s transporters as soon as it gets invented. See a good sunset, push a button and I’m at the beach. Guaranteed to never miss a good one.

When I decide not to go out I know I might be missing something. It’s hard to just sit back and watch without wanting to capture it with a camera. If I have to do a chore and don’t look outside I’m okay, but when I see colorful clouds I go a little crazy. I suppose it has something to do with why I got into photography in the first place, to capture and convey.

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If I were a painter I’d probably feature sunsets as much as I do with photography. The nice thing about painting is you can portray a scene as you see it in your mind, there’s no rush to get to a location for the light. With landscape photography we are working with times of the day: two different approaches to convey scenes. In the end, none of it compares to the real thing. If you consider variations in color and shapes of clouds and textures of terrain you realize that whether we’re painting or taking photos, we are attempting to reproduce the work of a much greater artist.

Heaven on Earth

Here I am looking across the Manatee River on an early morning after the rains. The combination of the clouds and calm waters is just a lucky happenstance of timing. Any later and the breeze picks up to ripple the water. Any earlier and I was just standing in the rain. But as the clouds broke and the sun began to rise it created this dramatic affect in the sky. Quite frankly it reminds me of a painting of heaven. I’d like to think that in my own version of heaven this is what it looks like.

Heaven on Earth
The calm water and dramatic clouds reminds me a little bit of heaven

Irrespective of that, I gravitate to idyllic scenes in my photography. Simple images that try not to cover too many subjects is best. Ironically, keeping it simple can easier said than done. I for one am easily enamored with all the little details, maybe because I’m a bit of a geek. But aesthetically, the more simple an image is the better, too many details water down the story an image conveys.

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Anyway, I can ramble on forever about composition, but in truth I consider myself a beginner, I have so much to learn and I expect it will continue to be a life long learning quest. But for now, simple, calm and idyllic; that’s my favorite recipe.

Half by Chance

As is normally the case, I had no idea where I was going. All I knew was that it was before dawn on a Saturday and I was driving somewhere to take a picture of something yet to be determined. It’s not a very exact plan but sometimes that’s just how I roll. Often I have no idea where I’m going when I go out to take pictures. Instead of turning left I turn right and just go with the flow of random-ness in the universe.

Half By Chance
I managed to get this picture of sunrise in Bradenton half by chance

I ended up outside the gates at Desoto Point looking at rain clouds and trying to remember why this was better than bed. I put on a poncho and walked to the shore. I told myself that once I got there I could turn around and head home knowing that I tried. Standing there in the rain I was grateful for the solitude, and the poncho. About the same time I noticed the clouds starting to break up. Sure enough the clouds parted, the sun rose and I captured the moment with what seemed to me like a bit of luck.

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I could have left for home before the scene unfolded, or not even walked the trail to the shore. The fact that I did and stayed seemed to me at the moment to be more chance than purpose. That attitude comes from many occasions where it doesn’t work out. So I suppose the odds were in my favor this time and I managed to get the shot, even if it was half by chance.

Rainbow on the Coast

Rainbow on the Coast
Rainbow on the Coast where the Manatee River meets the Gulf of Mexico    Purchase a gallery print

I got up early one summer morning and caught this rainbow along the gulf coast as I walked the trails at DeSoto National Memorial in Bradenton. In summer we have thunder clouds that change from one minute to the next. They combine the energy of the warm air and gulf waters to become powerful and, if I might say, rambunctious. By that I mean loud, dramatic and fun to watch, especially from a photography perspective. On this morning I also caught a rainbow as the clouds were breaking apart. This is an area were thunderstorms and rainbows are common as the waters of the Manatee River meet the Gulf of Mexico. The storms like to follow the path of the river and I’ve taken a lot of photos rainbows around here. In real life they are beautiful to look at yet don’t always translate into a good picture. One morning I watched as a double rainbow formed over the river in the soft light of morning. Many people were stopping to look at comment, it was amazing to witness. I took a bunch of photos yet when I got home and looked at them they didn’t look all that special. I think that in most cases, rainbows are meant to be enjoyed in the moment and trying to capture their beauty can be as elusive as the pot of gold at the end.