I have purposely left a lot of space in this image so that it can breathe. Sometimes images tell a story and are arranged with objects here and there. In this case there is no story, just open space and room to breathe.
We are bombarded with information at every turn. We are plugged into the information superhighway and deceive ourselves if we think otherwise. Finding respite might be as simple as standing by the water’s edge and looking out at nothing for a few minutes.
This theme is one I’ve been exploring lately in images. Not that I have answers to anything, it’s just that I feel the need to slow down from time to time. But do as I say and not as I do. If I took my own advice it might actually do me some good. I’ll try to keep that in mind, gotta run.
Here is a group of people watching as a pod of dolphins pass by Emerson Point. I was too busy composing my shot and only when I got home did I realize they were watching dolphins. If you click on the photo and zoom in you can see them just offshore. These highly intelligent animals are common in Florida so sightings are not unusual.
Whenever we have visitors come to Florida we hope they get to see dolphins. It seems that if you’re looking for them they don’t show, but they’re always around when you’re not.
I barley made it here in time to take the photo. I couldn’t make up my mind whether I should go out. I procrastinated and then decided to go at the last possible moment. To make matters worse I was rushing to get to the shore and then got stuck behind a couple of slow cars. When I got here I only had about five minutes to get a few shots. As I looked for compositions I saw this group and stood behind them as they gazed westward. In the end I captured a few images that I was pleased with.
All of the apparent nonsense, from slow drivers to my own indecision were for nothing. Often when I’m rushing, things don’t work out the way I think they should. The trick with landscape photography is to go with the flow. It’s easier said than done but things work out anyway. That’s what I’ve noticed over the years and it reinforces my idea that photography is reflective of a state of mind.
This is a meditation sunset from Emerson Point in my hometown of Palmetto. It’s the kind of image you might see on the cover of a meditation book, at least that’s what comes to my mind.
Speaking of which, I’ve been trying meditation lately. Not that I know what I’m doing, just taking a few minutes to clear my mind when I can. Long story short, it’s easier said than done. And to be honest I’m not sure if this picture would help. As soon as I look at a photo I start thinking thoughts and you’re not supposed to do that. But I’m no expert so take what I say with a grain of salt. Maybe I should give it a try, it might help for all I know.
Moving along, I took this with my new Laowa 12mm wide angle lens. The fun thing about getting a new lens is I get to try it out on familiar locations and see what happens. A wide angle lens has the tendency to create a tunnel effect, meaning that everything appears to converge in a point on the horizon. It’s just a nifty effect of the lens, we don’t actually see things that way.
Anyway, let’s all take a deep breath, look at this picture and clear our minds. It might just do us a world of good. When I finally figure out how to meditate I’ll write a book and put this photo on the cover. Maybe.
This is a wide angle view of the Gulf of Mexico I took from Emerson Point in Florida. I made this with the new Laowa 12mm f/2.8 lens that was created through the help of a Kickstarter. The claim to fame on this lens is that there is no distortion. That’s something hard to do but someone figured it out and this is the result. Generally we use software to remove the distortion of a wide lens, but in this case it’s not necessary. Anyway, it’s kinda cool in a geeky kind of way and I’ll be carrying the lens with me in the next little while.
Sometimes I’ll drive to this spot if I think there’ll nice sunset. It’s one of my goto spots for sunsets since it’s so close to home. Normally there are a handful of other peopler her with cameras looking to snap some nice pics.
I don’t mind repeating myself because mother nature never does. So no matter how many times I come to the same spot, it will always be different.
After the sun sets the park ranger usually comes along to shoo everyone out of the park. It closes right after sunset and if you linger too long they will let you know. I used to get annoyed by that but I have since come to realize that the park is the domain of the wildlife. As soon as it gets dark the road fills with all manner of creatures coming out for the evening. So it makes sense that we should give them their space not to mention it can be dangerous if cars are on the roads at the same time.
I could post pictures of herons every day of the week, but then I’d have to rename the blog, Another Day Another Heron. This is such a common sight here in central Florida that I almost take it for granted; almost, but not quite. I used to live in Ontario Canada and I would travel into the back country. Up there the heron sightings were rare and it was a big deal when you saw one. Not so much here, they basically own the place. You see them along any stretch of water all up and down the coast. And they are territorial so you typically see them alone. I’ve noticed that other seabirds tend to give herons a wide berth.
The few I saw in Ontario were shy of humans, basically they would move away if you got within a hundred meters. Again, not so here, it seems they’ve grown accustom to us humans. They’ll even take an interested in us if we happen to be fishing. If you have bait or scraps they come right up to you. For me it’s quite an experience. It reminds me of feeding Flamingos in a petting zoo, they are even more amazing up close.
Herons fish in the shallow waters snatching fish with their pointy beaks. If you watch them for any length of time you’ll note they are extremely patient. They’ll remain perfectly still while a fish swims up and then they’ll strike like lightning. The prey never even saw it coming. It reminds me of martial arts, quick, precise, lethal.
I have this place I go to take pictures but I go there so often that in the back of my head I think I’m repeating myself. But with the sky on fire like this, how could I possibly repeat anything? I could come here every day of the year and the images would be different; which is not so much my doing as that of mother nature herself. The display of clouds changes completely from one day to the next.
As a photographer who is interested in art I think about these things a lot. I think about scenes and what they mean. I try to extract a little perspective. It’s an exercise in self discovery because to interpret something as abstract as an image of clouds requires imagination, vocabulary and some self awareness. And therein lies the heart of the matter.
Self awareness is about as ephemeral an idea as they come. But I find just a little bit goes a long way. That’s because the ideas and thoughts about self awareness are best described in metaphors. Bingo, images make good metaphors. So if you think about it, we’re not interpreting the image, rather ourselves through the image. So, in the case the this sky, it’s really just a metaphor for something within.
I went to this point at the waters edge not sure what I’d shoot. I took a few shots of this or that but nothing really clicked (no pun intended). I was walking back to my car when I looked back to see this group of people talking at the waters edge. This ended up being the shot that I liked the most.
I suppose standing at the waters edge is a metaphor for a border between this world and the next. When we stand there we look out and contemplate. At least that’s how I interpret this scene. For all I know they could be talking about where to go for dinner. Anyway, in my photograph they are looking out in contemplation, that’s my story and i’m sticking to it.
This place is ten minutes from home and one of my favorite spots to go. Sometimes I come in the morning but mostly at dusk. There is an automated gate that closes just after sunset. I tend to linger and several times I’ve been asked to leave by the ranger. I will get permission one day to stay later so that I can get some clear shots of the night sky. But for the time being the shot will be of people in contemplation at the waters edge.
I took this during sunrise at Emerson Preserve. As the sun rises the light is truly rare for a few minutes and everything seems to take on a magical quality. Sometimes I like to focus on ordinary plants, placing them directly in front of the sun. At moments like this even the ordinary seems extraordinary.
I think that at times we all tend to underestimate our own value. I do it from time to time. Sometimes I feel just like this plant in the field. I’m not sure about the metaphor but you get my meaning. Yet, when I came along on this morning I was struck by this little plant and how the sun illuminated it for a few minutes. I think the plant neither knows or cares that I was impressed and took its picture. It just does its thing, whether someone notices it or not is of little consequence.
So maybe that’s one way to look at it. Despite those moments of self doubt we all get, just keep on keeping on and know that we’re awesome, whether anyone notices or not. Other people noticing is not the point, being awesome is.
I find my own meaning when I’m up at dawn with my camera. Its about being in the moment and aware of what’s around me. That sounds simple, but for me, it’s the key to just being happy and awesome without having to be noticed.
A couple of mornings ago I came to this park to take pictures. It’s only a few minutes drive so its convenient for me to get here and back before breakfast. Lord knows I can’t miss breakfast.
Now for whatever reason, we get these amazing popcorn-like clouds coming out of the East. They glide in from the middle of Florida over the land and then stop abruptly at the coast. So if I were to turn around and face west towards the Gulf of Mexico the sky would be cloudless. I think that’s strange and it drives me nuts. I would love to take pictures of these clouds over the beach but they’re never there, they’re hovering inland. I have no idea why that happens but I do notice it quite a lot.
From my home office I have a window that looks east and I can see these clouds during the day. I’d rather be out taking photos of them than working so I was pretty happy that I came this morning; just as I was about to leave I noticed them. All good things come to those who wait. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
I remember taking this because it was on my birthday last December. The conditions looked good and I thought, hey I can do whatever I want today so I headed out and caught this amazing display. Not a bad present.
We get these sunsets quite a bit, the trick is knowing when to show up. Of course there’s an app for that, it’s called Sky Fire at http://www.skyfireapp.com. Basically it looks at the atmospheric conditions near you and produces a probability of a good sunset or sunrise. I’ve used it once or twice and it works about seventy percent of the time. Close to home I’ve learned to read the sky but my own success rate is only about fifty percent. On the road it’s a good tool to have especial if you are not familiar with the conditions.
I like living near the water as its become a central theme in many of my landscape images. Most of our planet is covered in water and I think I heard or read somewhere that there is more water below the earths surface than all the oceans. That’s mind boggling if it’s true. Nonetheless water in an image is a strong element that resonates with me at some level. Maybe its because our bodies are mostly water and there is some elemental attraction. You never know.