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.
Here I’m standing on a hill at Emerson Point which is a preserve not far from home. The funny thing about it is this is the highest point around. Can you imagine living in a place where the ground rises no higher than a palm tree? Having grown up in California I can say it takes some getting used to. For one, I find it a little disorienting when I don’t have a mountain range for bearing. The only thing I have is the direction of the sun, but that only works when it’s low in the sky. When I get turned around I always repeat in my head, “The sun rises in the East”. I’m a modern day Daniel Boone.
These hills along the coast are referred to as dunes. They don’t look like dunes because they is typically only one by it self and covered with plants. Also, to me they seem to be made of dirt, nonetheless they are referred to by the park rangers as dunes. Perhaps they have a high concentration of sand.
So unless I stand on a dune, I don’t have a strong idea of what the land looks like. That probably adds to my challenges with orientation, but I’m getting better at it. I can always use the compass app on my iPhone, not to mention Google Maps. So as long as I have cell converge I’m good.
People watching the sunset over the water is something I see all the time here in Florida; not just once in a while, but ALL THE TIME. 😉 And it’s a little more organized than you might think. Every evening there are groups of people who have gathered together with fold-up chairs at the beach to experience this event together. Sometimes, like on the evening I took this, it’s just a few people. However at another beach I’m thinking of there could be as many as twenty. This is serious business down here in the sunshine state.
I know of a mobile home park along the water that has permanent chairs set up facing west for just this purpose. I know that because I’ve seen them all line up, drinks in hand, watching the sun set. What a life.
Sometimes when I see these groups on the beach I think they are church groups or maybe a meditation circle, because before the sun sets they’re all in a circle discussing or singing or playing drums. Its kind of like something I’d expect to see in California, not here in Florida.
I’m developing a theory that if you live someplace where it’s warm and has a lot of sunsets you are more likely to be mellow. Okay, so I’m no Einstein, I suppose its just common sense, self-evident. On a related note, I’ve heard that we Floridians are called stone-slackers. I have an inkling about what the connotation is and I think there’s more than a seed of truth in that.
It’s no wonder so many people come here to retire. After living a hectic life, why not? Well, I’m probably not a stone slacker yet because I’m not retired, but when and if I do, I’m in the right place. I already have a fold-up chair, all I need now is a drum.
Herons like to find a perch up high to preen and watch. I know because we have one that sits on an oak branch out back. He typically shows up in the afternoon to scratch and decide what to do next. This one however I found at Emerson Point which is a local preserve. We are fortunate to have these birds in such close proximity. Years ago when I lived in Canada, Heron sightings were rare and a “big deal”. It’s still great when I see them down here in Florida, just not so rare.
Whenever I need a quick sunset but don’t have the time to drive to the beach or someplace for the “perfect shot”, I head down the street to Emerson Point for a little quickie. It’s a little peninsula that points west into the Gulf of Mexico and no matter how many times I go there, it never disappoints, it’s my secret sunset “go to”. Only it’s kind of an open secret, I almost always run into another photographer and half a dozen others who just come to watch the spectacle.
Here is a pond at Emerson Preserve, which as you can see is quite calm in the morning. This is not the first I’ve posted from here with the calm reflecting water and the clouds overhead; and I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last. Anyway, hundreds of years ago native americans occupied this spot. I’m sure it looks different, but possibly they had a similar scene each morning as they went about their tasks. I would love to travel back three hundred years in a time machine to see what I could see. But until they invent one I’ll just have to imagine for myself.
From a little park known as Emerson Point which has trails through the canopy of trees draped with Spanish Moss. About 10 minutes later the sun would set and the canopy became much darker. I usually linger to watch the sunset on the water over to the left and then walk back through these trees to my car. During the day and weekends there are a lot of visitors, but I typically come here at dusk and have the whole place to myself. If I ever get lost in the canopy on my way out, you’ll know where to find me.
This evening I headed up to Emerson Point to catch the colors and watch the sun go down. It was a little breezy and this kite surfer was having fun. It seems that a lot of people are out having fun here in Florida. I guess you can count me in on that since I tried Paddleboarding on Saturday. Kind of like paddling a canoe, only you’re standing up. Takes a little getting used but the worst that can happen is you fall into the warm water. Its the middle of summer and it’s hard to take things too seriously, just relax and go with the flow. Hope you all had a good weekend.