Due to the full range of light and the difficulty of shooting into the sun, this is a combination of at least five photos. I combined the images with AuroraHDR and then parts of it re-layered in Photoshop. In some respects, this is a painting, in that the light was blended to create a picture. That creative process I find satisfying, even if it is the same scene on a different day.
If you head down this road for three minutes, you’ll end up at the gulf. If you go the other direction for about two hours, you’ll end up at the Atlantic. Only in, Florida.
I was leaving the gulf and stopped for a different shot when I happened to look back; that’s how I came to take this photo. Most of the pictures I take originate from this rather haphazard approach. That’s not to say I don’t occasionally plan; it’s just that planning and this type of photography are only loosely connected. Having a plan gets me out of the house, and that’s where the connection ends.
Once out of the house, the struggle is figuring out what photos to take; to solve that I try to stay open and aware of what’s around me. Over the years, I’ve developed an aesthetic which largely stems from my personality. So, when I go out to take photos, even though I may not know what I’m looking for, I will generally know it when I see it.
Here is one of the trails at Emerson Point that I recently explored. If it weren’t for that they are well-marked, I’d still be in there somewhere.
When you look at this photo, something might seem a little off. The path appears level yet distorted. Can you guess what it is? Spoiler, …the boardwalk ascends a hill, it’s not level. Once you know this, the sense of distortion disappears.
Our brain is the most complicated thing known to science. But neuroscientist can do all sorts of little test like this to point out the contours of aspects we are only beginning to understand. Check out this short demonstration of the blind spot which we have that the brain fills in. Most of us never even know we have one. I certainly didn’t until a few days ago.
As we head into the middle of summer, I am looking forward to some downtime under a tiki hut sipping a frosty little drink with an umbrella. Umbrellas in glasses are a crucial element for survival in harsh environments. This is an important fact you may wish to keep in mind. You’re very welcome.
The reflections along the Hillsborough River are entirely peaceful. That is until you realize alligators lurk just below the surface.
But if I was an alligator, this seems like the perfect place to live. I’m living in a state park, I don’t get harassed, there are plenty of turtles to munch, and I don’t have to get stuck in someone’s pool and have my jaws taped shut.
In reality, alligators have it hard. Only a small percentage make it to maturity. The most energetic, most intelligent among them live out their full lives. And the luckiest of those are living here in these beautiful parks.
Docks are kind of a big thing here; everybody seems to have one. Dock Life is the new Salt Life; only you don’t get wet.
Not that I know the first thing about docks or salt. I’m one of three people that doesn’t have one. Most of the docks in Florida are private, and they have No Trespassing signs posted. That’s a shame, but I suppose it makes sense.
Anyway, some of the best are public, like this one in Longboat Key. It’s next to a couple of restaurants so you can dock the boat and have dinner. Near my home is a commercial marina with a couple of hundred yachts. It’s also next to a restaurant, appropriately named the Dockside Grill.
The little stubs grow up from the roots and are known as Cypress Knees. It’s thought their purpose is to provide stability to the swamp floor or, extra oxygen to the Cypress during times of flood. These are the best guesses of the scientists, but no one knows for sure. However, if you look closely, you can see they are actually sleeping gnomes. And I didn’t need science to figure that one out.
There are two paths along the river; one higher up and one lower down at the bank. The alligators prefer the lower one.
The problem with the higher path is there is too much growth to get a clear shot of the river. So every fifty yards or so I’d make my way down here to set up for a photo. It’s amazing how the sense of hearing becomes heightened at such times.
I’ve been in Florida for a while, so I’ve become familiar with some of the animal sounds. I also carefully scan the water and banks all around to ensure I’m not disturbing them. Alligators don’t want anything to do with us, and if you’re mindful and steer clear, there will never be a problem. With this knowledge and care, I spent much of my time on the lower path.
I took this about five years ago at Fort DeSoto Park. Looking at it now I wish I’d used a smaller aperture so the foreground would be sharper, but I like the photo anyway. Sometimes I try not to sweat the little stuff if I like the image. Technically the picture is a bit subpar, but I like the shot anyway, and in my mind, that’s what counts.