This is the old city pier on Anna Maria Island. The “city” is Anna Maria, but if a few beach houses and seaside restaurants make a city, then I’m a monkey’s uncle.
To further make my point, the speed limit is 25mph; I know, because I paid a nice fine for driving 35. But I digress. It’s been over a year since the restaurant on this pier was open. It got damaged in a hurricane, and now it and the dock are being reconstructed. But, as you already know, this is not a city where things move fast.
In the city of Anna Maria, there isn’t much to else to do but go to the beach, fish and eat at the restaurants. But then, that’s the attraction. A kind of place where you go to get away from everything else. There isn’t a lot of serious stuff going on, just the odd bit of monkey business; I should know.
I know I shouldn’t spend time wishing I was somewhere else. However, I do. Except when I’m here, then I don’t.
When I have a vacation coming up, I wish I was there already; but if I were, it would be over sooner, and I’d be back to the real world when I should be on vacation. The only other option is to make life one big vacation. Yeah, like that’s going to happen.
If life was just one big vacation, would I want to go to work? I think I know the answer to that. Sometimes I have too many thoughts for my own good. The best cure for that is a beach-view of the sunset on Friday. There’s plenty of time for the other stuff on Monday.
Here is an image from nearby Tom Bennett Park in Bradenton. I’ve been here twice this week trying to get some photos that do the landscape justice. To make this, I combined four vertical images, and each was a combination of two focus stacked images; so eight in all.
I’ve been doing a lot of focus stacking lately. If you’re not familiar, it’s taking two or more photos of the same thing, each focused at a different distance. Then by combining the in-focus parts of each image, everything is sharp. It’s an excellent technique to use when you want to have a strong foreground element. It makes good sense in a lot of landscape scenes. Also, since this is a multi-image panorama, the resolution is very high. Therefore, having everything in focus is even more beneficial.
I was at this same park a day or two earlier when I came to walk with my dog. This time I came alone to shoot, but after I did, I felt a little guilty that Mr. Wiggles got gypped out of a walk. I could have brought him because the photography wasn’t particularly difficult. Mr. Wiggles has me wrapped around his paw. I’m not done here so I’ll probably bring him along next time.
I saw this tree while driving past a park in the heart of Kansas City. I like the idea of a tree standing alone. I saw a lot of those in the Dakotas during my road trip. But in general, I was going too fast to pull over on the busy interstate.
I was a little frustrated at not getting all those shots on the highway, so when I drove past this park, I stopped right away. Finding a tree isolated from others is rare.
This image is a little deceptive. First, I’m shooting up a hill where the horizon line blocks the trees behind it. In that way, it creates an illusion that there is only one tree. Secondly, using Photoshop, I carefully removed a radio tower on the left.
Highway 240 loops through the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. I took this photo near the entrance to the park. The geological formations of The Badlands are amazing to look at, but in this frame, I was looking at the winding road ahead. The entire thirty-mile loop is scenic winding roads with turnouts every half mile or so.
If I had a motorcycle, this is where I’d ride. The road has everything, curves, hills, and of course scenery. When I came through here, it was a couple of weeks before Sturgis, and already groups of bikers were riding in that direction. I met one biker from Montreal when I took this photo. We chatted for a while because we were both into photography.
In these grassy plains are hundreds, if not thousands, of prairie dogs. We’d stop along the side of the road and watch their antics; it was a regular circus. We continued down the road, eventually arriving in Rapid City. That night we had a massive thunderstorm, like those we get in Florida. It made me think about the constant erosion of this landscape as well as all those groundhogs hiding in their burrows.
One morning I simply crossed the street to take pictures of weeds in a field. It’s not earth-shattering stuff, rather an experiment in perspective. The idea is to focus on something we take for granted and by doing so, elevate it. Not that our human eyes are the only ones, which I suppose is the whole point.
At times I’m obsessed with seeing things through different angles, it’s the result of having developed photographer eyes. I use my mind’s eye to see things from other perspectives and then I try to capture it with a camera.
The perspective of tall grasses in a field at sunrise is just that, a perspective. As a subject of a photograph it does not register high our list. Despite all that I find the image with the rising sun somehow compelling and, a reminder that there is much we see and overlook every day.
Last night I made it to the beach for sunset and to take a few photos. Lately it’s been a little cold here which keeps people away from the beach. Now by cold, I don’t mean cold-cold, like you guys get up north. No, I mean cold for us, like maybe I should wear a sweatshirt, …or maybe not.
I’m being facetious of course, I’m perfect aware of the fact that I don’t know what cold is. Nevertheless, my kinda cold keeps the locals away from the beach so that I can get these empty beach shots. In summer it’s a whole different ballgame.
This is Holmes Beach, which is between Manatee Beach and Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island. You can drive for miles either way and it’s just one little beach town after the next. That’s why so many people come down in in winter; to get away from the cold-cold and enjoy a little beach weather, even if I do think it’s cold.
Here is another sunset from Lido Beach in Sarasota. I took this a few months ago around eight o’clock but now that it’s almost winter the sun goes down three hours earlier. If you ask me that’s a big change to adjust to. Part of it is due to the seasons but it’s also due to daylight savings that we have here in the US.
Why do we change our clocks twice a year? As far as I can tell it’s based on an outdated notion of efficiency. In this era of automation I think that daylight savings may have outlived its usefulness. One thing it succeeds at is confusing our bodies twice a year. Wouldn’t it be more natural to just stay in one time zone? Other countries do it without problems.
If the sun set a little latter then we could enjoy longer afternoons. In Florida it would make a difference for folks who come down in winter to go to the beach. Anyway, I’m not the only one thinking about this, the idea is picking up traction. Maybe we can do away with daylight savings soon. Something tells me this might be one thing we can all agree on.
My last night in Manhattan I spent exploring Central Park and taking a lot of photos. The park is well lit with street lamps along the paths and people milling about just as they do during the day. This is in a section known as Central Park South, which is bordered by the towers of midtown to form a surreal backdrop.
This is thirty-second exposure and it appears a little brighter than it actually was. As a result I didn’t notice the people to the right until about halfway through the exposure. I think they had the perfect setting for an evening picnic.
I rented a bike so I could cover more ground and even at midnight on a Sunday there were people riding bikes alongside me. Maybe I’m naïve but the park seemed safe. Historically the park has had a bad reputation after dark, but it seems to have shed some of that that over the years. There are lights everywhere and paths filled with people enjoying the setting, not to mention an abundance of security.
If the park didn’t close at one in the morning I could have stayed all night. There are endless compositions for photography. But alas I had a plane to catch in the morning so it was just as well. But now I know that the next time I come back I can plan on getting very little sleep, at least at night.
Here is a shot of my wife Crystal and our dog Wiggles at Bayfront Park on Longboat Key. The few times I’ve been here it’s usually empty. It’s a nice place to visit if you’re looking for that kind of thing. We stopped in on the way to dinner at St Armands, Circle; a little village just south of here. A few minutes later when we got to St Armands, the sun was setting so I quickly double-parked and ran out on to the beach to grab a few shots. That’s the problem with sunsets, they always occur around dinnertime. It helps to have a patient family.
Back here at the park we were watching a manatee just off one of the piers. He was just resting in the water, blowing bubbles and coming up for air every few minutes. Manatees and dolphin sightings are common in this area. They’re fun to watch but I’ve not had a lot of success in capturing them in images.
I took a lot of pictures in the few minutes we were here, including some from the drone. We were just heading back to the car when I noticed the long shadows. This is an example of just trying to be aware of scenes as they unfold and going with the flow. I had other shots in mind but this ended up being my favorite. It was completely unplanned yet somehow wins the day. That’s pretty much how every outing goes, I may get several shots I like, but usually there is just one that stands out, and this is that one for me.