I’m standing on the western tip of a peninsula called Emerson Point. It’s where I come to get away from it all, a little sliver of solitude.
That’s not me standing by the water, so apparently, it’s not complete solitude. There were about a dozen people here, and typically I’m not the only one with a camera. But having people around ensures I can place one in the frame to tell a story. In this case, the story is about a solitary figure watching the sunset.
Usually, when I frame a person in a shot like this, I try to ensure they are nondescript. In the movie industry, it’s known as atmosphere. I used to work in the back office of a movie studio, and an atmosphere person was paid twenty-five dollars a day. That’s not bad for just standing around; but in this case, I didn’t spend a cent.
Last week I posted a picture of a bench in British Columbia. This one is a good deal closer to home. It’s the bench at Emerson Point in Palmetto Florida. It sits at the very end of a peninsula facing west across the Gulf of Mexico. It’s perhaps one of the best places to watch the sunset.
Typically when I arrive at this time, the bench is already taken. But it rained earlier, and so there were only a handful of people. I’ve never sat in it myself; I’m usually too busy taking pictures.
Benches make excellent subjects for photos. They draw our eyes in, then to the direction they point. At least that’s my theory. Nevertheless, this one is in an excellent location, and if you are in the area, it’s not too shabby of a spot to watch the day end.
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.
I’ve come to realize that if we don’t slow down once in a while, we go nowhere. Going about tasks of making a living, eating and sleeping is like a treadmill. I think each of us is here for a reason, but figuring it out is up to us and no one else. So maybe we need to put a little time aside.
Taking a few minutes each day to think about it is a way out. It’s an exit from the treadmill and the more we do it, the more we leave the mundane, hopefully.
When I see people staring out to sea it’s evokes a metaphor for reflection on life. Speaking for myself, I could do a little more of it, because when I don’t I see a treadmill. It would be better to see my feet in the warm waters of the gulf.
Pictures are like metaphors. I think this is one of those, at least it seems that way to me. Point in a direction, keep marching, in the process define yourself. Which sounds a lot like life in general, only I get to wax eloquent because this is my blog.
I’ve taken dozens of shots from this pier in Bradenton Beach. Even though it’s same old thing I come back looking for more. As long as were on metaphors, shooting this pier is like stone soup. The sea is the broth, the pier is the stone, and everything else gives it flavor. I keep coming back to try new flavors. Maybe I’m on to something, or just hungry.
Nevertheless, the more I immerse into photography, the more I look for metaphors. It seems natural when going to the beach, at least for me. Always looking for meaning in non-descript scenery, it’s what I do.
A couple of nights ago I headed down to the beach and just after sunset when most of the people had left. As I was driving towards the beach most of the traffic was in the opposite direction. Parking was super easy and I had the whole place to myself.
This boardwalk crosses over the dunes to Nokomis beach. Whenever you go to the beach here along the gulf coast you see these walkways. They protect the dunes which in turn protect the islands during storms. I like how they appear to provide a grand entrance to the beach.
The sand at the beaches around here is a fine white silica, almost like powder. I’m not aware of any other beaches that have this type of sand. My car has black floor boards and the white powdery sand gets all over it. When I was in the Caribbean I learned a trick from a local tour guide. That is, to keep a brush in the car to brush the sand from my feet before getting in. Not that sand is a big problem, but I’m a bit of a neat freak so little tricks help.
The sand on the east coast of Florida is completely different. The first time I walked along the beach in Fort Lauderdale I was amazed at how hard it was. Your feet sink six inches with every step making any long walk a real chore. This west coast sand is much easier to walk on. Anyway, that’s probably way more that you ever wanted to know about sand.
I take so many photos from this spot at Bradenton Beach they may as well name the pier after me (no, not really).
Piers make great leading lines and they always attract people. So if you’re a photographer and you sit near one long enough you’ll see all kinds of things to take pictures of. And, by the way, this pier and several others nearby were recently built to replace old piers destroyed in storms. I’m happy to say that after a recent hurricane the new ones had no damage at all. Yay!
This spot is popular with surfers and sometimes they use the pier to launch. When I took this, another offshore storm was creating waves, which in turn brought out the surfers and photographers including yours truly.
The pier is made of massive concrete blocks attached to pilings. It took about a year to construct and I remember wishing it would be finished. The day finally came and now they’re magnets for everything from surfers to seabirds, not to mention photo guys like me.
To borrow a saying from golf, a bad day at the beach is still better than a good day at the office. On the weekend there was a storm in the gulf, and whenever that happens it pushes waves into the coast. That’s a queue for local surfers, and me, your intrepid photographer, to show up at the south end of Bradenton Beach for a little action.
The waves may not be big compared to other places like California, but big enough to get the job done. Hurricane Nate was about four hundred miles east of here, but even at that distance it managed to create a nice little swell.
This is the first time I intentionally came to the beach to photograph surfers; at other times I’m usually shooting something else and just happen to get a few shots. This time I came prepared with a long lens to get in close.
I’ve photographed other sports and each type has a different set of tricks. The first thing I learned this day was that the angle of the waves dictates the direction of the boards. Basically it meant that from my angle the surfers would have their backs to me. There are little nuances to know about photographing each sport that never occur to you until you’re there. I learned a few things for the next time so it’s all good.
Lucky for me I live in a place were I’ll have plenty of opportunities. However just standing on the beach with the waves at my feet, taking pictures of anything is a lot of fun. It was way better than even a great day at the office.
Here’s drone shot from a familiar pier that I like to hang out at. I thought we’d get a nice sunset but the sun peaked for only a few minutes and the rest of the evening was gray and cloudy. But it was not a big surprise; cloud cover is a common, especially when we have afternoon storms.
I had the drone sitting stationary in this location for about five minutes. As soon as I saw the sun pop out I snapped a still. Then, while leaving the drone hovering in place, I reached for the camera in by bag but I was too late. By the time I pulled it out the sun was already gone. They say the best camera for the job is the one you have with you. In this case the best camera was the one hovering fifty-feet up.
I just returned from a couple of trips and I’m happy to be back here where I can walk along the beach and take photos. Sometimes I get to the point where I’m a little complacent about living near the beach. But when I go on a trip I realize just how fortunate I am. Then I return with a newfound appreciation for the scenery where I live. But I think that’s normal; you walkaway for a spell and then realize what you have in your own backyard, even if we do get a cloudy day every now and then.