Westward Gaze

This is a common scene at the beach and a good illustration of why I prefer the west coast of Florida.

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WestwardGaze
The sun sets on the western coast of Florida.

Or for that matter, the west coast of anywhere. Sure, you can get up early to see the sunrise on the east, but it’s not the same. Watching the sun sink into the ocean at the end of the day is observed facing west only.

visit the sunset gallery

According to astonomy.com, about half of the galaxys rotate clockwise like ours, and the other half counterclockwise. That means that planets in other galaxies, and maybe a few in our own, have planets with the sunset in the east — something to think about.

Skyway Bridge

I take a lot of pictures of this bridge because it’s so close to home. It’s the biggest thing around, way bigger than a bread box.

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Skyway Bridge
A long exposure of the Sunshine Skyway

Do people still use bread boxes these days? Whenever I buy bread, it goes in the freezer. But I digress; the bridge is the biggest thing around, so it’s the center of a lot of attention. I’m all about iconic photos close to home like this.

more of this bridge in the gallery

This photo, in particular, is a long exposure that was taken with an ND filter. The picture is 46 seconds long which is why the water appears flat. Usually, I might use Photoshop to create the same effect, but in this case, there is little, if any, Photoshop involved.

The Real Thing

I used to have a thing about benches. Now its beach chairs and umbrellas. At least I’m progressing.

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The Real Thing
An afternoon on Bradenton Beach Florida

When I take photos of random people on the beach, I try to remain conscious of their privacy, lest I have them sign a release form. But when it comes to objects, everything is fair game. I once did a commercial beach shoot. There was so much involved, from legal to logistics. I prefer just to walk around and take pictures of interesting things, or people.

see the beach gallery

Putting people or chairs in a shot causes us to imagine ourselves in the scene. If we see people, we subconsciously become them. When we look at chairs, in our mind’s eye we find ourselves sitting in them. We project ourselves with our thoughts without even realizing it; it’s a habit we all have. Sometimes I feel I’ve been somewhere having previously only looked at it in pictures or videos. But, as they say, there’s no substitute for the real thing.

Mangrove Tree

I’m watching a photography show on Netflix called Tales by Light. In episode 2 of Paradise in Peril, they mention that we now believe mangroves sequester more carbon from the atmosphere than rain forests. Good grief!

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Mangrove Tree
A mangrove tree on the gulf coast of Florida

That’s a pretty amazing fact, and all the more reason we need to protect mangroves and allow them to thrive along our coastal communities. In Florida, we have strict laws regarding mangroves, and it’s for a good reason. If it weren’t for mangroves, much of Florida would have been washed away centuries ago.

more mangroves in the gallery

We have a lot of mangroves here and see them pretty much anywhere along the water. I took this at Emerson Point one afternoon back in November. I usually look for different perspectives across the water, but now it seems I’ve been missing the main character all along; the amazing mangrove tree.

Mangrove Glow

A few days ago I had a bright idea to take some photos. Somehow, I managed to leave with enough time to get here and set up the shot without rushing.

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Mangrove Glow
A mangrove plant at Emerson Point in Palmetto Florida

I usually procrastinate and then end up dashing out the door. But once in a while, I do it the proper way, whatever that is. I am continually going between calm and panic in my photography. Kind of like life I suppose.

more mangroves from the gallery

Lately, when I know I’m shooting into the sun, I’ve been using my high-quality Sony 24-70mm f2.8 GM lens. It’s a lot heavier than my standard travel lens, but man-o-man, the quality comes through. I notice the difference because I take and process so many photos, but most folks would never know. That’s okay because I take these landscape photos for myself. And as the saying goes, whatever makes me happy.

Focus Stack

I took this earlier in the year before the red tide came in, back then there were plenty of seabirds trolling the coast for fish. The red tide is finally decreasing so hopefully now the birds will return in more significant numbers.

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Focus Stack
A sand piper on one pier and people on another

Here’s an interesting photo that uses focus stacking to get the effect of both the foreground and background in focus. It’s a typical scene along the beach with the ever-present sandpiper.

More from Anna Maria Island

To make this I took two photos, one focused on the piper and one on the people further off. Then by blending the two, they both appear in focus. This technique is not so good for scenes like this because the movement of the water complicates the blending. You can see a little blurriness between the two in-focus points. Nevertheless, I think the overall effect is rather nice.

Florida Sun

I used to live in Canada and wondered what it would be like to live in a place like Florida; now that I’ve been here fifteen years I know, hot as hell.

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Florida Sun
This image is from the Venice North Jetty, just south of Sarasota.

It’s called the sunshine state for a reason. The sun is white, hot, and intense; which is why I remain most of the time indoors. I look forward to the few months I can wear a sweatshirt.

Like anything, you adjust with light clothing, hats, and sunglasses. If however, you work outdoors, then you cover up. Outdoor workers cover from head to toe in the most intense heat and humidity imaginable. Think about that.

more sun themes from the gallery

I cannot fathom how the early explorers wearing wool and boots made due. But they did, and now we have A/C, Raybans and Piña Coladas. Thank goodness for that.

Due West

Fort DeSoto Park is a nice place to go for sunsets here in the Tampa Bay region. This scene is typical of what it looks like in the evening and, is why I keep coming back to take photos.

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Due West
A typical evening scene at the Fort DeSoto fishing pier

If you followed the path of the sun due west for about eight hundred miles, you end up near Corpus Christi Texas. To do that though you should be in something larger than a rowboat. Speaking of which, I took a cruise out of here once, and when we passed this pier in our big ship, it looked so small that I almost didn’t recognize it.

panorama gallery

In case you’re interested, I set the aperture on the lens to f22 for this shot. That’s a little extreme, and it does some interesting things. First, everything is in focus, from the railing to the end of the pier. Second, it adds contrast to the sky so that we can see the sun rays pointing upward. There are pros and cons to using such a high f-stop, mostly cons; but sometimes it can work out. I think this is one of those times.

Sliver of Solitude

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.

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Sliver of Solitude
At the end of Emerson Point in Palmetto Florida

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.

more solitude in the gallery

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.

Bench at Emerson Point

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.

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Bench at Emerson Point
This is 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.

more photos from Emmerson Point

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.