East View

I’m standing on the pier at Fort DeSoto Park in St Petersburg looking east at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on a Sunday afternoon. That’s the bait shop on the right where you can get a few items while you fish on the pier or wait for the ferry. This is a nice place to check out if you come here to visit.

East View
This view looks east into Tampa Bay through the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

They also have a campground not too far from this spot as well. I’m born and raised in California so I’m not sure what its like to camp near the beach in Florida. When I think camping I think of mountains, lakes and streams. Wouldn’t it would be too warm for a sleeping bag? I think my three season bag would be uncomfortably hot. Maybe just a light blanket is all I’d need. The more I think about it the more I think I should try. Who knows, I might like it.

I just noticed that you can see the whole length of the main span of the Skyway from here. In total it’s about ten miles across the bay, here we see about five miles of it.

More from the beach gallery

Anyway, now I can’t stop thinking about that camping idea. I think I’m going to try it out. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Before Dawn

This is another long exposure of the public pier at Anna Maria Island in Florida. It was just before dawn and as usual there were already a few people milling about, mostly fishermen or those who came only to watch the sunrise; another typical morning at AMI.

Before Dawn
Before dawn on Anna Maria Island

Probably because of where I live I’m fascinated by bridges and piers, we seem to have a lot of both. How they make these piers, one piling at a time is amazing. To me its counter intuitive to think that you can build a solid structure into the floor of the sea. Even though it’s only a few meters deep it’s submerged. How they drill and then make sure the piling is stable is something I’d like to understand.

More images from Anna Maria Island

Pilings are big business here on the gulf coast because there are a lot of companies that specialize in it. It seems there’s always construction in the water and most of it is concerned with pilings. On the other side of AMI, facing the gulf, they are building a pier. It seems to me that the work is super slow, they’ve been at it for almost a year, but I suppose that’s the nature of the job. You don’t want to leave it to just any Tom, Dick or Harry.

Anyway, thanks to the folks that make these pilings we can sit on a pier and wait for dawn as though we hadn’t a care in the world.

Early Riser

The other morning I came here to the public pier. This is one of the best places on Anna Maria Island to start the day. There are three types of people that show up for sunrise; fishermen, photographers and early risers. Well, I guess the first two could be called early risers too, but that last group not are not here for any other reason than to watch the sunrise. What do we call them, sun worshippers?

Early Riser
Only fishermen, photographers and early risers show up here for sunrise.

Regardless, it’s not all that crowded. Later in the day it gets a lot more visitors because this is one of the main attractions in the area, a laid back place to pass the time.

This is a long exposure of fifteen-seconds using a tripod. In fact I used a neutral density filter as well. That’s a filter that blocks the light so the exposure takes more time. The result is the appearance of no waves in the water. I like this technique along the water and I find it works best when the light is low already. At night or before dawn the filter isn’t necessary, but as soon as the sun comes up it’s hard to get an exposure for more than a second or two, thats why I use the filter. Its a little like sunblock for the camera.

More Anna Maria Island photos from the gallery

Anyway, coming here as a photographer is always fun. However I think coming here a sun worshipper might be the most fun of all.

Deep Blue Sea

This was the scene as night descended on the Fort DeSoto fishing pier. I can never get enough of this place and will probably keep coming back here again and again. I took this as the sky turned from blue to black and the mood and scene changed by the minute. My perspective is towards the West which means it looks out into the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This is the direction the cargo and cruise ships take when leaving Tampa.

Deep Blue Sea
Deep Blue Sea of the Gulf of Mexico

I like the idea of looking out to an infinity of space. I think it plays a bit of havoc with my mind since I can never fully appreciate the size and mass of things like oceans, but then maybe I’m not meant to. Suffice to say its food for thought, forever an enigma.

Piers or old bridges that have become piers are used by fishermen at all hours of the night here in Florida. Right now it seems we’re in a good fishing season because I’m seeing a lot of people with fish in their buckets or on their lines. Getting outside on a warm night with a fishing pole is probably the closest thing to heaven for many who live or visit here. Myself, I’m just happy to take pictures of the scenes, thats my form of heaven, that and the deep blue bottomless sea.

More images of piers from the gallery

Deserted Island

Today I visited the deserted island known as Egmont Key. It’s near the big city of Tampa but completely removed from civilization. There is nothing here but an old fort, a ghost town, a lighthouse and miles of empty white sand beaches. Today was warm and sunny, yet there was only a handful of people that bothered to take the ferry out here. That meant I could walk for miles along the shore without seeing anyone. I walked the circumference of the island and somewhere halfway between one end and the other I spotted this couple.

Deserted Island
Egmont Key is a deserted island just outside of Tampa Bay                        Order a fine art print

The island reminded me a little of the island on Lost, except there are no mountains. I think that during WW2 there was a lot of activity on account of its location as a gateway into Tampa Bay. But now it’s a state park accessible only by boat and so remains largely deserted save for a park ranger, sea birds and a few daily visitors.

More beaches from the blog

To get here you catch a ferry from Fort DeSoto Park in St Petersburg. There are only two scheduled departures in the morning and then two return trips in the afternoon. The last return leaves at 2:30 so if you miss it you’re on your own. You might as well look for a place to shelter for the night. In that case you could wander over to the ghost town, I’m sure they’ll have a room there.

More beach shots from the gallery

Crossover

Crossover
This image is a crossover between landscape and street photography.                              Purchase a fine art framed print

The sun is setting and I’m at the beach. I have exactly three minutes left to find one more composition. Those are some of the thoughts going through my mind at moments like this, it’s like a game and it can be a lot of frantic fun. Such was the case when I found myself behind some seagrass and a tree that created a kind of frame and just then these folks walked by. Click.

Checkout some more of my recent beach photography in the blog here

Framing an image is an important aspect of street photography. Find some interesting scene and wait for someone to walk through it. When people are in an image we tend to put ourselves into that scene whether we realize it or not. In this way artistic images have a way of pulling us out of ourselves.

My earlier landscapes almost never had people in them. Someone once pointed this out and I started to take notice. Now I’m not so concerned with finding landscapes without people, if I do great, but not required. So this resulted in a blending of my love of both street and landscape photography. Now when shooting landscapes I will often look for a frame and wait for someone to walk through it. In a long winded way this is the thinking that went into this image. It’s a crossover of sorts.

Going Nowhere

Going Nowhere
Going nowhere but freeing my mind to roam                             Check out prints

I don’t know about you but when I walk on the beach I’m not really going anywhere; just walking for walking sake. Maybe I pick a point at the turn of the coast or a pier off in the distance, but really, it’s just something to satisfy my sense of progress while the rest of my thoughts are allowed a little down time. Going nowhere in particular is good.

More from the beach gallery

Sometimes I’ll take a drive for the same reason, just put a destination in the ol’ noggin and drive on autopilot. Not that I’m not aware and alert, just that I’m away from the normal routine and it allows my neurons to take different pathways for a bit. Simple enough.

I used to work in a bank building in the mid-west. It had no windows and after staring at the computer for hours. my friend Don and I would go for a walk. We weren’t going anywhere in particular, just out for change of scenery, a temporary redirection of the neural pathways. I think that many important things we conceive in our minds occur when we let our thoughts run free. There’s some truth in it. If we keep our thoughts in the same pattern for too long it can be unhealthy. So I walk to think about things and go nowhere in particular.

Beach Sunday

Beach Sunday
Beach Sunday at Bradenton Beach in Florida                                     Purchase a fine art print for office or home

Today was Beach Sunday in my town. It’s not a holiday, just the day after Saturday and the day before Dreaded Monday. And I know it was Beach Sunday because when I got into my car to drive to the beach at 12:15pm, I hit traffic. It seems everybody got the same idea at the same time. A lot of great minds thinking alike.

When we get perfect days like today I have to pinch myself and remember how lucky I am to live here. It’s a twenty minute drive to some of the best beaches on the planet. Today I was with a couple family members who had just flown down from Canada. So I have it on good authority that today scored high on the awesomeness scale. They made sure they sent pictures back home just to rub it in. Of course I had nothing to do with that.

Check out the beach gallery here.

I love it when people come here from somewhere cold and get to experience days like today. It makes all the planning and waiting worthwhile. For me, I’m glad I have family that comes down so that I can have an excuse to go to the beach. Whenever someone comes to visit, I always bring them here on the first day, just to feel the sand and water and get in the right frame of mind for the rest of their stay. As far as that goes today the mission was accomplished.

Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach on Anna Maria Island in Florida                                  Purchase a gallery quality framed print

A couple of nights ago I ago I went to Sunset Beach (yes, its a real place) to capture these waves at sunset. The wind off the gulf whipped up some wave action that provided a little more drama than normal. Despite the blustery weather the conditions were good for a sunset. Waves look awesome when you are on the same level. In this case, my camera was slightly below which allowed me to catch the sun on the wave top. Grody to the max.

The beach was deserted yet there were a few diehards walking the shore. I think some people walk the shore no matter what the weather. I can understand that. If I lived here on the beach I’d probably do the same thing. How awesome would that be; can you imagine? In the summer you’re barefoot in shorts, in winter maybe you wear a coat, but so what, you’re by the water. Awesome possum.

Did you know orange and blue are complimentary colors? I’m not sure how that happened but mother nature seems to have it all worked out, especially at sunset near the ocean. I suppose that fires some ancient memory buried deep in our DNA, but for whatever reason it just works. So here’s a toast to ancient DNA and the awesomeness of Mother Nature’s color wheel.

Gallery Link

Check out the Anna Maria Island Gallery here.

New Day on North River

New Day on North River
New Day on North River, the Manatee River from Palmetto Florida                                                    Purchase a gallery quality print

The sun rises on a new day on North River across the Manatee. The river is about a mile wide here but only goes upstream for about ten miles. The land of Florida acts as a large catch basin for the tropical rains. We don’t have long rivers as compared to other parts of the country, but they can carry a lot of water nonetheless. The water empties into the ocean and so where I’m standing rises and falls with the tide.

I took this with a wide angle lens because I wanted to show the expanse of the river, it’s nearly a mile wide here. This area is a bird sanctuary, which means a lot of migratory birds come here in the winter. At this spot there is a great Heron that can be seen every morning. I suppose they are territorial because he is always here. He’s quite skittish so when I show up for sunrise he usually flies away. But this is his spot all the same and sometimes I see him when I drive by on the bridge just behind where I’m standing here.

Whenever this section of the country gets a cold snap, we get a lot of birds that fly down from Georgia and the Carolinas. They’ll end up staying for only a week or so until it warms up and then head back north to their own home. I suppose the birds that live here full time might get their feathers ruffled with all the visitors, and of course, the short timers need to get back to their own territory. But in the meantime, this is the view all the birds and a few of us humans see, even if it’s not our territory.