Remote Beach

At the tip of Longboat Key is a beach strewn with the remnants of past storms. It creates a surreal scene, and it’s a nice place to hang out.

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Remote Beach
A remote beach at the northern tip of Longboat Key in Florida

The beach is only accessible by hike so, it becomes a bohemian camp of sorts. You feel very much away from it all here. Each time I come, there are groups of people in temporary camps with hammocks hanging from the trees. Sometimes they are playing music or singing, like gypsy gatherings in a Patrick Rothfuss novel.

more from Longboat Key in the gallery

At around sunset on any given day, you’ll see photographers trek here with their clients. I’ve done that, but I also look for unique scenes like this when I come alone.

Beach Fog

The other day I went to the beach to watch the sunset, but the beach was covered in fog; time to execute Plan B.

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Beach Fog
A foggy day on Longboat Key

Plan B is to try and make lemonade out of lemons. This shot is one where a hole opened up in the sky just as some birds flew by. Photos like this in the fog have no shadows because the light is very even. I think photography in this type of soft light is more comfortable on the eyes when we look at it.

more from the beach gallery

Even without the fog, some of the best landscape photos are taken when the sun was lower, and the light gets diffused by the atmosphere. Or, when there are enough clouds in the sky to diffuse the harsh sunlight. The sun is an unfathomably harsh body that can rip everything to shreds in an instant if it were not for the amazing conditions we have here on Earth. Knowing this and having the opportunity to photograph it is pretty awesome.

Returning Home

Hang out at Longboat Pass in the evening, and you’ll see a stream of boats returning to dock just after sunset. It keeps the drawbridge operator quite busy.

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Returning Home
Sometimes the best light is after sunset

This is a shot using a Playpod at the water’s edge. In this age of drones, it’s nice to have a tool that helps create a somewhat unique low-down perspective. Not that I have anything against drones, they are fun and provide excellent viewpoints. But angles like this are just as rewarding.

more minimalism from the gallery

I’ve not been to the beach for sunset in a while, so I almost forgot how to photograph the whole golden hour; I nearly left too early. I was heading to the car and noticed another photographer just getting out. That reminded me that sometimes the best light occurs after the sun goes down. So I headed back to the shoreline and took this along with a few others. Then, after squeezing the last ounce of light from the sky, it was finally time to head home.

Another Day Another Dollar

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.

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Another Day Another Dollar
Getting off the treadmill of life for a few minutes to reflect

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.

more images from the beach

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.

Oasis in Plain Sight

One of the things I like most about Sarasota is their public spaces. This is a good example of that, an oasis in plain sight.

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Oasis in Plain Sight
Oasis in plain sight – Bayfront Park in Sarasota

I took this in the middle of summer when we get amazing clouds. I don’t normally take pictures of city parks but this one is situated right on the inter-coastal waterway so I couldn’t resist.

Every time I drive by this park seems empty. I’m not sure if people just aren’t aware of it or what, but it’s the perfect spot. Just stop the car, walk over to the water and sit on a bench. As far as parks go this is one of the prettiest in the area.

more Sarasota photos

This is an HDR image; I took three photos with different exposures and combined them in AuroraHDR. It makes it possible the show the whole range of light when there are extreme ranges like this. It’s hard to take an image like this any other way.

Bayfront Park on Longboat Key

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.

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Bayfront Park on Longboat Key
Bayfront Park on Longboat Key

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.

more images from Longboat Key

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.

Two-hour Ground Delay

A few days ago I was headed up to New York City from Tampa. We left with plenty of time to spare but by the time we made it through traffic and security we only had fifteen minutes before boarding. We ended up making some bad food choices in a frantic attempt to get a meal in the few minutes remaining. No sooner had we done that than an announcement was made that the flight was put on a two-hour ground delay due to weather. This is the scene from the bar at Pei Wei across from our gate where we made more questionable food and beverage choices.

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Two-hour Ground Delay
Two-hour Ground Delay at Tampa Airport

I am completely amazed at how I was able to make this photo. It was taken with an iPhone7 and then edited it in Lightroom mobile on the same device. By using the camera inside mobile Lightroom the images were saved in RAW format. That allowed me to recover a more detail, shadows and highlights than I might ordinarily.

The other cool thing is that Lightroom on the iPhone is hooked up with Lightroom on my laptop. As I was siting here editing the image on my iPhone, it and the edits were being save in the cloud. I opened up my laptop and started using Lightroom where I left off from on my iPhone. I continued using some of my favorite software including Photoshop and MacPhun’s Luminar as well as a few others, finally ending up with this.

more travel photography

Personally I am amazed, because it really felt seamless hopping from one platform to another. Sure, there is not as much detail as if I had used my three-thousand dollar Sony camera, but there is way more detail in this than I would have expected. You can see both our JetBlue aircraft and clouds at the gate across the way as well as interesting details in the darkened restaurant. For sitting at a bar in an airport, it ain’t half bad if I do say so myself.

Inter-coastal on Longboat

This is a long exposure from a park that sits on the border between Sarasota and Manatee counties. It’s a new park so on a recent Sunday drive I stopped by to see it for myself. I’m facing towards the inter-coastal on Longboat Key.

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Inter-coastal on Longboat
A long exposure of the Inter-coastal on Longboat Key in Sarasota

You may ask, how is it possible to take a long exposure at midday? Glad you asked; I used a strong ND filter. ND stands for neutral density and it blocks the light. In fact I used two filters and together they REALLY block the light. So much so that I can keep the shutter open for a minute or two, something I can normally do only at night.

So why would I want to take a long exposure during the day? Another great question; because everything is gets smoothed out. Even water that has waves appears smooth, the same goes for clouds; they all appear smooth. It’s a cheap special effect you can achieve without a big Hollywood budget.

other long exposure images

You can get pretty creative with photography if you have nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon. As for me I rarely have anything better to do. Standing in an empty park taking long exposures in broad daylight is my idea of a good time. Can you think of anything better to do?

Driftwood on the Coast

Last weekend I visited a remote beach that is only accessible by boat or hike. Over the years it’s become a bohemian hideaway of sorts for people that want to escape the crowds. Local photographers, including yours truly, flock here regularly to capture the compositions of driftwood on the coast.

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Driftwood on the Coast
Driftwood on the coast in Longboat Key Florida

Normally I come here to shoot landscapes but this time I was taking portraits. I showed up with a crew to shoot a couple that is about to be married. It was their first time here and they loved the setting. The landscape photographer in me is always looking for opportunities so during wardrobe changes I’d look around looking for compositions like this.

We were fortunate and had perfect clouds for a sunset. You never know how it will turn out but many times throughout the summer you can almost count on the rain tapering off for the sun to stream through the broken clouds.

beach images from the gallery

Like the last time I was here there were a half dozen photographers all doing one thing or another. I think if I showed up on a Monday or Tuesday I might be the only one. Even so, it was quiet and relatively sparse as compared to the accessible beaches five minutes up the coast.

Mainly people come here to get away from the crowds and take pictures. That was exactly what we did and we all came away thinking it was well worth the hike.

Weekend State of Mind

I post a lot of sunset images because it’s one of the main attractions of the area I live in. If the conditions are right on a Friday or Saturday its even better because it seems everyone is in the same kind of weekend state of mind. Any evening can be good but Fridays and Saturdays have their own special quality.

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Weekend State of Mind
Weekend State of Mind on Longboat key, Florida

Last weekend I took a little hike to this secluded beach. Other than that you need a boat to get here. These people were taking pictures of the sunset and had a boat. I, on the other hand, was taking pictures of people taking pictures of the sunset and a boat. Funny how that worked out, eh?

Most of the visitors have left Florida but it’s actually the best time of year to be here. There are very few crowds, the weather is mild and because it’s changing we get these types of clouds most evenings. Soon we’ll have high humidity and heat but now that seems a million years away. In reality we have only the current moment and if we are concerned about the future we miss an entire lifetime of experiences happening now.

Yet I find myself thinking about the days of the week. On Monday, Friday seems like a long way off. In reality I could go out taking pictures any day, even Monday. This idea of the weekend is an artificial construct of ours. The best days to go out and take pictures are the days you go out and take pictures. Having said all that, I still look forward to the weekend.

beach gallery

The weekend is the gas station of the soul; it’s when we get filled up to do stuff during the week. Weekends are for hikes or boat rides, for sunrises and sunsets, for more thinking and less doing. In reality weekends are a state of mind, they could be any days we choose. Nevertheless, until someone does away with the workweek I’ll recharge the batteries starting Friday night.