Early Walk

This is a section of the Riverwalk in Bradenton. I’m not sure why people wake up before dawn on the weekend and come here. Nevertheless, there we were.

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Early Walk
Predawn along the river in Bradenton

Come to think of it, there are always people here, at any time of day. It’s just one of those places people like to hang out. I’m surprised there aren’t more restaurants here.

more black and white from the gallery

Often, I operate with a sleep deficit. I should stay in bed on the weekend to catch up a little. But it’s also the perfect time to get out and take these kinds of photos. I’ll have plenty of time to sleep when I die.

Reflected Lights

I’m a sucker for reflected lights on the water. But to get this glassy effect I had to get up and cross the bridge at an ungodly hour.

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Reflected Lights
Building lights reflected on the Manatee River

I make it sound harder than it was because I regularly wake up at an ungodly hour to go to the gym. So on weekends when I don’t workout, taking photos is a good alternative.

more night photography in the gallery

I took this picture of condos in Palmetto from the Bradenton side of the river. I’ve been waiting for the right time to capture this scene. It needs to be somewhat dark, the building lights on, and the water still. During the day it’s a boring scene, but just before dawn, it seems to work. On this morning I got them all together so now I can check this one off the list.

Yet Another Supermoon

Is it just me or does it seem like we get a lot of Supermoons? This is a picture of the last one, which is the one before the next one.

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Yet Another Supermoon
The super-moon over the Manatee River in Bradenton, Florida

These moon photos are a bear to take. Unless you have a very long lens, like 600mm or more, the moon doesn’t look that big. Also, the composition is a little tricky because if you expose for the moon, everything else is too dark. If you expose for everything else, the moon is too light.

see the panorama gallery

In the end, I created a composite with two photos. The moon exposure is combined with the bridge exposure. Despite the challenges, it’s a lot of fun, and I’ll probably plan on doing another one. With all these supermoons coming, I’ll have plenty of chances to get it right.

DeSoto Bridge

This bridge is a commuter’s nightmare, but before dawn on the weekend, it can look pretty awesome.

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DeSoto Bridge
The bridge between Palmetto and Bradenton in Florida

It’s amazing how smooth the water looks in a long exposure. I could shoot these all morning if the sun didn’t rise. But, as the saying goes, the son also rises. Actually, that saying doesn’t apply, and I’m mixing metaphors, but we’re all friends here.

more in the night gallery

They say this bridge needs to be replaced. It’s over fifty years old and, as I mentioned, the traffic on it sucks. But, there is a bright side. Getting stuck on a bridge in Florida is not so bad; you just roll down the window, crank up the tunes, and enjoy the scenery.

Mordor Condos

This is some early morning light coming in from the east. An overactive imagination would say those are condos from Mordor. Not that I have an overactive imagination.

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Mordor Condos
Dramatic light and clouds over a condo on the Manatee River in Bradenton, Florida

I’m usually up early, but I’m busy going to the gym and getting dressed, not necessarily in that order. But often I’ll manage to look east and see some fantastic light. The problem is I’m too wrapped up in the daily routine to do anything about it, like stop and take a picture.

see the sunset/sunrise gallery

But this time it was a Saturday, and I met a friend, and I didn’t have to go to the gym. I’ve been sitting on this image, but now it’s starting to grow on me; if for no other reason than the light and drama it holds. And, after a week of daily routines, I could use a little drama.

Fishing Pier 4.0

Some scenes like this I keep coming back to. But since the sky is different each time it counts as a new pic. I’m not trying to justify it, I’m just saying.

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Fishing Pier 4.0
The fishing pier at Bradenton’s Riverwalk

I’ve posted this same scene at least three times; here, here and here. I considered not posting yet another, but I like it and so why not? It makes sense to repeat a composition over time to gauge subtle difference as your technique or gear changes.

more images from the riverwalk

This is the first time I used the GM lens for this scene, and so now I can take the time to notice that. I’m doing that with a few repeat scenes, and I’m enjoying the results. I usually save the GM lenses for commercial or portrait work, but I’m starting to use them for landscapes as well. Anyway, here is the latest version of the pier in Bradenton’s Riverwalk. Stay tuned for version 5.0 in about a year.

Hometown AI

I hope you don’t mind if I use a little AI in my sunset photos, I certainly don’t.

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Hometown AI
A sunset from my hometown of Palmetto, Florida

I did a bit of processing on this to bring up the shadows and reduce the highlights, I do that quite a lot. One thing that’s a little new, however, is that I’ve started using artificial intelligence (AI) software. The AI is in Luminar 3 from Skylum. As AI gets better, it shortens the time it takes to get good results out of a photo. These days, AI is increasingly being built into everything, including your phone and camera. Computational photography is where we’re heading.

visit the sunset gallery

What AI does is interpret scenes for us and then make choices on how to improve it. It’s not always right, but it’s getting better. Sometimes it’s no help, but more often than not it gets a bunch of stuff right. I then fill in the gaps with the vision that I had in my head, but the AI helped get me off to a good start. It’s like having an apprentice do the prep work before you begin mixing the magic brew. I suppose that as long as the sorcerer’s apprentice doesn’t get too carried away, it should be all good.

A Good Life

Pelicans are always sitting on posts waiting for fish to swim by. Who would have thought life could be so good.

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A Good Life
A Pelican sits on a post in the Manatee River in Palmetto

As soon as the sun goes down, they fly back to their nesting site and settle in. At dawn, you see them flying to places like this to catch fish. Dawn and dusk are the best times to capture pelicans in flight.

see the sunset gallery

This is from the Manatee River where there is always a lot of fish. Sometimes man and bird are hunting the same fish. When fishing you should always bring a pair of gloves and needle nose pliers. That’s so you can grab the pelican and free it from your hook. It happens all the time. So, other than the occasional brush with us, they have it pretty good on the Manatee River.

River Storms

This is looking up the Manatee River in summer. After a few minutes we got a thunderstorm for about twenty minutes, then a crazy sunset; every day like clockwork.

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River Storms
Typical summer day as a storm travels downriver.

The one-second shutter speed makes the water smooth, like the calm before the storm. I’m nervous when out in these conditions, the air is thick, and it’s only a matter of time before lightning strikes. We get more lightning than anywhere on earth because of the geography. My heightened state of nerves battles it out with my need to get a good picture.

more from the Manatee River

The thunder clouds always come down the river, from east to west. Often, if we’re at an outdoor restaurant along the water, we can watch the clouds heading towards us. The river is about a mile wide, so it has its own micro-climate. After the storm passes, we brush the water off the table and, enjoy the rest of the meal, just like clockwork.

Walk the Walk

Sometimes you need to walk the walk. If you do, it may as well be by the river in the evening when I’m taking photos. That way if you happen to step in front of my camera, it might make for a good picture.

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Walk the Walk
Someone walks along the river in Bradenton Florida

Every day I try to come up with a few sentences about a photo that I’m publishing. Maybe it’s not necessary, but I do it anyway to add to the story. I never know what I’ll write, but something usually comes to mind, like a memory of the moment when I snapped the shutter.

more from the Manatee River

But sometimes I draw a big fat blank and can’t think of a thing to say. At those times I resort to a little creative writing. Yes, you are correct, this is one of those times. Today, I can’t think of a thing I want to say about this photo. It’s just some guy along the river that walked in front of my camera.