Lately I’ve been taking photos close to home. No matter where we live there are things we overlook. Yesterday I posted a photo along a busy highway. By simply turning around the scene looks remote and secluded. A theme for me in photography, and I suppose life, is perspective. It informs much of what I do. I look for a perspective that resonates amongst the distractions of an urban setting.
The other night I walked along a trail by the river to take photos of the sunset. As I was returning to my car I noticed this mangrove along the shore. Normally they are clustered together but this stood out with its extended roots. The roots are what protect the shores of Florida from erosion by tides and storms. They are vital to the ecosystem.
Sometimes I see unexpected things by simply turning the camera in a particular direction. From that comes vignettes of nature like this. Most of us live in urban landscapes. As much as I crave nature in national parks, I spend most of my time amongst roads, buildings and power lines.
Maybe it’s a form of preference. I look for things I need to see. I see them because I’m looking. And at times like this day I see things I wasn’t even looking for. “If you try sometime, you get what you need.”
This is a meditation sunset from Emerson Point in my hometown of Palmetto. It’s the kind of image you might see on the cover of a meditation book, at least that’s what comes to my mind.
Speaking of which, I’ve been trying meditation lately. Not that I know what I’m doing, just taking a few minutes to clear my mind when I can. Long story short, it’s easier said than done. And to be honest I’m not sure if this picture would help. As soon as I look at a photo I start thinking thoughts and you’re not supposed to do that. But I’m no expert so take what I say with a grain of salt. Maybe I should give it a try, it might help for all I know.
Moving along, I took this with my new Laowa 12mm wide angle lens. The fun thing about getting a new lens is I get to try it out on familiar locations and see what happens. A wide angle lens has the tendency to create a tunnel effect, meaning that everything appears to converge in a point on the horizon. It’s just a nifty effect of the lens, we don’t actually see things that way.
Anyway, let’s all take a deep breath, look at this picture and clear our minds. It might just do us a world of good. When I finally figure out how to meditate I’ll write a book and put this photo on the cover. Maybe.
This is a state park I never knew we had that’s five minutes from home. I had it in my mind to follow this old road and there it was, a park I never knew existed; Terra Ceia Preserve State Park. In fact I’ve driven by here hundreds of times. This entrance is adjacent to a main highway that I take all the time. I just assumed it was private land.
I stopped at a kayak launch and talked to this gentleman who, it turns out, leads tours through the park. Silly me; I forgot to get his name. But I’ll be back regardless, maybe I’ll run into him again, it would be fun to do a tour.
The area is mostly mangroves and bayou and is habitat for all manner of birds including eagles and osprey. But of course for me it’s a new place to explore with my camera. Add to that, the county is opening up another preserve in the opposite direction about five miles away. I am excited to explore that as well.
I live in an urban area so landscape photos require a little driving. In the afternoon I watch the clouds and if I think they’ll be favorable for a good sunset I may get in my car in time to drive to a location. However when aIl else fails and I only have five or ten minutes, this is where I go. It’s a little park by the water about two blocks from home. This is my go to location for emergency close-to-home sunsets.
Landscape photography gets me out and allows be to experience some beautiful settings. When I do, it becomes addictive, I want more. And in a way it allows good things to fill my head. Of all the things that can fill my head, I could do worse than scenes like this.
The days are getting longer now and sunsets are happening later and later. That makes it easier for me to get my act together for golden hour.
I’m lucky that I live in Florida, there are a lot of scenes like this that include the sky and water. Nonetheless, I think it’s important to be practiced at images close to home. I repeat a lot of local locations and each time I improve a little. Then when I travel I bring all that experience which helps tremendously with all kinds of situations that come up. Moral of the story? Practicing landscapes is kind of like tasting a good wine, the more you do the better you feel.
This is the tower view from Robinson Preserve in Bradenton Florida. It’s on a trial about a half mile from the parking lot and a good place to get some perspective on the land. In a way this is a poor mans drone shot without the drone. These are inland marshes and salt flats that attract all manner of wildlife. The waterway on the right is a popular place to kayak and further up are mangrove tunnels to be explored.
For this composition I deliberately ignored the rule of thirds because I felt the sky is just as compelling as the ground, they hold the balance in equal measure as a kind of yin and yang. I’ve starting doing that sometimes when using a wide angle lens, here I shot at 14mm.
Normally I am alone here and the last one to leave the park, but just as I ascended the tower about twenty people approached along the trail and ascended the stairs of the tower alongside me. It’s a big tower so it can hold a lot of people. Turns out they were on a guided tour of the park to observe it at dusk and evening. With all the nocturnal animals I’m sure there would be some interesting sounds as well.