Florida Flora

Whenever I visit a preserve in Florida, I spend time trying to figure out what to shoot. Sometimes the answer is right in front of me.

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Florida Flora
Flora from a park in Central Florida

There is beauty in endemic flora that’s easy to overlook. I tend to get preoccupied with subjects and the composition, but simple scenes like this are as vibrant as any mountain landscape; it’s a matter of perspective and scale. There are realms within a tangled garden, micro-ecosystems that, while imperceptible to us, are just as alive.

more images of nature in the gallery

Our minds operate in familiar regions; we habituate our vision to the human society we know. But shift focus just a little, and there are other worlds in plain view we rarely acknowledge.

Bok Path

Sometimes life is like walking down a garden path, other times, maybe not so much. Either way, it would be a loss not to notice the scenery.

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Bok Path
The path through Bok Tower Gardens in Florida

I took this from Bok Tower Gardens last year. It’s a favorite place for weddings and of course wedding or engagement photos. It’s not so touristy that it gets overcrowded. If you’re into landscape or wedding photography, put this on your list.

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The only problem with outdoor weddings here in Florida is the risk of thunderstorms. But they only last a few minutes and then afterward the paths have a sheen and the plants glisten. I was only here to take pictures of the scenery, and after waiting out the storm took a bunch of shots like this.

Around the Corner

It’s too easy to spend time in the future worrying about what’s just around the corner. But “spending time” is a misnomer: we cannot spend what we don’t have.

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Around the Corner
A winding path at Robinson Preserve

Maybe one day we’ll figure out how to time travel. When that happens, will we be in a memory or a moment?

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In our minds, we time-travel quite a lot. The irony is, it wastes time. I’ve heard and read that time is an illusion, something in our minds. Not being in the present is like a treadmill that never stops. Maybe it’s better to just try and be present in the moment.

Beach Battle

There is a barrier of dunes that run the length of Anna Maria Island. Plants grow in the dunes and as a result, protect it from the onslaught of the sea.

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Beach Battle
These dunes prevent erosion of Anna Maria Island

It’s incredible how nature comes up with devices to protect one thing from another. The forces of nature are regularly at war, and the results of the conflict create a boundary that, in this instance, we call a beach.

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Sometimes I like to get down into the trenches with the troops. In this case, I found a path through the dunes at Manatee Beach. People came to enjoy the sense of peace and tranquility. However, as summer approaches, it will invariably bring new storms that test the resolve of these little dunes. May they hold fast and secure.

Sky with Diamonds

The highlights in the clouds remind me of the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. I don’t see Lucy, but I do see diamonds.

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Sky with Diamonds
Light patterns in the sky above Robinson Preserve in Bradenton Florida

In the sky, we see whatever we want to see. Psychoanalysts have been using this trick for years to pull things out of our subconscious. Clouds present a daily Rorschach Test, teasing out things we hold below the surface of awareness. The key is to notice what we see and then think about why.

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The more abstract something is, the less rational it is. While rationality is necessary to navigate life, suspending it from time to time allows us to experience a different perspective. In my mind, a little vacation from the demands of an overactive mind is probably healthy, and maybe even necessary.

Midnight Sun

This was taken about three years ago in Alaska. It was around eleven o’clock at night as the sun slowly inched down. Then, just a few hours later it would creep back up.

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Midnight Sun
The midnight sun in Alaska

I took the picture from a ship as we sailed north. This scene was repeated in an endless succession of mountains and untouched wilderness. I was blown away at the vastness of natural landscape here. Until you experience it yourself, it’s hard to imagine. And it’s equally hard for me to convey in writing.

more images from Alaska in the gallery

If you have never been to Alaska, put it on your list. There is nothing like a lot of open space and massive mountain peaks to clear out the urban cobwebs and refresh one’s sense of perspective.

Obstructed View

There are so many mangroves along the water that quite often the view is obstructed. But maybe in some cases, it’s a good thing.

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Obstructed View
An obstructed view of the gulf through the bushes in Emerson Point, Palmetto

I was walking along a hidden shoreline at Emerson Point in the afternoon when I took this photo. I’m not sure what prompted me, but it seems the focus on the foliage is the subject of this image.

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Foreground elements are essential, especially in environmental or landscape shots. They’re a good idea anyway because they tend to be the first thing we focus on. As our eyes wander, we travel from foreground to the background. The trick in photography is to make that journey enjoyable.

Morning Sunlight

I took a photo out the window of my office on a recent morning. Sometimes the light coming across the field is so amazing I can’t help myself.

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Morning Sunlight
The simple light of the morning from across a field

I’m usually too busy to take a photo. Or I might rationalize that I’ve seen it before so why bother. But some mornings I can’t help myself. In this case, the sun shone through a mist that was just above the ground.

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I need to take more simple images like this. Concentrating so much on landscapes and cityscapes, I tend to lose track of the simple things that are just as compelling, if not more so.

Tree Aglow

This photo was taken from a preserve adjacent to Highway 41 in Palmetto. If you look close, you can see an eagle sitting on a branch just to the left.

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Tree Aglow
A tree in a nature area just of Highway 41 in Palmetto Florida

It’s a spot that’s within walking distance of my home. However, I always end up driving because I’m trying to capture a sunset or something last minute. In this case, the sun is behind the tree illuminating the leaves and, causing them to glow.

more tree images in the gallery

I didn’t notice the eagle until after I took the photo. However, when I did notice, I walked a little closer to take a picture, and it flew away. But I’ve seen it here before, so if I really wanted to get the photo, I could just come back at dusk. We have a lot of eagles in our area, but having grown up when they were endangered, it’s still exciting for me to see one.

New Bridge

The new bridge at Robinson Preserve presents an open invitation to cross over to a winding trail with ponds, marshes, and wildlife on all sides.

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New Bridge
A bridge in Robinson Preserve

The image I posted yesterday was not far from this spot, but the weather could not have been more different. That image was on a foggy morning, and this is at the end of the day. The light in each tells an entirely different story.

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As usual, the story is mostly in our mind. With these types of landscape images, we all see the same thing, yet we fill in different details. And, as with life, we perceive in it what we want to see. I think self-projection is one of the purposes of art, to allow us to muse upon things that are reflections of ourselves.