The parks in Florida have these raised boardwalks that make it easy to see nature. But before they were built, it was no walk in the park.
The structures are everywhere, and some are quite long. I often wonder at the effort it takes to create them. They are easy to take for granted, but without raised walkways, it would be difficult to see much of the natural landscapes.
From a compositional perspective, they provide a couple of things. First and most obvious is the leading lines that our eyes follow across the frame. Secondly, the texture of the wood fits well with the scenery. Whenever I go to a park, it’s these walkways that usually end up in my photos, one way or another.
I don’t get a lot of opportunities to take pictures of the mountains. I think of that as landscape photography. However, in Florida, we use clouds as stand-ins for peaks. They are usually interesting enough to fill up the top half of a frame. Throw in a sunset and Bob’s or uncle.
This photo is created with the 2019 version of AuroraHDR. Skylum, the company that creates AuroraHDR, has outdone themselves this time.
That’s good for people like me that take a lot of bracketed shots. This is a three frame HDR that I processed with both Aurora and Luminar. Luminar is the other software from Skylum that is a lot like Lightroom, only easier to use and, in my opinion, better. In truth, I use a lot of different tools including Lightroom and Photoshop; it’s all good.
I ran into a guy today that showed me some jaw-dropping photos of Iceland he took with his phone. The colors and detail were so amazing that I thought they were processed; no, straight-out-of-camera. That just goes to prove that the processing is not everything. Placement, composition, a sense of balance can produce better photos than all the processing in the world. All this hocus-pocus is just icing on the cake, so to speak.
This image is another from the series I took while visiting Neal Preserve in Bradenton. The dry season is over, and thundershowers are now a regular occurrence until the end of summer. Water fills the ponds which in turn creates photo opportunities like this. Only a few weeks back this might have been bone dry.
The image is an HDR; it’s a combination of five shots of different exposures. Because I was shooting directly at the sun, I took exposures from -4 to 0. The software that I use, Aurora HDR, is smart enough to pick out the best from each frame to combine into one. Then I use the sliders and masking techniques to adjust the saturation, shadows, and highlights. After a while, it started to have a look and feel I was trying to uncover.
Processing a photo is like polishing a stone, you work at it until it shines. That’s a simple analogy but aptly reflects the process. So often I’ll look at the raw photo that I have sitting in my library and think to myself it has little or no potential. But then, perhaps out of curiosity, I begin working on it and sometimes, I get a real gem. Not always, but enough times to keep me coming back for more.
This morning I came to this tower to take a picture of the full moon as it set to the West. Only it didn’t turn out all that good and as I stood here wondering what to do I turned around and noticed the sunrise from behind these clouds. This observation tower is at Neil Preserve in Bradenton. I came here at the crack of dawn and got eaten alive by the bugs as I walked the path from the parking lot. But on top here was a nice breeze and a welcome respite from the mosquitos below.
This is my Plan B shot, the one I didn’t come here for. With photography, and life in general, it’s always good to have a backup plan if the first one falls through. I have a little voice in my head that tells me to turn around. Well, maybe more of a habit than a voice. Nevertheless sometimes I listen and turn around and look for opportunities in the other direction. My own philosophy is that I should have everything I need, I just need to keep an open mind and look for whatever comes my way.
That makes every outing a challenge. Life is the same way, each day a challenge, each challenge and opportunity to find a creative solution. There I go again. It seems relating photography to life is also a habit of mine. At least it’s not a voice in my head.