Magical Walkway

This is a magical walkway leading to a hidden land where the sun rests each night. Or, its a boardwalk over the Mangroves in Palmetto. We report, you decide.

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Magical Walkway
A walkway in Emerson Point, Palmetto

All the pictures I’ve published this week are landscapes with water and clouds. Perhaps that has me in a mood to concoct fantasies about the scenery. Fantasies are natural for children, why not us?

more from Emerson Point in the gallery

I think it’s cool how the leading line points to the sun. I got this photo from my 2015 archives. Maybe it was my lack of imagination that kept it hidden for so long. Or, perhaps it was meant to be buried forever, protecting the secrets of Neverland from humanity.

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.

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.

Simple Light

Across the street is a fence, and beyond that are bushes and a field. It’s not much to look at unless, maybe, the light is just right.

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Simple Light
A simple scene at sunrise

Almost anything can look good in the right kind of light; however, I’m not entirely sure why that is. Technically, photos are just recordings of light bouncing off things. And for whatever reason, certain kinds of light resonate more than others; both consciously and subconsciously.

see the sunrise / sunset gallery

Some of my favorite photos are simple scenes like this. Here is a link to Shin Ikegami on Flickr. He has incorporated this idea into his art and taken it to a whole new level. I think it’s safe to say that sometimes, simplicity speaks more to us than seemingly smart complicated images. I’m sure there is an excellent reason for that too.

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.

Fair Food

Let’s face it, for some of us, there’s only one reason to go to the fair. And in case you’re wondering, it’s not to pet the goats.

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Fair Food
A food vendor at the Manatee County Fair

It only comes around once a year, so you have to choose carefully. My wife and I checked out all the vendors so we could make an informed decision. She decided on these sausages which, as you can see was an excellent choice. However, I went with fried green tomatoes and, …deep fried Oreo cookies.

see the favorites gallery

The midway was mostly empty on account of the cold weather that night, so we had the pick of all the rides without lines. However, after my meal, I wasn’t sure that a roller coaster was such a good idea. So I stayed behind to pet the goats.

Mangrove Tree

I’m watching a photography show on Netflix called Tales by Light. In episode 2 of Paradise in Peril, they mention that we now believe mangroves sequester more carbon from the atmosphere than rain forests. Good grief!

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Mangrove Tree
A mangrove tree on the gulf coast of Florida

That’s a pretty amazing fact, and all the more reason we need to protect mangroves and allow them to thrive along our coastal communities. In Florida, we have strict laws regarding mangroves, and it’s for a good reason. If it weren’t for mangroves, much of Florida would have been washed away centuries ago.

more mangroves in the gallery

We have a lot of mangroves here and see them pretty much anywhere along the water. I took this at Emerson Point one afternoon back in November. I usually look for different perspectives across the water, but now it seems I’ve been missing the main character all along; the amazing mangrove tree.

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.

Bayou Small Talk

Here is a scene from along the bayou nearby. A lot of wildlife lives here, in fact, I could hear a boar thrashing around not far from me.

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The bayou in Palmetto, Florida
The bayou in Palmetto, Florida

I’ve driven by here but never really noticed the vibrancy of the greenery. Maybe it was produced by the soft even light from the overcast sky. Whatever the reason, it was enough for me to pull over and captured it with my camera.

more from the landscape gallery

While I stood in front of the car taking this, a fellow walking his dog came along and asked what I was taking a picture of. He thought maybe I had seen a boar, but I told him I was just impressed by the scenery of the bayou. He seemed to ponder this for a minute and then, agreed that I was on to something. He then proceeded to tell me stories about the boars and the local trappers. I suppose that’s how you make small talk in the bayou.

Egret on a Tree

These egrets will sit on trees to preen while keeping an eye on the fishermen and their catch.

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Egret on a Tree
An egret perched on a tree in a Florida bayou

I took this at a bayou that is also a state preserve. Florida preserves give wildlife a safe place to thrive outside of the urban sprawl. Egrets are opportunists that adapt to just about anything. Often I’ll see them on the front lawn looking for lizards. It’s not uncommon to see them perched on the roof of a car.

more bird images

However, just because they adapt doesn’t mean they’re not skittish. If you get too close, they’ll fly away, so I had to keep a comfortable distance to capture this photo. That meant using a 70-200mm lens with a 2x converter for a total of 400mm. It’s rare that I carry that combination, but I’m glad I did on this day.