Forest Path

A few days ago, I walked through a forest in Oregon’s Ecola State Park. It was a nice break from the regular everyday routine.

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Forest Path
The trail to Crescent Beach

It was my first time visiting Oregon, so I toured both the mountains and coast to get a sense of things. There was no real plan other than drive, observe, and take photos. I’d see something intriguing, and follow it until I had to turn around.

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In this case, I was near Cannon Beach, which is a famous resort town. This particular trail leads to the isolated Crescent Beach, which bears no resemblance to the beaches in Florida. It was a good change of pace.

Lower Path

There are two paths along the river; one higher up and one lower down at the bank. The alligators prefer the lower one.

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Lower Path
Along the lower path in Hillsborough River State Park

The problem with the higher path is there is too much growth to get a clear shot of the river. So every fifty yards or so I’d make my way down here to set up for a photo. It’s amazing how the sense of hearing becomes heightened at such times.

A sign between the upper and lower paths

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I’ve been in Florida for a while, so I’ve become familiar with some of the animal sounds. I also carefully scan the water and banks all around to ensure I’m not disturbing them. Alligators don’t want anything to do with us, and if you’re mindful and steer clear, there will never be a problem. With this knowledge and care, I spent much of my time on the lower path.

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.

Nature Walkway

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.

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Nature Walkway
Neal Preserve in Bradenton, Florida

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.

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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.

The Garden

This is Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. It’s been cultivated for a hundred years on what used to be a limestone quarry. Now is a garden of Eden.

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The Garden
Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia

I took this nearly five years ago when we spent a couple of weeks on the island exploring. And it’s a reminder that I should go back, you can never go wrong with a camera here.

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As I recall, the smokestack in the back is a leftover from the industrial legacy. Imagine creating one of the worlds most beautiful gardens on an old industrial site. Now imagine if we did that all over the world. Then we truly would have the garden of Eden all over. If only.

Lummus Park at Night

Here’s a scene from Miami Beach’s Lummus Park at night. I took some daytime photos here, but night time was way more fun.

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Lummus Park at Night
At night in Miami’s Lummus Park

Sorry if I sound like grandpa talking, but it wasn’t that long ago when shots like this were next to impossible. I shot this handheld without a tripod. In fact, the original photo didn’t look like much. Nevertheless, I was able to recover most of the shadows thanks to software and the amazing sensor on the Sony A7RM3. The camera sensor saves things that are invisible to the naked eye. However, with post-processing, we can make much of it visible.

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I would say that low-light techniques like this are what got me back into photography. Back in the day (grandpa again) I used to shoot film but lost interest due to the amount of time I spent in dark rooms. Today, the only time you need to spend in the dark is taking photos of cool scenes.

Bok Tower Gardens

This photo was taken a few minutes after a thunderstorm. I emerged from under a shelter to capture the scene, ears still ringing from the lightning strike on the tower. All in all, a typical summer afternoon in Florida.

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Bok Tower Gardens
This was taken minutes after a thunderstorm passed overhead

There are shelters throughout the gardens, and it was nice to just sit there with my fellow visitors through the rain; there are worst places to be stuck. As gardens go, Bok Tower Gardens draw a good size crowd. Only a couple of minutes after I took this, the paths re-filled with people.

I recently posted a photo of the golden door at the base of the tower, and now you can see it in the context of the full tower.

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I’m not a garden person per se. I don’t often get my hands dirty working with plants. But I know it’s richly satisfying to many people. I’m the other half of the population that likes to come around after the hard work to admire and take photos. That should count for something, right?

Walking the Dogs

To be honest, “Dogs” should be singular, there is only one dog. This image is a fun creation from a night in Central Park. To make this, I stood on an overpass and snapped several pictures as a couple, and their dog walked below. Then, in post-processing, I blended the images to create multiple copies of the people and dog.

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Walking the Dogs
Multiple blended exposures of a couple walking their dog in Central Park

There are endless opportunities for composition in Central Park, particularly at night. Low light is my preference anyway so for me it’s especially fun. The park is so big that I decided to rent a bike to cover more ground. It was a little awkward because I had a tripod hanging out of the basket as I rode. I get torn between the desire to cover a lot of ground and slowing down to focus on a small area. But either is okay; there are times for both.

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I remember when walking around Central Park at night seemed a little scary. But now it feels like it’s a reasonable thing to do; there are a lot of people out, and NYPD patrols it quite visibly. The park is a peaceful break from the city, but even more so at night. I came away that night with a lot of compositions and a desire to get back and do it again. And next time maybe I’ll walk.

Mr. Wiggles Waiting

My dog is the most patient being on the planet. Even when we go to his favorite parks, he waits for me to take my photos. Here he’s waiting to go over the bridge, but I’m busy composing. If I could paraphrase the look, he was saying, “Seriously daddy?”. I’m just saying.

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Mr Wiggles Waiting
Mr. Wiggles waiting for me to finish taking a picture

Mr. Wiggles loves going to parks and exploring. I like the scenery. We have slightly different interests, but the excursion benefits us both. At the park, I have to be careful not to get too carried away. When taking photos, I need to be mindful of our surroundings. For instance, there was a small alligator in the lake on the left. It wouldn’t bother us, but the bigger ones love to snack on small pets.

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The summer heat makes it difficult for Mr. Wiggles to get much exercise during daylight. Imagine walking around in ninety-percent humidity wearing a coat. So we either go out after dark or on overcast days when the sun is less harsh. When we get home, he has a long drink of water and collapses on the cold tiles. And no matter how hot it is, he still looks forward to it every single day.