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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

Game of Chance

Lately, it seems we are on a streak of winning sunsets, so I decided to drive over here at dusk. It was a short drive and a short walk to get here, but I’m glad I did it. It was a win.

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Game of Chance
Dusk at Perico Preserve in Bradenton, Florida

It’s a game of chance when I go out for sunsets. We often get cloud banks just offshore. I think it will be good, I drive over, and then it’s a dud. It’s a gamble I’m willing to take. But lately, the odds have been good, and I’m getting a little payoff.

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This image is comprised of six different frames. I focused on the foreground, took three bracketed shots, then the same thing on the background. I combined everything in AuroraHDR and Photoshop. I did it in a way that everything appears to be in focus. Then, one last stop in Luminar for some final touches. In reality, there were a few more minor steps here and there, but that’s the gist of it.

The moral of the story is, …hmmm, there is no moral. Just a little luck.

Hidden Garden

Isn’t it cool when you find a hidden garden in a place you never expected? This is kind of like that for me.

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Hidden Garden
The garden at Bok Tower in Lake Wales, Polk County Florida

Actually, this is the gardens below the Bok Tower in Polk County Florida. I (and countless others) have taken this exact shot, but this time I wanted to include the foreground as well. In this way, it forms a natural vignette of the pond and water lilies.

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To make this work I had to use a technique known as focus-stacking. One photo was focused on the closest plants while the other was on the far side of the pond. I also used a very high f-stop which maximizes the depth of field. Then it’s a matter of careful blending to get it all sharp. Little projects like this are time-consuming, but relaxing at the same time. There are worse things I could be looking at.

Sunrise Composition

Here I am close to home on an early Sunday morning. I was standing at the end of Emerson Point which faces west into the Gulf of Mexico. (I, of course, was facing east). This local park is one of my favorite go-to places for sunrise and sunset.

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Sunrise Composition
Sunrise at Emerson Point in Palmetto, Florida

It rained the night before, so I thought we’d have a beautiful display in the sky with high scattered clouds, but, that was not to be. So instead, I composed this shot which focuses on the foreground elements with the sunrise in the back. If the scene doesn’t turn out how I envisioned, I try to remind myself to work with what I’ve got. Plans often go sideways, but there is usually another angle that’s pleasing or tells a story.

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One other thing: because it was Sunday morning I figured I’d be alone. But there was another photographer down by the water, and when I turned around after taking this shot, there was yet another photographer with a couple doing a maternity shoot. So apparently, there was indeed an abundance of other compositions to go around.

Lens Flare

The other day I went to Bean Point on Anna Maria Island to capture this image. I didn’t notice it at the time, but there is quite a lot of lens flare. Nerd that I am, it got me wondering about the optics that produced it. Might another lens to create a different effect?

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Lens Flare
A typical sunset from Bean Point on Anna Maria Island

Nevertheless, the photo was taken at f18 at its normal to get a starburst at that aperture; that’s how we get the star effects on street lights at night. However, this looks like a combination of starburst and lens flare, and that’s what made it a little unique, at least for me.

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The main reason I used such a small aperture was to get an extended depth of field; meaning I wanted everything to be in focus, from the plants up close to the clouds. Using a high f-stop number is a way to get that, however, because it restricts the amount of light coming in, you may need a tripod lest your images come out blurry from camera shake. In this case, the effect is like a splash of light; which goes to prove that happy mistakes happen all the time.

Pining to Go Back

Here is another image from Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island. I cannot fathom living eight-hundred years. Imagine the stories these trees could tell. After that length of time, I suppose the stories would go on and on.

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Pining to go Back
If these trees could talk…

After looking at these images, I am pining to go back. Knock on wood I’ll have a chance soon. Short of that, I’ll just have to lumber along here in Florida. Forgive me dear blog reader, you do not deserve to be pun-ished this way.

other images with trees

One good thing about living eight-hundred years is that the statute of limitations is on your side. Whatever you did in the last century is forgotten, unless, of course, you’re a tree. In that case, your neighbors know your business. Do trees forget?

If you’ve found this blog post informative, then I’m clearly not doing my job today.