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.

Rare and Endangered

This is from Cathedral Grove in British Columbia. It’s a relatively small area filled with Douglas Fir and Red Cedar. Some of the trees are 800 years old and 250 feet high. The forest is considered rare and endangered, the trees are prized by the logging industry. You can find out more about that here.

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Rare and Endangered
The Red Cedar is endangered due to logging

Having walked through it on a couple of occasions I can say there is a special feeling you get. There aren’t many places like this remaining on the planet, so I hope we can preserve it and the forests around it.

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We passed by here on our way to Ucluelet from Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. We were so moved by the size and grace of the trees that a week later we stopped again on the way back. On each occasion, we walked in quiet reverie induced by our surroundings. I took a lot of pictures and am just now getting back to some of these images that remind me of this special place.

Wild Pacific Trail

Here is a bend in along the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet BC. While staying here a few years ago I took hikes along this trail and spent hours taking photos of the views. However, in this case, it was the trail itself that caught my imagination.

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Wild Pacific Trail
A section of the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet, British Columbia

The trail itself is well maintained and has spectacular vistas of the rugged coast below. We stayed at the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort which is on the trail itself. All I had to do was walk outside the room and I was on the trail.

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Some stretches of the trail would wind through the woods, and then open up at an overlook of the Pacific Ocean. It was a fun walk because at almost every there was a surprise waiting. The problem for me was knowing when to turn back. I would walk for miles and lose track of time and then have to pick up the pace on my way back.

Dunes at Lido Beach

Here is a simple image I took from the dunes at Lido Beach. I was part of a last minute rush by locals and tourists alike to get to the beach and watch the sunset. There was no convenient parking so I double-parked and walked over to the dunes to take this. Not really a smart idea but it worked; at least this time.

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Dunea at Lido Beach
Dunes at Lido Beach in Sarasota

It looks like I was on the dunes but I was on a path; it’s not good to walk on the dunes because it wrecks the plants. The plants preserve the dunes, which in turn preserve the islands during a storm. The island in this case is Ledo Key, which is one of my favorite places in Sarasota because I usually get nice pictures whenever I come here.

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Anyway, when I see these sunsets I go into full photography mode. What should be a serene experience is a little more stressful. I like to think it’s the good kind of stress, creative stress. That’s usually followed by the satisfaction of having captured a good sunset. Somehow I manage to survive these frequent episodes; at least I did this time.

Clay Gully

Clay Gully is a little creek in Myakka State Park. One of the claims to fame here is the alligator population, this is a sanctuary for the Florida reptiles. I’ve been here at this exact spot during the rainy season when the banks were flooded and the alligators were not just in the water, but along the path. However when I took this a couple of days ago they were all the alligators where in the water, it was a little less nerve wracking than the last time.

Clay Gully
Clay Gully is in Myakka State Park in central Florida

The green vegetation is very much like a jungle. As I walked along the path I could hear all kinds of animal noises from within the trees. Of course it only gets louder at night when many of the nocturnal creatures come out.

Spring is a relatively dry season here, but as summer approaches we get the afternoon showers and storms that keep these waterways alive and vibrant. This creek is full of fish as it opens into Myakka Lake where Eagles, Hawks and Osprey can catch as many fish as they like. Often enough the eagles will wait until an Osprey catches a fish and then swoop in and steal it. One of the benefits of being at the top of the avian food chain I suppose.

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