This is the old city pier on Anna Maria Island. The “city” is Anna Maria, but if a few beach houses and seaside restaurants make a city, then I’m a monkey’s uncle.
To further make my point, the speed limit is 25mph; I know, because I paid a nice fine for driving 35. But I digress. It’s been over a year since the restaurant on this pier was open. It got damaged in a hurricane, and now it and the dock are being reconstructed. But, as you already know, this is not a city where things move fast.
In the city of Anna Maria, there isn’t much to else to do but go to the beach, fish and eat at the restaurants. But then, that’s the attraction. A kind of place where you go to get away from everything else. There isn’t a lot of serious stuff going on, just the odd bit of monkey business; I should know.
I mentioned the other day on the blog that the Anna Maria Island Pier sustained damaged in the last hurricane. They are now demolishing what’s left as the first step of reconstruction. However, I have a lot of photos of the old one, and this is one I took three years ago. I also posted a panorama of this view about a year ago.
There is another pier just up the shore from here. It’s called the Rod and Reel Pier, and it also has a restaurant on it. A while back, that restaurant burned, but like this pier, I have images of it before the fire. Maybe the rebuilt one is safer, but in my opinion, the old one was more photogenic. Nevertheless, it’s still one of my favorite places to hang out.
In another year this will be rebuilt as well. I hope the architects take the time to preserve something of the old look. But no matter, I’ll be there to make another image and document the new pier, which according to news accounts should last about one hundred years. That’s a lot of time and hurricanes to withstand. Possibly I’ll reincarnate and shoot the replacement in the year 2120. You never know.
This is a panorama of the pier on Anna Maria Island on another one of my Sunday drives. I take a disproportionate number of photos on Sunday because I usually end up going for a drive. I’ve also been taking a lot of panoramas lately. This one I’ve shortened but it is actually another twenty-five percent wider on the right. It looks better on a wall that way but what you see here is cropped for the web.
One thing I will say about Anna Maria Island is how quiet it is. That may seem like an unusual statement for someone living or visiting here, but it’s true. I just got back from New York City and the contrast couldn’t be more apparent. Comparing apples and oranges (pardon the analogy) is not a fair comparison, but take away everything else and you are left with the sounds.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE New York City. But coming back to Florida after a little visit there reminds me how much I like quiet places as well. Quite frankly I can use a little more New York in my life, but I sure am fortunate to live here in Florida. We have open spaces, sea breezes and the quiet sound of the waves.
Now that I got that off my chest, I have half a mind to plan another trip to NYC. But in the meantime I’ll go for Sunday drives and look for scenes like this and listen to the sounds of a tropical island right here in Florida.
This is a long exposure sunrise shot I took Sunday morning from Anna Maria Island. In reality there are waves and gulls and pelicans flying about. But using a couple of strong neutral density filters I can stretch-out the exposure about two or three minutes to create an entirely different effect. It’s a little like looking through an arc welders mask, very little light gets through.
I have had filters for a while but I recently purchased these Lee filters from B&H in New York. They’ve opened up a world of long exposure photography. And for whatever reason it seems to suit me. I suppose that’s because as I write my blog I like to wax philosophical about photos, and a long exposures seem to fit right in with that narrative. In a way they are ethereal, not quite real, a little removed from reality. That can be a great place to begin.
The funny thing is I don’t write my blog for anyone in particular. I do it only because I like to. I like taking pictures in a creative way and then writing about them. It’s just another way to be creative and for me its a fun thing to do. I would much rather take pictures and write about them than watch TV. Unfortunately I do watch the news almost every day, and that has me running back to my photography as quickly as I can.
On Sunday I spent part of the morning at the pier on Anna Maria Island. This image is a study of sorts. I recently purchased a couple Lee filters and have been experimenting with long exposure daytime photography. In this case the experiment was to see what would happen if I took a long exposure of the sunrise. I used a wide angle so that the pier would be somewhat proportional to the sun. This is exposed for nearly three minutes, 175 seconds to be exact. For an experiment, I kind of like how it turned out.
If you look close you’ll see ghost like images of the white egrets that populate the pier in the morning. I would normally try to keep them out of the frame but in this case they’re faded presence adds a narrative to the scene, an indication of what was going on at the time. In fact, what was going on is there were fishermen behind me net casting for bait fish. They would dump the catch on the pier and the egrets would snatch up any that didn’t make it into the bait bucket. Long story short, I was surrounded by white egrets.
I came here to watch the sunrise on a Sunday morning. As usual I wasn’t alone, there are always a handful of people doing the same thing. It’s a beautiful place and time of day to be here and it’s almost like being in church, there is a sense of reverence. In a way I suppose I was at the weekly Anna Maria sunrise service, only the parishioners were my fellow egrets and fishermen.
This is another long exposure of the public pier at Anna Maria Island in Florida. It was just before dawn and as usual there were already a few people milling about, mostly fishermen or those who came only to watch the sunrise; another typical morning at AMI.
Probably because of where I live I’m fascinated by bridges and piers, we seem to have a lot of both. How they make these piers, one piling at a time is amazing. To me its counter intuitive to think that you can build a solid structure into the floor of the sea. Even though it’s only a few meters deep it’s submerged. How they drill and then make sure the piling is stable is something I’d like to understand.
Pilings are big business here on the gulf coast because there are a lot of companies that specialize in it. It seems there’s always construction in the water and most of it is concerned with pilings. On the other side of AMI, facing the gulf, they are building a pier. It seems to me that the work is super slow, they’ve been at it for almost a year, but I suppose that’s the nature of the job. You don’t want to leave it to just any Tom, Dick or Harry.
Anyway, thanks to the folks that make these pilings we can sit on a pier and wait for dawn as though we hadn’t a care in the world.