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.

Queenstown Bridge

This is the bridge where Lake Wakatipu ends and enters the Kawarau River. Or, at least it was. Since I took this, they built a new bridge that’s not nearly as photogenic.

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Old Queenstown Bridge
This old bridge in Queenstown has been replaced

I took this on my first day in New Zealand as I was walking around getting the lay of the land. The bridge was next to the hotel. I must say, that trip was probably the most fun I’ve ever had. It was a photography workshop with Trey Ratcliff, and it was a doozy. Everything, from the scenery to the food was over the top.

See the New Zealand gallery

I’ve been looking at some of the photos I took while there and am post-processing them with the newer software. At the time I was using the A7R which was relatively new at the time and, the choice of lenses was limited. That was two generations of A7R ago, and the RAW files are holding up quite nicely. But boy, what I could do now with the newer camera. Without a doubt, I very much want to go back.

Fishing Pier 4.0

Some scenes like this I keep coming back to. But since the sky is different each time it counts as a new pic. I’m not trying to justify it, I’m just saying.

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Fishing Pier 4.0
The fishing pier at Bradenton’s Riverwalk

I’ve posted this same scene at least three times; here, here and here. I considered not posting yet another, but I like it and so why not? It makes sense to repeat a composition over time to gauge subtle difference as your technique or gear changes.

more images from the riverwalk

This is the first time I used the GM lens for this scene, and so now I can take the time to notice that. I’m doing that with a few repeat scenes, and I’m enjoying the results. I usually save the GM lenses for commercial or portrait work, but I’m starting to use them for landscapes as well. Anyway, here is the latest version of the pier in Bradenton’s Riverwalk. Stay tuned for version 5.0 in about a year.

River Storms

This is looking up the Manatee River in summer. After a few minutes we got a thunderstorm for about twenty minutes, then a crazy sunset; every day like clockwork.

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River Storms
Typical summer day as a storm travels downriver.

The one-second shutter speed makes the water smooth, like the calm before the storm. I’m nervous when out in these conditions, the air is thick, and it’s only a matter of time before lightning strikes. We get more lightning than anywhere on earth because of the geography. My heightened state of nerves battles it out with my need to get a good picture.

more from the Manatee River

The thunder clouds always come down the river, from east to west. Often, if we’re at an outdoor restaurant along the water, we can watch the clouds heading towards us. The river is about a mile wide, so it has its own micro-climate. After the storm passes, we brush the water off the table and, enjoy the rest of the meal, just like clockwork.

Myakka Symmetry

This image is another photo from Myakka River State Park and has some compositional no-nos in it. I’m not sure why, but I like it anyway. Maybe its the colors or the symmetry created from the reflections.

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Myakka Symmetry
An image from Myakka River State Park

I take a lot of photos that never make it to the light of day. I do however review all of them in thumbnail form. There are very few winners; nevertheless, this caught my eye even though the tops of the palm trees are cut off.

more images of nature from the gallery

Sometimes the colors, shapes, and feeling of an image can override the rules of composition. Rules are just guidelines that can be broken. I try to go with what feels right to me, and in this case, a photo with real issues feels okay. I hope you don’t mind if I ignore its flaws.

Morning Rain

Here is a scene that I took from along the river a few years back. I’ve been going through the catalog looking for old photos, and this caught my eye.

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Morning Rain
An early morning capture along the Manatee River in the rain

I added a color filter and straightened the horizon; all in all, that took about 3 minutes. I’ve not done much to process this photo which stands in contrast to other images that I’ve spent hours processing; like the one yesterday. The pendulum swings both ways.

favorites gallery

If you are into photography, I have some free advice, do what makes you happy. Whether that means processing a lot or none at all, follow your heart. I’ve spent years studying and learning from others, but that’s no substitute for my “voice” or style. If we do what makes us happy, the rest will fall into place. That’s it for the free advice. For the next one, I’ll need 25 cents.

Limpkin Kin

The other day I was at Myakka River State Park to try out some experimental gear. I didn’t have a plan other than to line up a few landscape shots. As I sat on a bench working with the apparatus, a mama and baby Limpkin strolled by.

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Limpkin Kin
A couple of Limpkin in Myakka River State Park

They were eating snails and clams. The snails were easy enough to catch and eat. The clams they would batter with their beaks to break open the shells. I was no more than six feet away and what I found surprising was that, as long as I remained still, they tolerated my presence.

more landscape photography

There’s nothing better than to observe wild animals in their natural habitat. The baby Limkin was more wary of me, but the mother seemed to decide that it was more important to eat than worry about me. Or maybe she did both. Whatever the case, it was a rare privilege I’ll not soon forget.

Down by the River

After a rainy day last week the wind died down in the evening. When that happens, the water in the river becomes smooth like glass, which is the perfect time to take pictures. I made this near my home in Palmetto, just off the road next to the bridge.

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Down by the River
A section of the Manatee River from the Palmetto side of the bridge

This scene is an HDR image made of four frames with different exposures. By combining frames, the greenery and sun appear without either appearing blown-out. I use Aurora HDR from Skylum to process my HDR compositions. After mixing the frames, I usually make three or four additional adjustments to get it just the way I want it. I may also process it in Luminar which is another tool from Skylum.

more from Palmetto in the gallery

This area is a little section by the river that few people notice. It’s next to a major road that thousands drive by each day. As for me, I believe a photographer should work close to home as a way to practice seeing the familiar with new eyes. Seeing something new in the usual, or looking at it from a different perspective is a useful skill at home and abroad. So if you happen to be driving to work and see me standing by the river, now you’ll know why.

Jungle Scene

Every now and then I need to get away from the urban chaos. I was feeling that and jumped in the car to drive here to Myakka River State Park. It was after a rainstorm; in summer, storms come almost daily. As the runoff overflowed the banks the scene resembled that of a jungle.

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Jungle Scene

This is at a trailhead and I was standing on the path in about six inches of water. Beyond this, there is a path that parallels the creek. It was a few inches above the water, so I walked along it until I heard the telltale sound of a bullfrog, which in reality is a nearby alligator. I thought better of it and walked back to the car.

more landscapes in the gallery

The reason I came here was to capture the lush vegetation and flowing water. The foreground grasses give a hint of the current as it overflowed the path. Also, the reflections create a natural symmetry that completes the scene. Speaking of reflections, I just created a little study of reflections here, be sure to check it out.

Open spaces in Florida are becoming urbanized, but I am thankful for protected parks like this where nature can still be experienced with just a short drive from home.

L’Hérault, France

This is the Hérault river in Southern France. We stopped here for a brief rest on our way back from a visit to the mountain village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert. There are a lot of rivers running off the mountains here and many have ancient bridges or structures alongside.

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L'Hérault, France
A quick stop on the road to Montpellier, France

Just off to the left are a set of caves that, had we not been so tired, we could have explored; something to add to the next trip I suppose.

European Gallery

If stopped at all the good spots for pictures I would never get anywhere. This is especially true in a new place, but even at home, I’m in the habit of scanning. Unconstrained, I could go to the store for milk and come back days later, still thirsty but with a lot of pictures. That’s why I don’t bring my camera when grocery shopping. Even though sometimes I think I should.