Driving up Highway 126 along the McKinzie River, the temptation is to pull off at every little bridge or vista. On one near Fin Rock, I found this lonely lane.
I’ve heard so much about the forests in the Pacific Northwest, and seeing them for myself was worth the trip. An old utility road through the forest is an invitation to explore. It was blocked off, so maybe it’s better I didn’t drive it in my little rental car.
I imagine that, like the Mangroves of the tropics, these conifers constitute a significant source of CO2 sequestration for our planet. Not only that, the forests are the habitat for mycelium which we are just now discovering can lead to cures for pollution and disease. (Check out this website for more on that!) Let’s hope these forests remain protected as vigorously as our Florida mangroves.
If you head down this road for three minutes, you’ll end up at the gulf. If you go the other direction for about two hours, you’ll end up at the Atlantic. Only in, Florida.
I was leaving the gulf and stopped for a different shot when I happened to look back; that’s how I came to take this photo. Most of the pictures I take originate from this rather haphazard approach. That’s not to say I don’t occasionally plan; it’s just that planning and this type of photography are only loosely connected. Having a plan gets me out of the house, and that’s where the connection ends.
Once out of the house, the struggle is figuring out what photos to take; to solve that I try to stay open and aware of what’s around me. Over the years, I’ve developed an aesthetic which largely stems from my personality. So, when I go out to take photos, even though I may not know what I’m looking for, I will generally know it when I see it.
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.
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.
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.
Here is a scenic section of road through Myakka State Park. It’s not too far from the campground, so it’s not uncommon to see cyclists and hikers.
Spanish moss hangs from the oaks all around this region. Where I live, we have oaks draped with it. Squirrels and bird use it for nests, and after a storm, enormous loads of it get blown to the ground.
There are several roads like this in the vicinity. I think they’re called canopy roads. There is one just outside the park that I’ve taken photos of a couple of times.
I’ve tried taking pictures of the oaks and moss near my home, but there are too many houses in the background, it’s not the same. So when I’m out and about in this area, I’m always on the lookout for these types of scenes.
Here is another picture from South Dakota’s Badlands National Park. Highway 240 is a road with curves and hills, perfect for touring. As usual, I pulled over every half mile or so for a shot of the roadway and scenery.
The ridges are made of alternating soft and hard layers so that they erode fast, which is why they look so unusual. Here is a link to how the Badlands are formed. You can almost see erosion working in real time. When they get torrential rain here, the runoff carves new features and the basin floods. I would not want to be stuck out here in the rain. A few hours after we left a summer storm hit, and I suspect that things looked a little different in the morning.
Along the road, we saw buffalo, mountain goats and large numbers of prairie dogs. Amongst the prairie dogs, we also saw small owls. I’m not sure what they were doing, perhaps looking to steal the young. The landscape here is both barren and full of life. It’s harsh and beautiful at the same time.
Highway 240 loops through the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. I took this photo near the entrance to the park. The geological formations of The Badlands are amazing to look at, but in this frame, I was looking at the winding road ahead. The entire thirty-mile loop is scenic winding roads with turnouts every half mile or so.
If I had a motorcycle, this is where I’d ride. The road has everything, curves, hills, and of course scenery. When I came through here, it was a couple of weeks before Sturgis, and already groups of bikers were riding in that direction. I met one biker from Montreal when I took this photo. We chatted for a while because we were both into photography.
In these grassy plains are hundreds, if not thousands, of prairie dogs. We’d stop along the side of the road and watch their antics; it was a regular circus. We continued down the road, eventually arriving in Rapid City. That night we had a massive thunderstorm, like those we get in Florida. It made me think about the constant erosion of this landscape as well as all those groundhogs hiding in their burrows.
Here is another shot of a familiar scene along the Ringling Bridge in Sarasota. I posted a similar image from the same batch about a year ago, but this uses a different lens and processing. Nevertheless, it’s a scene and a location that I keep coming back to time and time again.
Sarasota Bay is an estuary and if you stand here you’ll see dolphins and other sea life. It’s under the stewardship of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and if you visit their home page you notice another photo by yours truly. Due to the abundant sea life it’s a fishermen’s paradise and less than a hundred yards from where I’m standing is a bait shop. I could think if worse places to fish, …if I did.
If I didn’t do photography I’d have to fish, it’s kind of a requirement down here, everybody does it. Sometimes I’ll show up at a location by the water with a tripod in hand and fishermen will just assume it’s a fishing poll. But as I said I don’t fish, I take photos. If I need fish I get it the old-fashioned way, …from the supermarket.
When I see a scene like this I want to capture it with my camera. That’s great if I have my camera, it’s stressful if I don’t. Its what I call the burden of beauty. Photography has opened my eyes so I am more aware of what’s around me. When I see something interesting or pretty the inclination is to take a picture. So now I not only appreciate more, I want to capture it. As problems go I suppose its a good one to have.
I took this in Sarasota last week as the rain clouds were clearing. There is a special quality to the light at times like this. I feel the need to capture elusive light. Sometimes the photos are simply clouds, water and sun. Generally they never make it to my collections, maybe they lack that little something extra of interest to a wider audience. That’s okay, I’m glad I captured it all the same.
“Capture” is a funny word. We cannot capture anything as ephemeral as light, we record it. But I try to convey a little of what I felt or saw at the time. So when I say I capture an image, that’s shorthand for recording a scene and trying to convey a sense of the moment. It’s not easy but I try.
Have you ever been away from home, seen something you’ve never seen and then call home to talk about it? That’s how I can feel even just walking the dog, I want to share it. It happens all the time. I think that’s because I have a heightened appreciation for moments like this; that’s the burden of beauty.
In Amsterdam there are bike roads constructed everywhere. I’m not even sure they should be considered lanes because in many cases they are roads in their own right. The first thing I learned when I came here was that they are not for pedestrians. It only took one time. The same thing happened to me in Vancouver once. It must be a common mistake for foreigners.
Quite often you’ll see passengers sitting sideways on the rack. The racks on these bikes are sturdy and people carry everything on them. While walking in the morning I saw parents carrying their kids to school. It’s no wonder the bicycle culture is passed from one generation to the next.
Bikes are parked everywhere but the highest concentrations are around train stations. At some stations its the only form of parking. There are tens of thousands parked in massive multi-level lots.
Bike mechanics thrive here, bike shops are more common than cheese shops. However people are resourceful and I saw riders jump off to quickly fix a slipped chain or flat tire. It appears that most people know the basics out of necessity.
I spent a recent afternoon on some winding roads north of Toronto. The drive is nice any time but this time of year is hard to beat. The days are quickly getting shorter and there are dustings of snow here and there. Coming from Florida this was an exceptional treat, not only the colors but the cooler weather as well.
Whenever I saw something I liked I just pulled over and took a shot out the window. That’s a lazy way to take photos but I couldn’t help it, I was in a lazy mood.
Sometimes laziness works, luck works too. Sometimes getting a good photo of a landscape is a meticulous process of preparation and execution. Other times a simple shot out the window will do. I admire photographers that go to great lengths, it shows in their work. Sometimes, I do that, especially when I have more time. But given a quick afternoon drive and a camera, I’ll go with the flow.
It’s a little like taking photos when you’re on a tour. Your time is not your own, your on a tour, following a schedule. So you do your best and get what you can. Sometimes its like that when I have a short time to go take photos, I just go with the flow and have fun.
One thing is for sure, the worst day of taking photos is still better than the best day at work. And this was not a bad day by any stretch of the imagination.