Westward Gaze

This is a common scene at the beach and a good illustration of why I prefer the west coast of Florida.

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WestwardGaze
The sun sets on the western coast of Florida.

Or for that matter, the west coast of anywhere. Sure, you can get up early to see the sunrise on the east, but it’s not the same. Watching the sun sink into the ocean at the end of the day is observed facing west only.

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According to astonomy.com, about half of the galaxys rotate clockwise like ours, and the other half counterclockwise. That means that planets in other galaxies, and maybe a few in our own, have planets with the sunset in the east — something to think about.

Remote Beach

At the tip of Longboat Key is a beach strewn with the remnants of past storms. It creates a surreal scene, and it’s a nice place to hang out.

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Remote Beach
A remote beach at the northern tip of Longboat Key in Florida

The beach is only accessible by hike so, it becomes a bohemian camp of sorts. You feel very much away from it all here. Each time I come, there are groups of people in temporary camps with hammocks hanging from the trees. Sometimes they are playing music or singing, like gypsy gatherings in a Patrick Rothfuss novel.

more from Longboat Key in the gallery

At around sunset on any given day, you’ll see photographers trek here with their clients. I’ve done that, but I also look for unique scenes like this when I come alone.

Beach Fog

The other day I went to the beach to watch the sunset, but the beach was covered in fog; time to execute Plan B.

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Beach Fog
A foggy day on Longboat Key

Plan B is to try and make lemonade out of lemons. This shot is one where a hole opened up in the sky just as some birds flew by. Photos like this in the fog have no shadows because the light is very even. I think photography in this type of soft light is more comfortable on the eyes when we look at it.

more from the beach gallery

Even without the fog, some of the best landscape photos are taken when the sun was lower, and the light gets diffused by the atmosphere. Or, when there are enough clouds in the sky to diffuse the harsh sunlight. The sun is an unfathomably harsh body that can rip everything to shreds in an instant if it were not for the amazing conditions we have here on Earth. Knowing this and having the opportunity to photograph it is pretty awesome.

The Real Thing

I used to have a thing about benches. Now its beach chairs and umbrellas. At least I’m progressing.

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The Real Thing
An afternoon on Bradenton Beach Florida

When I take photos of random people on the beach, I try to remain conscious of their privacy, lest I have them sign a release form. But when it comes to objects, everything is fair game. I once did a commercial beach shoot. There was so much involved, from legal to logistics. I prefer just to walk around and take pictures of interesting things, or people.

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Putting people or chairs in a shot causes us to imagine ourselves in the scene. If we see people, we subconsciously become them. When we look at chairs, in our mind’s eye we find ourselves sitting in them. We project ourselves with our thoughts without even realizing it; it’s a habit we all have. Sometimes I feel I’ve been somewhere having previously only looked at it in pictures or videos. But, as they say, there’s no substitute for the real thing.

Mangrove Glow

A few days ago I had a bright idea to take some photos. Somehow, I managed to leave with enough time to get here and set up the shot without rushing.

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Mangrove Glow
A mangrove plant at Emerson Point in Palmetto Florida

I usually procrastinate and then end up dashing out the door. But once in a while, I do it the proper way, whatever that is. I am continually going between calm and panic in my photography. Kind of like life I suppose.

more mangroves from the gallery

Lately, when I know I’m shooting into the sun, I’ve been using my high-quality Sony 24-70mm f2.8 GM lens. It’s a lot heavier than my standard travel lens, but man-o-man, the quality comes through. I notice the difference because I take and process so many photos, but most folks would never know. That’s okay because I take these landscape photos for myself. And as the saying goes, whatever makes me happy.

City Pier

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.

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City Pier

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.

more from Anna Maria Island

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.

#venicefl

The problem with a place in Florida called Venice is that if you Google “Venice,” you’ll end up in Italy. Even if I search my website, I get Italy. Using the hashtag “#venicefl” helps sort that out.

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#VeniceFL
Here is an old photo I took of Venice – the one in Florida (not Italy)

That’s the thing about living in the new world, a lot of places get named after the old world. If you’re someone like me that was born here, its confusing as heck. (I never said I was bright.) It’s like when someone in Ontario Canada mentions London; or the poor souls in Paris Texas.

Venice photos from Florida and Italy

Hashtags aside, I took this with the original Sony A7R. By this time I owned it for over a year and was thoroughly happy with it. Now I’m on the third generation A7, but am going back with newer software. The updated software breaths new light into these old shots. This is processed with Aurora HDR 2019, and after looking at what it can do with these old photos, I’m going to be going back to have a second look at a few more.

One Last One

When I’m racing against the clock to get as many pictures as I can, there’s always a point when I know I should finish, but can’t help getting one last one. That explains what happened here; the light was almost gone, I was walking back to the car, and noticed this one last composition.

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One Last One
This is from Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island

In a recent post, I mentioned there is an attractive aesthetic about the lifeguard stands on the beach. Maybe it’s the idea of a structure positioned before the ocean. I suppose it could be almost anything, not just a lifeguard stand. But I digress.

more from the sunset gallery

When I’m taking photos, no matter how many or how few I make, I ALWAYS end up with more than I need. However, on this night my ratio of hits to misses was remarkably slim. I was lucky, had the right timing, or a combination of the two. Regardless, I was on a roll, and I’m glad I got this one last one.

Miami Beach

The lifeguard stands at Miami Beach are these funny cartoon-like structures. Whoever designed them has a brilliant sense of humor; each one is cut out from an active imagination and looks like something from a Disney movie.

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Miami Beach
A non-typical lifeguard stand on Miami Beach

When I was here a couple of months ago, they had started rebuilding each stand. There was an area roped off in Lummus Park where new stands were under construction. Perhaps they replace them every five or ten years. With the storms in summer, they need to be extra sturdy.

more from the beach gallery
more lifeguard stands

If you look close, you can see a couple more of these down the beach; each is unique with a different color and shape. Living near the beach lifeguard stands are a common subject for me; they are like little houses. I romanticize them in my pictures, but I think they provide only the barest of necessities for the lifeguards that sit inside all day long keeping a keen eye out for trouble.

Little Dunes

When I hear the word dune, I think of the desert, but these along the Florida beach are a different variety. Unlike the shifting sands of the Sahara, these are covered with plants and are meant to hold their shape in a storm. They are what keeps us from being washed away completely.

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Little Dunes
A sunset along the beach on Anna Maria Island

If you look carefully through the top of the dune, you’ll see orange tape marking a sea turtle nest. Scores of volunteers comb the beach for nests, erect barriers, and take careful notes over the incubation period. Once hatched, they’ll dash for the water so as not to be eaten by birds. Only a few survive to adulthood; it’s a rough start to what will hopefully become a long life in the sea.

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Nothing is permanent, yet everything is trying to hold on. The dunes and turtles are both pitted against the forces of nature. Perhaps the tension in the environment is what produces the beauty on earth. It seems that elemental pressures are a creative force. Without them, we’d all be washed away and overrun with too many sea turtles. On second thought, you can never have too many sea turtles.