I remember taking this because it was on my birthday last December. The conditions looked good and I thought, hey I can do whatever I want today so I headed out and caught this amazing display. Not a bad present.
We get these sunsets quite a bit, the trick is knowing when to show up. Of course there’s an app for that, it’s called Sky Fire at http://www.skyfireapp.com. Basically it looks at the atmospheric conditions near you and produces a probability of a good sunset or sunrise. I’ve used it once or twice and it works about seventy percent of the time. Close to home I’ve learned to read the sky but my own success rate is only about fifty percent. On the road it’s a good tool to have especial if you are not familiar with the conditions.
I like living near the water as its become a central theme in many of my landscape images. Most of our planet is covered in water and I think I heard or read somewhere that there is more water below the earths surface than all the oceans. That’s mind boggling if it’s true. Nonetheless water in an image is a strong element that resonates with me at some level. Maybe its because our bodies are mostly water and there is some elemental attraction. You never know.
Lido Beach is at the southern end of Lido Key in Sarasota. This is more of a dreamscape that I made from a normal photograph, all the elements are real, the beach, light in the sky, sand and the couple. I just blurred everything a little to give it an ethereal quality which most approximates the feeling I get when I’m actually here at sunset. This is a typical Friday night at the beach, with nothing more to do than soak it in.
As I write this its spring break in Florida and most people equate that with rowdy crowds on the beach. There is another type of crowd found here in the more secluded beaches of Sarasota. Secluded is a relative term in the sense that if you compare this area to Clearwater or Ft Lauderdale it is downright quiet.
For whatever reason there was a bit of a chill in the air this day, not enough to wear a jacket, but enough to wrap in a towel while watching the sun go down. That was a week ago and now the temps are back up and the only thing with a chill is the ice in my glass; that’s an attempt at some worn-out Florida humor. But there’s a bit of truth to it especially as winter recedes and ice is a hot commodity. That’s doesn’t sound right either.
This is a long exposure of the San Francisco Bay Bridge I took last year. I was with about three hundred people on a Trey Ratcliff photowalk. The problem with me and photowalks is that I’m a straggler. I see so many things that I want to take pictures of that I end up at the back of the pack, I can’t seem to keep up.
This is one of many thirty-second exposures I did while standing here with a tripod. If you do the math that puts me in this spot for about ten minutes. By the time I had enough presence of mind to look up the end of the pack was hundreds of yards down the road. Time to run.
Now, many months later, I just happened to look at this and remember that evening. I met many people and had a blast. Also I just noticed the V-shaped light in the distance between the two leading lines. I don’t recall seeing it that night. Anyway, now this is one of my favorite shots from the photowalk.
Here is another shot I took from an observation tower looking north towards St Pete. In the foreground is the trail through Robinson Preserve, off in the distance is the Sunshine Skyway bridge and, if you look closely, beyond the bridge is downtown St Petersburg.
For the sky and water I overlaid the texture from the inside of a native american Cedar canoe. Surely that has nothing to do with this picture yet it seemed to work well. Textures are photos of other things that can be used to add to an otherwise plain surface. I started collecting textures, which is just another way of saying I’ve been taking pickers of the ground, walls, clouds or interesting patterns. I never know how something will work until I try it out, like this one.
I wrote a post about pictorialism and how I gravitate towards the artistic side of photography. That’s evident in this image because I’ve changed it to convey a feeling or idea, not so much a strict representation of the moment. I’m not that much into the purist side of photography where we document a moment in time. That’s an honorable profession, it’s just not for me. I’m in it for the art. Totally.
I took this at midday in Sarasota while driving around last weekend. For me this is more of a daydream than a real picture. I daydream when I drive sometimes. Some things are so automatic that they get relegated to the autopilot side of the brain while the other side goes in a different direction. I’m headed that way right now.
When I look at a scene I look for an impression. We’re each so different no two impressions are the same. For some reason this takes me back to when I was about five years old and our family went on a road trip to San Jose. I remember the hotel and that it had a pool. I have no idea why this reminds me of that, it’s not logical. The blur in this image represents my faded memories of my five-year-old self; looking through a glass darkly.
Isn’t it a paradox that some people revert to their childhood memories as they grow older. I think something gets inverted. Maybe memory is like a fabric we can fold in or out and expose different surfaces. Not that I have a clue, but I think it’s a little different then I might think. Anyway, this has been a little trip down memory lane. Time to stop the daydream and drive.
Today was Beach Sunday in my town. It’s not a holiday, just the day after Saturday and the day before Dreaded Monday. And I know it was Beach Sunday because when I got into my car to drive to the beach at 12:15pm, I hit traffic. It seems everybody got the same idea at the same time. A lot of great minds thinking alike.
When we get perfect days like today I have to pinch myself and remember how lucky I am to live here. It’s a twenty minute drive to some of the best beaches on the planet. Today I was with a couple family members who had just flown down from Canada. So I have it on good authority that today scored high on the awesomeness scale. They made sure they sent pictures back home just to rub it in. Of course I had nothing to do with that.
I love it when people come here from somewhere cold and get to experience days like today. It makes all the planning and waiting worthwhile. For me, I’m glad I have family that comes down so that I can have an excuse to go to the beach. Whenever someone comes to visit, I always bring them here on the first day, just to feel the sand and water and get in the right frame of mind for the rest of their stay. As far as that goes today the mission was accomplished.
A couple of nights ago I ago I went to Sunset Beach (yes, its a real place) to capture these waves at sunset. The wind off the gulf whipped up some wave action that provided a little more drama than normal. Despite the blustery weather the conditions were good for a sunset. Waves look awesome when you are on the same level. In this case, my camera was slightly below which allowed me to catch the sun on the wave top. Grody to the max.
The beach was deserted yet there were a few diehards walking the shore. I think some people walk the shore no matter what the weather. I can understand that. If I lived here on the beach I’d probably do the same thing. How awesome would that be; can you imagine? In the summer you’re barefoot in shorts, in winter maybe you wear a coat, but so what, you’re by the water. Awesome possum.
Did you know orange and blue are complimentary colors? I’m not sure how that happened but mother nature seems to have it all worked out, especially at sunset near the ocean. I suppose that fires some ancient memory buried deep in our DNA, but for whatever reason it just works. So here’s a toast to ancient DNA and the awesomeness of Mother Nature’s color wheel.
Here I’m standing on a hill at Emerson Point which is a preserve not far from home. The funny thing about it is this is the highest point around. Can you imagine living in a place where the ground rises no higher than a palm tree? Having grown up in California I can say it takes some getting used to. For one, I find it a little disorienting when I don’t have a mountain range for bearing. The only thing I have is the direction of the sun, but that only works when it’s low in the sky. When I get turned around I always repeat in my head, “The sun rises in the East”. I’m a modern day Daniel Boone.
These hills along the coast are referred to as dunes. They don’t look like dunes because they is typically only one by it self and covered with plants. Also, to me they seem to be made of dirt, nonetheless they are referred to by the park rangers as dunes. Perhaps they have a high concentration of sand.
So unless I stand on a dune, I don’t have a strong idea of what the land looks like. That probably adds to my challenges with orientation, but I’m getting better at it. I can always use the compass app on my iPhone, not to mention Google Maps. So as long as I have cell converge I’m good.
Keeping it real can be harder than it sounds. Putting aside all the things that we think are important, a little quality time is a pretty good way to start. In the end all we really have are connections. The rest can come and go, it’s connections that define us, or so I think. But when I think of the people that have made an impression on me, it was their gift of time that made that possible.
This is another photo from Fort Lauderdale Beach. I could just stay at the beach and take photos all day long, it’s a natural place for images to just happen, especially if you know what you’re looking for. I take a lot of photos of people walking on the beach. The initial snapshot is a reminder of what I saw in my mind and the idea that I had. Only later when the time is right do I express it, sometimes artistically like this. This image conveys the idea I had in my mind. I never really know how the image will turn out, but if I work at it enough I get close. Close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades. Bad reference, scratch that.
I’m going to go back to the beach sometime this week. Who knows what I’ll see or which beach I’ll go to. The main thing is to go and then just let the rest happen; kind of like keeping it real. I think that a lot of things can happen if we just let them. I rarely know what way the wind will blow, I just keep doing my thing and somehow it all works out.
Earlier this month I captured this before sunrise in Ft. Lauderdale, which is on Florida’s Atlantic coast. I was hoping to catch the colors at dawn but there was too much of a marine layer and it wasn’t to be. Nonetheless the city lights cast a glow on the low clouds in this long exposure. I kept the shutter open for about eight-seconds which makes the ocean appear smooth.
This was taken from in front of the Marriott hotel where I stayed. I had never been there before and had to follow the GPS to find it the night before. I didn’t really know where I was or which way it was to the city. My room was set back from the beach so I could only see the beach, not up and down the coast. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when I walked down here early in the morning to find that the main city was just a short walk north. I’m glad I woke up or I would have missed this scene, it’s not easy to take a picture of a deserted beach in Ft Lauderdale.
I walked up and down the beach taking all kinds of pictures, several I’ve recently published on the blog. It was a fun experience in the predawn hours with just my camera. Due to the soft sand it took a lot of effort to walk, but that’s how a beach is, sandy. When I walk on the beach I normally just pick a direction and start a slow plod, stopping to take pictures, slowly making my way until its time to turn around. And so that pretty much sums up this morning, a slow Sunday plod.