New Bridge

The new bridge at Robinson Preserve presents an open invitation to cross over to a winding trail with ponds, marshes, and wildlife on all sides.

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New Bridge
A bridge in Robinson Preserve

The image I posted yesterday was not far from this spot, but the weather could not have been more different. That image was on a foggy morning, and this is at the end of the day. The light in each tells an entirely different story.

check out the panorama gallery

As usual, the story is mostly in our mind. With these types of landscape images, we all see the same thing, yet we fill in different details. And, as with life, we perceive in it what we want to see. I think self-projection is one of the purposes of art, to allow us to muse upon things that are reflections of ourselves.

Sliver of Solitude

I’m standing on the western tip of a peninsula called Emerson Point. It’s where I come to get away from it all, a little sliver of solitude.

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Sliver of Solitude
At the end of Emerson Point in Palmetto Florida

That’s not me standing by the water, so apparently, it’s not complete solitude. There were about a dozen people here, and typically I’m not the only one with a camera. But having people around ensures I can place one in the frame to tell a story. In this case, the story is about a solitary figure watching the sunset.

more solitude in the gallery

Usually, when I frame a person in a shot like this, I try to ensure they are nondescript. In the movie industry, it’s known as atmosphere. I used to work in the back office of a movie studio, and an atmosphere person was paid twenty-five dollars a day. That’s not bad for just standing around; but in this case, I didn’t spend a cent.

Simple Scene

This is my favorite type of simple scene. In my opinion, it depicts a moment of solitude, maybe even inspiration that comes from nature. Rather than write something philosophical, any meaning or interpretation are best left to you, the viewer.

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Simple Scene
This is the type of photography I love most

I get asked a lot about what kind of photography I do. The short answer is that I do different types of photography. But a better question is what type of photography I love the most. For that my answer is simple minimalism like this. Something uncomplicated that evokes thoughts, emotions or introspection.

more from the beach

However, I’m using a trick by placing a person in the image. If there was no person, you would simply be an observer of a nondescript scene. But when a person is placed in it, we involuntarily project ourselves into the scene. For whatever reason, it’s in our nature to do that and we do it all the time. Advertisers have used this knowledge for decades to manipulate us. I’d like to hope and think my motive is a little more benign.

Room to Breathe

I have purposely left a lot of space in this image so that it can breathe. Sometimes images tell a story and are arranged with objects here and there. In this case there is no story, just open space and room to breathe.

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Room to Breathe
The empty space in this image is on purpose

We are bombarded with information at every turn. We are plugged into the information superhighway and deceive ourselves if we think otherwise. Finding respite might be as simple as standing by the water’s edge and looking out at nothing for a few minutes.

minimalism in the gallery

This theme is one I’ve been exploring lately in images. Not that I have answers to anything, it’s just that I feel the need to slow down from time to time. But do as I say and not as I do. If I took my own advice it might actually do me some good. I’ll try to keep that in mind, gotta run.

Random People in Scenes

I use random people in scenes all the time. Sometimes a person is positioned in such a way as to create a scene. Street photography is all about people in scenes. One technique is to create compositions where people are juxtaposed to nearby architecture or structures. A simple example is a person waking past an archway. Looking for a composition is like a game; you feel a sense of accomplishment when you capture one. I haven’t played but maybe it’s a little like Pokémon Go.

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Random People in Scenes
Random People in Scenes in Bayfront Park in Sarasota

I took this at Bayfront Park in Sarasota recently. The park is an island with a trail around it and these swings are spaced every fifty meters. I come here when I want to do a mixture of people and landscape photography; it has plenty of both. As I walked behind this lady I think she knew I was taking pictures because she glanced back. She didn’t seem to mind so I paused to get several more.

I use people in this way all the time. Of course it’s better to be coy about it, if people become aware of what your doing they may change their behavior. Lately I’ve taken to carrying only a small 35mm lens on my camera. That way it doesn’t stand out so much and I can almost pretend I’m a casual shutterbug. In reality I’m on an undercover mission.

images with random people

One time it backfired on me. I was trying to be nonchalant as I took a picture of a rundown garage in a gritty part of town. The people inside thought I was snooping on them and started yelling at me. It turned out okay but I should have asked first. Most people don’t mind if they know what you’re doing. And if they do mind, well, no biggie, it’s just a game.

At the Waters Edge

I took this in front of a beach restaurant last Sunday. We like coming here because we can eat at the waters edge and stare out to sea. We arrived for a late lunch that turned into an early dinner and then decided we might as well stay for sunset. Sometimes its best to go with the flow, especially on a weekend.

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At the Waters Edge
At the Waters Edge in Bradenton Beach

Staring out to sea is like staring at a fire. It’s something that speaks to our subconscious. Once you start it’s hard to stop, like a long hot shower.

This is my interpretation of the scene that evening. By that I mean I imagined the girl on the beach was soaking in the sun and that it was rejuvenating her. I removed people because in my mind this is not about a busy beach. In this story she is alone with her thoughts.

A lot of people come here from all over to escape the cold and soak up the sun. Our heroine is surely one of these people.

I am glad to see the reaction of others because it reminds me of how fortunate I am. I spend a lot of time on photography and that takes me to the waters edge. I try not to take it for granted.

More Beaches

I just read that the Gulf of Mexico will be warmer than usual this summer, that the water temperature has remained high this winter. That’s good for the visitors here now; however in summer we’ll have more storms and the scene will look very different. Regardless, I’ll probably come back to capture someone else staring at the sea. The weather may change but our need to sit at the waters edge will not.

Look Into The Future

What do you see when you look into the future? I think looking into the future is a bit of a fools errand. You think you know what will happen but it doesn’t. And it takes attention away from the present moment, the here and the now. Not that I don’t dream, set goals have a New Years resolution or two. Living in the present while not losing track of the direction of our lives is a balancing act.

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Look Into The Future
Look into the future yet remain present

This image makes me think of those kinds of things. It’s a metaphor for the uncertainty in the sea of possibilities. We sit on the precipice and look out at the year ahead. We each see something different.

This is an image I took in California as I headed home. The original image looks different, a little more concrete and realistic. But for me photography will often evoke metaphors and I am easily attracted to them. Art is metaphor, a representation of something in our psyches, collective and individual. Artists become immersed in the exploration of metaphors, representing deeper meanings on the canvas.

favorites from the gallery

When I look into the new year I see a clean canvas. I’m curious to know what the new year will bring, yet perhaps the only way to get there is to be present in the current moment.

Meditation Sunset

This is a meditation sunset from Emerson Point in my hometown of Palmetto. It’s the kind of image you might see on the cover of a meditation book, at least that’s what comes to my mind.

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Meditation Sunset
Meditation sunset taken with a wide angle lens in Palmetto Florida

Speaking of which, I’ve been trying meditation lately. Not that I know what I’m doing, just taking a few minutes to clear my mind when I can. Long story short, it’s easier said than done. And to be honest I’m not sure if this picture would help. As soon as I look at a photo I start thinking thoughts and you’re not supposed to do that. But I’m no expert so take what I say with a grain of salt. Maybe I should give it a try, it might help for all I know.

Moving along, I took this with my new Laowa 12mm wide angle lens. The fun thing about getting a new lens is I get to try it out on familiar locations and see what happens. A wide angle lens has the tendency to create a tunnel effect, meaning that everything appears to converge in a point on the horizon. It’s just a nifty effect of the lens, we don’t actually see things that way.

images featuring clouds in the gallery

Anyway, let’s all take a deep breath, look at this picture and clear our minds. It might just do us a world of good. When I finally figure out how to meditate I’ll write a book and put this photo on the cover. Maybe.

The Heron Dreams

As the waves lap upon the shore and the stars circle the night sky, the Heron dreams. In dreams we inhabit the same landscape, perhaps.

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The Heron Dreams
The Heron Dreams on Longboat Key

We miss so much when we don’t acknowledge nature. I have recently come to believe that the elemental spirits of nature, those we call animals, are so much more connected with the truth of life than we will ever know.

I am astonished at how much these beings revere us. We take it for granted, we always have. But if we stop and think, better yet, if we connect with them, we may learn something about them. We may even learn something about ourselves.

I am coming to realize that animals have so much to teach us. I think that in our current society we gloss over this to our own detriment. Perhaps it is just a temporary condition and in years to come we will correct this.

night photography

Perhaps one way to correct this is to make an attempt to respect and acknowledge the animals around us. They are all around, shouldn’t we take notice? When you look into the eyes of an animal you will see a window to a soul or spirit that is just as viable a life as our own. More often than not see love looking back.

I think that by connecting with our animal friends we will unlock something in ourselves. All we have to do is notice. This is my simple tribute to the elemental life all around us.

Lights Reflecting in Sarasota Bay

Lights reflecting in Sarasota Bay on a recent evening. I’ve taken similar images but of course each one is a little different. This is a long exposure panorama of three separate images; the exposure is about ten-seconds and it makes the water look smooth. Panoramas over the water work well only if the water is smooth. Otherwise there are noticeable lines where the wave patterns are stitched together. That’s because the waves from each picture are in different positions and don’t match when combined. A little tip for the day.

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Lights Reflecting in Sarasota Bay
Lights Reflecting in Sarasota Bay

I’m addicted to long exposure photography, I love how it transforms a scene, making it seem almost serene. I’m also addicted to night or low light photography, I like how the mood shifts when the bright light of day fades. When I get to combine the two I’m in my happy place. It’s a lot of fun and I never quite know what I’ll end up with. The main thing is to keep experimenting and, of course, having fun.

panoramas from the gallery

Anyway, now that the weather here in Florida is finally cooling a bit from the long hot summer, an evening outdoors can be refreshing. A cool dry breeze is something I haven’t felt around here in about six months, so now that thats starting I think its time to get out and enjoy the weather. Not that I need an excuse but for me that means doing more long exposure panoramas. Stay tuned, more images to come.