I took this photo about three years ago. However, lately, there is an on-going project to re-enforce the seawall so that it doesn’t erode. Because I drive by it several times a week, I was getting tired of seeing the construction equipment. But upon reflection, and through a longer lens of history, it’s probably good that they take all the time they need to get it right.
A branch hangs over the water along the Sunshine Skyway in Tampa. This image was taken at dawn one weekend.
During the weekdays, the skyway is inundated with cars commuting to work in the various counties that surround Tampa Bay. I traverse three counties just to get to Tampa, one county twice. The weird way Tampa is carved up, Hillsborough County is on both sides of Pinellas County, on the same highway.
Nevertheless, this is a long exposure that I took from Hillsborough County looking back at Manatee County. The Skyway is an impossibly long crossing of Tampa Bay. Not only is it a scenic drive, but it’s also a recreation area and one of the best rest stops in Florida.
I take a lot of pictures of this bridge because it’s so close to home. It’s the biggest thing around, way bigger than a bread box.
Do people still use bread boxes these days? Whenever I buy bread, it goes in the freezer. But I digress; the bridge is the biggest thing around, so it’s the center of a lot of attention. I’m all about iconic photos close to home like this.
This photo, in particular, is a long exposure that was taken with an ND filter. The picture is 46 seconds long which is why the water appears flat. Usually, I might use Photoshop to create the same effect, but in this case, there is little, if any, Photoshop involved.
I took this on that windy January weekend in Tampa Bay. Contrary to popular belief, we do get a little winter weather down here. A little.
When it gets cold in Florida, we complain about it. Basically, we feel entitled to good weather all the time. When it’s not, we get our noses out of joint. Nevermind it’s fifty degrees warmer than up north, we just can’t afford those fancy coats Y’all have. That’s not true, I have one in my closet, somewhere.
Anyway, we had a chilly January. We didn’t get frost or anything, but we did have to put on shoes and long pants. That sucks. But now it’s February and its back to sandals and shorts. See how I say that like it’s the most normal thing in the world? So, for the time being, I have nothing to complain about.
This image shows an unusual perspective Tampa Bay’s Skyway bridge. I was standing along a seawall at a rest stop along the causeway that connects the two sides. The bridge appears small, but it’s close to 400 feet high.
I’ve been sitting on this photo because I can’t decide whether I like it or not. I overthink things, but it does have some redeeming qualities, so I guess I like it for now.
However, I do love this location on the bay because it’s one of the few places on the west coast where you can see the sunrise over a vast body of water. And now as I’m writing this, I’m deciding that I need to get up early and come back. Maybe I can try this shot again and settle once and for all if I like it.
This is early Twilight along the Sunshine Skyway. Normally it’s crowded but at this hour there was just me and a couple of fishermen. Behind me is the Skyway and so I’m facing towards Tampa Bay. It’s about eight miles across to the other side. The lights are from the small town of Ruskin.
I stood here composing the shot thinking it was strange that the palm trees cast such long shadows. I couldn’t figure out how they were formed because there was no light behind them. Later I realized the shadows were coming from behind me. I can be slow at times, especially so early in the morning.
I came here to shoot the sunrise and ended up exploring several locations within a half mile. This is a nesting and feeding area for sea birds. There’s always something interesting to see if you just sit and observe. What caught my eye here were the trees standing alone. Normally there would be a bunch of parked cars so this is the only time to capture the trees alone like this. I’m always on the lookout for lone trees as a subject for photography.
Anyway, I sat here for about twenty minutes just enjoying the view. I wanted to sit here until the sun rose, however I thought if I did that I might miss other sights so I moved on. I’ve got to hand it to those fishermen, they see a lot of nice scenery. They stay in one place and watch the world come to them.
I am probably a little to much of a busy body to be a good fisherman. That’s why I stick to photography.
This was taken after a couple days of rain. When it finally cleared up the clouds looked like feathers in the sky. I procrastinated and by the time I decided to take pictures there was not much time left. I quickly drove to a nearby spot by the bridge. Simultaneously as I pulled up so did several other vehicles. It seems I’m not the only one looking for a sunset at the very last minute.
I stood across the street from the water so as not to be obtrusive as I captured this fisherman in profile. He looked up anyway then turned around to take his own picture of the sunset with a phone.
A little to the right a family of seven poured out of a minivan to snap pictures and selfies along the seawall. They must have taken dozens of photos in the fifteen minutes before they loaded back in the van and drove off. I’m sure the pictures were on Facebook and Instagram servers before they ever got home.
It boggles my mind to think how many photos are stored in the cloud. It reminds me of the Akashic records. According to eastern philosophies the Akashic records are a repository of everything that has transpired on earth, maybe even beyond. It seems to me we’re in the process of creating our own digital Akashic records. Now imagine that these photos and videos are all linked together by an enormous Google mind. We could have a record of nearly everything. Of course the digital version only begins within the last ten years, but going forward we have much of it covered.
If I’m going to contribute to the photo memory of our planet then I want to save some seaside scenes like this. My photos will be under the sunset section. But if you can’t find them there you could always go back to the Akashic records, they should be in there somewhere.
I took at dawn on the north pier which is where all the local fishermen hang out. The pier is the remnants of the old bridge that was replaced by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. To get out here you need to pay a fee to the parks department. Everyone that pays that fee comes here to fish, I’m the only one that comes here to take pictures. When I show up before dawn without a fishing poll I get a few sideways glances.
I’ve taken pictures of this bridge from a lot of angles but this is my first time from this one. In reality it was darker but this is a thirty-second exposure and it appears lighter. The eastern horizon began to shift in color in advance of the sun which created a silhouette of the bridge. At it’s highest point between the two towers the bridge is four hundred feet above the water. Even that is not high enough for the biggest cruise ships.
If you sit here all day you’ll see a constant stream of ships passing under the bridge. You might see military aircraft as they make their approach to McDill AFB. You will surely see any number of animals, from sea birds to ocean mammals. People fish off this pier all day and all night and in that time there is quite the array of things flying, swimming and floating by.
In my case I’m only here for an hour before heading off to somewhere else. Perhaps if I were to stay a little longer I might see more things to take pictures of. However, to do that I would probably need to bring a fishing poll. At least then I wouldn’t get those sideways glances.
When I show up here in the morning there is usually someone else doing the same thing. I cannot imagine how many photos of this bridge exists. I am one in a long line of bridge photographers. When I got my first DSLR this is the first place I came to. I’ve been here since and I’ll be back again.
Sometimes I’ll do an outing with my camera and not get any good photos. That’s subjective and long after I may change my mind. Photography is a state of mind and what you perceive as good changes over time. It also has to do with mood. We watch movies based on our mood; drama, comedy, thriller and romance, they all appeal to different moods. So it is with photography. One day I may like one photo, the next day another.
Sometimes I’ll go back and look at a shot I did years ago and have a completely different appreciation of it. I might no longer like it. Or I might see something I like but missed.
The Sunshine Skyway is almost ten miles long and as you drive across you have great views of the sea and sky. When you are in your car it looks like you are driving into the sky. Maybe that’s where it got its name, (that’s just a guess on my part).
On this morning I came to a little island on the northern stretch to take pictures. In the summer the clouds form large columns that tower miles into the sky. When the sun is low on the horizon the light hits these columns at different angles depending on the elevation. What I notice is that the lower section of the cloud columns have warmer colors whereas those higher up tend to appear white. My guess is there are more particles in the lower atmosphere.
In Florida, when you see thunderclouds in the afternoon the variation in colors is hard to miss. In this image the clouds are about fifteen miles in the distance but you can still see the variation in colors.
This is another long exposure panorama. It’s a thirty-second exposure that I took one morning just after dawn. I stitched two images to create the panorama. This vantage point is about ten minutes from home so it’s an easy spot to get to. I had to cross the bridge to get here and then again to get back. I suppose that means I had my head in the clouds at least twice before breakfast. Not an unusual thing for me I suppose.