Low Hanging Branch

A branch hangs over the water along the Sunshine Skyway in Tampa. This image was taken at dawn one weekend.

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Low Hanging Branch
From the Sunshine Skyway in Florida

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.

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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.

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.

Morning Routine

On most mornings I have a routine, doing the same things I did the morning before. Once in a while, I take photos instead.

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Morning Routine

I’m a creature of habit, and if I don’t put my keys in the same place, I’d spend half my life looking for them. Habits and routines go hand in hand and can be good, or not so good. But you get my drift.

It’s a little like having an autopilot in our car. It allows us to do one thing while doing another. Again, nothing wrong with that unless we forget where we are going.

more of Sarasota from the gallery

I guess my point is that it might be a good idea to step outside our comfort zone now and again to see where we are. For me, that means getting out to take photos. For you, it would be something completely different, but just as important.

Lone Tree

Trees in a field are usually found in clusters. So when and I see one I might stop suddenly to take a photo, hopefully without causing an accident.

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Lone Tree
A lone tree that I found on a drive on Sunday afternoon.

In this case, I saw the tree and continued driving until I could safely make a U-turn and park along the highway. But if there are no cars nearby, I may just hit the breaks and back up along the curb. That’s a bad idea if someone is in the car, but by myself, it works.

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Lone trees are an easy subject. There are (pardon the pun) the low hanging fruit of landscape photography. Just find an angle that frames a solitary tree in its surroundings, and you have the makings of a good photo. In this case, I also have foreground and background elements that provide a sense of placement and perspective. And to top it off, no one was harmed in the making of this photo.

Tree People

To me, this looks like someone got trapped in a tree by a magicians spell. With Holloween coming I was looking for something scary, and this is the best I could come up with.

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Tree People
A scary tree at the Ringling estate in Sarasota

This unusual tree is on the Ringling estate in Sarasota, otherwise known as Ca’ d’Zan. It’s where John and Mabel Ringling lived and, now is a museum with sprawling gardens on Sarasota Bay.

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This also reminds me of an Ent of LOTR fame. Of course, we have Peter Jackson’s idea what they looked like; but before that, when I read the books, I imagined something like this. Maybe trees do have awareness, and we can communicate somehow. That would be a lot of fun, not scary at all. I’ll look for something more frightening.

Natural Highlights

When I was driving the loop road in Big Cypress National Preserve, I’d stop every half mile or so. Sometimes I’d see these Bromeliad Tillandsia blooming on the side of cypress trees.

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Natural Highlights
A scene from Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida

I didn’t have the right equipment for taking flower photos, so I used a telephoto and zoomed in from the side of the road. This photo was taken with the zoom fully extended at 240mm.

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The main thing that catches my eye is the contrast of the flower against the green and earth tones of the preserve. I suppose I could have waded into the swamp to get a better look, but I could hear the croaking of alligators close by and I needed to get home to re-organize my sock drawer. Not that I was afraid or anything.

Lone Tree in the Park

I saw this tree while driving past a park in the heart of Kansas City. I like the idea of a tree standing alone. I saw a lot of those in the Dakotas during my road trip. But in general, I was going too fast to pull over on the busy interstate.

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Lone Tree in the Park
A lone tree in Kansas City’s Penn Valley Park

I was a little frustrated at not getting all those shots on the highway, so when I drove past this park, I stopped right away. Finding a tree isolated from others is rare.

This image is a little deceptive. First, I’m shooting up a hill where the horizon line blocks the trees behind it. In that way, it creates an illusion that there is only one tree. Secondly, using Photoshop, I carefully removed a radio tower on the left.

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So now it looks the way I wanted. The idea behind this is to achieve a minimalistic aesthetic. A simple image of a single subject is a favorite pursuit of mine, even when driving.

Shaded Bench

A bench in the shade outside the Ringling Museum in Sarasota Florida. I come here from time to time to take pictures of the manicured grounds. This was a particularly hot day and I thought this bench was well placed under the shade of a Banyan. There are a lot of trees here so it makes wandering the grounds a bit easier in summer. They also have ice cold lemonade at a snack bar under one of the largest Banyans in the region.  Where would we be without Banyans.
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A bench in the shade outside the Ringling Museum in Sarasota Florida. I come here from time to time to take pictures of the manicured grounds. This was a particularly hot day and I thought this bench was well placed under the shade of a Banyan. There are a lot of trees here so it makes wandering the grounds a bit easier in summer. They also have ice cold lemonade at a snack bar under one of the largest Banyans in the region. Where would we be without Banyans.

Sanibel Thunderstorm

A thunderstorm the other day along the Sanibel Causeway. It's all the more spectacular when the last rays of the sun can peak out during a thunderstorm. By the time I finished taking this the heavens had opened and I ran for the safety of my car.  After it passed it got dark and the skies once again clear up.
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A thunderstorm the other day along the Sanibel Causeway. It’s all the more spectacular when the last rays of the sun can peak out during a thunderstorm. By the time I finished taking this the heavens had opened and I ran for the safety of my car. After it passed the skies once again cleared up as though it never even happened. Typical Florida afternoon.