This is a long exposure from a park that sits on the border between Sarasota and Manatee counties. It’s a new park so on a recent Sunday drive I stopped by to see it for myself. I’m facing towards the inter-coastal on Longboat Key.
You may ask, how is it possible to take a long exposure at midday? Glad you asked; I used a strong ND filter. ND stands for neutral density and it blocks the light. In fact I used two filters and together they REALLY block the light. So much so that I can keep the shutter open for a minute or two, something I can normally do only at night.
So why would I want to take a long exposure during the day? Another great question; because everything is gets smoothed out. Even water that has waves appears smooth, the same goes for clouds; they all appear smooth. It’s a cheap special effect you can achieve without a big Hollywood budget.
You can get pretty creative with photography if you have nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon. As for me I rarely have anything better to do. Standing in an empty park taking long exposures in broad daylight is my idea of a good time. Can you think of anything better to do?
I captured the light over the river one evening after the rain. Riverwalk is quiet directly after a heavy rain. However within thirty minutes people are back milling about, walking, running and fishing from the pier.
I get a little carried away when the light is like this. I’m attuned to special light. For instance I noticed it while doing exercise at the gym this morning. The clouds were in such a way that the light was diffused and I noticed. I notice it pretty much each evening in summer when we get broken clouds after rain. And I notice it when we get unusual weather here in Florida, which can be once a week or more. So on those yet fewer occasions when I have my camera, I get carried away. I’m making up for missed opportunities; I become a bit of a madman.
It borders on obsession. I lose track of everything else as I work on framing the light in different ways. That’s the big difference between a photographer and a painter. Photographers work in a short window of time and a lot must line up for it to work. A painter carries the scene in his or her head, timing has very little to do with it. However I can take all the time in the world when post processing. It’s closer to painting because if the image in my head differs from the one in the camera, I can take my time processing it to bring the two closer together.
At some level I’m simply working with light. There are mechanical tools and skill and knowledge and software and locations and weather and timing all mixed together. But at some level it’s all just working with light. As I think about it, it’s really kind of amazing for reasons I can only begin to guess.
This is a random shot of people chilling on the pier in Bradenton Beach one recent evening. The pier has benches and swings so you can just there watching the world go by. A nice thing about being on a pier is there are no mosquitoes over the water.
I hope people don’t mind that I take pictures of them like this. I try to keep folks anonymous by shooting from the back. A few minutes later I was shooting in a different direction and didn’t realize there was someone off to the side staring at me as if to say, hey that’s not cool. Normally I just ignore it and make a mental note not to use that photo. Most people don’t care but I try to be considerate.
Once I was taking pictures of a busy sidewalk at an outdoor shopping area. Some guy thought I was taking pictures of him and told me to stop. I look at him blankly and said; why would I want to take a picture of you? I’ll admit I got a little hot under the collar. I had no intention of taking that guy’s picture, but maybe he was not where he was supposed to be, who knows.
The right to take photos in public places is something we have to assert from time to time. I am respectful but people tend to notice when it’s a real camera. Take the same picture with your phone and no one pays any attention. We’ve become conditioned in odd ways that would be difficult to explain to an alien that just landed on earth.
I found no aliens on this pier and so I didn’t need to explain anything to anybody. I did take a lot of pictures of people staring out to space though. Maybe they saw something I didn’t.