This is Fort De Soto Beach a couple of days ago. With the holiday over we decided to head to the beach and unwind. This is a section that looks across towards the Sunshine Skyway Bridge as it enters Tampa Bay. I don't spend as much time at the beach as you might think. I go for photography quite a bit, but to sit and vegetate, rarely. I suppose that's common among us who live here, we take it for granted. I go maybe two or three times a year. But as I say, for photography I go many more times than that. In the end it doesn't matter because I do spend time along the shore with the waves, breeze and sunsets; I do not take that for granted, at least not yet.
I worked on this image for several hours this evening. I used a motion blur and carefully blended the original layer. Prior to that I created about ten layers in Photoshop to carefully craft the image to an idea I had in my minds eye. Then finally I used a Lightroom preset to give it an overall desaturated tone.
You may understand some of these technical details but if not, no worries. The point is, on some images I spend a lot of time and effort to transform an image into something resembling a dreamscape. For no other reason than I like to and, I think that dreams can be just as important as ordinary life. I've heard that we make our own reality, so if that's true, then sometimes I like to create a reality that is a little bit ethereal like a dream, one that I would like to inhabit if I could; at least in my mind.
This is a country oak I found along the highway in the outer reaches of my county. I see these whenever I drive along the pastures east of my home. Yesterday I just had to stop and take a picture. Normally these oaks are shelter from the hot Florida sun for the cattle and so it's not uncommon to find several in the shade. For whatever reason there were no cattle here and so the simplicity of the scene grabbed my attention.
When is warm and humid, we get these rows of clouds stretching as far as the eye can see. In this case there was another layer above that creating a spectacle in the sky. For whatever atmospheric reason, the clouds form readily at mid day over the rural areas, but as you get closer to the coast and beaches, the clouds disappear; not always but most of the time. On the west end of the county is pristine beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, the eastern end is mostly farming and ranches. The beaches and the rural sections seem to each have their own distinct climates.
After I titled this image Country Oak it occurred to me that indeed this is a common name. There are streets like Country Oak Lane; developments like Country Oak Estates; and schools like Country Oak Middle School, ...the list goes on. I never really thought about it before now, but the idea of Country Oaks seem to be iconic and somewhat popular around here. And here I thought it was all about the beaches.
This was taken inside Queenstown Gardens which is situated right in the middle of Queenstown. It kind of like Central Park for Queenstown, yet even as I write that I know it's not a good analogy. Surrounded by mountains, Queenstown has nothing in common with New York City. Maybe a better analogy would be Stanley Park in Vancouver, yes, I think so. Only Queenstown is not as commercial as Vancouver and is many times smaller. So if Vancouver were one-tenth its size then the comparison might be truer; so much for analogies.
I came here with a group of photographers on the first day of a workshop with Trey Ratcliff. We arrived before dawn along the shores of Lake Wakatipu. We then walked and took photos for several miles, ending up here still quite early in the morning. The shadows were long in the morning sun and the clouds were puffy; all elements to consider in composition, which was one of the themes of the workshop. As compositions go, this is so-so, not one of my best. Even so, looking at this now brings back fond memories of the chilly autumn morning.
After about an hour here we loaded onto a bus and headed for a well-deserved breakfast at a hotel overlooking the lake. After almost two years, I still believe that New Zealand has some of the most scenic landscapes on the planet. I also think they make a pretty good breakfast. So if you can put those two concepts together, that amount sums up my first morning.