As is normally the case, I had no idea where I was going. All I knew was that it was before dawn on a Saturday and I was driving somewhere to take a picture of something yet to be determined. It's not a very exact plan but sometimes that's just how I roll. Often I have no idea where I'm going when I go out to take pictures. Instead of turning left I turn right and just go with the flow of random-ness in the universe.
I ended up outside the gates at Desoto Point looking at rain clouds and trying to remember why this was better than bed. I put on a poncho and walked to the shore. I told myself that once I got there I could turn around and head home knowing that I tried. Standing there in the rain I was grateful for the solitude, and the poncho. About the same time I noticed the clouds starting to break up. Sure enough the clouds parted, the sun rose and I captured the moment with what seemed to me like a bit of luck.
I could have left for home before the scene unfolded, or not even walked the trail to the shore. The fact that I did and stayed seemed to me at the moment to be more chance than purpose. That attitude comes from many occasions where it doesn't work out. So I suppose the odds were in my favor this time and I managed to get the shot, even if it was half by chance.
The other day I was walking through the newly opened Perico Preserve when I spotted these Roseate Spoonbills. They were busy feeding in the shallows of a pond and they didn't seem to mind me taking their picture. I was struck by the color of their feathers which reminded me of flamingos.
When I was in southern France I heard that the flamingos are pink because they eat so much shrimp. I'm no expert but I wonder about that since even flamingos in captivity are pink. These spoonbills are not in captivity and I don't think they eat much shrimp. I think the pink color is natural and it tends to confuse people like me into thinking they've seen a flamingo. I imagine it happens a lot here in Florida.
Its pretty amazing that I could just walk upon these. I get a similar feeling when I see herons, egrets and pelicans right up close. Many of them have grown accustomed to people and will not flee as long as you don't indicate harm. In fact yesterday, I was walking through another trail and came upon two rabbits. Rather than run they just parted to either side of the trail to let me pass and then resumed to what they were doing. Not sure where I'm going with all of this other than I consider it a privilege to interact with the wildlife. I guess I just don't look scary enough.
This is the Sunshine Skyway Bridge as it leads into Tampa Bay from the Gulf of Mexico. I was standing in my hometown of Palmetto about six miles away when I took this. I used a tripod to steady it since it was dusk and the light was fairly dim. The final image is composed of several parts combined into one. It's an artistic rendering of the bridge as I imagine it. I do a lot of that with my photography, especially as I visit sites and scenes I've shot many times before. You might think I get bored from going to the same places time after time. On the contrary, it's just the opposite; it fuels a desire to become more creative which in turn opens up all kinds of possibilities.
At times I take pictures just for the raw material of a creative rendering such as this. When I sit down to create the image I use a lot of different tools in the same way a painter uses a brush and pigments. I can spend hours on an project, working away hour after hour lost in creative reverie. Then at some point, I run into a wall and put it aside. Then when I look at it later I may start up again. And so it goes until I'm done.
On the one hand I'm never really done with an image like this yet on the other I have to draw a line somewhere. It can be hard to let go sometimes. I've walked away from this image several times only to come back and have another go at it. But for now this is it, I've drawn the line and I'm off to my next project.