After a rainy day last week the wind died down in the evening. When that happens, the water in the river becomes smooth like glass, which is the perfect time to take pictures. I made this near my home in Palmetto, just off the road next to the bridge.
This scene is an HDR image made of four frames with different exposures. By combining frames, the greenery and sun appear without either appearing blown-out. I use Aurora HDR from Skylum to process my HDR compositions. After mixing the frames, I usually make three or four additional adjustments to get it just the way I want it. I may also process it in Luminar which is another tool from Skylum.
This area is a little section by the river that few people notice. It's next to a major road that thousands drive by each day. As for me, I believe a photographer should work close to home as a way to practice seeing the familiar with new eyes. Seeing something new in the usual, or looking at it from a different perspective is a useful skill at home and abroad. So if you happen to be driving to work and see me standing by the river, now you'll know why.
I'm always looking for new scenes so capture and so once in a while I'll go to the park in the middle of the day. I prefer the mornings and evenings when the light is softer, but being open to possibilities, even in the middle of the day, is a good idea. Showing up is half the battle, and once at a location, I'm open to interesting scenes to photograph.
For this photo, I was walking along a path that had a canopy of brush on either side. When some folks rode past on bikes, I noticed the tunnel effect and took a photo as they receded. It's another variation on the leading line theme that's so popular in photography.
This stretch of the path causes a little sensory deprivation because the sides are thick with growth and you can only see in two directions. That feeling was heightened one evening when I happened to be walking here as darkness closed in. The effect of being in a darkened tunnel caused my sense of hearing to become heightened. Before you know it, I could hear every little sound in the bushes. At that time of day, all the nocturnal animals begin to stir. It was no surprise that I started hearing sounds emanating from the brush all around me. My imagination started working in overdrive as I wondered what might pop out on the trail in front or behind me. Nothing happened of course, but that's maybe why I decided to come back here in the middle of the day.
This image is another from the series I took while visiting Neal Preserve in Bradenton. The dry season is over, and thundershowers are now a regular occurrence until the end of summer. Water fills the ponds which in turn creates photo opportunities like this. Only a few weeks back this might have been bone dry.
The image is an HDR; it's a combination of five shots of different exposures. Because I was shooting directly at the sun, I took exposures from -4 to 0. The software that I use, Aurora HDR, is smart enough to pick out the best from each frame to combine into one. Then I use the sliders and masking techniques to adjust the saturation, shadows, and highlights. After a while, it started to have a look and feel I was trying to uncover.
Processing a photo is like polishing a stone, you work at it until it shines. That's a simple analogy but aptly reflects the process. So often I'll look at the raw photo that I have sitting in my library and think to myself it has little or no potential. But then, perhaps out of curiosity, I begin working on it and sometimes, I get a real gem. Not always, but enough times to keep me coming back for more.