Monday, August 3, 2015

In this part of northeastern Florida, cloud forms are an essential photographic element.  As the terrain is as flat as the third in a blues scale, they hold one's interest the way hills and mountains do elsewhere.   Tidal salt marshes really need their help except when the tide is out and what's in the mud is the subject (not too often!).   When just going to the ocean isn't enough, I travel to Hecksher Drive where a number of state parks are located, and several other attractions that I've presented here in the past.  Yesterday, the sky was roiling and I found these two subjects.  Not long after, rain brought an end to my camera time.   (Film)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Yes, this is the ocean, but sand bar barriers block the surf.  The water here is often this calm except when coaxed by the wind to be more active.   Some would say this has no center of interest, and they'd be correct in a way, but they'd be missing the point.  A view like this IS a center of interest that lures countless multitudes to sit on the beach and let go of all stress while staring at it.  (Film)

This photograph, taken at the same location (Big Talbot Island SP),  has an obvious center of interest.  What you can't see nearby are the scores of fallen trees that litter the sand.  This little guy got separated from the rest of his bones.   (Film)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

It's interesting to remember how rarely I used to use my wide angle lenses. Then, my favorite focal length for the Pentax 67 medium format camera was the 135mm.  That has changed dramatically!!  Most of the photographs I take now are with the wide angle 55mm and still wider angle 45mm lenses.  Capturing the flat landscape and the eternal vista of ocean and sky requires a different perspective than my long favored short telephoto.  Here are a few examples, some of which have been posted before, but not in a group representing a theme....a major drawback of a blog vs a website, but there it is.   (All are film)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Many of the places I visit with a camera don't change much until there's a new season.  Yes, light varies during the day, as do clouds and weather, but those changes don't necessarily invite a photograph.  A tidal salt marsh is much more active.  There's less wind on the water, so it's often reflective.  The mud at low tide is filled with detail.  As the water ebbs and flows, it creates its own patterns.  There are myriads of gorgeous birds who are at home there. Plus, the light, clouds and weather are just as varied as anywhere else.  So it's not surprising that I will frequently return to certain places in search of the interplay of those elements.  Here's a pier and gazebo that are often the hang of fishermen and crabbers.  Though this shot is moody, the place is attractive in nearly any light.  You'll likely see it again here.   (Film)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Photographing the ocean and beaches can be challenging.  It's easy to make dippy, drippy sunrise and sunset shots....most execrable and treacly in color....but harder to evoke more refined emotions.  Two photographers I admire a lot do it very well....Robert Adams: mostly the beaches and ocean views near where he lives in Oregon, and Chip Hooper: mostly the California coast with excursions to other seasides.  Nothing I've done so far is on their level, but I'm trying.  I took this image because of the marvelous, wispy cloud, and the scale of the sky and ocean's vastness against the human's tiny presence.  (Film)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Here's one more from Friday's trip to Dutton Island Preserve.  There seem to be no end to the variations of sky, tide, and light.  This place really is an island in the middle of a tidal salt marsh. In fact, this photograph and the top of the previous two were taken on the little bridge that connects it to the mainland.  The vast marshland here sits between the ocean, and the Intracoastal Waterway.   (Film)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Having found this wonderful island preserve, I will continue to visit it when the tide time, and sky offer variety as will often be the case.   It's only about a half hour away or less, and easy to get to.  For those who care about such things, these were taken using a deep yellow filter (Wratten #15), and a Cokin GND (graduated neutral density square glass filter that slides into a holder that attaches to the lens.).  The deep yellow holds back the blue sky without the surreal look of a red #25 filter, but still offers drama.  The GND reduces the light in the brightest part of the scene so that the film (or sensor too, I guess for a digicam) can register all the values.    (Film)

Monday, July 13, 2015

I was looking at thumbnails of my photographs when I came across this one.  I've no idea why I didn't post it or even consider it for tweaking.  It was taken at the 'boneyard beach' on Jekyl Island where the remains of scores of fallen trees litter the sand for hundreds of yards.  I've posted other photographs from there earlier on this blog, but not this one.   (Film)

Friday, July 10, 2015

I've wanted to photograph lily pads for years, but never found an arrangement that 'worked'.  This sorta does, but not so much for the plants themselves.  I liked the design they presented in front of the wooden walkway that rimmed the little park on the St. John's River beside a small marina.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I've been starved for settings that would inspire photographs, and yesterday I found one not far from home.  It's the Dutton Island Preserve and it's a gem.  Despite the ubiquity of salt marshes here, they're not easy to access.  Most are curtained from view by private homes, and the rampant shrubbery that borders most roads.  So, finding this little oasis was a real treat.  And, because salt marshes are tidal, the view can be infinitely varied depending on when one visits.  (Film)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The loblolly bay is a tree I'd never encountered in the northeast.  It has a chalky white textured bark and sports a white blossom in this season.  The trouble is that, rather than have the blooms all emerge at once, the tree doles them out one or two at a time.  There is one here, but it's much harder to see in this photograph than it was in 'reality'.  At least there was a subtle difference in value between the leaves and the other foliage which I exaggerated as much as I could making this print.  (Film)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I try very hard to find 'diamonds in my own backyard'.  It isn't easy here.  I had the idea for this photograph a while ago, and then saw someone else do something similar ('s all been done at one time or another by somebody!), so I decided to claim my version in my own backyard.  For those who know something about cameras, a light leak is a bad, bad thing.  It means a seal is compromised in some way, and light hits the film or sensor that isn't supposed to.  I thought titling this "Light Leak" was appropriate.  That fence just ain't gettin it done.!  ;-)   (Film)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The word 'clabbered' is new to me.  It means mottled, and in this case it refers to a buttermilk sky.  I wasn't even exactly sure what a buttermilk sky was until I saw this and figured it must be one.  As I've noted, the sky here can offer an endless display of interesting cloud forms except on the all too often boringly bright, clear, blue, cloudless days. Florida is not called the sunshine state without reason.  I prefer clouds!  (Film)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I got to the beach earlier this morning than I did a few days ago.  The sky brightened gradually until sun-up and then at a faster pace.  When watching it rise close to the horizon, its surprising how quickly it moves away from the 'edge' of the ocean.  That people thought the earth was flat is easy to understand, but when, instead, one realizes that that speed is the planet's rotation, it's quite astonishing.  (Film)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Photographing directly into the sun is a dicey proposition.  It's likely that there will be flare, glare, and lens artifacts.  Exposure, too, is problematic as there is no light source that's brighter.  To get other parts of a scene to render their normal values is beyond the reach of 10 zones.  So, it seemed a good idea to not even attempt a photograph with a large tonal range, but instead to try something more limited and dramatic.  This was photographed at about 6:45 AM on Jacksonville beach.  (Film)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Other than the Atlantic ocean and its shore, the natural environment of Florida is utterly alien to what I lived with until two years ago.  In the Hudson Valley, you could swing a cat once and find 360 likely images.  Here...not at all, except for a very angry cat.  The forests, if you can call them that, are really jungles cluttered with an ocean of palmettos and a sea of impenetrable low lying plants.   So, I have to look elsewhere.  That search has expanded my appreciation for subjects I might not have stopped for in the past.  (Film)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

I rarely if ever include people in my pictures.  While photographing this view, the fisherman walked by and I asked him to stop.  I was surprised that he did, and didn't waste his time.  I took this picture immediately and thanked him.  I had more luck than he did, I think!  I may do more of this sort of thing!  lol   (Film)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

At some of the ocean front parks here, there are rather long walks through the dunes and sea oats to get to the water.  The paths are clearly marked and there are sections with boardwalks and railings.  As in all the parks, walking on the dunes is either prohibited or discouraged.  Thus, they retain the plantings that hold the sand in place, and provide seclusion for nesting birds and wildlife.  This photograph was taken from a boardwalk on Little Talbot Island at the very southern end near the mouth of the St. John's River.  (Film)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

This is our beloved standard poodle, Bailey, a couple of whiles ago.  We shared our lives with him for nearly twelve years.  Yesterday, he left us for the rainbow bridge with hugs, caresses, kisses and many, many tears.  He was gravely ill and a peaceful passing surrounded by his loving humans was truly a blessing.  Before that final moment, he was given all the M&Ms he could possibly have wanted, and no doubt wondered why they had been withheld until just then.  We miss him terribly.  "Go play!!", Bailey, wherever you are.  If souls exist, they live in animals too. Perhaps the better word is 'spirit'.  Conservation of energy dictates that our spirit, as some form of energy, lives on.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

What you see on the beach in this picture is coquina, which is "a sedimentary rock that is composed either wholly or almost entirely of the transported, abraded, and mechanically-sorted fragments of  shells..."  (Wikipedia)  It's often carved into interesting forms by the action of the surf and sea. Any other rock found on the shore in this part of Florida, at least, has been imported from elsewhere to build jetties or to reinforce some other kind of marine structure.   The sky, of course, was really the point!  (Film)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Looking at some of the negatives I hadn't gotten around to yesterday from my morning at Little Talbot Island SP,  I decided I liked this one too.  The day began with a brooding sky that gradually cleared and gave way to blue with big white puffs pictured first in yesterday's post.  But, things started out like this which pleased me a lot.  (Film)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Probably my favorite state parks around here are Big Talbot Island and Little Talbot Island.  The former features a beach so densely littered with fallen, dead trees that, even at low tide, it's not easy to walk very far.  The beach on the latter is wide open and utterly uncluttered with beautiful dunes that you walk through to get there.  These two photographs were made yesterday (April 30), on Little Talbot.  As swimming is prohibited, there are usually fewer people there than at other beaches, and at the beginning of the day it's all but deserted.  Having read a forecast of partly cloudy in the morning, I was there by about 8:30 AM.   I was not disappointed!   (Inclusion of the little triangle 'pointer' was quite deliberate!)   (Film)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I've found very few places in north Florida where a sense of grandeur can include the land as well as the sky.  I'm using 'grandeur' in the majestic sense since some would consider a vast salt marsh to be 'grand' as well just because it's so enormous.  But, my life in the northeast has prejudiced me to regard 'flat' as the antithesis of anything that thrills and inspires.  But, once again, Huguenot SP came through with its marvelous dunes which, on the day I made this photograph, were graced by enough of a dramatic sky to warrant attention.   (Film)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

One of the nicest things about the Jacksonville area is that the beaches are easy to access, free of user fees or parking permits, and public.  In fact the free parking lots have porta-potties making their use even more convenient.  This photograph was made in the area I come to most often, and always is interesting.  I usually see fishing poles rooted in the sand with their lines extending into the water as far as the fishermen can cast them.  But, I've never seen a fish reeled in though I guess they must be getting caught as the fishermen return again and again.  (Film)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The beach at Big Talbot Island SP is littered with trees and tree limbs that are not washed ashore driftwood, but are native to the place.  The wind, surf, storms, and tide take their toll on the trees too near the water, and little by little they succumb and topple onto the sand.  It would be fascinating to come back a century from now to see what's left of the parts I am familiar with...but, hehe..that ain't gonna happen.  However, photographs will inform those who do visit a hundred years hence of how much has been claimed by the sea.  Of course, there may not be much left of Florida altogether as the earth warms, the ice caps and glaciers melt, and the ocean rises.

I did not make this heart, but thought it deserved a picture before the incoming tide made it a memory.   (Film)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Again, from Huguenot State Park,  I explored the west side of the dunes on foot this time.  The dunes are quite spectacular and off limits to those who would disturb their nesting grounds.  But, even from the 'road' around them, there is much to see and photograph.  I wanted to be there in the afternoon because it was low tide and easy to traverse, and because the sun was to my back and the polarizing filter at its most effective.   (Film)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

This is a photograph I wish I had taken, but my grandson's mom is the guilty party.  The happy little cutie is sitting beside his dad.  He is watching a video of me playing Happy Birthday with some flashy embellishments on my cello for him.  I'm told he watched it several times, and, as this is one of the latter ones, I'm really pleased that he continued to find it entertaining.  Now, if he'll just ask his father to get him cello lessons.  After all, he is now two years old and will soon be about the right age to start on a viola with an end pin!! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

There are several interesting parks that front on the ocean in this northeast corner of  Florida.   I've posted several images from Big Talbot Island State Park before, but none from Huguenot Memorial Park which is where the two photographs below were made. The park is essentially a huge array of dunes that are roped off and patrolled by rangers to protect the nesting grounds of a variety of sea birds.  But, between the dunes and the sea is a vast beach that permits vehicle access and is quite popular with visitors who sun  themselves, picnic, and bathe in the ocean never very far away from their cars.  (Film)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

This photograph presents an odd perspective for this part of Florida.  It was taken from a high vantage point.   Since moving here, I've missed the hills and old, worn down mountains that give the Hudson Valley such character and beauty.  The Jacksonville area seems to be one vast, flat sandbar with little variation, but the Jacksonville arboretum boasts a rather high overlook of the pond below, and a ravine beyond the pond.   I've visited three times now, and look forward to going again later in the day, and later in the season as the trees leaf out.  (Film)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Here are two delightful woodland sprites I discovered dancing beneath a magic mushroom at the Jacksonville Arboretum.   (Film)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

It's been a while since I've posted anything here.  I just haven't made any photographs I'm happy enough with to share.  There is an arboretum in Jax that I discovered a week ago or so that was interesting to visit.  Within is an actual ravine with at least thirty feet of drop off that is the first inland place I've encountered here that isn't dead flat.  But this image is about something much simpler.  (Film)

Monday, January 26, 2015

It's been about two months since my last post. (sounds like I'm going to!)  As I've written several times before, I am finding Florida a difficult subject away from the ocean.   True, there are places one can travel to that are interesting, but in NY I found much to photograph within a mile of where I lived.  So, this is in honor of that kind of proximity.  It is a scene from behind our house.  The trees are loblolly bays that are as close to the light bark of birches or aspen as can be found around here.   (film)

Friday, November 21, 2014

As I've written, the beach is just a 20 minute drive from where I live.  Unlike the New Jersey or New York seashores, access is unfettered by fees, windshield stickers, or "No Parking" signs except in some exclusive residential areas.  In fact, Jacksonville Beach has free parking lots with porta-potties.   So, to not take advantage of what's there is to really waste an opportunity.  Rather than go to the gym today,  I walked on the beach below.  I didn't realize how strong and steady the breeze was until I turned around to go back.  Yikes!    (digital)

Since posting this in color, I was curious to see it in monochrome.  In Photoshop Elements 11 it was simple to extract the chroma, futz with highlights, midtones, shadows, contrast and brightness with the following effect.  Better?  Not really....just different.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The area of Jacksonville where I live has quite a few corporate parks.  They're landscaped to a fare thee well, but not very interesting to photograph (and...I've tried...a lot!) as the design isn't from nature, but from an architect.  All the housing and corporate developments built in the last several decades are required to include retention ponds to compensate for the acres covered by buildings and pavement.  The effect is nicely verdant with trees, shrubs and ponds, but not visually compelling.  This little tree was difficult to isolate, and it's the best I could do with it.  (film)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It's been a while since I visited Kingsley Plantation.  I wanted to wait until the light was different than it had been last spring and early summer.   It's now more oblique, and casts shadows that weren't possible when directly overhead.  There's much more visible texture now, and forms are better defined as well.  These were taken somewhere close to noon, and I want to go back at an earlier hour for even more oblique light.  It is my intention to make as many images as I can, and then choose twenty or so of the best.  So, there may be repetitions in the meantime!  (film)


Monday, November 10, 2014

I've not gone to the ocean for a while...stupid, really, because it's only 20 minutes away, and it's always different and always a pleasure.  So, I thought I'd take my mountain bike to the beach and ride it there on Friday instead of going to the YMCA gym.  When the tide is out, there is a lot of packed wet sand that's perfect for biking, and the knobby tires and rear fender are great for traction and avoiding splashed butt syndrome.  I rode a good long distance and came across the posts I photographed below.  I hadn't known they were there until that ride, and was eager to return with the camera the next day.  Here's one from that second visit.  (film)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I don't think I've ever included an acknowledgement of another photographer's work here.  But,'s my blog, and I shouldn't feel restricted as to what I post, so here's something different.

 I have at least five books of Michael Kenna's work, two retrospectives, one anthology, and two monographs of singular subjects.  France is the most generous and sumptuous monograph I've collected by any photographer.  Knowing his work from these books, I've concluded that Kenna's so-called minimalist, long exposure images are just one segment of  his overall body of work.  The majority of the photographs are just superbly composed and interesting images of subjects that are a pleasure to look at.  (In fact, the long exposure minimalist images do not appeal to me with nearly the power as the rest.)

As I've written before, I am utterly disgusted by what passes for contemporary 'art' photography.  It's boring, careless, and poorly crafted in every sense.  It should be an embarrassment to those who champion it, but they're intent on proffering what hasn't been seen before even though it likely wasn't worth seeing in the first place. But, it's new! And...there are legions of visually illiterate viewers who will follow anyone that appears to be an authority no matter how flimsy their credentials and background. 

I am a classical musician, and have the utmost respect for excellent intonation, tonal purity, beautiful sound, and expressive interpretation.  Kenna meets parallel visual standards with supreme virtuosity.

 (digital, and with a tripod! lol)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

These towers are often very compelling to look at with billowing steam jetting into the clouds.  I expect to photograph them as often as I can when the conditions make them particularly interesting.  From up close, they're huge, and their exhaust impressive.  (film)