These photographs are from my first visit to Hardee Lakes County Park in Bowling Green, Florida. I feel it's a hidden gem for the naturist and for landscape photographers. I only explored about half of the grounds, leaving me an opportunity to return. Enjoy!
I've been taking photographs of nature for as long as I can remember. Grasslands, mountains, rivers, forests and more, I love the peace that is offered in these undisturbed environments. Often, I'm exploring nature on my own. Then a deer appears, butterflies flutter into a scene, alligators let out a hiss or a roar from a swamp, and birds grace the skyscapes and treetops. I'll never grow bored with nature. But, as a photographer, I want to expand my focus without straying too far from my specialty.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time to add people to my nature photographs. I wanted to do this in a gentle fashion, not intruding on the pristine. I posted online a call to collaborate on this project. The response has been overwhelming. One of the first people to respond was a co-owner of a vintage clothing start-up company. She wanted to model a few of her vintage outfits in a field. We agreed on a location suitable to feature nature and her outfits.
The photographs I share today are from the photo shoot at The Celery Fields in Sarasota, Florida. The photographs are black and white as that meets my original vision of this creative project. The Muse Upstairs will share the photos in color on their product release schedule.
On my first visit to the John Chestnut Senior Park in Palm Harbor, Florida, I was quite fortunate to capture the scene of a couple of Nature's Lovers, plus one of Earth's oldest creatures.
Photo location: John Chestnut Senior Park
Each time I visit this preserve, I try to view it from a different perspective. With each head turn, squat, and lighting change, this preserve takes on a new appeal, like an ever-changing chameleon. While I'n sharing a mix of color and black & white images, black and white was screaming! That's not a shocker to those of you that have been following along. Nature preserves, like Perico, are best shown in a simplified image. The textures and shadows enhance the story.
I like contrast in photography, just as I do in my life. If I'm not finding peace and my center along the shoreline, I'm finding it on a trail in the mountains. The photos shared in this post are from a road trip and some hiking north and east of Asheville, North Carolina. The drive began by getting on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville and then winding through the Pisgah National Forest. There are a number of pull-offs to take photos of the beautiful mountains and valleys. The clouds can take over the peaks, but if patient, you will get pockets of clearing skies. If you make this trip, dress in layers. The temperatures are wide ranging depending on cloud cover.
The natural morning light always helps produce the best photography. On this early morning, I decided to use it to my advantage while shooting these black and white photos. The contrast is spectacular. I love the turquoise waters in the Gulf of Mexico. That can never be taken away. That said, I'm quite excited with these black and white photos of the beach, taken with my Samsung smartphone. They have a retro-postcard feel that is quite appealing. All captures in this series were taken at Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island in Florida.
I don't normally go out for midday photography shoots in Florida. But, today was such a beautiful Spring day that I was drawn away from the desk when my writing slowed a bit. I drove over to Perico Preserve in Bradenton where there is some shade built into the trail. There weren't as many birds as there typically are in the early morning hours. Instead, I found other things with wings willing to pose for the camera. Understand, most of the creatures you see in these photos never stay still for long. I felt quite fortunate that they did today. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do.
The Coquina Bay Walk at Leffis Key is one of my favorite nature walks on Anna Maria Island, Florida. While the actual path doesn't change, the nature all around does, on each visit. During my most recent walk, I decided to focus on the crabs in the salt marsh for a photo shoot. Below are just a few photos captured while the crabs stayed still, as did I. They are very skittish. So, it's important to approach slowly and as quietly as possible. The Coquina Bay Walk is under a mile in length. I typically do two laps per visit. There are a number of benches overlooking the water. These are great spots to get some writing done.