We've been made aware of a few terms in the first months of 2020, social distancing, coronavirus, and shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders. These terms have unsettled our normal routines and lifestyles. If you're like me, I get a bit stir crazy after a couple of days indoors. I'm not under one of the orders at this time, but I've been staying at home to help slow the spread of the virus during a global pandemic. Every couple of days, I get in my car and drive. I don't typically stop anywhere. The change of scenery helps change my mood positively from a mild anxiety. I drive a convertible. Living in Florida, I'm able to drop the top and benefit from the Vitamin D exposure. I never know where I'll drive. Frankly, the destination doesn't matter. The journey clears my head and helps me focus on rest and renewal beyond the four walls that surround me during isolation.
I did make a stop today. The Bradenton Riverwalk had little foot traffic at the time I was passing the route. Good for maintaining social distance. I parked my car and walked the path along the Manatee River in Bradenton, Florida. As a photographer, I can't resist taking a photo. All I had on me for a camera was my Samsung smartphone, not the top of the line model either. I'm frugal when it comes to phones. Can I talk on it? Can I text? Can I do a Google search? Yes? Good enough for me. I clicked off a few scenes that I'm happy to share. I healed my mind and I'm back within the four walls for a couple of days.
Winter is a time of bird migration in Florida. Here are just a few photos from less than an hour of walking through Perico Preserve in Bradenton, Florida.
Stepping out of the landscape and wildlife photography comfort zone, I participated in a photo shootout offered to photographers by Wild Artistry Co. of St. Petersburg, Florida. Models and make-up were provided by Wild Artistry. Photography and creative editing of the photos below were all at my hands and eyes. This photo shoot has encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone more often. I'll be doing more event photography and portraits as requested.
On a Sunday afternoon, in late October, I attended the Clearwater Jazz Holiday Festival. Live music feeds my soul and I try to capture that feeling by capturing the emotions of the musicians performing.
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
"A View from Moody Park"
This photo has been selected as a FEATURE on Fine Art America in the Gray Scale Outdoors group.
2019 Manatee County Parks, Preserves and Beaches Photography Challenge: 1st Place - Paddling Category
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.
After living in Manatee County, Florida now for four and a half years, I've heard year after year that I must attend the Manatee County Fair. Well, I finally attended last evening. I, along with my wife, entered the Arts & Crafts competition along with 100s, maybe even over 1000 others. She entered a crochet collection of Winnie the Pooh Characters in a basket. I'm proud to say we found a first place blue ribbon on that entry as we walked through the Arts & Crafts building.
I was presently surprised to find that there was a blue ribbon on one of my photography entries, "Downtown Blues" (shown below). I entered two other photos that also received runner-up honors. It's quite humbling to put your work before the public.
Needless to say, we walked the rest of the fair with smiles on our faces, We reminisced the old days when we walked, holding hands, the many fairs of New Hampshire in the fall. There was a bit of a chill in the air last night, but nothing to compare to September evening in the north.