Fort Desoto

My friends’s and I enjoyed a relaxing day on Fort Desoto beach. 

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It is another beach in Florida that strays away from the typical “post card” scene you normally see. 

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I love all the details that help this beach stand out from the vacant nothingness of the more touristy spots. 

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It seems weird, to me, to have trees and stumps on a beach. 

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No life guard on duty. 

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I really didn’t run into any photography challenges (that I realize, yet.) Luckily, there was plenty of bright light.  

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However, I did finally get a monthly subscription to Photoshop and Lightroom. 

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So, these photos are my first attempt at editing. I knew the learning curve was step, but, whoa. I’m going to be purchasing a guide soon. Some people have suggested books by Scott Kelby. These look pretty promising. The next step in my adventure. 🙂

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Till then my eye is completely untrained. So, I apologize if it’s obscenely obvious how edited these are. I have heard differing opinions on Photoshop. So, maybe it is just personal preference? 

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I was pretty fond of this guy.

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This stick was very interesting. Beautiful, even.

I used the stick as a subject for a while. I received many weird looks. 

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This guy, again. 

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With school starting again, it is hard to get out and shoot like I want to. This trip was definitely well worth the drive. 

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Revisiting my Secluded Beach

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Loaded down with camera bag and tripod. Ready for anything.

I wanted to find peace again. So, I took another trip to my beautiful little spot. Last time I was here I was completely distracted by the lovely sunset. I am not complaining, but this time I wanted to focus on the little details laying around.

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The first thing I noticed was the millions of tiny crabs. As I stepped cautiously through the horde of crustaceans, I realized that my favorite problem of low light and movement were going to play a large part in this shoot.

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There were so many little crabs! All of them going about their lives, doing the most interesting little dances.

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Some were fighting, while others were…getting aquatinted.

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 I felt like a giant intruder. I’m glad they didn’t take up arms and turn on me. They reminded me of spiders, which wasn’t the best mind frame to put myself into. Alone with millions and billions of sea spiders, great.

littlecrab_Fotor_Fotor Although the crabs were excellent practice with balancing exposure, ISO, and f-stops, there were lovely little details that made me fall further in love with my spot.

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I managed to work with my camera well enough to not have to use my tripod. I’m pleased with how steady my hand is becoming with practice. Everyone’s advice from my last post has really helped. I appreciate everyone who took the time to comment with their own tips. It means a lot. You guys might just be able to make a decent photographer out of me 😉

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Being from North Carolina originally, I miss it terribly sometimes. I am so accustomed to the mountains and forests, its my home. However, Florida has been the most interesting place to explore. The contrast between the outdoor adventures there and here are delightful. I love how this mucky beach is more beautiful to me than the more touristy white sand ones.

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Plus, the crowded beaches have so many seagulls that it is almost unbearable. The few birds on this beach just add to the beauty of it.

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I decided to use the UV filter that came with the last lens I bought. I’m not sure if it really improved anything. I had to use the lens hood with it because I kept noticing a weird film, or glare, on the pictures. I’m not sure if the UV filter was worth it…

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It is hard to catch the beauty of the light around this time. I can’t wait to take a class so I can begin to learn more. 🙂

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After this shoot, filled with the same adventurous spirt as some of my other ones, I decided to explore this new spot I’ve had my eye on. This new spot was pretty similar to this one. However, it is near a bar on the beach and gives a better view of Tampa. Beer and beauty, what could go wrong? Well, I’ve been idealistically exploring all these new Florida places lately, it was about time I learned a valuable lesson.

I pulled up to the new spot, parked and headed towards the water. In my mission to catch the sunset, I barreled into the bushes with tunnel vision. After snapping some blurry pictures of a little boat that was sitting there, I realized there was a homeless man standing behind me, starring. I turned to walk the other way, there was another man standing in front of me. I smiled. Neither returned that smile.

So, after considering the last time I updated my Hobo-Stab-Insurance, I left as quickly as possible.

Nothing extraordinary happened in that new spot, except I learned that there are some places walking around, alone, with a camera is a pretty dumb idea.

Another lesson learned.

WPC: Fray on the Beach

When you think of Florida beaches, “white sand” comes to mind. The touristy places are pristinely kept for all the lovely family vacations. In the less traveled areas, however, this is more likely what you’ll find. 

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Low tide brings muck and grime. It is frayed and more beautiful, to me, than the white sand perfection that most people have come to associate with Florida. It almost feels like Fall in a place where the leaves never change. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the beautiful beaches, and how they epitomize summer. But, this little beach, off the beaten path, feels like when you get warm enjoyment out of a gloomy, rainy day. 

New Adventure: Sunken Gardens in St Petersburg, Florida.

Don't let the blue sky fool you, it was pouring rain five minutes before this.

Don’t let the blue sky fool you, it was pouring rain five minutes before this.

A new adventure to another place I have driven by, for what seems like forever, and always wanted to stop. I have had my eye on the Sunken Gardens for almost two years now. I’d notice its lovely retro sign (which I regret not snagging a photo of) flashing as I drive by. I would tell myself, and others, “I’m going to go there soon.” Never did it. But, after starting this blog, I began thinking of all the beautiful opportunities waiting, and the challenge of shooting in such a shadowy place. So, visiting it became my number one priority.

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I have no idea what these are. But, I like to call them “doodley bits.”

The photo below is a far away view of the same tree from my Zigzag Photo Challenge post. A new perspective 🙂

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When I bought my camera I was afraid of sticking out like a sore thumb. I have always starred at people with large cameras. I love to look at what they’re looking at in hopes I can see what they’re seeing. But, I have no interest in being starred at by a stranger. Funny how that works? So, I built it up and psyched myself out about being in public with my camera. I was very timid at first. However, now I feel liberated. 

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Having a camera has given me the personal reason I needed to get out there and do all the “I’m gonna do that one day” stuff.

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So, in my new-found boldness, my boyfriend and I (I’m not that bold, yet) ignored the rain and set off on the most humid day, ever. 

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The gardens were absolutely beautiful. However, after getting there, my idealistic attitude crumpled as I was hit with a new wave of photography issues. Like, the light rain getting on my lenses and into my camera bag. This, of course, made them slippery and terrifying to handle. Also, in my panic, I kept thinking, “how much water can these cameras really take. Am I ruining it?!” 

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The colors ^_^

But, my most favorite panic-inducing, arm-flailing melt-down had to be when I took the lens cap off and the lens glass fogged so thick I face-palmed. What was I supposed to do?! I had no cloths. The lovely little ones that came with my newest lens? Yeah, left those right at home. 

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So, I wandered around helpless. Trying with ever fiber of my being to not wipe the fog off with my obscenely abrasive shirt. 

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Obviously, I got it under control. But, that was after five minutes of mentally coaching myself through the largest test of self control I’ve had in a while. Interesting how five minutes can seem like eternity, right? 

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After my melodramatic episode had concluded, I focused on my surroundings. I loved walking through the gardens. There were so many different plants to see that were completely new to me. I was shocked by Florida’s ability to grow some of the weirdest little plants. Kind of makes you wonder what this area would look like without all the buildings and highways. 

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I’m still working with trying to get the exposure I want in unevenly lit areas. I have really gotten the hang of manually picking the point of focus. Even though its a little time consuming at first, I love the control it gives you. The one thing I regret about these photos was that I kept it at a very low aperture, about f/4.5. I was having trouble getting a crisp photo with a higher stop with all the shadows around. I haven’t quite mastered, or even been able to achieve this, yet. Lower lighting takes some work. I know fiddling with ISO should help. But, does anyone have any tips for situations like these?  

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Despite my setbacks, I still had a great time. The birds were a nice surprise. I wasn’t expecting animals, too. 🙂

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They didn’t bite. Just a lot of singing. 

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Even though everything was beautiful, it was so humid and so dense in the gardens that it was almost miserable. It is funny how having a camera and a purpose completely engulfs my attention. It allows me to ignore the worst conditions. Basically, I didn’t whine half as much as I would have in the past. 😀

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Chris made a friend. 

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Along with bird whisperer, he doubles as a pretty good photographer. 

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Me

Exciting things are coming. Another blogger told me about a monthly subscription to Photoshop and Lightroom. This is awesome news! This means that you guys are going to get to join me while I learn how to overcome photography challenges and witness as I stumble my way through editing. Stay tuned 😛

WPC: Feet in the Sand, Head in the Clouds.

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This is an older photo from earlier this summer. Actually, I already posted this photo in my Anna Maria set. However, I really love this photo, and it fit the theme so I figured I’d share it again.

I love it for the colors, of course. If you haven’t been able to tell, I have a thing for color 😉

More than the color, I’m obsessed with the circumstances under which the photo was taken. I wanted to capture this moment as a peaceful, photographical representation of the world’s beauty. But, the entire time I was shooting, my boyfriend was comically digging his feet into the sand, doing something that resembled The Twist (if it were done to Dub Step), all while singing some song that had me giggling.
Basically, ridiculousness. 🙂

So, I love that this photo can look so serene, but also instantly recall silly memories. It’s a reminder that although I take pictures to share with you guys, it’s still extremely rewarding for me to have little digital memories.

More silhouette memories here.

Getting Lucky on a Secluded Beach

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You know that one place you drive by everyday on the way to work? The one that you’re too busy to actually stop at so you keep telling yourself “one day?” Maybe I’m alone in this unfulfilled desire. But, this little patch of trees and sand on the side of the road has been haunting me for sometime now. Each morning as I fly by, generally doing the speed limit, I can see clearings in the trees every once in a while. Small patches with beautiful water sparkling through. I have always wanted to stop, but I was terrified of just pulling off randomly on the side of the road. However, the other day, after my Meet Up outing, I was feeling extra adventurous. So, I finally pulled off, parked my car, and ventured out through the trees.

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I was absolutely floored by what I found. If I had the skill, dedication, and general “this is something I  like doing” attitude of a someone who fishes, I probably wouldn’t have been so surprised. But, I was completely unprepared for the wide open view.

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Not to mentioned that I scored the jackpot on one of the prettiest sunsets I have seen in a while.

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The opening had a perfect view of Tampa all the way across the bay. I was ecstatic, and covered in mosquitos. So, after sprinting back to my car, ruining my tennis shoes in the waterlogged sand, and drowning myself in bug spray. I pulled myself together and set up my tripod for the very first time!

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My first attempt at astrophotography. I think I’m ready to go pro, guys.

The sun was setting fast, and I was overly excited to try some long exposure shots.

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For being as beautiful as it was I was surprised that my only company was a few curious birds and ten billion baby crabs.

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I played around forever. I couldn’t believe how lovely it was.

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This shot was my favorite. It looked like a cloud city hanging above Tampa.

As the light faded, the more beautiful it became. It is amazing that this little beach is situated right off of I-275. The most massively chaotic, apocalyptic war-zone, of a highway. The overkill of adjectives was only to demonstrate how joy-sucking my commute can be. But, this peaceful safe haven is only a few feet from the stretch of damnation. The contrast is overwhelming.

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There were so many other lovely little things in the area to explore, but the colors of the sky completely stole all of my attention.

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In fear of sounding cliche, I should stop narrating this adventure. I was completely awestruck by the beauty the world has to offer, and I may begin to gush more than necessary. If I haven’t already. 😉

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Long exposure fun.

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I can’t wait to come back to this spot a little better prepared. Industrial-size bug spray is going to be my best friend. But, my Hunter boots are what I’m really excited about. My poor tennis shoes weren’t ready for the soggy ground. This limited any ability to venture too far. I think some wellies up to my knees will do just the trick next time. 🙂

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Meeting up with Meetup.com

Carillon Tower and Nature Preserve.

Carillon Tower and Nature Preserve.

I, hopefully, have made it abundantly (redundantly) clear that I’m a newbie at this. So, after multiple Facebook posts, my boyfriend’s lovely mother took pity on me, and suggested I check out Meetup.com. I was completely terrified by the idea of meeting up with strangers. But, boredom, I mean, curiosity, got the best of me and I decided to check it out. After a bit of browsing, I found this interesting photography group that had an outing I couldn’t resist.

So peaceful

So peaceful

The group was set to meet in the parking lot of the Hilton Hotel next to the tower. So, naturally, I showed up on time. Then, sat in my car like a weirdo until I was completely sure it was a gathering of photographers, and not well dress serial killers with cameras.

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Considering I am still alive, it would seem like they were not serial killers. More like a very nice group of people willing to help me with any questions. 🙂

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We set out walking around the boardwalk area. After the introductions, everyone seemed very intent on capturing some of the wildlife. Minimal talking with a focus on the beautiful things around us? Perfect.

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I got very lucky a few times with some awesome animals.

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The little creatures in the area were especially hard to shoot. The mixture of the shade and patches of sunlight slicing through the trees made finding the right exposure a challenge.

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Overall, I really enjoyed being in a group of photographers. It made it seem less odd to be wandering around brandishing an enormous camera.

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I learned a lot by just watching others, while seeing the different things that interested them enough to stop and take a picture.

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At first, the whole group was clumped together. But, after a while of each person going at their own pace, everyone eventually spread out and had their own experience.

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It was nice to have the tranquility that taking pictures brings added with the company of having others nearby that share the same interest.

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I eventually fell so far behind that group that I began to have to take little sprints to catch back up. But, every time I did there was a group of smiling faces ready to point out something wonderful that I missed.

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I’m actually not quite sure how long we were there. I really lost track of time, which is something I generally have trouble doing. It was nice having something to completely immerse myself in.

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Between carrying my camera bag and periodically switching lenses, my full attention was taken. I didn’t check my phone once. 🙂

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I’m glad I swallowed my antisocial tendencies and joined in this adventure.

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It really was a lovely day.

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