As much as I do not want to admit it, I am very quickly running out of time to devote to photography, be it for personal engagement or even pay. Graduate work in music performance, my main passion in addition to photography, is surprisingly much more involving than my undergraduate work in music education (what was a very time-consuming major to pursue).
Stubbornly dedicated to a fault, however, I will update this site for as long as I make photographs—no matter how busy other obligations get.
In an effort to catch up, then, a couple months ago I took a brief trip with family to the Daytona Beach, FL area. Only today have I managed to find a bit of time to sort through my photographs, made with my usual Zeiss 32mm and Nikon 85/200mm trinity of lenses on the Sony NEX-7. In stark contrast to my brief trip to Nashville, IN, I kicked back for a good part of my stay, photographing only when I felt up to it, as I knew with the then-late summer heat, humidity, and harsh direct light, photographing during the day would mostly be a pain.
On the flight down south, we just missed the sun setting below the horizon. After hitting cruising altitude, it was already near dusk:
Every now and then a random cirrus formation popped up from the blanket of overcast:
Cozy in the hotel, the view the first full night of our stay gave a nice side-lit sky over a far-off pier:
The following day included the main photographic attraction, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse. The tallest lighthouse in Florida and third-tallest in the country, the 203 steps to the top make the 175-foot climb an aerobic exercise on its own:
Before going in, however, a bit of the surrounding area still sunlit yielded some great photographs of of old trees obscured by humidity:
Of course I had to have a bit of fun with an optical illusion while I was at it:
A fancy entrance to the lighthouse greets visitors with the historical reminder the building is 127 years old, having withstood every storm the tropics have thrown at it without fail:
Inside and standing at the right spot, the 203 steps can seem a bit daunting:
After the ascent, looking down with an outstretched camera is equally impressive (note, hold onto camera tightly, unless your gear can take a multi-story drop straight down):
A bit more stairs reveals a compact room detailing the history of fresnel lenses used in the lighthouse over the years, with the current rotating third-order Fresnel lens barred off from any possible tampering:
As I arrived about an hour and a half before sunset, I had some time to secure my position before other photographers, and take in some of the other far-off sights from the new vantage point:
Once the sun started descending, the sky became more interesting every minute:
As it touched the horizon, the sunset gave two distinct wide and telephoto opportunities:
I headed down from the lighthouse before most of the photographers left, as I had been there long enough. However, the light show was far from over as I came across a small garden set against the still-warm sky:
The next day before dinner we headed through a nasty tropical squall that blew palm tree fronds and branches all over the road. Not wanting to get my non-weather-sealed gear ruined, I waited until I could have the rain at my back to get any shots. The brief and sudden storm was bad enough to sink a couple small sailboats out for recreation and overturn another inside a trailer in this marina (to my knowledge, no one was injured). With a full sun at its back, a rainbow was to be expected:
After the meal, I missed out on a large timeframe of yet another Florida sunset (each and every one is unique and beautiful, it seems), and as I scurried to get to the end of a long walkway, another photographer got to my spot. Seeing as the sun was already on the horizon, there was no way I could cover the 200 yards in time to set up a shot, so I used him as part of the image for scale:
Well after the sun had set, however, many solitary herons and countless flocks of egrets flew along the lake on their way to roost for the night:
On my way back as evening became night, I came across a peculiar dead stump with thick moss and odd growths sprouting from within to make an abstract scene:
The following day saw us back on the plane yet again to head home. The return trip was far from smooth, however. Despite skillful dodging of many small pockets of storm clouds by our pilot, we had to eventually barrel straight through an intense storm full of heavy turbulence. After a half hour of the jostling, we finally flew out of the formation that seemed to cut straight through the sky:
Of course, I’d rather not end on a stormy note for this post. Instead, I’ll put one last classic Florida sunset, the wide version of the title photograph made over the same lake near one of the area’s many local eateries:
With that, I am making my way through catching up on sharing my photographic happenings in life. Up next is another full-on wedding I shot a few weeks ago, along with my first high-school football game photographed the following weekend. With any luck, and a generous portion of free time, I’ll get at least one of these posts up before this week is done. That’s all for this post, guys and gals, thanks for dropping by!
Nice work Matt… Really like the lighthouse pic.. 16 pic stich huh?! lol Crazy!
Looks like you’re still rocking the NEX-7 😉
Great to hear from you again, man! Thanks! Yeah I was right under the lighthouse to keep from having a light pole get in the way of the shot. Really emphasized the perspective with that distance.
And yep! Still holding out for a fast FF mirrorless camera for my action needs, though the A7 series sure has tempted me many times…