The new Dr. P. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts was finished after our last trip and I was looking forward to seeing it at night. It’s an impressive building and the architecture and lighting make it an attractive photo subject. Here are two views of the main entrance:
Dr. Phillips Center 1 – The new performing arts center in downtown Orlando
Dr. Phillips Center 2
City hall is just west of the Performing Arts Center. This view is looking up at the front doors from the base of the steps:
Orlando City Hall
Church Street Station is even further west and a bit north. This sidewalk next to the SunRail tracks passing through caught my eye:
Street parking is hard to find. There are convenient parking garages – we used the one on South Orange Avenue at the Plaza Cinema Cafe. I’d like to find a garage with access to the roof and a good panoramic view. If you find one, please let me know!
The area by the Dr. Phillips Center / City Hall is well-lit and photogenic. Lake Eola is also very popular with photographers.
There are a lot of people around early in the evening so the areas seem relatively safe, but be careful.
A wide-angle lens and tripod will help your architectural photos. A high ISO capability and bright lens would be good if you want to try hand-held street photos.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
So I went to two different places last week. Kevin M. took me to the Lake Apopka Restoration Area to look for the Groove Billed Ani that’s been hanging around. I’d never been there and was glad he invited me, not only for a chance at a life bird, but also to scout the area. I’ve also driven around Lake Lawsona in downtown Orlando and thought there might be some photos lurking there, but couldn’t find any place to park. Then I discovered that Mayor Carl T. Langford Park isn’t far away so I left my car there and walked over.
To make a long (and photographically humbling) story short, I photographed both places, but didn’t like any of the images enough to post. And we didn’t see the Ani either.
I did chase the light – I just didn’t catch it.
Since I’m a little stuck for material this week, I went back into my archives and found a four photo panorama that I’d never processed from a trip to Tampa in 2013. After stitching it together, I like the light in this image well enough.
Looking north toward Piney Point from Fred Howard Park in Tampa, August 2013
Like any creative activity, photography is difficult at times. I struggled last week, but I try not to get discouraged – this happens to everyone. I keep trying and enjoy the effort. As Florida Nature Photographer John Moran says in his book Journal of Light:
“Nature photography isn’t always about the picture, it’s about the experience of just being there, chasing the light, alive and awake and aware.”
My friend Tom M. wanted to go out photographing last week. And I was ready – I hadn’t clicked the shutter since last year! When he mentioned that he wasn’t very familiar with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, I jumped at the chance to show him around.
Our first stop was along the causeway to watch the gulls and Black Skimmers that often gather there.
Black Skimmer – Along the causeway headed into the Refuge
Then we drove through Gator Creek Road and Blackpoint Wildlife Drive.
Roseate Spoonbill (BPWD)- This bird was foraging near the shore and ignored me as I crouched down and framed my shot. When it heard the shutter clicking, it stopped and stared right at me for a few seconds and then continued feeding.
River Otter (BPWD) – I stopped the car when I spotted two Otters in the water next to the road. They swam by and kept going as we got out to try to make a photo. We followed for a bit – but they were going quicker than our fast walk. One of them surprised me when it crossed the road and of course I was too slow to get a good photo of that. This is the best image I managed.
We also stopped by the Bairs Cove Boat ramp at Haulover Canal to visit the manatees there and then drove by the Great Horned Owl nest (near 402 and SR 3). Our last stop was the visitor center to see if the painted buntings were around ( no, but they had been).
Whether you’re familiar with the area or not, this would be a very good half day route to see the highlights at MINWR. And this is a wonderful time to go – there’s a lot of birds and other wildlife around, and the weather’s great. Maybe I’ll see you over there!
Happy New Year! I hope that all of you, your families, and your friends have had a joyful and happy holiday season!
The beginning of the year is a good time to review results and contemplate how to improve any endeavor and photography is no exception. I’ve put together these “Favorite photos of the year” posts since 2009. This is a hard process for any photographer. For me, it’s difficult to separate my opinion about a photograph from the emotional connections that I have with the subject, scene, or situation. But making the effort is important and part of the learning process. I don’t claim to be objective – these are simply the photos that I like best. Feel free to disagree, but I hope you’ll enjoy looking at the ones I’ve picked.
This year, all of my favorites were made in Florida. I’ve listed the date and place for each and included a link to the blog post where you can find out more about the image. You can click on the photos to go to Flickr where you can see a larger version. Or you can click on this link to view the complete set on Flickr.