I hadn’t been to my ‘home away from home’ here in Central Florida since before the pandemic. Today, I was out picking up dinner for later and since I had a camera with me anyway, I shot up the road about 9 miles to Lake Louisa State Park. This place has always been my favorite escape since I’ve lived here in Florida. Very tranquil. Very peaceful. Today, however, I was hoping to catch some stormy skies and lightning as it was raining really heavy as I was driving to the park. But alas, as I was pulling into the place, the rain let up and the lightning and thunder crashes all dissipated. Regardless, I drove in and captured a bunch of pictures. Here are just two of the better ones that show off the lush green vegetation and the storm clouds giving way to some blue skies.
Enjoy. Peace ✌️. be good to each other – Mike T 😎.
Today’s ‘Pic Of Peace’ is a shot I grabbed several years back at a place in Kissimmee, FL just outside of Walt Disney World called Old Town. This place used to have carnival type rides – like this old fashioned carousel. The light was just right for this photo illuminating the wooden horse’s head and mane. Ahhh the old days 😜.
Yah, I know: It’s BEEN FOREVER since I’ve posted here. Just got lots of stuff going on and keeping me busy. No real excuses. Anyhoo – moving along.
I took a ride through my favorite ‘oasis’ in Central Florida – Lake Louisa State Park. This was a great, lucky day. Managed to get these two shots of wildlife plus a sunset just after several rainy thunderstorms. Added note – I love e the way the light was hitting the vegetation in the foreground yet almost black immediately thereafter until the orange sunset emerges in the background! And this was all natural lighting by the way. No after effects etc…
The old expression about a picture being worth a thousand words – well, nothing else needs saying here I don’t believe. You can add your own captions (in your head) if you so desire ;).
Just wanted to post some quick ‘bloggage’ thanking everyone that came out to see my Photo Art Exhibit, “Florida Backroads,” at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL. The exhibit was a wonderful success. After just about 3 months, It came to a close last week on April 26th, 2018. I’m quite pleased (and proud) to say that more than a half dozen photo art pieces sold and over 3/4 of the photo merchandise at the Bok Tower Gardens Gift Shop sold as well. Not bad at all for a ‘first time in’ for this photographer. I must also thank the fantastic staff members at Bok Tower Gardens. They were so helpful and instrumental in making it a success from setup to tear down and everything in between!!! You guys and gals ROCK!
If there’s anyone reading this post that visited Bok Tower Gardens while my exhibit was taking place and was, or is still interested in acquiring one or more pieces (either framed display pieces or just matted & backed), please contact me: MikeThomasImagery@Gmail.com and I’ll be more than happy to help you out. As I say, quite a bit sold but there’s still some good stuff remaining (and more on top of that which was not on display at Bok (only so much space on the wall there, ya’ know? 😉 )).
While I was out shooting more photos for my ongoing Florida Backroads projects, I came upon this dirt road slightly off the beaten path. As I set my cameras to take various angles, lighting variations and more, this story suddenly popped into my head I’d read – actually heard YEARS ago from the late great Paul Harvey. I loved Mr. Harvey’s daily news show and was so saddened when he passed on. Just in case there might be some ‘youngins’ out there who’ve never heard of Paul Harvey, first off, my sympathies. But Paul Harvey was best known for his off the cuff and almost odd news stories of the day. At the end of each broadcast, he would tell some story about someone or something that you wouldn’t know what he was actually talking about until the very end of the story. Then he would finish with his signature phrase, “…And now you know THE REST OF THE STORY…”
Below is a copy and paste of one of my favorite stories I ever heard from Paul Harvey. It’s called (as if you haven’t figured out already), “Dirt Roads.” Please read through it and it might just change your way of thinking or perhaps make you remember the way things were in days gone by.
What’s mainly wrong with society today is that too many
Dirt Roads have been paved. There’s not a problem in
America today, crime, drugs, education, divorce, delinquency
that wouldn’t be remedied, if we just had more Dirt Roads,
because Dirt Roads give character.
People that live at the end of Dirt Roads learn early on that
life is a bumpy ride. That it can jar you right down to your
teeth sometimes, but it’s worth it, if at the end is home…
a loving spouse, happy kids and a dog.
We wouldn’t have near the trouble with our educational system
if our kids got their exercise walking a Dirt Road with other kids, from whom they learn how to get along.
There was less crime in our streets before they were paved.
Criminals didn’t walk two dusty miles to rob or rape, if they
knew they’d be welcomed by 5 barking dogs and a double
barrel shotgun. And there were no drive by shootings.
Our values were better when our roads were worse!
People did not worship their cars more than their kids, and
motorists were more courteous, they didn’t tailgate by riding
the bumper or the guy in front would choke you with dust and
bust your windshield with rocks.
Dirt Roads taught patience. Dirt Roads were environmentally friendly, you didn’t hop in
your car for a quart of milk – you walked to the barn for your milk.
For your mail, you walked to the mail box. What if it rained and
the Dirt Road got washed out? That was the best part, then you
stayed home and had some family time, roasted marshmallows and popped popcorn and pony road on Daddy’s shoulders and learned how to make prettier quilts than anybody.
At the end of Dirt Roads, you soon learned that bad words tasted
like soap. Most paved roads lead to trouble, Dirt Roads more likely lead to a fishing creek or a swimming hole.
At the end of a Dirt Road, the only time we even locked our car
was in August, because if we didn’t some neighbor would fill it with too much zucchini.
At the end of a Dirt Road, there was always extra springtime
income, from when city dudes would get stuck, you’d have to
hitch up a team and pull them out. Usually you got a dollar…
always you got a new friend…at the end of a Dirt Road.
Ever wonder how much ‘activity’ is going on all around us – In particular, above us? Well, Saturday night (02-24-18) I went to an event at Lake Louisa State Park here in Central Florida. By and large, it was a fun, educational astronomy event presented as a family happening. While the facilitators were very good and informative, I went with the soul intention of capturing some astro-photography as Lake Louisa State Park provides a minimal light pollution environment – one of the few areas in Central Florida capable of this.
The first photo (above) was pretty much a single, long exposure shot conveying or portraying a pretty, peaceful and fairly clear night sky with a fair amount of stars up there. As beautiful as that shot is, the one below depicts what’s really going on overhead during this event.
The picture below – taken at the exact same location as the first photo above – is what’s known as a ‘star trails’ shot. If you don’t know what a ‘star trails’ shot is, let me explain. In short, I set my camera to capture time lapse photos over a span (in this instance) of about an hour and fifteen minutes. Each of the 250 shots i captured had an exposure time of 15 seconds. Now as we all know, the earth is constantly rotating. The fact the camera had the shutter opened for fifteen seconds per shots times 250 shots, what happens is the camera a actually picks up the earth’s rotation while shooting pictures of the stars. The stars don’t move in these shots, but the earth does. The end result is the stars look like they’re streaking across the night time sky but in reality, the camera is picking up the earth moving against the stationary stars. Once all the photos are loaded into the computer, I use specific software to ‘morph’ all the 250 shots into one single shot. This one single shot is what you’re looking at below. Make sense? I hope so :).
Oh and by the way, what might look like a colored sort of trails going against the grain or opposite direction of the majority of the star trails in the final photo is / are actually airplanes, helicopters or maybe even a shooting star passing by. And the blurry coloration in the lower right corner of the photo are a few of the attendees of the event.
So next time you’re out enjoying the beauty and peace of a clear night sky, this ‘star trails’ photo show what’s really going on all around you and over your head.
For those that know me pretty well or possibly have been reading this blog for several years now, you’re probably aware of one of my favorite places to visit off the beaten path in Florida – a little town called Micanopy, FL (population 576 +/-).
Micanopy lies just southeast of Gainesville. But that’s being a little vague. I’ve written a few blog posts over the years about Micanopy. I even created & produced a documentary type video slideshow about Micanopy and an equally interesting and historical small town called Cross Creek, FL a few years ago.
As you can see, included herein this blog post are just a few pictures – all new imagery – that I managed to capture as the sun was starting to go down yesterday (Thursday, February 23rd, 2018).
This little town reminds me somewhat of where I hail from up in New England – New Hampshire to be exact. Only thing this town doesn’t have are mountains and snow. What the town DOES have are several antique shops. For me, the one pictured right below is the most unique, quaint and old fashioned of them all!
If ever there was a place in Florida that I would consider retiring to (IF I ever retire that is), it would be this beautiful hidden treasure with all it’s charm called Micanopy, FL.
So yah, at this juncture, there is absolutely no point to this picture. Well, actually there WAS a point. But that point has since passed and it’s too long a story & not worth getting into here. I just loved this shot too much to let it sit forever and do nothing on my external archive drive. It somehow looks like (and I know this is an unrealistic statement) an old fashioned wooden Coke machine dispensing a bottle of the beverage.
No one else owns any rights to this picture except little old me. Hence, I thought I’d share it with y’all :).
One of my favorite types of pictures in photography are long exposure shots. At night (when it’s nice and dark), it’s easy to create long exposure pictures. But during the day in the sunlight, it’s much more of a challenge – especially in the wide open of big beach with bright sun and little or no clouds. In order to make these type of photos happen, you need something to make what the camera sees appear darker. The best way to do this is with a Neutral Density Filter (ND Filter) in front of the lens. I created this particular picture using a 10 stop ND filter, ISO of 200, aperture of F-8 and using the Bulb setting to vary the shutter speed – in this case, the timing / shutter speed ended up being a 10 second exposure.
This is only one picture from a brand new project coming very soon (stay tuned, please). 😉
So here’s a quick funny story before I get to the real purpose of this blog post. If y’all have ever seen the old cult classic movie comedy, “Airplane,” then this will make perfect sense and you’ll be able to relate. There’s one quick scene in that movie where air traffic controller Steve McCrosky (Lloyd Bridges) stops and while still standing, leans on his desk with a cigarette in his mouth. As the camera pans and zooms out a bit, you see a picture on the wall. In that picture / portrait is an EXACT duplication of Steve McCrosky leaning on his desk smoking a cigarette. Well – – – – – what I did today was 100% coincidence and not planned. I happened to wear the same yellow outdoorsman shirt with a black t-shirt underneath as the one in the picture of me on the wall (and that I use here on this website and everywhere else as my profile picture). When I noticed this and after I stopped laughing, I had one of the Bok Tower Managers take my picture in front of my picture LOL :). That’s what the picture herein is all about. Hope you find as much humor in it all as I did today!
Now for the news :). Just a quick update on the meet & greet today at Bok Tower Gardens. I got to meet loads of very nice, great people who appreciate the arts and coincidently, had very kind words to say about my work. A HUGE thank you to anyone and everyone that came out for this event today.
Additionally, along with my hanging art pieces ‘on the wall’, the gift shop at Bok Tower Gardens is now carrying various versions, sizes and formats of my photo art. Prices are slightly lower due to the fact that the pieces in the gift shop are matted w/ backing versus the matted, backed and framed style on the walls.
Anyhoo – – – just wanted to let you loyal blog readers how it went today and let y’all know about the additional merchandise in the Bok Tower Gift Shop.
So I’ve had several inquiries as to what type of work or theme I have on display at the photo art exhibit at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL. I figured the best way was to put together and produce a short (about 2 minutes) video slide show of what’s hanging on the walls as well as what they (Bok Tower folk) are going to be carrying in their gift shop. Soooooo – here it is :). Also FYI / reminder – yours truly will be there at Bok Tower Gardens tomorrow (Wednesday January 24th, 2018 from 2:00PM to 4:00PM for a “Meet The Artist” type thing. If you’re in the area and have some time, by all means come say Hi :).
After little sleep, loading in of all the frames and other art pieces in the unusually freezing Florida temps (32 degrees) this early morning (“O’Dark Thirty” lol), my photo art exhibit, “Florida Backroads” is now officially open at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL. The exhibit runs through April 26th, 2018.
All pieces on display are also available for purchase as well. Prices range from $85.00 to $110.00 per piece and include frame, matting w/backing and of course the image printed on archival fine art paper. Sizes range from 14″ X 18″ (frame and matte) / 11″ X 14″ print; 16″ X 20″ (frame and matte) / 11″ X 14″ print; 18″ X 24″ (frame and matte) / 12″ X 18″ print. Bok has also requested my work to be available in their get shop as well. FYI – the gift shop pieces will be offered in smaller sizes and unframed (matted & backed only) and will therefore sell at a slightly lower price (prices TBD). The aforementioned merchandise art will be coming to the gift shop within the next week to ten days.
OK, so much for the sales pitch (for now… LOL). If you’ve never been to Bok Tower Gardens, you really need to go there – especially if you’re looking for a peaceful, tranquil, 250 acre environment with the tower itself (known as “The Singing Tower”) chiming out over the grounds as the musician in the tower loft plays an old fashioned Carillon.
Click anyone of the Bok Tower Gardens links within this blog post for a full description and history of Bok Tower Gardens. And by the way, Bok Tower Gardens is on the National Registry of Historic Landmarks. Just can’t say enough good things about the place!
Hopefully I’ll see you there. Bok has me doing a ‘Meet & Greet’ on January 24th from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. I’ll keep you updated as the event progresses. Y’all also might wanna check my Instagram Account(www.instagram.com/mikethomasimagery/) as well as I tend to post quick / short updates there.