We were lucky enough to get a couple of free airline tickets a few years ago. We decided on Clearwater Beach as our destination. We had been here a few years earlier in the summertime, we drove down to visit my wife’s cousin and her family in Tampa, and spent the day visiting the white sandy beaches in Clearwater. Back then I wasn’t as much into photography, just starting back in the hobby, but I did remember getting several great shots from my last tour there.
We stayed in town in Clearwater. No where near the beach due to the rates we were seeing even in the offseason of early December. I remember how odd it seemed for us to be asking about using the pool. Luckily, the manager held them off from shutting it down for the season for a week, since it was the main reason I wanted a hotel with a pool. People were hanging out smoking their butts while this Masshole was diving in to the 50 degree water.
“You must be from up north.” Seriously, how could you not swim all year if you had the opportunity. Seeing as I was found out as being from away, it’d not be such a big deal if I were to nab a few oranges off the trees in the parking lot. Those are hotel perks!
Every morning I was up before dawn. Really before dawn. I hadn’t been out much that summer to take early morning photos, so there was really no reason to get up at 3am to get out there. It was 5:30-6:00am before the sun was even peering over the horizon. I was way too early. Got some looks from cops who were wondering why I was out in the complete darkness setting up my tripod. To my surprise, I found it difficult to get really good morning shots from this side of the peninsula. I’m used to Atlantic side mornings. Go out, find water, wait for sun to come up. On the Gulf side, I was finding water but then feeling the warmth of the sun come up from behind. On the other side of Clearwater, was a sea of ticky-tocky neighborhoods that look completely the same. Nothing worth me shooting from that angle. I wanted a good ocean shot. While I kept getting great shots in the evening from this side, I felt I was wasting my long weekend in Florida being up so early and getting little for results. I could be sleeping in, waking up to have alligator omelets with my bride.
Then I came upon Redington Shores, a small hamlet on the Clearwater peninsula, a neighborhood for seemingly endless snowbirds. They even had flags for you to wave as you crossed the streets so no one would hit you. I had been searching for big piers, as I had gotten a great shot from the famous Pier 60 at sunset. Redington Pier is privately owned, and they make sure you know it. While other Piers seemingly WANT you to come out on them for free, so that you spend money all around them, Redington was different. I get the feeling it was a great fishing pier, and those take income to maintain. Problem is, this thing looked so old and screwed up I didn’t even want to get shots from on top of it, I didn’t want to walk on it. Parking in the municipal lot across the boulevard, I walked up to the pier and then around and under it. No charge for this shot.
Sun kissed and seemingly endless center. I really liked how I got both waves coming in, and the retraction of the waves going back out. I’ve had this one up in my locker at work since I took it. It inspires me to do good so that I can get more opportunities to get out there and get decent shots like this.
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