Close up for detail…

Insinuating the detail of a place requires both time and deliberation, neither of which will succeed without the other. Detail is the reward of narrowness, the elevating quality of both understanding and experience. In the minds of some people detail comes at the cost of obsession, a feature most often dismissively characterized as a trifling fixation or mania. Detail for me is imperative as it explains not only why chronographs work but affords the refinement of examination which reveals an often hidden advantage. Getting the so-called full picture is not merely about standing back.

For whatever reason today I was spirited to capture the grey clouds. It is so seldom that the weather here is intemperate but I instinctively knew there were fringe benefits to be had. So I went looking. Though my routine bicycle ride took me as usual to Bayfront Park I wasn’t long upon my return deciding to venture further abroad by car to Anna Maria Island.

Admittedly my project was at first not much more inspiring than a drive in my car to which I am also historically addicted.

However when I reached Manatee Beach I decided I wanted to visit instead Bradenton Beach which I had noticeably admired upon heading north to Anna Maria Island. Bradenton Beach is at first blush tarnished with the colour and drama of stock tourist beach resorts – clustered small homes in subtropical hues, ice cream parlours, bars advertising happy hour and music, narrow dead end streets and congestion (both vehicular and pedestrian). But because the weather today was so uninviting the small island shone positively in the dimmed atmosphere. The normally imposing traffic was conveniently absent as well. This allowed me to secure a front row seat in a part of the beach which is normally already preoccupied.

There was one middle-aged woman on the beach, seemingly intent upon the identical agenda as I. Three young woman skipped across the Gulf of Mexico from what I assume was their resort digs. To my surprise they proceeded directly into the sea for a swim, trumpeting their ambition and accomplishment with giddy shouts. Having recently swum in the sea when lately visiting Lido Key I can say with some legitimacy that the water would have been cool but not cold. The chilly weather we’re having today would not yet have had time to affect the Gulf with any depth.

My arrival at the beach was both unannounced and uninvited. Apart from the women in the distance I was alone. The solitary and singular context permitted me to extend into the surrounding. The stunning picture of the environment reminded me too that every day here is unique.

When I had done what I came to do I headed back south to Longboat Key. As I did so the image incrementally changed. Longboat Key is another story. While I adore Longboat Key for it familiarity and judicious use of its surroundings the exposure today to Brandenton Beach was uplifting.