Life doesn't pose! As a Photographer, if I waited for the perfect shot, i would miss every one of them. They happen naturally all around me daily, everywhere. My goal is to alway meet the shot where it is and capture it!
The journey is as enchanting as the destination. At least for me traveling SR 27 to Route 41 to and from the Florida Keys and Key West. It's a ride I enjoy most alone because on a whim of discovery or moment of artistic opportunity, be it 3 am or 12 pm, I can stop and linger until my curious soul is satisfied. Yes there are the ubiquitous alligators with DNA going back to the dinosaurs, but there is also the calm, peaceful spirit of the residents, the Miccosukee Indians which began inhabiting the area in the mid to late 1800's pressure by the influx of Europeans.
Traveling Rt. 41 towards Kendall is a scenic shortcut to the Keys. Every passage promises a new adventure. Fish are bountiful, as are birds of every indigenous kind, oh and did I mention the mosquitos. I've seen baby bear crossing 27 in the dew of morn. Once in the dark of night, I swerved to miss a huge, I mean 4.5 ft high or more grey heron standing in the middle of my lonely lane. It never moved! Airboats, unique galleries and isolated villages incites wonder on the daily life of the local folks.
Passing the 'Big Fish' as my Daughter, Natalia used to call it, entering the Keys just past Homestead and Florida City, you immediately know you are not on the mainland any more.
I will save the rest for another post, but will let the pictures speak for themselves. Finally, of all the places I have been blessed to visit and live, Key West is the only place I wake daily wanting to be. Until the day I wake there not having to 'go home', I will continue to capture and share with you the beauty and quirkiness that is my Photo Journey to Key West.
After the sun fades is a beautiful time for me to bring life to the dark.
This is the school house where my mother went to school, in Gainesville, Florida. It was old then! The school served as the only school for black folk and as was the case back then, it served also as the meeting house, and of course, the church until the church was built. The property is now a historical landmark and has been the setting of at least 1 major hollywood motion picture, "The Devils Advocate" staring Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino and Charlize Theron.
My mom asked me to photograph an event at GLHMC. Dresdin was shooting inside and I walked out to shoot the grounds and was lucky enough to be able to get inside of the leaning structure. I stepped back in time and heard the laughter o
f the children oblivious to the inequality as such was the law of the land. I felt the commitment of the teachers cultivating minds for the day when their student's children would be able to go to schools with all shades of people.
Imagine the sky at sunrise, mid-day and sunset, blue. Beautiful in color, but just blue. Now imagine the sky as GOD canvas where with his whim and breath, infinite masterpieces are ubicquiously created in infinite places, infinite times per second, minute, hour, day for infinite time..., Kronos.
As a photographer of life, i am blessed to be able to capture even the most minute of the minutest fraction of the natural and spiritual art that we mostly take for granted, if we consider it at all.
Some shots were taken through polarized shades, a trick I learned on my boat when the intense Key West sunsets begged attention. Others, were shot by virtue of me being in the right place, at the right time. That's the true blessing of the photographer's eye.
All the photos in this template are taken by the talented photographer Kevin J. Bray
Composites are simply combining multiple images to create one better than any of the multiple images used to create it. Layers in Photoshop allows building of multiple image with various levels of transparency to create one image that tells a story.
Layering is in fact, compositing. Layers such the three combined in the Seabirds photo can be combined with the Boca Chica Bridge composite where I used only two sections of two different photos, as well.
Nature doesn't propose contrived gestures for the lens. Nature suggests all that it is, and when least expected, she delivers more that we can ever imagine.
During our travels, mostly back and forth to Key West, Miami, Orlando and Gainesville, as well as locally, I've had the blessing to be able to capture awesome shots of wildlife along Route 41 in the Everglades, Payne's Prairie State Preserve in Gainesville and anywhere else the opportunity presents itself.
Everyone has imagined what they'd be if the choice were theirs to return to earth in the future in whatever form we desired. I have always loved birds and so have always thought that if I returned, I would be sleek, fast, fearless bird of prey. Falcons, Hawks, and Eagles come to mind. They are flawlessly designed and have great eyesight. The United States Armed Forces studies Falcons and Hawks incorporating their natural lines in flight, down to the design of their nostrils which allow very little wind resistance. A perfectly beautiful and balanced winged arial attack machine.
During our travels we have lots of opportunities to shoot birds, but I choose to shoot birds with a story to tell. Wading birds, solitary and stealth, Fishing birds, such as Frigates with their huge wingspan and ability to soar effortlessly above baitfish, alerting sport fishermen to their location. Prairie birds, Osprey and many others. Sadly, as man encroach upon their natural feeding and breeding grounds, these beautiful creatures as becoming more threatened as they are forced to compete with humans for the same space.
Few things that don't last forever, but leave a more permanent reaction and and lasting impression, are there than food and libations. I am not a photographer of food in the sense that you will find my work on a magazine cover, but instead, i choose to be led my the creative eye to capture the elusive moment when a dribble of sweat runs down a martini glass warmed by the setting afternoon sun or the unexpected gift found in a box of spaghetti. Art, it where you find it!
Images provided by Kevin j. Bray. All rights reserved.
Water is the essence of life, like air, it must be balanced within specific parameters to support life on earth. I love water and you will see it in many forms as this site grows. I admit that I am totally biased, I love the waters of the Florida Keys and if you spent any extended amount of time around, on or below, you might agree with my position. There are a few beautiful bodies of water around the world, but as an American, the Floirda Keys is my Carribean and I cherish it with all that I am.
There were afternoons that began as fishing trips, but because the wind was so still, the water was flat and under those conditions, you could easily see all of the trash that was thrown in, fell overboard or just made it's way by virtue of the meandering currents. winds and tides. We, Dresdin, Natalia and me, opted not to cast a line, but a net to snare as much trash as we could. We'd return, often, with our transom loaded with cans, plastic, paper, objects tangled with monofilament and lots of other junk.
Waterlife is a dedication to our resource that we are predominantly composed of and could not do without.
In March 2013 while riding my bike on the Overland Hwy., Route 1, in the Keys, I thought to capture things that are so abundant, that humans just pass them by without witnessing their complexity. Mangroves, to me are the plan mirror images of humankind. We commune closely in seemingly harsh environments, but that harshness, if we are lucky, nourishes our creativity, empathy, our spirit for life and we grow intertwined into this magnificent thing of nature collectively called MAN.
The Tortuga Crew never fails to bring the party. This night was no different. The shoot was spontaneous and fun. The vibe was alive and I really enjoyed working with everyone.
By a stroke of Grace, a chance meeting led to an opportunity to partner with Andrea O'Reilly and what resulted was a evening of whim and fun!
I am blessed to be a member of the Mount Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, located in Saint Petersburg, Florida where I shoot services and activities at least once monthly.
The youth are very talented and active in different ministries, and I have a front row, well full reign of position for shooting their presentations. Here, the teen section of our Liturgical Dance Ministry performs and I captured them in action, on 11-27-16.
I love to shoot in Churches because as a wedding photographer, there is no more foreboding source of light than that of a church sanctuary. Learn the changing light here and you can shoot in any light, anywhere.
At MZPMBC, our Youth Ministry is vibrant, and reflects the diverse culture they are immersed in via our current popular culture. One of the Youth Leaders, Michelle M., has the gift of breaking through their insecurities, and superegos and somehow, if only for the service, manages to melt those strong, weak, insecure, immature, aggressive teenage personalities into one body.
Challenged to share a snapshot of the crazy life a teen today, they speak on relationships, friendship, barriers, and a host of issues they face daily in society, school and home.
Being a member of Mount Zion PMBC, I am a photographer in the Media Ministry. That allows me a huge platform to tell stories in digital media. Like other years, MZ's sponsored community marching band, Children's Church, Youth Ministry along with our Leader, Pastor Louis M Murphy marched. To my naive surprise, the community came out in all shades of all ages and socioeconomic groups to enjoy the Parade.
The opportunity to shoot as part of the parade gave me an opportunity to be up close and personal and sense the anxiety of the Tuskegee University Marching Pipers as they warmed up before the parade and capture the exhausted relief of the Florida A&M University Marching 100 as they rounded the last corner of the route.
What was most telling was those marchers of conscious carrying their signs expressing the thoughts about the lack of civil society and growing political discord in our system and Capital City, Washington, D.C.
At least 100 different 'speak in's', as I see them, were organized and held successfully across the country on January 15, 2017, MLK's Birthday. Writers Resist #WriteOurDemocracy is a growing movement, a collective of artists writing and speaking publicly to "re-inaugurate" Democracy. Now, before anyone gets all bothered, the idea of Democracy for Writers Resist, doesn't speak to party affiliation, but to the human condition.
A group of local (Tampa Bay) writers converged on Mount Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, this past Sunday January 15, 2017, and being on our media ministry, I capture the 'moment'.
Learn more at writersresist.org.
I tagged him New York Joe, because he wore his NY swag with pride. Joe was a fixture, like the rest of the 'Tortuga Pool Crew', on sunny weekends. We gathered on April 15th, at the pool to celebrate his life. His family was down from the City to take their brother back home, but first we partied and we all knew his spirit was there with us.