Historic Train Depot – Venice, Florida

It’s nice that cities are trying to keep their history alive. It seems as if when something is more than five minutes old, it needs to be knocked down and have something else built. Anyone remember that song by Counting Crows, “Big Taxi” (Pave Paradise and put up a parking lot)? Anyway, as many of you know I enjoy photographing old buildings and sites that preserve out nation’s history.

I was doing a photo class in Venice, Florida awhile back and one the places that we like to visit for the field portion of the class is the Historic Train Depot. It’s quite something, in fact it’s still being used as a Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) transfer point. I have photographed this venue before but I always see something new. They just added a new park that is a nice place to have lunch and launch your kayak.

The gear that I decided to use was simple, I fitted my camera with my Nikon 24mm f/2.8 prime. No zoom on this lens, but its razor sharp and cheap. We had a small class and that is always nice, I can give more one on one time to answer individual questions. As we arrived I noticed these little purple flowers in the grassy area. Once we all assembled I mentioned these flowers and explained that photographing these from a standing position would be boring since that is what we see all the time. I said if we wanted a nice looking photo, we should get to their height and take a photo. However, I wasn’t going to make them do that since getting up is not the easiest thing for me. I started to walk away and as I looked back, everyone was on the ground! We looked like a bird looking for a worm. Dirty knees and elbows they realized that changing ones perspective will give you a more exciting photo. We all managed to get up and moved along.

Spencer Pullen photographed this caboose at the Venice Historic Train Depot in Venice, Florida.Caboose – Spencer Pullen © 2015 All Rights Reserved

They have a caboose on the property and it looks like it has been converted into a learning center. Every time I go, it’s closed, I’ll get there one day when they are open. On the outside, there is no shortage of details to photograph. To get these photos, I did what I like to do best, shoot in bracketing mode. This allows me the most leverage later in post.

Spencer Pullen photographed this ceiling at the Venice Historic Train Depot in Venice, Florida.Ceiling – Spencer Pullen © 2015 All Rights Reserved

This is another one of those angles I was wondering if anyone would partake in. This is the ceiling of the waiting area. To get this view I had to get the camera low. I have a prime lens with no zoom, since I’m 6’4” that means if I lower the camera down to a few inches, I have effectually zoomed back. By the way, the concrete is very comfortable there! I put the old style light in the middle to add a different kind of geometric shape to the composition.

Spencer Pullen photographed these benches at the Venice Historic Train Depot in Venice, Florida.Benches – Spencer Pullen © 2015 All Rights Reserved

One might think this is right out of the early 1900’s, but the new digital board for the SCAT schedule gives it away. I was going to get rid of it, but decided that mixing the old with the new is nice. Also, I had the advantage of the repeating pattern and vantage point.

Spencer Pullen photographed this exterior at the Venice Historic Train Depot in Venice, Florida.Entrance – Spencer Pullen © 2015 All Rights Reserved

This is one of the entrances into the station. I wanted to capture the details of the doors and the supports of the ceiling. I was lucky as I was between SCAT transfers so there were not too many folks around.

This is the exterior of the Venice Historic Train Depot in Venice, Florida. Photo by Spencer Pullen.Exterior – Spencer Pullen © 2015 All Rights Reserved

This angle shows the tower. Sometimes there are photos literally right behind you. All you have to do is make a 180° turn and shoot away.

Since I bracketed the scenes, I fused them in Photomatix and then converted them into black and white in Nik’s Silver Efex Pro. As long as you are somewhat still, they will align in Photomatix and give you a great result. The building is green and tan so anytime I see earth tones such as this, I find that black and white brings out the details.

If you get a chance, visit the Historic Train Depot, it’s a neat place. This is also where the Legacy Trail starts that runs up through Oscar Scherer Park and into Sarasota.

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean


  1. Often wondered if photos could be fused without the use of a tripod. Thanks for the insight. Great pix!

  2. Love how your black and white photography shows such detail that is often overlooked when in color. Beautiful, as always!

  3. Really nice, I would like to get into black & white.

  4. Love it!

  5. Beautiful and all so crisp, sharp and clear images. I favor the one you entitled “Benches” as enjoy perspective shots like this.
    Thanks for the continued teachings. As we’d say in Hawaii, “You da best bro!”

  6. Awesome photos.

  7. Thanks for educating me on how to set my camera to black and white. Your picture’s are great! Next time I come to Florida I will definitely visit this place as Trains and photography are my passions!

    • Spencer

      Thanks! It’s a great place, you’ll love it!


  8. Very nice Spencer, I will have to get there somday. When you get a minute could you tell me how to get black and white on my Nikon 5200?

    Thanks again Ray

    • Spencer


      Appreciate the kind words. I actually shoot in color and then convert to black and white on the computer. However, in your camera settings, usually under something called pictures styles, you will see an option that says either monochrome or black and white. The camera will now shoot in black and white 🙂 Thanks…


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