Water Sculptures – Punta Gorda, Florida

Awhile back I attended a boat show that our local community was having. It was interesting to see what the “Jones” could afford. I’m not really into boats, not because I don’t like them, just the upkeep and the expense. I would rather rent a captain and boat for the day. I think this might be cheaper in the long run for me since I don’t go boating all the time. I wandered around to see when else was going on. Where they were having the show was at Lashley Park in Punta Gorda, Florida. This park has a beautiful scenic view right on Charlotte Harbor that leads directly out to the Gulf of Mexico. Back in 2004, this was the entrance point of Hurricane Charlie. Charlie followed the Peace River (how ironic is that?) as it drilled a hold up through the state.

No hurricanes in sight, it was a beautiful day. It was a warm Saturday afternoon and I noticed some kids playing in the new “interactive fountain”. This fountain works like the ones that you may have seen at Disney. The water goes up and comes down in the same spot. This fountain was designed to also act as a make shift cooling off station. There were all ages of kids running around trying to get cooled off and catch the streams of water coming out of the tubes. This was fun to watch, however I was more interested in the water itself. The water would shoot up out of the tube and stop suddenly. I thought to myself, what if I could stop the water when it’s in midair? There were places to sit around the fountain, so I sat down and set up the camera for high speed photography. I rattled off a few shots and I was able to freeze the water.

How I photographed this…
This is really simple. I set the camera to shutter priority at 1/1000 of a second. I also used continuous or burst mode. I didn’t want the camera to auto focus as it would have taken to long. I set camera to manual focus as I was off to the races. As the water came out of the tube I pressed the shutter button and captured the sequence from beginning to end. It was interesting, as each time it came out, the water took on a different shape. It was like watching sculptures being made in front of my eyes. This was truly amazing and I sat there for about 20 minutes watching this happen over and over again. Until…

As some of you may know, if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen to me. I was at the boat show covering the event for a magazine so I was dressed in my “work clothes”. This consists of a black shirt, black pants, black belt, black socks and black shoes. Of course down here, they should hand out sunglasses when you cross the state line as they are a necessity. So I was sporting my black sunglasses. I was in “water sculpture land” when I got a tap on the shoulder from behind. It was the police. All I was missing what the gun and I think we would have matched. This is what I was told, “Excuse me sir, we were informed by some of the parents that you are taking pictures of little kids.” I said, “Huh?” I explained what I was doing. I even offered to “go downtown” and have them pop the card from my camera in their computers to see the images. I showed him the images that I had taken and he saw that there were no “little kids” photos on the card, only water shots. I have to say that this officer was really calm, cool and collected. He informed me that I was in a public place at a public function and I was not breaking the law. He was doing his job. I understood he had to come over and investigate and see what was going on to appease the parents. I guess in my work clothes I looked like a possible petafile sitting there photographing the fountain.

I shot off a few more frames just to piss off the parents and I left. Later the police and I were shooting the bull about this and that. It was over all a good day. Moral of the story, be aware of WHO is in your surroundings. I don’t like to cause trouble, however people should ASK what is going on before making assumptions about what they see.

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean


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