'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, nature, perseverance, photography, sunset, technology, Uncategorized

Sunset drive…

Our Tuesday camera club meeting always takes place at 6 PM on Tuesday night. The lovely park that we pass by on our way to the meeting is always pretty, but it’s the sunset that changes. Not too long ago the sky was on fire as we approached the park and I worried that I’d miss the sunset completely. This week’s meeting at 6 PM had us early for the sunset, but not too early for the sky to be amazing. So I held my phone out the car window and kept the burst button down. If you are a photographer, whether a pro or just for fun, you are used to going through a LOT of pictures to find the few that you like a lot. In this case there was an unusual amount of photos taken, but as long as I find a couple to use I’m happy. Life is good.

A possible proposal?
Love the clouds.
I was inside for the sunset itself, I’ll bet it was gorgeous.
I would imagine that someone enjoyed the sunset on one of these benches.
attention to detail, attitude adjustments, backyard visitors, birds, bugs, connections, coping, dragonflies, finding my way, friends, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, technology

And another thing…

Something has been bothering me for over a year now. May 29th is the anniversary of me starting this blog, which WordPress reminds me of every year. Last year it was 5 years, and I thought that I should write something profound to mark the occasion. I thought I should admit that my snowbird status is a bit dubious these days, and I’m not actually spending my days on the ‘nature coast’ as much, plus I’m not doing things totally on my own anymore. Hooray for me! But I didn’t write anything then, and now my 6th blog-iversary has come and gone, and not only that, but WordPress recently informed me that I had written 1500 blog posts! And still I didn’t mark the occasion. Let me remind you that starting the blog was as big a surprise to me as it might have been to anyone who read it back then. I was off that day, and I wanted to go to the class where I had met some very nice gals who are still my good friends, and I hardly paid attention to what the day’s subject would be. At the end of that class we all had the framework of a blog in our computers, all we had to do was write. I told myself not to do it. I was sure that I’d run out of things to say in a week or two and want to quit, and it would be an embarrassment. But I did start, and I quit at one point for a couple of months and missed writing it, so I picked it up again. And here we are. I’m still running off at the mouth. I guess I’m not done yet.

We had just said that we hadn’t seen a hawk out back in a while when he showed up on the fence. I went in and got my camera but took a couple of shots through the sliding glass door plus the screening on the lanai. Good thing I did because just then he dove into the yard behind us, after some unsuspecting creature I’m sure.
I bought some cord to make a chain to hang the feeder from since I couldn’t reach to hang it on the hook. Mrs. Downey evidently thinks it will do nicely.
Whenever I’m at the rookery I’ll attempt a shot of a bird in flight, but they are hard to get. This shot was pathetic until I clicked on the new ‘denoise’ button in Lightroom and it cleaned it up.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or so they say.
I’m sorry to say that the dragonfly that was on the feeders in the backyard the other day hasn’t been back since then. Darn it.
Waiting for the dragonflies at the pond leaves you time to look around for something else to shoot. This little guy was in the grass. I think it looks like he’s fought a battle or two.
This is a butterfly shot from the botanical garden. Cute little guy.
Here I am, always looking for birds or bugs, when life is all around us if you look around.

I still think that writing this blog has been therapy for me, so thanks for reading, I really appreciate all of you.

backyard visitors, bugs, butterflies, dragonflies, flowers, friends, fun, gardens, nature, perseverance, photography

Jean’s Magic Garden…

Not only do I chase my photographer friends around after their pictures have introduced me to yet another great place to go for photos, but now I take all my gardening advice from them too. Thanks to Larry for this nugget of information. A nursery in Homosassa that grows all their own plants, all their native plants that will do well in our area, and takes time to help a couple of novice gardeners decide what to buy. You won’t drive by this place and find it by accident. Nope. Even the GPS will lie to you, so that once you take that last turn it will be a dead end to private property, but with a sign to help you find the garden. But you will be glad you did.

Here’s our haul, for this visit at least. I eventually placed them around the yard to see what we wanted to put where. What we need now is someone to do the dirty work for a couple of senior citizens.

We have enjoyed sitting outside and watching the birds at the feeders since we put them in. We also would see butterflies flit through, but they would hardly ever stop, even with the giant bougainvillea loaded with its flowers. So I said we need to draw in the pollinators, give them a reason to stop, hence the trip to the nursery. And of course I can take their pictures when they do stop by.

The flowers had been placed around the yard, and then I noticed this in the corner of the Bird Buddy. A butterfly? I snuck up on it, camera in hand, but it didn’t move. I told it to scoot, mostly because I’m too short to see down into the feeder and I was afraid it was dead. It ignored me and I feared the worst.
We decided that the little white flowers on this plant would be lost against the white fence, plus Jean had told us to plant it near the lanai so you could smell the lovely scent as you sat there. As soon as we placed it next to the lanai we could smell the flowers, and then I saw a bee flitting around.
The flowers were moving in the breeze, surely that’s why so many of my shots were out of focus.
I came back in, but almost right away I noticed a dragonfly up on the post for the bird feeders. It stayed put so I went back out with the camera and it stayed like this long enough that I got so many pictures that I just went back to the lanai and left him there.
I guess the butterfly wasn’t dead because now he was on the ‘nuts and bugs’ cake that was on another feeder. Why it was there is a mystery, and again it stayed put for me to take lots of pictures.
This time I didn’t get back to the lanai to sit down before I noticed this dragonfly on the perch, daring me to take it’s picture.

I have no idea what was going on out there yesterday. Are the new flowers responsible for the invasion of the dragonflies and butterflies? And bees too? Can’t wait to see what happens today, but this time I’ll try not to clunk my head into the hummingbird feeder thereby dousing my hair with sugar water. But first we need to buy another woodpecker seed cylinder since the birds have almost destroyed the first one. And a trellis for one of the plants we bought, and I’m sure I’ll think of a few more things also…

attention to detail, attitude adjustments, brainstorms, facing facts, Florida landmarks, following the rules, friends, fun, Home Team, live and learn, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, technology

Take me out to the ballgame…

We have a mixed marriage, Nikon guy, Canon, (ahem), girl. Neither of us will ever convince the other to switch, not that we’ve tried. But I thought I scored a point for my team when Bernie’s Nikon wouldn’t focus through the netting that is everywhere in the ball park. His idea that we go to a minor league baseball game on Sunday at noon had me rolling my eyes. Noon, on a summer-ish day in Florida? But then it dawned on me that I could try to use the precapture mode in the camera on something other than birds. All righty then, so off we went.

He also wanted to see what the current conditions would be for photography in case our camera club might like to go there for a photo shoot. They used to go on Saturday nights when the park sets off a fireworks display after the home games are over. Except this year there is a nearby eagle nest with babies ready to fledge, so they had cancelled the fireworks from the night before. Nice of them. But the issue for photography is the netting that goes all the way around the seating area of the park, so no clear area to shoot pictures of the game. His Nikon wouldn’t focus through the netting, but my Canon did. I scored a mental point for myself over that. And I blew up first picture I took, the picture of the mascot, as big as I could see it in the camera and couldn’t see the netting, except for the netting behind him. So I went all out, shooting bursts of the pitchers, trying to get the ball just as it comes of the fingers. And shooting the batters, trying to get the ball just as it hits the bat. And I was sure that the camera was ignoring the netting, so my pictures would be great. Ever the optimist.

This was the first picture I took. My test picture. And I was quite happy with it.
This is an iPhone picture to give you an idea of the whole park.
I didn’t quite nail the picture of the ball leaving the pitcher’s fingers. And I was a bit heart broken to look at all those pictures I’d taken and the netting was obvious in all of them.
Every time a runner was on third base I got into position to take this shot. And I got the ball on the bat all right, but netting galore so not a good picture.
I took this photo of the gal singing the national anthem, but I had no idea that the feed would break up.

So this is the Phillies 1A minor league team called the Threshers, located in Clearwater. It’s a fun way to spend the day. And I needn’t have worried about the noon time weather since we stayed on the upper level under cover, with a fabulous breeze. But the truer test would be to go down to the lowest seats at field level, much closer to the darn netting but also in the sun, and maybe the camera would have dealt with the netting better. I should have thought of that while we were there.

attitude adjustments, birds, egrets, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, perseverance, photography

The rookery…

When we want to go out and take some pictures the rookery is the closest place to go. Not exactly close mind you, but only a half hour or so away. The overall scene is still full of birds, and the decibel level is still at its peak, but if I didn’t know better I’d think all the birds were adults. Most of these babies still stand in the nest calling for food, or I assume that’s what they are doing. All except for the tricolor heron chicks who are all over the place. They fly in and out, or just perch in plain sight. A nice difference from when the adults were nesting and they were tucked way into the shrubbery and we could see them for only a few seconds as they flew in and out. These guys are still small, or I might have thought they were also adults.

Nice color in the sun.
Still kind of fuzzy-headed.
I wandered down to the far end of the area in search of dragonflies. Much to my surprise I found I’d been standing next to one of these young tricolors for a while, but he didn’t seem to mind.
I argued that this bird on the tippy top of the tree was a great blue heron, and then he struck this pose and yup, it’s an anhinga. Lost that argument.
This posture doesn’t happen often. A Woodstork, not sure if it would also be a juvenile.
I used to think this log was reserved for the anhingas to perch on. Then I took pictures of some turtles on it. Now this egret seems to have taken over. And, speaking of taking over, the vegetation is so thick you can’t see the water. There is water there I presume.
Here’s a close up of that wild and crazy guy from the feature photo.

I wasn’t excited to go to the rookery. I thought there would be nothing new to take pictures of. But there is always something to see, I would think I’d have learned that by now.

attitude adjustments, backyard visitors, birds, Florida wildlife, in the neighborhood, life goes on, live and learn, nature, perseverance, photography


I never would have imagined that I’d be disappointed to see cardinals in my yard, but that is what has happened since we put up the Bird Buddy. I am disappointed when I get a ‘postcard’ from Bird Buddy with images of birds who have stopped long enough to get their picture taken, but the pictures always turn out to be cardinals. I know from sitting outside, or even just looking out the sliding glass door, that lots more varieties of birds are out there all day long. But nobody comes as often as the cardinals, and nobody places themselves directly in front of the camera long enough to get their picture taken. And when I sit at the doorway of the lanai, looking out into the yard with my camera at the ready, it’s usually the cardinals who will sit still long enough for me to take my own pictures. Such are the difficulties of life for me lately, so I have a nerve even bringing the subject up, don’t I?

The camera has fancy functions that I play with from time to time, but never study up quite enough to nail the picture I’m trying to get.
Not quite what I had in mind.
Here we have a regular visitor but not to the Bird Buddy. A female red-bellied woodpecker. I believe I spotted her mister also, but failed to get his picture.
After the original holder for the big woodpecker feed cylinder fell to the ground, which we noticed in time to rescue it, we got a new, simpler, holder for it. Now the woodpeckers, and anyone else who cares to, can perch on it and eat from the top down.
Practice supposedly makes perfect, but when it comes to nailing
a shot of these birds as they take off, well, lets say I’m still practicing.
This is a Mrs. Downey Woodpecker. There is no little red patch on the back of her head, as is sported by Mr. Downey Woodpecker. They both were out on the feeder the other day, but I missed the photo.
attitude adjustments, ducks, egrets, Florida wildlife, in the neighborhood, nature, perseverance, photography, rain, Rise and shine, sunset

After the rain…

First of all let me confess that the sunrise this morning wasn’t quite as colorful as this picture makes it look. I always use my iPhone when I head to the park in the morning, mostly because of the extra wide angle it gives me, and when I put the pictures into Lightroom this morning and clicked on ‘auto’ it gave me the feature photo you see. It was too pretty to tone it down, so I left it alone.

I barely made it to the park in time. I had looked out the back window at the last minute and saw that the clouds left over from the torrential rain last night were breaking up. And there was some faint pink color in the clouds. But by the time I put some shoes on, grabbed the phone, and walked to the park, the colors were already fading. In my rush I saw that the walkway into the park was covered with puddles, so in my hurry I walked through the grass. I’m pretty sure the the water was deeper in the grass than the puddles were. The weatherman now says that our drought that has been a subject of conversation on the news for quite a while now will be over soon. So, for now, the rain is welcome.

As the sun came up the red colors gave way to yellow-oranges.
I had company, as usual…
When it was time to leave I saw that part of the walkway was dry so I headed that way, but I disturbed some ducks who were using the little playground as a swimming pool.