birds, Chinsegut Conservation Center, Florida wildlife, flowers, friends, learning, nature, photography, sunset

Photo Adventures…

When you go out for a long day of photography adventures you might come home with not one, but two, dead camera batteries.  And that might result in you having to get up in the middle of the night to sort through your photos to see what you got.

Like birds at the Chinsegut Conservation Center… the Rose Breasted Grosbeak, who isn’t a native but is probably migrating through, the Gray Catbird, and the Yellow-Throated Warbler.Rose Breasted Grosbeak copy1024chinsegutcatbird11024yellowbird

Then you might go on a nature hike, on a trail that our intrepid leader, Alice, says wasn’t on a map but showed up on Google Earth, in search of a surprise find, high on a tree limb.  Green Fly Orchids, growing wild.  She says they are cultivated and sold outside of this country.


Then dinner, and off to another of Alice’s secret spots for the sunset.  What a nice day.  Thanks ladies!


coping, life, life goes on, marriage, memories, moments, on closer examination, photography

Second thoughts…

This is our wedding picture from April 13, 1980. We were so young, even though we were both over 30 at the time, which doesn’t sound so young but it sure looks it to me now.

There are several ways this could go from here but I guess I should choose just one. This was a second marriage for me, first for Charley. I quickly discovered that it’s not a matter of problems in your first marriage and no problems in a second marriage. It was more like which problems would you rather deal with? And what was life like in between the bumps in the road? And I have to say that life was more fun the second time around. Not all the time, but enough of the time.

I miss having fun. Or maybe I miss having fun with another person. I didn’t expect to feel this way because I was convinced that being on my own, which was a novel idea to start with, was always going to be enough. Perfect even. Now I especially notice older couples shopping at the grocery store where I work, with their heads together as they choose a treat from the bakery. I tend to want to think that they are going to enjoy that treat together, but on the other hand they might be stressing over stretching their budget to afford that treat. Husbands commonly comment, as they buy a donut, “My wife would kill me if she knew I bought this”. I tell them that what happens in the bakery stays in the bakery.


It seems like the wife is always the one playing the role of the spoil sport. I wonder if I was like that, I can’t remember. I was leaving work when one older couple that I had noticed as they shopped, brought out their small bag of groceries and were climbing onto a three-wheeled motorcycle and drove off. Looked like fun… for them, not me, motorcycles would constitute more of a worst nightmare for me. But the unexpected.

So as I was leaving Pine Island not long ago Delilah was on the radio. She asked for a caller’s story and the woman described her husband as the love of her life. She sounded older to me, and she said that they had met online, which is a cringe-worthy thought to me. But it made me think. Then the church bulletin was sitting on my table and what jumped out at me was an ad for  But when when I saw a pop up on my Facebook page for Senior Singles I had to wonder if someone was sending me a message, so I clicked on it. Naturally you had to create a user name and password to enter the site, so I pondered that for a couple of minutes, and put in the user name Photonut. Evidently that wasn’t going to work for them because they came back with suggestions for me, three of them, HotPhotonut, WildPhotonut, and Photonut Fun. Um, okay no, I don’t think so…


birds, Florida wildlife, nature, photography, Pine Island, simple things, sunset

Ruddy Turnstone…

Ruddy Turnstone, sounds like the name of the detective in a mystery novel, doesn’t it?  Turns out it’s this little shore bird that was very, very busy while I was out for the sunset the other night.  It’s a little thing, and a birder/photographer I was talking with one day said that I had missed the Sanderlings that were there recently on a night that I hadn’t gone out.  So I had been snapping photos like crazy thinking that this little bird was the one he was talking about.  He and his wife came along later and said no, and identified this one for me.  I double checked him in an app I just downloaded called Merlin, and sure enough, it instantly identified this bird.  It identifies birds by description or by photo, and I hope it will help to keep me from embarrassing myself with my lack of knowledge of even the most common birds.  And the Sanderlings that I was thinking that this one might be?  They make this bird look big, I’m told.  I’ll be on the lookout.

I finally got a male boat-tailed grackle to pose for me also.  That took some doing.  Going out for the sunset is always a pleasure…

butterflies, Chinsegut Conservation Center, Florida wildlife, flowers, nature, photography

Brightening up a gloomy day…

What is there to do on a gloomy looking day but run errands after work?  And a pedicure, that’ll usually cheer me up.  But my brilliant idea of stopping at the Botanical Gardens on the way home yesterday might not have been the best choice of activity in my flip flops, and with my newly painted toenails.  Picture dirt paths and flip flops.  And it turns out the mosquitos were feasting on my ankles while I was there.  Made getting to sleep last night a chore.  Nevertheless I did manage to get a few photos.1017botanicalflower1017botanicalflower21017botanicalgardenbutterfly

And I also got some photos on Sunday at the Chinsegut Conservation Center when we were there for a photography class.  Really we were learning some of the features of using Lightroom, but new technology and I have a long standing love/hate relationship.

1017chinsegutbutterfly1017chinsegutbutterfly21017chinsegutfrogWhile I’m thinking about frogs this morning I remembered a photo from one of our first trips to Florida after we bought out house here but before we moved down for good.  We were so amazed at this little creature, from a time when we thought, like we all do, that there was all the time in the world…


Chinsegut Conservation Center, coping, growing old, healing, losing battles, memories, natural wonders, nature, photography, solitude

A new you, I mean me…

Nature photography is new to me. For years I thought that cameras were for taking pictures of the grandchildren only, so in a sense I’ve reinvented myself as far as photography goes. Taking photos of sunsets and butterflies are one thing, always beautiful, but a trip to Chinsegut Conservation Center provides more than just the obvious photo ops. A locust chrysalis, which I would never have spotted if it hadn’t been pointed out to me, isn’t pretty, but in reviewing my photos from my trip there it’s the chrysalis that’s on my mind.

Seeing it made me think how nice it might be to just shed your outer, worn out, and thoroughly abused self, and re-emerge as a newer, fresher, you. Or me.  But knowing what you know now so you don’t make the same mistakes over again. Reinventing yourself so as to face a world that reinvented itself while we were busy and not paying attention. A world that dotes on youth isn’t such a friendly place these days. I know I’m not the only one who feels like I’m the same person I always was, but better really because getting older really does make you wiser. Easier on yourself. But you don’t look better, just older, and stepping out into the world, this crazy youth-worshipping world, when you left your own youth behind years ago, leaves you where, exactly?

I’ve spent the last three years at home, telling myself that I was happy, but in reality I was using the house as a chrysalis, hiding, safe, because I didn’t know what else to do. And telling myself that I was happy, and loving the privacy. No witnesses, except the dogs and they don’t judge. And now I think wait a minute, is this all I want or need for the rest of my life? And I imagine various Hallmark movie scenarios of what life could be. Then I walk past a mirror and think, who are you kidding?

Mother Nature gets it, at least as far as locusts go. When they have become worn and tired, and have been buffeted around by life a while, they can just shuck their old shell and reemerge as a new and improved version. I’m thinking that I wish people could do the same thing…