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Black and white…

I think I liked it better when I saw life as if it was black or white, right or wrong. Of course I was just a kid then. It didn’t really take long to see the 50 shades of gray for every subject under the sun. Life was simpler then.

But in this case black and white refers to a class we took on Saturday, on black and white photography. I haven’t been drawn to that genre exactly, but as I listened to our leader Jeff, I thought of a picture I’d just taken at Bok Tower Gardens and couldn’t wait to come home and see how it would look in black and white. I was quite happy with it, and with several others I took that day. Plus, as I edited with a friend I was taught a much easier way to save my photos for the blog. It was a fun morning and I was quite pleased with myself until I realized that I’d gotten confused, (who, me?), and had put the last few days’ photos onto the ‘wrong’ external hard drive, and my new way of doing things had gotten a lot more confusing. Operator error, the story of my life.

It was a fun exercise to look for photos with a lot of contrast in them and then convert them to black and white. There will be a further class on editing said pictures, but I couldn’t resist attempting this on my own.

a second look, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, making memories, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, weather

Checking on the baby…

You do know to which baby I am referring, don’t you? Little RipLee, born to RanDee in November of last year. I wondered if he was showing some independence yet.

Still in mom’s arms but even cuter than before.
He was on his feet!
RanDee and RipLee.

But there was another fun interaction going on also. Another photographer had been to the zoo recently and had commented on how the male orangutan, Goyang, who had usually been seen keeping to himself, was now interacting with a young one. This was the behavior we also noticed at the Zoo on Thursday, and they both seemed to be having quite the time of it.

I took a lot of pictures of them wrestling but all you could see is a mound of orange fur.
I believe they are father and son.

When I could tear myself away from the orangutans I discovered that there is another new baby at the zoo.

This little Siamang Gibbon was harder to photograph than the orangutans.
He is little, but a bit more independent than RipLee.
I was excited to see him in the open for photos, but I think his coloring made the images more challenging to take and to process.

A lot of renovations are going on at Zoo Tampa, closing some of our favorite photo ops, but we did find a few more things to take note of.

The elephants were confined to one portion of their area while some renovations are going on. This elephant, however, seemed to think that he should supervise things.
Shoebill Stork.
I should know what species this is but I don’t.
I could claim to know that those grasshoppers were on the stump when I took this picture, but I’d be lying.
Imagine my surprise when I spotted this stampede of wild animals making off with unsuspecting children.

We had expected to take pictures for only an hour or two before the rains came, but they held off longer than we expected giving us a nice day.

'scene' along the way, a second look, bucket list, bugs, Florida landmarks, flowers, friends, fun, gardens, Just do it, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, silliness, weather

And furthermore…

Bok Tower Gardens is, of course, a garden, so we did see some flowers and beautiful vistas.

Do I know what this is? No, I don’t, but I like it.
The same with these, and I’m too lazy to look them up.
In the beginning.
In full bloom.
This looks like the plant from The Little Shop of Horrors, so I think that bug had better watch out.
There were angels in the garden, watching over the children.
And bee boxes to house the bees that don’t live in hives. A fact I learned at Felt’s Preserve.
You have now entered the children’s garden where there were endless opportunities for kids to climb, jump, run, and just about anything else they could think of.
There were fairy houses in the children’s gardens.
This is my favorite fairy house.
I loved the images in stone on the pathways.
There was a walk across an expanse of lawn to see this vista. I hurried to take a picture because we could hear the horde of orange-shirted kids approaching behind us. When they got to the hill one of the boys fell to the ground and rolled down, and I kicked myself for not getting the picture.
And then this happened. I should have expected it, since kids will be kids.
And sometimes grown-ups act like kids too!

It was fun to spend time with old friends and make a couple of new friends also. The rain and thunder held off just long enough for us to make the most of the trip to Bok Tower Gardens. And it left us wanting to return, eventually.

'scene' along the way, adventure, exploring new places, friends, gardens, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, weather

Bok Tower Gardens…

As is my unfortunate habit, I did my research on this lovely venue after the fact. That’s when I discovered that the ‘singing tower’, named for the wonderful serenade of bells that can be heard throughout the gardens, is made from pink marble and native coquina stone. And that it was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, ‘the father of American Landscape Architecture’. His accomplishments include New York’s Central Park, plus too many more to mention. Upon arrival you see hints of the tower, and we quickly decided to head straight for it since the weather was iffy the later in the day it got.

This alligator greets you as you arrive to buy your tickets to enter.
You gaze at the tower from a distance, and it’s so very pretty. But it’s when you look at the detail in the photos that you really appreciate its beauty.
This is the clock face that was designed to cover the opening through which the glorious bells had been hoisted into place. Each of the zodiac signs are represented around the face of the clock.
But it’s the actual sundial itself that struck me. A golden snake as part of the design. What an imagination it must have taken to assemble all these parts into one whole.
More details to see.
I nearly missed the golden door, and the stone marker of the grave of Edward Bok who gave us all this gift to enjoy.
Did you spot Adam and Eve in the lower panel? I was surprised when I did.
You have to use your imagination here. When you stand on the current month you yourself cast the shadow that tells the time.

We did have to dodge some raindrops, and some serious sounding thunder claps, but for the most part the weather cooperated and we had a great day!

'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, bucket list, exploring new places, Florida wildlife, front yard visitors, fun, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip

Wishful thinking…

There is a consistency to my vague desire to find the perfect place to live these days. Aside from the basic affordability, the most important, and unobtainable, wished-for aspect, I want built-in photo ops on my doorstep. With that in mind downtown Lakeland might be just the spot for me.

Who wouldn’t love to have this park right outside their front door?
Each year they have an event where they capture, band, and give veterinary check -ups to the resident swans at the lake. TV coverage of the event this year was how I knew the swans were even there.
While swans are always lovely, I don’t know if I would have wanted to stop here on our way home, very loosely ‘on our way home’, were it not for knowing that they had black swans here. Now seeing them was worth the extra mileage.
These were a treat to see.
A youngster perhaps, judging by the lighter feathers?
I think that this one was preparing to audition for Swan Lake.
And a snowy egret in her golden slippers. She didn’t seem to mind being out numbered by her bigger feathered friends.

Birds do seem to dominate the Florida photo-op scene, don’t they? I’m lucky to live here where affordability is at least possible. Not to mention the photo ops.

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, birds, dragonflies, exploring new places, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, life goes on, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, weather

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive…

Years ago a friend had lived in the vicinity of Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive but had never visited the area, so we decided to correct that oversight yesterday. You might think that such an overcast day wouldn’t have been the best day to go, but we weren’t baking in the sun plus there was a great breeze, so it turned out to be a perfect day.

The terrain is flat, and there is no relief from the sun.
There are lots of ways to enjoy the area.
We were in and out of the car as we stopped for pictures while we made our way around the loop.
You might have guessed that alligators would be plentiful there.
Dragonflies were plentiful too, but they didn’t stop long at all.
And the graceful egrets were in attendance.
There were egrets around every bend in the road.
Red-winged blackbirds aren’t so easily spotted, so I was pleased to get a photo.
Great blue herons were well represented also.
We stopped for lunch at a conveniently placed picnic area. Others preferred sushi.
This female grackle watched over the action.
Aside from this squabble it was a nice, peaceful day out in nature after several days of rainy weather.