If I’m being honest I can’t say that I went to the horse races on Saturday with much expectation of taking pictures of the races themselves. Short people are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to trying so shoot over the three sets of barriers that separate the onlookers from the track. So I figured I’d shoot the scene, or people, but I didn’t expect to shoot birds.
Not Donald’s nephews, those aren’t the Huey, Dewey, and Louie I’m referring to. Nope, in this case it’s the three owlets from Philippe Park, who, according to the pictures I’ve seen, are now sitting on tree branches posing nicely for photographers. Just not this photographer. While all around me people were exclaiming that they could see all three of them, and remarking about how adorable they were, and ‘oh look, he’s looking right at us’, all I could see was lots of Spanish moss, and not much else.
What to do those other photographers have that lets them get such great pictures? Better equipment? Steadier hands? More patience? Or just dumb luck. Probably all of the above. But I came away unconvinced that I’d gotten much of anything at all so it was another nice day in paradise for me. And a nice chat with a couple of photographers that I met a long time ago, and we are all still taking pictures.
The weatherman is promising us that we have a week of wonderful weather ahead of us. He especially stressed that Sunday was going to be the best weekend day to be outside, so we took the hint and loaded up the scooter and bike, and lunch, and headed to Wall Springs Park. Apparently all of Tampa Bay had the same idea. I had imagined us riding along side by side and chatting as we enjoyed the scenery, but that didn’t happen. There were constant walkers to dodge, and other, more serious, bikers bearing down on us, or coming up from behind and yelling, “On your left.”
The Pinellas Trail connects to the park also, 45 miles of rail trail that could potentially take you from Tarpon Springs to St. Pete, but you would have to be more energetic than we are. We did ride it a few miles though. Long enough to see neighborhoods I’d love to live in, and a surprise when I would have least expected it. There was a little stream to the right of the trail, and I saw a bird up ahead and saw that it was swishing its bill back and forth in the water before I could see what bird it was. But only one bird that I know of exhibits that behavior, so yes, it was a Spoonie! The near chaos on the trail just a few yards away didn’t seem to be a problem for him at all. We stopped for a minute to take some pictures, I was surprised that no one else seemed to take notice, but it’s a good thing we did because on the way back just a little while later he was nowhere to be seen.
When we got back we charged our batteries to be ready for the next adventure, whatever that may turn out to be. You never know when a brainstorm will arrive.
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.
I am taking liberties here with my interpretation of this visit with the eagles. We were on our bike and scooter this time, our second outing, and got in another 5 miles. We decided to see the eagles and then continue onto the Anclote Coastal Trail to see where it went. So we expected to find the eagles, but I didn’t expect to find another friend who I first met on this very same quest, in this very same place, four (?) years ago. She had been watching for a while and said that nothing much had happened, not even a feeding so far. And that set the tone for my interpretation of what was going on as we watched.
The feature photo has Mom in the tree, scanning the area in hopes of spotting Dad, who had been sent out to bring back breakfast, but it was now going on lunch time.
We moved on without any more activity than what you have seen. It was time to ride. I’ve gone 10 miles on my new electric tricycle so far and my pedaling must be fairly efficient since I still have four of the five bars of battery life left. I confess it is nice to just cruise along under power here and there. But I need to watch where I’m going because I thought I spotted dear old Dad up in a tree a distance from the nest, and as I turned for a better look I let the bike drift to the right and very nearly drove my friend off the path. Oops. It was a very nice day, pedaling along without any actual disasters…
We made a few stops over the last few days, just to see if any nesting was happening, and boy was it ever. There was some hanky-panky, but modestly in the bushes where I couldn’t get a picture. Just as well probably. But I did capture a few moments…
Just getting out for pictures is usually enough of an incentive for me. But our new bike and scooter mean we can zip around like a couple of kids, and not fall over. Though I did come close to crashing into my friend when I thought I saw an eagle. Oops…