Yesterday really was a perfect day. I wasn’t the only one who thought so either. Just look at all the fishermen on the Anclote Park Pier. 73 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. And everywhere I went the birds cooperated for some pictures.
Sometimes you wait and wait for a photographic moment, and other times they come at you left and right…
We’ve been bundled up and hiding from the cold weather for a few days now. Not all that cold according to my northern friends and relatives, but too cold for people who have lived here for any length of time. But today we just had to get out for a little while, so we went to a new-to-us park and rode the trails for a little while. I loved the beautiful reflections in the river, the Hillsborough River, even with the cloudy conditions and the temperature that might have reached 50 degrees. It was a nice ride, then it was time to head for home and heat up some of the turkey soup to warm up.
There are a few more nights of freezing overnight temperatures on tap, but the new year will bring back our wonderful warm Florida weather.
And then we strolled through the Henry Plant Museum that was all decorated for Christmas. A fellow photographer says that he has been to this event twice before, and it’s never the same thing twice. I would love to come back again next year…
We decorated the tree with decorations that we each have accumulated over the years. A real collaboration. We spent the first Christmases of our lives in the same place, without ever meeting, and then life took us to different places through the years, but now we are spending Christmas in the same place again. But together this time. And I have to say that the Christmas spirit has found me again, and I’m very glad that it’s back.
I first became aware of the wonderful spires of the University of Tampa when my photo group met to photograph sacred Heart Catholic Church in downtown Tampa. After the shoot we walked to a nearby Irish Pub that sat along the river, but across the river you could see the spires of the University. The waitress said that people come to that area to take pictures of those spires with the sunset colors behind them. We attempted to do that once, but it wasn’t a great sunset that night. Now I’ll be wanting to try, try again.
We have ridden the water taxi along the river walk and had a slightly different view of the buildings several times since then, but this time we were attending the Holiday Stroll at the Henry Plant Museum that is located in that main building you see below. So, finally, a chance to see the building up close. Which is when I realized that it’s much too enormous to do justice to in a photograph. For me anyhow. That main building is Plant Hall, built in 1891 as the Tampa Bay Hotel. The hotel featured 500 guest rooms, a casino, and a race track. Guests might choose to hunt or fish, or quietly sit and listen to a concert on the grounds, and possibly enjoy tea while they listened. There was a struggle to make a profit however, and eventually the city of Tampa bought the property after Henry Plant died. Endowments by several prominent families provided enough money to keep up the property and expand the university also.
Yes, this was a visit to do the Holiday Stroll, and we did. And it was lovely. I will post the pictures in the next day or so. I think this trip will have to be a holiday tradition from this time on. I never realized that new traditions can be just as meaningful as the memories of past holidays that we hold dear.
I don’t know exactly what time it was when I decided to wander into the kitchen and warm up my half cup of coffee in the microwave. But as I passed by the dining room window I glanced out and saw a fabulous red cloud out there, and I’ll bet I was out the door in only a minute or two. As you can see it was a quick trip out for the sunrise this morning, and as I worked on my photos less than an hour later the National weather Service announced a tornado warning for this area. I’m glad I got out there when I did.
The sky started to get duller, so I took a panorama with my phone, which I used as the feature photo. And then the ibis flew in, and they formed a line walking towards me in a row along the shore. I thought it might be cute to get the phone down low and take their picture as they approached, and though that didn’t pan out I took this last picture and watched for another minute or two as the sky faded.