nature, photography, friends, fun, butterflies, adventure, perseverance, Florida landmarks, Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Preserve, sky, a second look, 'scene' along the way, road trip, making memories, exploring new places

A short visit to Chassahowitzka…

You know how it is. You head out the door intending to do one thing, but the conversation leads you in an entirely different direction. That’s what happened yesterday when we set out to see and take photos along the back roads of ‘old Florida’, but we wound up at the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Preserve instead. I’ve been there before, but I’ve always been the passenger tagging along with friends who know the park backwards and forwards. Which means that I have no idea how to get around in there so I wasn’t the best guide that a person could hope for. In fact we never did see the scenery I expected to show him, but that was okay, we’ll find that next time. And next time maybe there won’t be bow and arrow hunters in the woods, a fact that kept us close to the road as we got out for pictures. Not that we are hikers. As you can see from the feature photo we found lots and lots of butterflies in the thistles at the side of the road.

There was a lot of competition over this flower.
I love the detail in the thistles.
Rain was expected later on, but for the most part the skies were pretty.
And the rains we have had meant that we had to drive through puddles that took over the road in spots.
Trees and sky are your companions as you drive the winding road.
The sky seemed threatening at times, but mostly it was pretty.
Then on the way home we saw this rain falling in the general direction of where we were heading, but we seemed to drive around it. Then it started to rain as soon as we got home. Perfect timing.

The wildlife was keeping a low profile as we drove through. Of course it was afternoon and there is usually more action in the morning and at dusk. Still my friend was happy to see the Florida landscape as it was before people decided to ‘improve’ it…

a second look, adventure, boats, facing facts, Florida landmarks, food, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip, sky, sunset, weather

Sunset in Dunedin…

We finally got to head to Dunedin for the sunset last night. As we walked to the marina we saw sailboats returning from a sailing lesson, so of course I ran ahead so as to not miss the shot. As it turned out it’s a good thing the sailboats created a diversion for us because we had longer to wait for the sunset than we thought. And then the clouds took over.

Things were looking promising at this point.
There are a few variations on the view as you sit in the park next to the boat house.
We were treated to a grackle serenade as we enjoyed the view. No osprey nests were visible this time. Perhaps they were evicted.
I caught a photo of this fisherman just before he called it a day.
This little girl was busy swinging her net, but at no creature that we could see.
The sun was getting lower.
I told myself that the color was coming up.
Then I looked behind me in hopes of seeing pretty reflected color, and found this.
We headed to the car, really we were heading to The Lucky Dill for a beer, but I stopped and took one last iPhone photo of the sunset.

I think that the iPhone enhanced the color a bit in that last photo. I’m glad that the sunset itself, or lack of it, isn’t the make or break moment of the day’s fun. One way or another it’s always good to get out and go shooting…

birds, nature, photography, sunset, turtles, fun, pond creatures, adventure, Florida wildlife, perseverance, ducks, a second look, road trip, making memories, facing facts

Making do…

All day the plan was to go to Dunedin for dinner, plus take in the sunset of course. But as the day went on the clouds got heavier and it started to rain. Much too late to go anywhere we saw that the clouds were breaking up a bit, so we went out in the drizzle and got some shots.

I see the raindrops in this picture when I look at it on my huge computer screen.
This turtle is enormous, we decided that he thought we might have a goodie for him. We didn’t.
This duck was probably thinking the same thing. She also was out of luck.

Later I saw pictures of the sunset from Dunedin and it was very nice. We missed a chance, but maybe it will work out next time.

a second look, adventure, Amazing artwork, birds, Florida landmarks, food, friends, fun, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, sky

Return to Cedar Key…

The day was going to be hot, but the sky was quite pretty and we hadn’t been out for pictures in a few days, so we made the drive to Cedar Key yesterday. My last trip must not have been on the weekend because I was surprised at the crowds at the restaurants and shops on the waterfront. Last time I was there I had taken lots of pictures of and in those buildings, but this time the crowds and lack of parking had us moving on. But not before we had clam chowder at Tony’s, which was at least as good as advertised. I was hoping for refills, but no such luck.

We are New Englanders, but this version of clam ‘chowdah’ holds it’s own with the best of them.
Patronage was steady, but not overwhelming for the cook/server, who was doing double duty.

There are adorable sculptures in the garden at the side of the library. They appear to be more weather-worn than when I was there before, but still charming as ever.

I love this sidewalk fisherman. He has a fish on his line, but not one of the little fish in the mural, he has snagged the big fish in the feature photo.
Love this little mural on the wall also.
If I take pictures of old barns out in the country then I guess an old building in town is also a subject.
This mural was a challenge to photograph without the cars that were sitting out front.
But really the sky was what I was wanting to see in my photos as we drove around the area.
Those clouds, and the blue sky just looked so pretty.
Our sole bird sighting. No Spoonies this time.
More clouds.
A tiny house. Too tiny.
Cemetery Point had been suggested as a viewing spot, but this grave was what caught my eye. Big Ed must have been something, proud southerner and firefighter, well remembered.
We can’t learn too much from this spot where Jimmy the Greek rests in peace.
At 15 miles per hour this was our view for quite a while after turning into a wildlife preserve.

,Leaving Cedar Key seemed like more of an escape than just a drive. Still on backroads the GPS gave us no clue as to where we were in relation to a town. After we turned into the wildlife area I asked how we were doing on gas, and the reply was that he wished I’d asked that question sooner. To which I suggested that the driver might have been keeping an eye on the gas tank without the passenger’s input. Eventually, like a mirage, a gas station appeared up ahead. And we were advised that if we just drove straight ahead we’d come to route 19 and we could head south to home! A fun day’s outing, with just a little added drama…

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, boats, cats, friends, fun, making memories, perseverance, photography, second chances, sunset

Hooters…

I’ve been meaning to go back to Hooters. For wings yes, but really for the sunset. Another photographer’s photo had clued me in to the view from the deck at the Hooters in my neighborhood, and on my last trip there my shenanigans with the camera didn’t seem to bother anybody. I must have mentioned it to my friend because last night he suggested we go there, so off we went. I was a little disappointed to see that the string of lights that had hung at the dock weren’t there this time. They went a long way to making me like the shots I had gotten there before. And as I stepped out onto the dock I remembered that last time there was a kitty out there and I thought it was a shame that she wasn’t there this time. I had taken a lot of pictures of her, which had amused me no end. I opened my mouth to mention the kitty to my friend and there she was…

She was strolling among the customers.
She decided to investigate my phone, and when I scratched her ears I think I made a friend for life.
I saw the lights coming on as the evening grew darker, and I hoped for a colorful sunset.
There was some color, but I hoped for more from the sunset. This was as good as it got.
When we drove in I was pleased to see that this little bait shop was still in operation, and I said that on the way home I wanted to stop for a photo when it was dark and the lights were on.

The feature photo is a panorama taken with my iPhone. Even if it wasn’t the prettiest sunset ever, it was a pretty enough night to make me happy. And there is always next time to look forward to…

a second look, adventure, attention to detail, friends, fun, history, making memories, perseverance, photography

Movie time…

Now that we have been home and caught our breath a bit a trip to the Tampa Theater seemed like a good idea. The Sunday matinee, we thought we bought. But somehow our tickets were for the alternate showing of Thursday evening. I had been to the Tampa Theater before, for a tour, and I took pictures and posted them. Being there in a crowd full of theater goers intent on buying their popcorn, and in some cases, alcoholic beverages, made taking photos this time a little more difficult. I could see the ceiling however, see the feature photo, and so I started shooting.

This is not your average movie venue.
The view as you enter.
This is the light in the ceiling directly over my seat. The attention to detail is amazing.
Just a peek at the surroundings.
Some theater history was presented.
Suddenly the audience was clapping and I wasn’t sure why. Then I saw that the organ, and organist, was rising up from the floor of the stage as he played. He entertained us for a while and then he slowly disappeared back into the nether regions of the theater.
The opulence of the place amazed me. Even the trip downstairs to the ladies room maintained the theme, except for the ever-present hand sanitizer to spoil the photo. I tried to remove it in Photoshop but it was beyond me.
And then it was time to go home and we got to see the marquee in it’s full glory