'scene' along the way, adventure, blessings, bucket list, connections, finding my way, friends, fun, go with the flow, Just do it, life goes on, making memories, natural wonders, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, second chances, travel

Have I mentioned?

I know I mentioned that I wasn’t particularly gracious when I found myself driving the endless hairpin turns as we traveled the last 20 miles to the cabin. But I don’t think I mentioned that the entire rest of my trip was chauffeur driven, including the first part of the drive home. That’s the part with the hairpin turns and the frustrating traffic approaching Atlanta. Whew! So I spent one of the days we were there, the day that it stayed overcast most of the day so the light was soft and the colors were nice, shooting iPhone pictures out the windshield of the car. I have, on occasion, tried to shoot pictures out the windshield while also driving, a practice that I don’t recommend since it rarely leads to a good picture, not to mention the danger involved. But with a chauffeur it was hard to resist trying for shots as the scenery was gorgeous but there was nowhere to stop and take pictures. The feature photo is one of my more successful of those shots.

We were at a higher elevation, as well as the softer light, so the colors really seemed more vivid.
Ordinarily I’d have cropped out the people at the bottom of the picture. But as you can see they are aiming their phones across the parking area. I wonder if they ever turned around and looked behind themselves?
I don’t know that I stand and savor these views since I’m usually in such a hurry to take a picture, as if someone is about to snatch the view away.
Rocks and water again.
The water is so clear.
The sound of the water was nice too, and all the while you were under a canopy of gold and orange leaves.

The drive to get to the Smokies may have been long and frustrating at times, and the lack of wifi for the entire stay, as well as not even having TV for the first two days, may have been enough to spoil the trip for some people. But our focus was to get out and take ever more pictures, so that’s what we did. Plus I had downloaded books from Audible before we left, just to use my points before I quit the app, so we listened to a Vince Flynn book for the two TV-less nights. Now we need to listen to the end to see if everyone lives happily ever after. Which is what we seem to be doing…

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, blessings, bugs, butterflies, exploring new places, family, flowers, friends, fun, making memories, natural wonders, perseverance, photography, road trip

Those hazy views…

We looked into the haze at every stop along Skyline Drive. I don’t know if it was better or worse than usual while we were there, but it didn’t stop us from taking shot after shot at every overlook we came to. A couple of days ago I mentioned my previous trip there when the pop-up camper popped off the hitch of my car, and how I just headed for home after that. What I didn’t mention is that my cousin was a supervising ranger at Skyline Drive for 21 years, and that he lives in the area. We had lunch with him on Cape Cod while we were there, but he wasn’t going to be back home when we got to his area the next week. So imagine my surprise when I posted a picture of a surprise engagement shot I got on our first day on the drive, and he commented that his farmhouse is in the background of the shot. Small world and lucky accident of timing, it all factored into the shot, which I love all the more now.

They are strangers to me, but I wish I had approached them to say I had photos. Someone else took pictures and I assumed it was a friend of theirs, or a professional photographer, so I kept quiet. I regret that now.
I don’t know these people either, but I was waiting for them to clear out so I could take a picture of the sign. Then I decided that someone else’s memory-in-the-making would make my photo more of a story. Did I walk on the Appalachian Trail? Of course not, I do photos as a ‘drive-by’ of sorts, content with the overview rather than the details.
Okay, sometimes I take close ups. This fawn showed up just as we got onto Skyline Drive. Then he turned out to be the only wildlife we saw in three days oof driving the winding roads of Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
What was odd about the views was that everything close to you was so clear, the distant view was hazy. The color was great. The not-so-great skies meant that the light was softer so your foregrounds looked great. And there were flowers in your foregrounds, and lively butterflies who challenged you to get their photo.
And when I got lucky I spotted bees too.
And yellow butterflies that spread their wings for you.
And yellow butterflies on pink flowers.

There are so many pictures that now I find them hard to group into a cohesive story. The iPhone will tell me where the pictures were taken, and when, which is helpful provided I also took a few shots with my phone as well as the camera. As we approached home I said that I didn’t know when I’d be ready for a long trip like this one was, but the thought of a couple of days here and there is already sounding like a good idea.

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, blessings, connections, coping, finding my way, friends, fun, life goes on, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip, weather

Catching up…

Day two of this trip had us traveling on back roads just like the detour road that we drove on the day before. But without all the traffic, and especially without all the trucks that we traveled with the day before, so a nicer day. A pleasant day of driving through North and South Carolina, but then it was time to negotiate the NY City area and our expected 9 hour trip took 13 hours and was (almost) no fun at all.

When I wasn’t driving I was taking pictures out the window.
We spent a little time on Rt 1, a road I traveled a lot when I lived in MD.
We had to put in the Tappan Zee bridge as a destination to get the GPS to take us over this bridge and not the dreaded George Washington bridge. After a difficult day’s drive I’m trying not to think about what route to take home, but that’s a problem for another day.

My friend and I are from the same hometown in MA, but it took us over 70 years to meet in our photo group in Florida. So this trip down memory lane took us back to Fields Park where we both spent time in our youth, but never together.

My sister assured me that this was my mother’s favorite spot in Field’s Park, so we sprinkled some of her ashes from this bridge a few years ago. Shh, don’t tell anyone though because I think it’s not kosher.
The swans came to us, and posed for us in this little lagoon.
Tower Hill is the main attraction in the park.
I liked this long distance view, but a day without rain threatening might have been nicer. We may get to try again before we leave.

Honestly, not too long ago I thought that all my connections to my hometown were now gone, and I wondered if I’d ever go back again. Funny about connections, all these years later I have new connections to the same old place of my youth, and it feels good.

a second look, blessings, connections, coping, courage, facing facts, finding my way, friends, fun, growing old, history, leap of faith, learning, life, life goes on, live and learn, making memories, perseverance, photography, second chances, sunset, technology

Things have changed…

I wrote my tag line, “Life on my own, on the Nature Coast of Florida”, on the fly in a class I took on How to Start a Blog. We walked out of that two hour class with the bones of a blog in our laptops, all we had to do was write, so I did. And I have enjoyed it a lot. But lately I have been feeling like a bit of a fraud. Actually I have been feeling that way for a while now. After all, once I moved two years ago I assumed that my new county wasn’t considered part of the Nature Coast. But I checked with Siri just now and she says I’m good. Not a fraud, at least not over that part of my tag line.

But the ‘on my own’ thing isn’t as true as it used to be either. I am still on my own, but against all odds there is now someone sharing my life, and also sharing my photo ops. Another photographer, so the whole being out for photos, and also processing them later on, is lots more fun these days. And we are on the cusp of our first adventure together, heading off to visit relatives and take pictures along the way. I probably would have bet money against this ever happening, but it certainly has been a welcome addition to my life in general. So that ‘never say never’ thing? Well, I guess that’s good advice…

'scene' along the way, birds, blessings, boats, brainstorms, food, friends, fun, life goes on, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography

Miss Vicki’s

Miss Vicki’s is a hidden gem you can find on Baillie’s Branch Road just past Anclote River Park. My son took me there the first time, but when I attempted to find it again I had to search. It looks like you are heading into a marina, but look for it, you’ll be glad you did.

Sitting on a bench by the water with a beer is a pretty nice way to spend the time while you wait for a table. The time passed quickly.
There were kids wading just a little ways away.
There were even commercial breaks…
And some not so serene boaters speeding by.

Normally I might be inclined to take a picture of my food when it came, but I was hungry and dug right in. The fish and chips were recommended by the waitress and it proved to be a good choice. It was a nice finale to a day of shooting, but we were too tired to wait around for the sunset. Maybe next time…

'scene' along the way, adventure, blessings, facing facts, family, friends, growing old, life, live and learn, Passing time, perseverance, photography, second chances, sunset

The sunset of life…

I’m definitely older these days, and I think I’m also wiser, in my old age. All my life I was guilty of the mindset that said, “If only I had _______, then life would be perfect.” Sometimes it was something as silly as the perfect piece of furniture for that empty corner, and other times it was a big wish like a ‘dream house’ or, later I scaled back to a ‘dream kitchen’, and patted myself on the back for being less greedy. In the last few years I’ve been yearning to live in a location that would give me a perfect view of the sunset or sunrise right from my own back yard, surely that that would make life itself perfect. But this morning it occurs to me that life is perfect just as it is. And, truthfully, it always was, because of the people I love and who love me back, and the joy of old friends who ‘knew you when’ and love you anyhow. Life is good…