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Those champaign tastes…

I do have good taste, but I also have the beer pocketbook to go with it. A little cottage on a lake, where I could watch the sunrise and/or sunset without racing up, or down, the road. Someplace with quirks, which, to me, suggests a cosy, homey little place. Speaking of the place, I might have found the community in SC while visiting for Christmas. Lake Wylie. Lots of little fingers of land jut into the lake, and the houses on the roads there must have great views, at least in the winter when the leaves are gone. The little park that I found so that I could stop to take pictures was up high, with views in three directions. There was a playground and bathrooms, and lots of designated golf cart parking spaces. But when I got on Zillow I discovered that there are no tiny cottages, or tiny price tags. Sigh. Somewhere there is a cosy little spot just waiting for me to find it. In the meantime I’ll keep dreaming…

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The Immersive Van Gogh Experience…

I missed the opportunity to see this exhibit in Tampa, so when I saw that it was coming to Orlando I wasted no time snagging two tickets. This was months ago, and it turned out to be conveniently timed to be a birthday present for my friend. Upon arrival we were delighted to find easy parking close to the doors of the venue, and then we walked over a mile (round trip) to the actual location within the convention center. When we finally arrived I was disappointed to find ourselves standing in the room, with people between us and the displays on all four walls surrounding us. But, as you can see, in looking at my pictures it was the ones that included those people that I liked the most, to show the experience rather than trying to do justice to the artwork itself. In the feature photo you see the people sitting on a bench, enjoying the view. We eventually took over that bench, and I wonder if we are now front and center in other people’s photos. Thank goodness for the iPhone, 11 pro max, which I knew would handle the low light situation perfectly. What a fun experience.

Just as each scene came into full color the images would begin to dissolve into another beautiful scene.
You could look in any direction and be amazed at what you were seeing.
Phones were the preferred cameras of the day.
The scenes wrapped around the corners of the room. As the scenes changed I found myself a bit dizzy as the floor seemed to be moving. It was good to sit on the bench.
Of course, when I could I tried to fill my shot with the beautiful paintings.
Beautiful blossoms.
More endless hallways.
A little cottage, my dream house.
You can even see the brushstrokes in some of these images.
The final images.
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Sanding Ovations…

I have always wanted to see the sand sculpture event at the beach, but something always prevented me from heading to Treasure Island. And it was not on my mind at 2 AM on Friday when I walked out the front door to look for the lunar eclipse and got rained on. I hadn’t seen a notice that the sand sculptures were even happening, but, lucky for me, my friend did, and off we went. You can see from the pictures that it was a perfect day, hot in the sun but with a wonderful breeze to cool you off and keep the kites aloft. Traffic was surprisingly light driving there, and I was delighted that I had easy access to the sculptures without people in the way. I neglected to notice all the commotion in the background of my pictures while I was taking them. And with the tools in Lightroom and Photoshop I could have knocked my head against the wall trying to remove them, or I could not worry about it and assure myself that I’m presenting an accurate picture of the event. But I’m sure there are lots more people and distractions going on today and tomorrow as the event reaches full swing.

You can see that this is a work in progress. I have no idea when the judging will take place, but I was blissfully unaware of the unfinished aspects of some of the sculptures while I took pictures. They will be on display through the holidays, barring weather related damage. This one is Neptune’s Organ.
Lest you worry about my hydration during this event you’ll be happy to know that we drank Liquid Death while we walked around. At one point I was holding two cans of this when a gentleman asked me how my drink was, and was disappointed to realize it was water. Not even fizzy water. Many people probably shook their heads over this old two-fisted drinker.
This ” tort-a-potty” was one of the first stops of the day.
I didn’t catch the name of this one, something about a mermaid trapped in the kelp.
The DJ was playing some really fun music as we walked around, and he announced that someone had just told him that since he was located beside a sculpture named ‘whale wash’ then he ought to play Car Wash, and he did!
This one was Pilotfish. Those portholes were actually openings to the other side, with different faces looking out on that side.
The hiney on this one caught my eye so I took this picture. As the day went on there were plenty of bikini clad gals walking around showing almost as much hiney as this.
I made it a point to take another photo of that last sculpture and totally missed seeing that he was kissing that scuba guy kite who hovered over us all day.
This is the pregnant mermaid. I love that the little toy rocking horse is actually a sea horse.
Biting the arm that feeds you.
A mighty battle…
The flip side of the battle sculpture was this fresh fish sign.
When you don’t pay attention to the activity in the background you might wind up with a picture you could title “Off With His Head”.
This castle sculpture was placed at the far end of all the sculptures, and was the biggest and most elaborate. I was happy that I could crop the photo and only have a couple of people in it. For scale, LOL, but not really.
This might have been the more interesting view of that castle sculpture, if not for the tools of the trade all on display. I’m surprised that they didn’t show when I took the picture from the other side.

You can certainly tell which photos were taken with the sun behind the sculptures and which had the sun on their faces. As usual I was happy to be out talking pictures in such a fun environment, it’s only when I look at the pictures later that the details of backgrounds and shadows really hit me over the head. But there was so much going on, rows and rows of vendors and a great selection of really good food to choose to eat, that I just happily clicked away. It might be worth another trip next Friday…

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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, adventure, bucket list, exploring new places, finding my way, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Arriving in the Smokies…

Finally it was time to depart on our long awaited trip to the Great Smokey Mountains Nation Park. The 10+ hour drive culminated in a last 20-mile stretch of relentless hairpin turns. According to the sign we saw later there were 10-20 turns per mile! I will admit that I was less than gracious about finding myself to be in the drivers seat on that last stretch of the drive. And it didn’t help to see that the long awaited fall foliage wasn’t quite what we had hoped. Upon arriving at the cabin we found that the TV didn’t work, and that there wasn’t any wifi either, but we were too tired to worry about it, at the start at least.

The next morning we set out a little later than we had planned, but rested and fortified with coffee, and then stopped along the river not far from the cabin to take the picture of the row of teepees across the way. It felt like fall, we wore jackets that morning, but didn’t need them again the rest of the week. It smelled like fall, too. There was a crispness to the air, and the carpet of leaves on the ground was beautiful. We drove through tunnels of gold and orange leaves. On second thought the foliage was beautiful, and we hoped that it would develop some more as the days passed.

Hillsides were mostly green, but the leaves on the ground were so pretty.
We seemed to be driving along side a river everywhere we went.
I was excited to see the sunlight lighting up the leaves on this tree. So excited that I managed to not notice that my finger was in front of the lens. I cropped it out, mostly…
If the string of fish that this guy had was any indication then the fishing was good.
I’m glad I took this picture because there wasn’t a lot of red in the foliage.
More leaves in the sun
Geese in perfect v formations were heading south.

The owner of the cabin brought us a new TV and hooked it up, but, sorry to say, wifi was coming, just not yet. The local weather forecaster was assuring people that the fall color was late due to the unseasonably warm weather, but that it would be coming. It may not have been the ultimate in fall color, but we were quite pleased with what we saw on only our first morning in Bryson City and Cherokee, NC.

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A clean slate…

One day ends…

Another day begins…

A clean slate…

The usual morning crew, plus one…

This hawk has been sitting on various lamp posts and sounding off when I’ve been walking in this neighborhood. Finally I was able to get a picture, though not such a great one with the phone. I love the phone but there are limits to the pictures you can get with it.

This Great Blue Egret finally emerged from the shadows and posed for me.

And when you are reading this we will already be heading out on our next adventure. I’m listening to torrential rain as I’m writing this, and hoping for better weather in the morning. What will the day bring I wonder?