'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, brainstorms, bucket list, friends, fun, making memories, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, sunset, technology, weather

It’s that time again…

Well, almost that time again. The time when our drive to Clearwater for our Tuesday night photography club meeting coincides with the sunset. That means that as we make the long trip down Edgewater Drive I will be shooting photos out the car window with my iPhone. The last time I did that the sunset was fabulous, and I held the phone out the window a bit further and didn’t see myself in the side mirror, or I could crop myself out of the picture. This time we were a bit early for the really great color to have developed quite yet, and I was reluctant to hold my brand new iPhone 14 Pro Max far enough out the window to get myself out of the picture. Maybe I ought to sit in the back seat next time. Nice evening, fun meeting.

We weren’t going very fast, but too fast to have any control over what the scene was actually going to be.
We were early because we intended to stop for photos just a couple of blocks from the meeting place. This looked like a very nice sunset developing, and if there was any place at all to pull over we probably would have.
Now that the weather is cooler we will have to ride our electric vehicles down the bike path from one end of this drive to the other, stopping for pictures of course. Maybe not on a Tuesday though, so we can take all the time we need to enjoy the ride.
'scene' along the way, a second look, boats, bucket list, butterflies, exploring new places, finding my way, flowers, perseverance, photography, road trip


1344 is how many pictures were on the camera’s SD card when I inserted it into the computer when I got home from our trip up north. Not a lot really, having been away for a couple of weeks. I had looked at my pictures on the iPad on the first couple of days we were away, but now I could see them on the 27 inch Mac desktop. I couldn’t resist working on some of them, possibly ones I posted before, or maybe they are additional/identical pictures since I tend to take multiples of each shot. My mind is still playing catch up, thinking of all the people we visited with, and the places we saw, and all the things I might like to do next time…

The Mayflower II, again.
Anchors away…
A double crested cormorant. Another of the birds I only became aware of in Florida but were always there.
Flowers and bees, I just can’t help myself.
More Fields Park swans…
Butterflies are great subjects too.
Sailing ships, heading where.
Flowers with speckles.
Flowers without speckles.
Bees again
And again.
And again.

This trip started off with a bang. Literally. The bang of a piece of shredded truck tire being tossed into the right front corner of my car on I 95 at 70 mph. The fender ‘seam’ was now not flush with its neighboring piece. Without thinking about it I pushed it into place yesterday, and it stayed there, it didn’t pop back out as I had expected it to do. So now all I have are abrasions in the paint. It’s looking a little worse for wear, kind of like me.

'scene' along the way, adventure, brainstorms, bucket list, exploring new places, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip, unintended images, weather

The Unexpected…

Upon arrival at the Merritt Island Visitors Center we stopped in for a map, and advice as to where to see the Painted Buntings and Spoonbills. I didn’t really have to ask because the volunteer there was already giving instructions to other new arrivals. But what he seemed most excited to talk about was the Space X launch that was scheduled for 1:13 PM that very day (last Thursday). Go to the beach he said, and stop at the 3rd parking area (I think), and if that is full go to the next and next for the best view of the launch. I didn’t want to be distracted from my mission of finally exploring Merritt Island, so we quickly stopped at the feeders there and then headed to Blackwater Drive. I was afraid to spend time waiting for the launch only to see it cancelled, but that was a silly concern on an absolutely perfect day. Over the last couple of days I’ve posted the pictures I took as we drove through the park, but as we drove I kept an eye on the time, and at about 1 PM I saw a place up ahead where we would have an unobstructed view to the east. But when I turned to look I was surprised to see the missile, so big, and right there! The sight came first, the sound came later.

I counted 75 pictures of the launch in my camera, all of them looking pretty much like this.
As it rose higher and higher I zoomed out to record what it actually looked like.
And then I zoomed in again to watch some more.

The timing of this trip had everything to do with the upcoming weather reports and absolutely nothing to do with rocket launches. But from now on if I think I’d like to go back I think I’ll check to see what’s happening at the Kennedy Space Center, and maybe I’ll decide to jockey for position to see the launch pad itself.

Obviously we had already had a lot of fun that day, but there was one more surprise photo op awaiting us as we drove back to the hotel. We found kite surfers at a beach along the road! On a Thursday afternoon when some of them anyhow should probably have been at work. I guess that perfect day with nice wind was just too much for them to resist. It looks like so much fun… for a few seconds and then I remember how old I am. So I take pictures…

This guy never stopped, just jumped into the air as he reversed direction and kept on going.
They jumped much higher in the sky than this photo shows.
I don’t think that the kite in the picture belongs to that skier. The skier and his own kite proved too far removed from each other for one photo.
They skied at the very edge of the water, making for fun photography.

That’s it for this trip to Merritt Island, I’ve come to the end of my photos. A very successful trip I thought. It won’t be our last…

The remnants of the space shot. I loved seeing this and then forgot to include it!
'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, blessings, bucket list, exploring new places, facing facts, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip, technology


It was a toss up really. Which did I want to see more, Painted Buntings or Spoonies? This trip to Merritt Island was instigated by a gal I talked with when I was unsuccessfully shooting the eagles the other day. It was unsuccessful because I never saw the eaglets that day, but also because when I changed to my biggest lens I somehow upset the settings in the camera and had a hard time getting everything back to normal. As we talked about where to go and what to see she said that she saw ‘hundreds’ of Spoonies at Merritt Island a few weeks before. That statement was what sent me home determined to take a trip soon, like the next day! The fact that the weather was going to be absolutely perfect cemented the deal.

The Blackpoint Drive was the place to see them, stop #11, she said. And she was right! There they were, right on cue. Not hundreds, just a few. And once you are there and seeing them there is only a limited variety of poses that you can get. Standing there looking pretty, with a lovely reflection because you don’t seem to see them on land, is one pose. And the other pose is with their beak in the water, swishing back and forth. That’s about it, so I got a lot of identical shots. But the other shot I’ve seen online is with them flying, their feathers looking gorgeous in the sun. So I was torn when they took to the air, I was disappointed that they were leaving, but I kept shooting.

I couldn’t get over the deep red color on the wing. And what I assume is the ear hole (?) which sometimes shows prominently in the pictures.
As they swish their bill back and forth they unearth small snails, fish, insects, shrimp, crabs, and some plants. Shrimp is what causes their pink coloring.
In looking up their diet I discovered that there are 6 varieties of Spoonbills and they are common all over the world. But the Roseate Spoonbill is the odd ball due to it’s coloring.
I love the ruffled feathers in this shot.
Did I want him to leave? No, but I happily clicked the shutter as he took flight.
Pointed ‘toes’, graceful feathers…
Up, up, and away.
It was the end of the trail, and the next day we didn’t see them except in the distance.

It took me two days to get the courage to look at my spoonie shots. After shooting all day I realized that I hadn’t quite gotten my camera back to normal. It was shooting jpeg photos, not RAW, and I was worried that none of the shots would be decent. But what that really means is that the geniuses who create the algorithms that edit the photo as you take them know what they are doing. And there was nothing much for me to do except crop. Whew. Another adventure in Florida. At this moment I have no clue what’s next, but that’s okay, it’ll be a surprise to me too.

'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, brainstorms, bucket list, exploring new places, friends, fun, Just do it, life goes on, live and learn, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip

Merritt Island…

First of all, Merritt Island isn’t an island, it’s a peninsula. It not only contains the Merritt Island National Wildlife Preserve, but it also contains the Kennedy Space Center and the Canaveral National Seashore. But it was the wildlife preserve that I had my heart set on seeing on this trip. I don’t know when I will head to a wildlife preserve in Florida and expect to see the flat, wetlands that always seem to be there. I always start out disappointed, thinking that I’ll only see the birds that I used to be able to see from my own back yard. Or on any day of shooting nearby. So I ask myself why did I drive two hours to get there? And then I spot something different and grab the camera.

There was a tiny bird hovering in the air. I wanted to take a picture because I thought it was fighting the wind, but when I saw it dive straight down into the water I knew for sure it was a Belted Kingfisher.
I wish these photos would have been sharper, but this little guy was in constant motion and quite high in the air. We were lucky to see him at all because after these couple of moments we couldn’t see him anymore. He, and we, moved on. My attitude was already much improved.
A glossy ibis is also seen close to home, but not often, so again I was glad to have made the trip.
I know, I know, Osprey are everywhere, and this one doesn’t even have a fish. But I loved the silly look on his face.
Now I was fully invested in shooting what I saw, even if it was one of ‘my’ birds.
This was the only gator we saw the first day. Not very big either. The second day we saw just the head, but I think it was him again.
Merlin says that this is a Reddish Egret, not at all what I suspected when I took the picture, but I’m not about to argue.
Moorhens are certainly not something I have to travel to see, but I took this picture anyhow.
I believe this is a pied-billed grebe. I saw them a time or two in the pond at my old house.
The Canaveral National Seashore. I had to resort to an iPhone shot to get the widest possible view of the amazing surf. Neither of us had been to the ocean in quite a while, so this was a treat to see.

My feature photo is a blue-winged teal, at least I think that’s what Merlin said. I hadn’t seen a duck that looked like that before so I had to take a picture.

Maybe it’s just the right time of life to up and head out the door at almost a moment’s notice. I’ve never been short on brainstorms, but they nearly always were met with a ‘back to reality’ comment about why it wasn’t possible to do whatever I’d thought of at the time. So the last few years have had me heading out on my own and being happy with my various adventures. But it is also very nice to head out on these adventures with a friend, who thinks your ideas aren’t bad at all. I hate to be obnoxious and tell you to come back tomorrow to see what else we saw on this impromptu trip, but that’s what I’m going to do. There were other ‘finds’, both hoped for, but also completely out of the blue. Stay tuned.

'scene' along the way, adventure, bucket list, exploring new places, facing facts, fantasy images, finding my way, just imagine, life goes on, live and learn, perseverance, photography, simple things

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…