Years ago a friend had lived in the vicinity of Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive but had never visited the area, so we decided to correct that oversight yesterday. You might think that such an overcast day wouldn’t have been the best day to go, but we weren’t baking in the sun plus there was a great breeze, so it turned out to be a perfect day.
My young cousin and I had a conversation the other day about taking the detours that you see along the highways of life. She says she always takes the detour if she is traveling with time on her hands. I always feel like I spotted them too late to take the turn, or I think I have nowhere to pull the car over safely. There are missed photo ops that have been living in my head for many, many years. And while I missed a great potential shot the other day, I later hung a right at Newhall Audubon Preserve, a quick but worthwhile stop. Stopping to smell the roses, so to speak. I need to do that more often…
After a short while I got back on A1A, knowing that just beyond the beautiful houses I was seeing on my left as I drove south, there was the ocean. I passed up one beach access turn off, I guess I hadn’t quite learned my own lesson, but I took the second one. I was catching on…
An early morning errand brought me almost to John Chestnut park, so of course I dropped by to see what I might see. I found lots of dog walkers, a few photographers, joggers pushing baby carriages, and more. Wait, let me show you…
There were deer along the road as I drove into the park, and some very cooperative dragonflies along the boardwalk.
Many adorable birds thanks to the sunflower seeds that someone had left along the way. And squirrels of course, always squirrels.
Wildlife of another variety entirely…
I heard him pecking, so I stuck around until I spotted him. This was my first photo shoot with a pileated woodpecker, who paid no attention to me at all. He gathered a small crowd before he finally flew away.
I have spent probably too much time lately coloring in a fun book that features gnomes. Maybe that’s why these cypress knees looked to me like a mysterious gathering of gnomes in the woods.
Of all the activities I saw going on in the park I think I liked this one the best. A woman taking a moment to rest and enjoy the view.
I frequently take note of great photos I see posted on line, and then try to imitate them. The latest one was a close up photo of an alligator swimming with a dragonfly perched on his eye. But the colors blended and at first I didn’t notice the dragonfly, but there was a reflection in the water and in the reflection that dragonfly looked like it was in a mirror. Such a surprising photo, and I assumed it would be a rarity, but the dragonflies and alligators seemed to go together well at ‘The B’ yesterday. They were buzzing around the alligators as they swam, and landing with impunity. Spunky little devils. I found that surprising.
Since I recently lamented over only seeing the black dragonflies at my lake at home I was happy to see a variety of colors at The B. Well, green and blue at least.
Babies are so cute aren’t they. But gators? Not so much.We saw eggs, and then debated whether they were alligator eggs or turtle eggs. We suspect that raccoons may have lunched on these eggs so it really doesn’t matter.
Can you see the young alligator leaving a trail in the algae?
Gators, just a little prehistoric looking, and fun to see, from a distance…
I as able to go to the rookery much earlier in the day than usual on Sunday because it was overcast so I wouldn’t be shooting into the sun. Normally I have to wait until after noon so the sun is behind me and lighting up the views of the birds nesting. And the pictures of the birds that I took that day were the ones I paid attention to. But I made another stop that day. I stopped at the lake in my park to look for dragonflies again, and again I found only the black ones there. It was disappointing, and it was made worse by that same overcast sky that had the water also looking gray and dull. But when I found myself wide awake at 3 AM this morning I got up and made a pot of coffee and looked at the rest of the photos, and found a few surprises.
These irises caught my eye because they were the brightest thing out there that day. There were only a couple of stalks of them and they were being blown around, the petals folding over each other.
As I walked to set my tripod up at the edge of the lake I realized that I had company. This Great Blue Heron was standing like a statue so I took a few pictures of him, and even though I had looked at those pictures before I hadn’t noticed the dragonfly photo bomb until this morning.
And, speaking of photobombs, I also noticed this.
I have no idea why the water looks the way it does in this picture, but I like it.
I learned that the one thing that you can count on concerning trying to photograph dragonflies is the they always return to the same resting place. So if you are patient and focus on that spot your subject will always return, which explains why I got a zillion of exactly this same shot
But I’ve come to not be happy with just dragonfly pictures, now I want their faces.
What I said to myself as I put the coffee on this morning was that I’d be able to go out for the sunrise. I’d be ready to go early enough. Only it’s raining. Now what…
I confess, I was feeling a little sorry for myself, missing sitting in my former backyard with my camera and letting the photo ops just happen as they may. Would it really be easier to be in quarantine in that house as opposed to this little place? Probably not, it just seems that way. But with that in mind as I walked the park yesterday I decided to look for dragonflies at the edge of the lake, and there they were. Not as pretty colors as some I’ve seen, these all seemed to be black. And they were pausing on the tips of the grasses that were being tossed about by the wind. But one guy landed in the grass giving me a better chance for a picture. As I concentrated on taking pictures I remembered that my fellow park residents always talk about the alligator that suns itself on the far side of the lake, which is where I was at that moment, so I decided that I was done for the day, though I paused to watch the osprey who was cruising on the wind overhead.As I headed home I thought of the big, fat orange dragonflies that always seemed to zoom by, teasing me while I tried for pictures in my backyard. Zooming past but never landing where I might have a shot at a photo. Then when I got home and put my photos into the computer I discovered this one. Now I will have to go back and be more patient, and better prepared with a tripod next time. It’s odd what’s right under your nose sometimes and you don’t even know it.