adventure, exploring new places, following the rules, friends, fun, live and learn, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, technology

Hockey anyone?

I believe I’d been to one hockey game in my life, and we sat in the nose-bleed seats so I’m sure I paid no attention what-so-ever to the action on the ice. I also remember watching hockey on TV with my son, on an old console TV that sat low to the floor, and we laughed our heads off over the kitten who zoomed back and forth trying to catch the puck. So I had very little preparation for the game I attended the other night with my photographer friend, who is primarily a sports photographer by choice. ‘Try to get the puck in your shot’, was the main instruction given to me before the puck dropped for the first game of the season. Of several seasons with the pandemic. USF vs. UCF…

The ceremonial puck drop to start the game. The one and only time you could hope to see their handsome faces.
Finding a few square inches of clear glass to shoot through proved to be quite an impossible feat. And we stood at the edge of the rink, so I will dress more warmly next time.
Sometimes you are glad that that scuffed up glass is there!
‘Concentrate on the goalie’, was another suggestion.
That proved to be good advice.
I really wanted to see their faces as they skated with the puck.
I didn’t concentrate hard enough not to wonder where this guy wandered in from.
More action at the goal. I hope that’s good padding they have on.
In pursuit of the puck.
Score!
Concentration.
‘Carrying the puck’.
The puck drop. I’m proud of this shot.

In the feature photo you see the teams shaking hands in a refreshing display of good sportsmanship. Especially welcome after watching such a physical game as this. It was a fun evening…

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

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…

adventure, attention to detail, birds, exploring new places, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, gardens, live and learn, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip

Distractions…

I have to confess that as much as I enjoyed the butterflies at the Butterfly Rainforest yesterday I did let myself get distracted by the adorable Chinese Painted Quail that were busy scooting around in the underbrush. And sometimes napping on the walkway. Another visitor asked if they were okay, and the workers said yes they were. And added they they are the worlds smallest variety of quail. You can see them in the feature photo, a male and female I would expect.

See that tiny little pink dot nearly in the center of this photo? That is a Summer Tanager and it was busy taking a bath and didn’t seem to mind that I was intent on getting pictures.
Thank goodness for the zoom, he was too cute to miss.
He was splishing and splashing.
So cute.
And when he was done he up and flew away.

Actually the fun started right when you walked into the lobby, before you even entered the rainforest. In the lobby was a huge screen on the wall, and when we entered on the screen was a Mastodon and baby, wandering in the lobby. We quickly discovered that if you walked into the area the animal on the screen would start following you, and chasing you. You can imagine how excited the two young boys we saw were as they were chased by a tiger.

Not a great photo I know, but it was quite effective in person.
Tigers chased you more than the Mastodons did.
Also on display in the reception area. Fossils was the other big feature while we were there. I was sort of along for the ride, not expecting to be as interested as I turned out to be.
This display was nice, in the kids’s play area.
Hanging above the kids’s heads, the stuff of nightmares.

Did you know that giant sloths existed years ago? Big! Like 14 feet tall or so. And Dog bears? Not a dog and not a bear, but a dog bear. And did you know that horses used to be small and have gotten bigger over time? I didn’t either. And now I wish I’d taken more pictures.

butterflies, exploring new places, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, gardens, Just do it, live and learn, making memories, moments, natural wonders, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip

Exploring a Rainforest…

We visited a Rainforest yesterday. In Gainesville, FL. With Butterflies. A shorter road trip this time. Your price of admission included visiting the museums associated with the University of Florida, so we saw more than just a host of butterflies. But for now it’s the butterflies that stole the show.

You walk a boardwalk through a lush garden of lovely flowers, with waterfalls, turtles, and koi fish. Butterflies of every imaginable color are literally everywhere. If you stop to take pictures you must check around your feet before you take a step, just in case.
These black and white butterflies were either the most abundant variety or the ones who most wanted their picture taken.
Black butterflies seemed elusive.
I loved his blue color.
Just saying hello!
Catching them while they were on flowers wasn’t easy.
This one was small, and it’s body was thick enough that I thought it was a hummingbird for a second.
Say cheese.
Yellow fellow.
A worker pointed out this blue butterfly when it was staying still and we could get pictures. He called it the ‘money shot’. These blue butterflies, and others of every color you can imagine, flitted through your view constantly, but didn’t stop often enough to get photos of them all.
This is how that blue butterfly looks with his wings closed. Signage said that some of these startling colors are so that the butterfly can open its wings and the color will startle a predator.

We set the record for heat in the Tampa area yesterday. If it wasn’t a record in Gainesville then I’m sure it was close. Plus the humidity was even more than what was natural to enhance the rainforest atmosphere. But it was a worthwhile trip, we were happy we got to enjoy this colorful place.

'scene' along the way, adventure, bucket list, exploring new places, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, sky, storms, travel, weather

Asheville to Tybee Island…

We were very lucky to have a nice day to spend in Asheville, in between raindrops the day before and again the next day. We wandered a couple of blocks through the charming downtown and people-watched for the afternoon. The next day was our big drive home, most of which was through the sometimes torrential rain, so a planned stop at Tybee Island was cut short, and we drove home using all the possible speeds on the windshield wipers.

Tell me this storefront window wouldn’t stop you in your tracks!
This happy little girl was enjoying herself.
Maybe the dancers are her mom and dad?
We wandered a very nice art gallery and found this old fashioned soda fountain to entice you once you were finished. My friend worked as a soda jerk (is that politically correct these days) and made more than his fair share of Raspberry Lime Rickys in his day. I drank more than my fair share in my day too, and there we were in the same home town, but it took a common interest in photography and about 70 years for our paths to cross.
This sign was in front of Ben and Jerry’s, a good place for it!
Tybee Island Light Station, in the mist.
Those clouds!

Once we crossed into Florida the rain let up so the drive home was uneventful after that. We were very lucky to have accomplished all that we set out to do while we were away. We each reconnected with friends and family, and we certainly enjoyed the scenery everywhere we went. I wonder where we’ll go next?

'scene' along the way, adventure, exploring new places, finding my way, friends, fun, history, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel

Asheville…

Eventually we did reach the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which put us in range of Asheville. We only spent a day there, which was way too short. We would like to spend more time in the area this fall, wouldn’t that be a perfect place to see fall color? But once in Asheville we spotted the Basilica of Saint Lawrence, and headed in that direction to take photos. We didn’t expect to be allowed in, welcomed even, and told to take all the pictures we cared to. So I took a lot, but with the trusty iPhone. Our trip south was about to being in earnest, and even when you have had a nice trip the thought of home begins to sound very good.

What a beautiful sight, we wanted a closer view.
A lovely set of doors, but we entered by a side door.
And the interior was just as beautiful.
People were quiet, respectful of our presence in a holy place.
Beautiful stained glass windows surrounded you.
The interior details were amazing.
Another beautiful view.
But, soon it was time to leave.
And the workmanship was amazing to see even as we exited the church.

As I write this I still don’t know what we missed seeing in Asheville, we left the next morning. But we enjoyed our visit and left wanting to return.