attitude adjustments, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, hockey, Home Team, making memories, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, technology

USF hockey…

The nearby Advent Health Skating Rink is the home rink for the USF hockey club’s games. Between the USF games themselves, and the free skate rinks, there is a good crowd there on any night we’ve gone to a game. But Saturday night’s game was beyond anything we had seen before, as far as a standing room crowd goes. We found standing room in the upper level that allowed for three people at a time to have a great view of the ice. I was the fourth, so I only took shots for a couple of minutes myself, but I shot on burst mode and assumed that with all the fast action I’d get a shot or two that I might want to use here. That proved to be a little optimistic. As you can see by the feature photo, the night’s game was billed as the “War on I-4”, because of the rivalry between the USF Ice Bulls and the Knights of UCF. It definitely wasn’t UCF’s night as they lost 10-0.

They rolled out the red carpet for the Bulls mascot to drop the ceremonial first puck.
Then the Ice Bull’s mascot and the Advent Health Mascot got the crowd going to start the game.
This was the extent of the action shots I managed to get.

It’s fun to go to these games because most of our photo shoots are an hour or more away. But this rink is just a few miles from home. The next time we go it’ll probably be a smaller crowd to deal with, which won’t necessarily improve my photos, but I will try to take advantage of having a view of the ice, and maybe a seat too!

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, birds, bucket list, Circle B Bar Reserve, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography

Back to ‘the B’…

We had such a fun day at the B a few weeks ago, but I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see the painted buntings. On this trip we saw a cameraman sitting and watching, and sometimes shooting, in the garden area. I was pretty sure he was photographing buntings, but was afraid to approach for fear the trike would scare them off. It was right at the start of the day, and when I first get the trike out it seems to have a bit of a knock that goes away after a bit. But then he motioned us over and said that they weren’t shy at all.

They were on a lawn and in the shadows, and trying to will them into the sunshine just simply didn’t work. I had a harder time holding steady than usual too, and I could have gone back to the car for my tripod but that didn’t occur to me.
There were only a few of the zillion shots that were usable. I used my old Tamron 18-400 lens with the adapter, thinking I’d be ready for anything. Might have outsmarted myself.
The sweet little Mrs. was also present…
It was so nice to have these sandhill cranes posing so nicely for us. They were all over the neighborhoods in Spring Hill, but when I see them now they always seem to be along side a busy road. Even if there was a place to pull over I’d be afraid that my attentions might cause them to step into the road. So this was a treat.
They are beautiful birds, but their overall gray-ish color makes them blend into the roadside scenery sometimes. It can be startling as you are driving and you don’t notice them until they are very close.
Those noisy grackles seemed to be having a disagreement up in the tree top.
I don’t pay a lot of attention to the anhingas since they are always displaying their feathers like this. But I couldn’t ignore this one.
I now know where to look for the eagle nest, but it is too far away to get in closer than this.
A bit further up the trail we have the ‘big boy’ hangout. Huge alligators across a smallish stream and on the far bank sunning themselves. When I say huge I mean HUGE.
In this same area is this great blue heron nest. I couldn’t see any activity in the nest, but I didn’t watch for very long.
We spotted the windmill that day too.

We are so lucky to have this great place to go to see wildlife. And each time we go back we see different birds, and sometimes animals, and so we return again, and again.

adventure, attention to detail, birds, brainstorms, connections, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, making memories, natural wonders, perseverance, photography, road trip, technology

The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive…

This place has been on my mind to visit for a while now. It’s not a place to go in the summer when the sun is relentless, even if you are driving and hopping in and out of the car for pictures all day. As it turned out this particular day was quite windy, and therefore chilly, but I thought it was a great location to take my friend and her new camera with its great zoom.

This first gator view was across the water. I thought my friend might be freaked out, but she was too busy taking pictures to panic.
I loved the little grebe.
Anhingas, they are everywhere,
The colors on this grackle caught our eye. Shot through the windshield. Apparently the camera ignored the dirty glass, isn’t technology grand?
Ibis, in formation.
An Osprey hunting. I have no idea why the sky was so dark in this shot.
Did the osprey find his lunch? This one did anyhow.
A snowy egret, with her golden slipper on display.
A tricolor heron, pausing for a moment in the sun.
Merlin says that this is a Wilson’s Snipe. A first for me!

We drove home and stopped at our favorite, and only, place to get a ‘South Shore Pizza’ here in Florida. Kathy agreed it was up to par. I left Brockton, MA at age 20, and longed for this fabulous pizza ever since, always being sure to visit the Cape Cod Cafe when I’m ‘home’. Now I can get one whenever the urge strikes!

Florida landmarks, foggy sky, food, friends, fun, growing old, lest we forget, perseverance, photography, road trip, sunset

The week that was…

The second day of my ‘old’ friend’s visit, can’t tease her without admitting my own age also, brought us to Longboat Key to visit yet another old friend. Such a lovely spot to sit and talk about life after high school. Another high school friend commented that it must be fun to reminisce about our high school days, but that didn’t seem to be the main topic of conversation. We seemed to be concentrating on what came after high school, raising kids, and grandkids too. And where life has brought us now. How lucky we are to reconnect after such a long time.

Such a lovely view.
It was a nice day to walk on the beach. Our friend said that people were commenting that there were no intact shells on the beach. Most had been pulverized by Hurricane Ian. But this area was spared from major damage.
We decided to head toward Anna Maria Island for dinner but traffic was quite backed up, and the sunset was early, so we stopped at The Beach House and this was our view while we enjoyed our dinner.
I ducked down in front of the sunset watchers to get a few photos. It hadn’t looked too promising to start with, but it just got better. Eventually we all took a few pictures.
Even after the sun had set the sky got more colorful.
Then the stars began to shine through.

The next morning dawned cold, with blustery winds. I headed down to the beach early, to try to capture the look of the surf. It was a bit foggy too, hence the feature photo. My friends chose to try some watercolor painting while I was out taking pictures. Then after a nice lunch it was time to say goodbye and head home again. But there was talk of another visit next year…

The waves were rolling in.
The sun had come out by the time we headed out for lunch. This time the traffic was better so we made it to Anna Maria Island. We got the valet to hold up traffic in order to take our picture. It was too soon to say goodbye…
'scene' along the way, Amazing artwork, attention to detail, attitude adjustments, Circle B Bar Reserve, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, Just do it, learning, live and learn, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, road trip, Tricolored heron

Technology…

Yesterday I had a comment or two about the ability of the new camera, a Canon r7 mirrorless camera, to take a huge number of shots in a burst. I usually have it set to do just that if I’m photographing birds, or wildlife at all really. Just in case something exciting happens. So let me explain that I feel hardly any responsibility for these photos I’m posting today. The feature photo is the first in a sequence of 10 photos that the camera took in less than a second. My contribution was to see the lighting and reflections, and I anticipated the Tri-color Heron would take off. I wanted the tracking in the camera to follow the bird, and it did. these are the 10 consecutive frames that it took. Makes me happy to think that my investment in this camera has turned out to be exactly what I hoped it would be. I used the r 100-400 lens, made for the mirrorless Canon cameras, and not expensive at all. Or as these things go.

The feature photo is the take off, this is frame #2.
Stretching his wings in frame #3.
Full wing extension in frame #4.
The dive for the prize in frame #5.
Putting the brakes on with his wings in #6,
#7, will he come up with lunch?
I thought/hoped he caught his prey, but apparently not. #8
Not this time, #9
And then he flew away, out of the nice light.

We spent the beginning of the walk looking into the morning sun. I didn’t bring my visor so it was tough. It was lucky that this sequence happened in such nice light. I will give lots of credit to luck, and that’s okay.

a second look, adventure, attention to detail, birds, Circle B Bar Reserve, connections, eagles, egrets, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, making memories, natural wonders, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, technology

The Gray Ghost…

There you have it, the inspiration for many a photographer to head to Circle B Bar Reserve. It’s a Northern Harrier, and I didn’t expect to see it at all. Or ever. We were on our last stretch of trail, which is wide open to see the sky in all directions, but our intention was to make it back to the car before the battery in the scooter gave out. But we forgot all about that when we saw this bird, circling in the distance. I zoomed my lens to the full 400mm, but in the bright light and at that distance I couldn’t see if it was in the frame or not. But I took the shots anyhow. I’ve seen photographers standing with their cameras on their tripods, just waiting, hoping to see him. If they did I’m sure they got better pictures than this, but for my circumstances I’ll take it.

This Pied-Billed Grebe was a first to see here also, but one visited my lake a few years ago.
You’ve heard of a bump on a log…
Heading out on this trail with all it’s roots may be what challenged the battery of the scooter, but now we know where to look for the eagles.
We never did figure out what this egret was so intent on, but we all passed by not 8 feet away and he didn’t even flinch.
Another photographer asked what bird this is, and I answered that it was a Yellow-Rumped Warbler. Then she turned around and proved me right.

It was a fun day, but I crashed when I got home and sat down. It wasn’t a nap, I was done for the day. Now to check out some more of the 1334 pictures from yesterday. I was shooting in the fastest burst mode of the new camera, which is great if the bird takes off or something. But when they are still you just have the tiniest little eye blinks or head tilts to decide which is your best shot. But I’m not complaining.