a second look, adventure, boats, facing facts, Florida landmarks, food, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip, sky, sunset, weather

Sunset in Dunedin…

We finally got to head to Dunedin for the sunset last night. As we walked to the marina we saw sailboats returning from a sailing lesson, so of course I ran ahead so as to not miss the shot. As it turned out it’s a good thing the sailboats created a diversion for us because we had longer to wait for the sunset than we thought. And then the clouds took over.

Things were looking promising at this point.
There are a few variations on the view as you sit in the park next to the boat house.
We were treated to a grackle serenade as we enjoyed the view. No osprey nests were visible this time. Perhaps they were evicted.
I caught a photo of this fisherman just before he called it a day.
This little girl was busy swinging her net, but at no creature that we could see.
The sun was getting lower.
I told myself that the color was coming up.
Then I looked behind me in hopes of seeing pretty reflected color, and found this.
We headed to the car, really we were heading to The Lucky Dill for a beer, but I stopped and took one last iPhone photo of the sunset.

I think that the iPhone enhanced the color a bit in that last photo. I’m glad that the sunset itself, or lack of it, isn’t the make or break moment of the day’s fun. One way or another it’s always good to get out and go shooting…

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Also in Aripeka…

One-Foot Fred may not have shown up for the sunrise this morning, but the sunrise sure did. I could hardly get myself out the car and set up fast enough when I saw the color. The feature photo is my first shot. One photographer commented about how lucky we are to live where we live so that we can go to Aripeka in the morning and see such a spectacular show. I had to agree. And she comes for the sunrise often so I asked if she’d seen Fred lately, and she had, about two weeks ago. There is another great blue heron who comes to the area for handouts now too, she said. It has a bobber around it’s neck so they have been trying to catch that one to get that off of him. No luck so far though.

I needn’t have worried, the color just got better.
My attempt at another angle of virtually the same shot.
What more could I ask of a sunrise?

I also made a new Facebook friend this morning, just in time for us both to see a dolphin in the water. Yes, in Aripeka. She saw him first, then we both saw him breach, and boy was he big. So there we were, poised to take a photo, she with her phone and me with my camera, but he never came back up. Maybe he went back under the bridge and out to the gulf, neither of us thought to look behind us. Nice to meet you Viana, hope you like the pictures

'scene' along the way, a second look, boats, finding my way, Florida landmarks, fun, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, Rise and shine, sunrise

Rise and shine…

It’s not that I’ve lost interest in sunrises and sunsets, it’s mostly that I’m living a more ‘normal’ schedule these days. I used to get up around 4 AM, and after an hour or two of drinking coffee in the dark and quiet I’d get bored and head out for the sunrise. I might be home by 8 AM with pictures in the camera, and editing them and writing a post meant I had something to do that day. And then often times I’d head back out for the sunset that night. But lately I sleep in. If I don’t get up until 7:15 I feel like I missed half the day, but I’m enjoying myself. And I stay up watching TV at night, and most of the time listening to thunder outside close enough to time for sunset that I don’t bother checking to see what I think the sky might be like that night. Which means I miss a lot of pretty skies. But this morning I was up early and back at the bridge over the Pithlachascotee River. The feature photo is the first one I took, and the water was still and the color was pretty. It was early and I hoped for even more color, but eventually it just dimmed to a dull glow. Still it was nice and peaceful to be out, and the coffee tasted good when I got home.

a second look, adventure, Amazing artwork, birds, Florida landmarks, food, friends, fun, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, sky

Return to Cedar Key…

The day was going to be hot, but the sky was quite pretty and we hadn’t been out for pictures in a few days, so we made the drive to Cedar Key yesterday. My last trip must not have been on the weekend because I was surprised at the crowds at the restaurants and shops on the waterfront. Last time I was there I had taken lots of pictures of and in those buildings, but this time the crowds and lack of parking had us moving on. But not before we had clam chowder at Tony’s, which was at least as good as advertised. I was hoping for refills, but no such luck.

We are New Englanders, but this version of clam ‘chowdah’ holds it’s own with the best of them.
Patronage was steady, but not overwhelming for the cook/server, who was doing double duty.

There are adorable sculptures in the garden at the side of the library. They appear to be more weather-worn than when I was there before, but still charming as ever.

I love this sidewalk fisherman. He has a fish on his line, but not one of the little fish in the mural, he has snagged the big fish in the feature photo.
Love this little mural on the wall also.
If I take pictures of old barns out in the country then I guess an old building in town is also a subject.
This mural was a challenge to photograph without the cars that were sitting out front.
But really the sky was what I was wanting to see in my photos as we drove around the area.
Those clouds, and the blue sky just looked so pretty.
Our sole bird sighting. No Spoonies this time.
More clouds.
A tiny house. Too tiny.
Cemetery Point had been suggested as a viewing spot, but this grave was what caught my eye. Big Ed must have been something, proud southerner and firefighter, well remembered.
We can’t learn too much from this spot where Jimmy the Greek rests in peace.
At 15 miles per hour this was our view for quite a while after turning into a wildlife preserve.

,Leaving Cedar Key seemed like more of an escape than just a drive. Still on backroads the GPS gave us no clue as to where we were in relation to a town. After we turned into the wildlife area I asked how we were doing on gas, and the reply was that he wished I’d asked that question sooner. To which I suggested that the driver might have been keeping an eye on the gas tank without the passenger’s input. Eventually, like a mirage, a gas station appeared up ahead. And we were advised that if we just drove straight ahead we’d come to route 19 and we could head south to home! A fun day’s outing, with just a little added drama…

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A quick trip through the botanical gardens…

I had to go to the bank the other day, and since it’s practically next door to the Spring Hill Botanical Gardens a stop seemed in order. But, unfortunately, the butterflies weren’t very plentiful while the no-see -ems certainly were. Consequently it was a quick trip, but not so quick that I didn’t notice all the changes that they have been making at the garden. First of all this sculpture, which is in progress. At the base of the wing you see a disruption in the tree trunk, which I’m sure is why the tree was sacrificed and this sculpture is being made. A beautiful solution. I hope it will be finished the next time I’m here.

Not everything was new however, just seemingly rearranged enough to make it look new. Namely the castle in the feature photo, I hadn’t ever seen it from that side before. I liked that picture.

I love this little scene and take a shot of it every time I go here, but I never sit down.
I suspect that this is a moth, they only flying insect that posed for me.
Just one of a few angels…
Looking for dew on the flowers…
This little scene is one I wish I could walk into and sit a while.

By this time my ankles were so itchy that I was ready to leave. I need to actually use the bug spray that is always in my car, but I forget it’s there. I’m hoping that the hot weather will let up soon, it has been keeping me close to home for a while now. I shouldn’t complain, soon we will be enjoying the weather that drew us to move to Florida in the first place…

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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.