'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Florida landmarks, Just do it, leap of faith, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography

Warner-Boyce Salt Springs, the annex…

Almost immediately outside the gates to my home park is this little nature trail, which I had walked down before with friends.  But the other day I was by myself.  It’s part of a bigger park that’s a few miles down the road, but this part is small, and quiet.  It was sunny, which is why I was out in the first place, but I was surprised that my car was the only one in the parking lot.  But I started down the path anyhow, hoping to see, I don’t know exactly, I guess I was ready to be surprised.11-18saltsprings3

The surprise proved to be how different the whole experience was when you are hiking by yourself.  The path was narrow, and as I walked it got shadier, and darker.  And I began to notice that there was water along side the trail.  And I got to wondering what creatures were lurking in the water, or on the path just around the bend.  From my previous trip I knew that the path made a loop, and just as I began to question the wisdom of the solitary journey the trail be gan to get damp.  No, muddy.  And the mud began to pull at my shoes as I took each step.  By this time I wasn’t sure if I would get back to the car more quickly if I turned around or kept going.  So I stayed the course.11-18saltsprings2I began to wonder if I was more worried about four legged predators or two legged predators.  I wondered if it’s legal to carry mace in Florida?  But the reality was the only creature I did startle on the path was a partridge, or maybe it was a wild turkey.  It disappeared into the thick bush too quickly for a photo.  And I walked some more and began to hear traffic noises.11-18saltsprings4

And I was back in the sunshine at the parking lot.  It was an adventure but all the excitement took place in my own mind.  I’m grateful for that…

 

'scene' along the way, a second look, Bayport, birds, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, nature, perseverance, photography, sky, sunrise

Sunrise surprise…

I stopped at Bayport for the sunrise on the way to my hike date yesterday.  I had read that they had finally begun work on the fishing pier that’s been out of commission for several years now.  I wondered how things were going.  I didn’t expect the road to be closed however.  It was pretty overcast and I wasn’t expecting much from the sunrise, but I told myself that I’d take pictures of the fishing boats as they left the launch area.  Only there were no fishing boats, no fishermen, no one at all.  With time to kill I took pictures anyhow.  And, as it frequently does, the sky did get pretty.  But I wonder how long they will have the park closed…11-13bayportflyover11-13bayportherom11-13bayporthawk11-13bayportsunrisecolor11-13bayportsunrisecolor2

'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, egrets, fences, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, simple things, unintended images, weather

A perfect Florida day…

A friend and I went hiking in the woods yesterday.  It was the perfect day for it, cool but sunny, finally the Florida weather I love the most.  We did nearly 7 miles, walking and talking, and stopping for a few pictures.  Not many really.11-13woodedwalk11-13woodedwalklilypads11-13woodsscapeWe kidded that if our mutual friend Betty had been with us that she would have taken a million pictures already.  So I took this one in her honor;11-13woodedwalkbettyweedWe didn’t seen another person, and only saw a deer off in the distance, but in the sand on the trail were tracks of lots of animals.  Linda said that it must be like rush hour in the night with all the animal activity.  We did see a rhino though, not a frequent sight in Florida.11-13woodedwalkrhinoHogg pond was our destination, and we found some egrets gathered there.  I suspect the beginnings of nesting activity.  And there have been great flocks of birds in the air lately.  Usually they are too high in the sky for decent photos, or the camera just isn’t set up for that capture.  These birds were coming in to land however.  Yes, this will be a booming place in the spring.11-13woodedwalkflyover11-13woodedwalkposers11-13woodsflyingegret11-13woodssnaileaterWe had stopped for lunch at a very quaint hot dog shop in Floral City, and then hiked in the Perry Oldenberg wilderness area.  But the jackpot happened as we finished the hike and were ready to leave.  That’s when we saw the cows in the pasture next to the parking lot.  I was looking to take photos like this when I was at my daughter’s house in PA over the summer, but somehow failed to get out and explore the rolling farmland for scenes like this.  People ask what kind of photography I like best, but I think I like the surprises along the way that make it so interesting.  And I’m normally out by myself for photos, but it was nice to be out with a friend…11-13woodedwalkpasture11-13woodedwalkpasturefamily11-13woodedwalkbrowncow211-13woodedwalkbrowncowI thought that all the cows with horns were bulls, but closer examination of my photos disproved that theory.  Not this particular photo, but trust me…

 

'scene' along the way, birds, Circle B Bar Reserve, eagles, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

If only…

If only the distance you drove for photos could insure that the photos you took that day would be that much better than ‘normal’.  Alas, it doesn’t work that way.  I drove a long way to Circle B Bar Reserve yesterday, and found myself photographing birds that I see frequently, and much closer to home.  I chose not to hike down the trail marked Alligator Alley, that seemed like asking for more than I bargained for.  And still I found this gator, a little one, and I kept my composure and kept hiking.  Faster though, trying to catch up with two gals who were ahead of me on the trail.  Safety in numbers. 11-7CircleBscene111-7CircleBanhinga11-7CircleBegret11-7CircleBlunch11-7CircleBgreatblue11-7CircleBturtle11-7CircleBglossy11-7CircleBosprey

The very helpful clerk at the desk pointed out her favorite spot to see eagles, which were the birds that people were reported to be seeing lately.  So that’s where I headed, slightly disappointed that the Roseate Spoonbills weren’t in the area yet.  No owls either.  The eagle roost trail was very sunny and hot, and the only company I had was the gopher turtle.  I did take several pictures once I thought I might be seeing the eagle nest off in the distance.  It wasn’t until I got home and looked at the photos in the computer that I realized that I’d gotten a picture of an eagle, even if I didn’t ‘see’ it while I was there.11-7CircleBeagleI need to set my phone to count my steps.  I’ll bet I got 10,000 in yesterday.  Hot, sweaty steps…

'scene' along the way, a second look, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, fun, moments, nature, perseverance, photography, Pine Island, sunset

Back to Pine Island…

Pine Island used to be my go-to place for the sunset.  I remember thinking that it never let me down.  Between birds, people, and the sunset I seldom struck out.  I even made a new friend one night, you know who you are Sandy.  So after a very overcast day on Wednesday I couldn’t resist heading back to Pine Island when the sky began to clear up.  And it all was going quite well…11-6pineisland411-6pineisland311-6pineisland211-6pineisland5

I found myself a nice spot to stand and watch, thought it was a great spot and planned to stay put.11-6pineisland9

Haven’t I always said how nice and helpful photographers seem to be?  Well, this guy announced that he was going to walk in front of me ‘for a second’.  And then he just stayed there.  How rude!  He must have starred in everyone’s photos from then on.11-6pineisland6

But even he couldn’t spoil the evening.  Not when Mother Nature was putting on such a nice show for us.  Pine Island came through again.11-6pineisland811-6pineisland711-6pineisland911-6pineisland1

'scene' along the way, birds, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, gardens, lizards, nature, Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, technology

Saturday at the Botanical Gardens…

At the Nature Coast Botanical Gardens that is.  I may never have gone there on a Saturday before.  I say this because it just seemed to be bustling with activity, which isn’t usually the case.  They were getting ready for a wedding, decorating the gazebo, and chairs were set up ready for guests.  It looked to be my kind of affair, small and simple.  I’ll bet it was nice. 10-12gazebo

It was early and the sun was strong and made for deep shadows.  The butterflies in the butterfly garden were scarce, and too busy to sit for photographs.  But the female cardinal was too busy eating berries to worry about me and my camera.10-12cardinal2

But what tickled me most was that the train was zooming around the track.  That was a first.  I’d seen that the track was there of course, but hadn’t seen it in operation.  The gentleman running it says it runs every Saturday from 9 AM to noon.  The track circles a display that includes two little waterfalls, and I happily tried to get pictures but the strong sun and shadows got in the way.  So I used my new iPhone to take shots of the train in burst mode, and it shot a movie instead.  Clearly I need to study up on how to take best advantage of the features of the phone.  And the site wouldn’t let me post the little video.  But I got one shot of the train at least.10-12train

This water feature was new to me also.10-12waterfeatureAnd, what we have most of here in Florida, lizards!10-12lizard