'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, boats, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, making memories, nature, pelicans, perseverance, photography, sky, weather

Beautiful Tarpon Springs…

We were out for an early photography class on Saturday morning, which left us lots of time for lunch and a stop in Tarpon Springs before heading home.  I found the Christmas decorations they had up to be a bit jarring, but that’s just me, I’m a bit of a humbug.  It was a lovely, sunny-but-not-too-hot day, perfect for enjoying the sky, and the boats, and the birds.  And trying to remember the tips we’d learned in class that morning.  There are many vendors trying to entice you to take the various cruises that leave out of Tarpon Springs daily.  A sunset cruise would probably be a good idea.  My friend would like to take it one step further and thinks it would be a great idea if we took a sunset cruise out on one of these tiny tiki bar boats.  Hmm, what could possibly go wrong with that idea???11-23tikibar11-23tarponscene311-23tarponscene111-23shipwreck11-23pelican311-23pelican211-23pelican11-23greatblue11-23flyoverfeature

Back when I first began blogging I read that your feature photo ought to be chosen to lure the reader in to read your blog.  Of course that sounded like a good idea.  But I seem to always be limited to only one or two in a series of photos that would lend themselves to that banner-like crop that I need to do for the blog.  There were flocks of these birds flying, but too high up to see detail.  I still don’t know what they are for sure, I suspect wood storks.  Anyhow, he was going to be my feature photo until the dolphin photo came up.  Sorry fella!

'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, Chinsegut Conservation Center, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, learning, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip

Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Field Trip…

This photo walk out of the Chinsegut Conservation Center was a bit of a back to the beginnings trip for me.  Early one morning I saw a Facebook post about a bird photography class that was happening at the center, and I wanted to go.  I had a new digital camera at the time, and was barely functional with it, so I called to see if they had room for one more.  Not only did I begin to learn the camera, but I found friends, and I probably would never have begun blogging without another class that I took at the center later on.  Yes, a coming home of sorts,

But I’m not the nature photographer that my friends are.  Not every walk in the woods leads to great photos, and I confess that the description of this trip left me skeptical about the photos I might get.  So to hedge my bets a bit I got to the center early in hopes of seeing birds at the many feeders there.  And they were there.  A Downey woodpecker, a red-headed (but not cockaded) woodpecker, a summer tanager, and a tufted titmouse pair that entertained me for quite a while.  That meant I could relax and just enjoy the field trip and not worry about the pictures we’d get.11-22feeding11-22redhead11-22downey11-22summertanager11-22summertanager211-22titmouse11-22titmouse211-22titmouse3

Off we went into the woods, and 20 miles in we found the banded trees that indicated the habitat of the red-cockaded family in question.  It was then that I discovered that we weren’t waiting for a flock of these birds to arrive en masse, but just one family.  And the banded trees each had the little holes where nesting activity was potentially happening.  Young males stay with the family helping to raise the young and doing the necessary tending to the nests which keeps the sap running.  The sap is their defense against their nests being raided by snakes.  Clever, don’t you think?11-22habitat11-22thehomeAnd it was a successful trip.  Yes, one of the birds in question did show up and zoom into the hole in the tree and disappeared.  Not one of us got a shot of that.  The leader of the trip said that he felt that that was it, the event was over.  But he had one trick up his sleeve.  He used his phone to play the call of the red-cockaded woodpecker, rather quietly I thought, but it was enough to get this little guy to stick his head out of the nest to see what was going on.11-22peekaboo

No, it wasn’t a dramatic story.  But these are the dramas that are happening all around us everyday, and we are too busy with out own lives to notice.  But when we do take time to notice it doesn’t disappoint.

 

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, birds, friends, fun, go with the flow, making memories, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, sending a message, sunset, technology

We’re late, we’re late…

We were quite late getting to the photo shoot at John’s Pass the other night.  We missed the sunset entirely, which is much easier to do when it takes place at 5:30.  Traffic was the problem.  But the sky was still pretty and we headed to Madeira Beach first.  My iPhone told me the name of the beach, and it also saved the whole shoot for me.  Whew, I very nearly blew what turned out to be a nice night. 11-20Madeirabeach111-20John'sPassfeature

Second we checked the tarot card reader’s shop to see if the birds were still hanging out in front of, and on top of, the shop.  They were.11-20John'sPasstarot11-20John'sPassblackcrownednightheronBlack-crowned night herons are usually hard to spot along the shore because they keep to the foliage.  Not this guy though.  Last year the tarot card reader told us that years ago she rescued an injured bird, and the word must have spread because birds come to her on their own.  Sometimes for rescue, and apparently just to hang out.

Next we walked the boardwalk while we decided where to have dinner.  We chose Sculley’s for a grouper sandwich.  A very wise choice, but alas, I was too busy eating to think to take picture.11-20John'sPass111-20John'sPassscene9After that we wandered the village a bit, enjoying the view.  We planned to bundle up for this shoot, but there was no need to worry, it was a lovely night,11-20John'sPassscene211-20John'sPassscene311-20John'sPassscene811-20John'sPasswingdings11-20John'sPassscene511-20John'sPassscene411-20John'sPassartist11-20John'sPassalligatorIf you go don’t forget to look up!

11-20John'sPassfrozencustard

When there is a frozen custard shop in the area it’s tragic to be too full of grouper to have a cone.  Next time…

friends, fun, Just do it, learning, old dogs new tricks, photography, weather

At the vineyard…

When a friend mentioned a Christmas craft class which included wine tasting I didn’t even ask what we were making, I just declared that I was in.  It turned out to be a fun way to spend a gray, dreary day, and in a vineyard to boot.  There was even a grape stomping competition, we have no idea who won.

The surprise came when I was working on the pictures and out of the blue I remembered something from my childhood.  It was the bell that did it.  A phrase from an old TV show came to mind, something like ring your magic clanger Mr. Froggie”, but googling it brought up “Plunk your magic twanger Froggie”.  Now instead of working on pictures I’d taken I was watching You Tube videos of the Andy Devine Show.  Is your whole childhood running on a loop in your brain, just waiting for something to spark a memory?  I think it may be.

11-18roadtonowhere.jpg11-18bellvintage.jpg11-18bell.jpg11-18grapestomping.jpg11-18grapes.jpg11-18vineyard.jpg11-18bottlelight.jpg

And the solar powered wine bottle light was a fun project to do.

'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, a second look, food, friends, fun, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, strangers become friends, sunrise

Causeway sunrise…

A photographer friend announced that she was going to the Dunedin Causeway for the sunrise on Tuesday.  Not wanting to miss an opportunity to shoot with her I, of course, tagged along.  And I wasn’t the only one.  New friends and old friends also were there.  And we were lucky enough to be invited back to the beautiful home of one of the group, for a truly delicious omlet breakfast.  Mimosas may have been enjoyed also.  What a treat!  The shoot, and the wonderful breakfast visit with friends.11-5causewaykayaks11-5causewayview11-5causewayview211-5causewayview311-5causewayview4