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

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…

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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, attention to detail, birds, ducks, friends, fun, home, making memories, moments, nature, perseverance, photography, pond creatures, Rise and shine, sunrise

Sticking close to home…

I surprised myself by being up early enough to catch the sunrise. Early enough to just go around the block to see it though. I oftentimes forget that I can see the sunrise so close to home.

A mama duck didn’t seem to be bothered by my car pulled onto the grass, or by me clicking away with my camera.
I had occasion to rearrange my car the other day and ‘found’ the lens ball, so decided to look at the scene through from another point of view.
I loved how pretty the color got against the blue of the sky.
I love when the birds fly through the sunrise color.

I’m afraid I’m guilty of thinking that if I lived a little further south then the sunrises and sunsets would be perfect every day. But really they are perfect enough just where I am…

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Just imagine…

I was missing my grandfather’s house yesterday. The gorgeous cloud formations made me remember laying on my back on the lawn, watching the clouds drift by and seeing what surprises I could find in them. I saw a happy little face off to the right in the feature photo.

I wanted to write that it looked like an explosion in a whipped cream factory.
My little happy person is off to the left in this one. Here I see a conversation happening, or is it an argument?
I turned one to black and white because I could. The texture of the clouds was amazing.

Of course by the time I got home and could have laid in the grass the pretty clouds were close to the horizon and the dark clouds were taking over, and I could hear thunder…

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Making do…

All day the plan was to go to Dunedin for dinner, plus take in the sunset of course. But as the day went on the clouds got heavier and it started to rain. Much too late to go anywhere we saw that the clouds were breaking up a bit, so we went out in the drizzle and got some shots.

I see the raindrops in this picture when I look at it on my huge computer screen.
This turtle is enormous, we decided that he thought we might have a goodie for him. We didn’t.
This duck was probably thinking the same thing. She also was out of luck.

Later I saw pictures of the sunset from Dunedin and it was very nice. We missed a chance, but maybe it will work out next time.