'scene' along the way, a second look, Florida landmarks, flowers, fun, gardens, life, making memories, Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, perseverance, photography

Purple flowers…

Purple flowers weren’t always my favorite, but purple and black were Charley’s high school colors, Mt. St. Joe in ‘Bawlmer’, and then when we got a football team after a long stretch without one, tough for a town like Baltimore who supports its teams, purple and black turned out to be the Raven’s colors, too. So when we moved to Florida Charley wanted only purple flowers in the yard, and I guess it rubbed off on me because that’s what catches my eye these days. I’ve been seeing photos of flowers lately, and I guess that’s what gave me the idea of going to the Nature Coast Botanical Garden today, and my first view didn’t give me a clue that there had been so much pruning going on in the garden. But once I was inside I saw all the trimmed up plants and knew that it will be a lot more colorful in the coming weeks. But it was beautiful, and there was a surprise in store.

There were lots of amaryllis everywhere I looked, not purple but gorgeous.
Shady, cool paths draw you in.
The train tracks have always been there, but on a Saturday you have a chance of catching them running the train. The conductor says his grandchildren will be visiting soon and he has lots more restoration of the village to complete before they get here.
It’s a work in progress. The train is heading for the tunnel. There is a post with a button that the kids can push to hear the train’s whistle as it passes through the town.
There are not one but two waterfalls that the train travels around.
The landscaping and plantings look freshly done.
I waited for people to walk over the bridge to take my shot. Another pretty spot in the gardens.

I will return before too long because there is a nice butterfly garden here also, and in a few weeks the flowers won’t be the only colorful photo ops here…

'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, blessings, family, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, moments, nature, perseverance, photography, sunset, technology

Sunset picnic…

Picnic at Sunset Beach? That’s all I needed to hear and I was out the door in a flash. Then I rudely spent much more time off taking pictures than socializing, but I couldn’t help myself…

That sunset glow.
A meeting of the minds.
That glow again.
Great spot for a picnic.
I took a million shots of the windsurfers, but most were too distant and not colorful. Loved this red kite.
I think I saw this same kid in this same place the last time I was here.
this is what you see when you are taking your lens ball picture.
Another view.
Windsurfers again, they look like birds.

We were watching for the green flash as the sun sank below the horizon. Not this time though, maybe next time.

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Florida landmarks, following the rules, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography

A good day…

It was obvious from the moment I pulled onto the parking lot that they weren’t going to be as busy at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday as I’ve come to expect them to be. But I had noticed that there was a big day of racing planned for the next day so I wasn’t that surprised. It meant for slightly less competition at the rail when it came time to try for photos, a boon for the shorter photographers among us. Namely me. This is one of the few photo walks from my group that is still happening in this pandemic, and I think it will happen only once more before the heat becomes too much and they stop racing for the summer.

I suppose it really isn’t possible to catch the horse with his nose breaking the finish line, er pole, since it’s really the pedestal he’ll get to first. But I still had to take this shot.
The new official photographer likes to get in our shots of the finish line. She gets to stand up to the rail.
Everyone’s masks were on, if not correctly covering our nose and mouth.
Here’s a winning smile, even the horse.
Now we know what Santa is up to on his time off.
The owners’s official photo pose, just not for my camera.
Last time I was here I thought I had walked down to see the horses come around the bend, but it turns out that you can go a lot further down and be on the rail, and they are flying right towards you.
They are coming closer.
This is definitely the place to stand for photos.
I found a horse with all four feet off the ground.
Wait, there are two!

Is it any wonder that those horses need to be hosed down after the race, as you see in the feature photo? There was a nice breeze blowing so those of us who spent most of the day standing in one place and talking didn’t get all that hot, but we didn’t quite last the whole day in the sun either, and headed home a little early. I wondered how much money was being won or last on a ‘slow’ day like this one seemed to be, then we heard a guy behind us declare that he’d just won over $700 on the last race. We checked the board and you only won $5 for every $2 bet, so you’ll have to do the math because it’s beyond me. Another nice day, probably nicer for that guy…

'scene' along the way, a second look, Florida landmarks, fun, kids, moments, nature, perseverance, photography, say goodnight, sky, sunset

Day’s end…

I wasn’t quite sure where I was heading for the sunset when I left the house last night, but I wound up at Green Key beach, where I found it was high tide and I regretted my choice immediately. High tide leaves you with exactly one view of the sunset, unless you are this guy…

He may have been standing in the water because a cast of characters had totally taken over the other possible view…

There was something new and different to see on the beach however.

This rock tower was built and rebuilt a few times while I was there. Another photographer and I walked onto the sand to take a picture as this boy was placing a small stone atop his tower.

I called to the kid, “Don’t knock it down yet.”, and the photographer answered, “Oh, I won’t.”

It did appear that the sunset would be extinguished early.

But the sun emerged from the clouds for one last lovely view…

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, birds, boats, connections, Florida landmarks, fun, go with the flow, Just do it, making memories, perseverance, photography

Also on the river…

When I was in Charleston there were do-it-yourself bike rentals in convenient spots to help you get around. If we have scooters here in Tampa does that mean we are younger, at least at heart?
I saw that the dog was positioned to be the figurehead of this ‘ship’, but he never actually assumed the position. But his people waved at me!
I would never have spotted Humpty Dumpty if someone on the boat hadn’t pointed him out. He’s at a restaurant called Ulele, and he’s a holdover from a former attraction called Fairyland.
I’m not sure that this would be my chosen spot to kayak, but maybe it’s just that where I like to go on the Weeki Wachee river the water is only a foot or so deep.
I loved that helmet, and when she turned around and came back by I got my shot.
There he was, a very chill Mockingbird, in the midst of people, dogs, kids, and revving engines, just doing his thing in the shrubs.
I guess it takes two to paddle that thing. Or they lost a paddler…
Another bird who was not bothered by the activity on the water.
While I find this little girl in pink to be adorable, I have to wonder about her mother’s choice of footwear for this particular day’s activity. Dad was in jeans and a tee shirt.
This little girl and her dog were walking ahead of me, and I caught up with them to ask what kind of dog that was. It was so adorable walking along with ears sticking out like bat wings. Her dad told me it’s a Shih Tzu/French bulldog mix.
When I arrived in the morning that beautiful green (Astroturf) lawn was empty, and the Adirondack chairs were arranged in one long line facing the water. I sat there waiting for the water taxi. But when I got back things had been rearranged into socially appropriate clusters.

'scene' along the way, adventure, boats, exploring new places, finding my way, fun, Just do it, learning, making memories, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, road trip, sky, weather

Riding the water taxi…

Eventually I realized that the cars weren’t just driving up and road and revving their engines, they were leaving, the cars and coffee event was over. But the water taxi was due to arrive in a half hour or so, and I figured that a round trip on the river might be a fun thing to do before I headed home. You can ride for the day, and get off and on all you’d like, which I’ll have to do another time so that I can explore the stops along the river. I had to google most of this information because I have realized that I know next to nothing about Tampa. But I know more now than I did before I rode the river.

This is the Howard W. Blake high school and it sits right across the river from the Armature Works where I first boarded the water taxi. What a location. This high school has a strong academic program with an emphasis on the arts.
On a photo walk a couple of years ago a ‘beer can building’ was pointed out to me. I think this is it!
Henry B. Plant built this fabulous building as The Tampa Bay Hotel in the 1880s. It had 511 rooms, and all were electrified by by Thomas Edison himself. It was to be a palace to go with his railroad empire, but the Great Depression eventually led to the property being sold to the city of Tampa, and a rent of $1/year is still being paid today. At least I think that’s what the taxi operator said.
The American Victory Ship and Museum is one of only 4 WWII ships still in operation. During the war it supplied troops and supplies wherever they were needed by all branches of the service.
The guide said that this port usually looks like an airport terminal with cruise ships lined up at the docks here.
The time to see the Jose Gasparilla is at night with the sails unfurled.
If you want ride the water taxi to all of it’s stops you must change boats here.
This sculpture is called The Form of Wander, and is supposed to represent trees overhead.
T’cars and coffee’ ampa hosts rowing teams from universities in color climates, and they are encouraged to add their artwork here along the river, in honor if their schools

The clouds seemed to be on the verge of breaking up, or so I told myself as I rode the taxi. But it was still a pretty day to be out on the water.