'scene' along the way, a second look, attention to detail, bugs, Florida landmarks, flowers, gardens, life goes on, making memories, nature, Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, perseverance, photography

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…

adventure, attention to detail, birds, exploring new places, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, gardens, live and learn, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip

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.

butterflies, exploring new places, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, gardens, Just do it, live and learn, making memories, moments, natural wonders, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip

Exploring a Rainforest…

We visited a Rainforest yesterday. In Gainesville, FL. With Butterflies. A shorter road trip this time. Your price of admission included visiting the museums associated with the University of Florida, so we saw more than just a host of butterflies. But for now it’s the butterflies that stole the show.

You walk a boardwalk through a lush garden of lovely flowers, with waterfalls, turtles, and koi fish. Butterflies of every imaginable color are literally everywhere. If you stop to take pictures you must check around your feet before you take a step, just in case.
These black and white butterflies were either the most abundant variety or the ones who most wanted their picture taken.
Black butterflies seemed elusive.
I loved his blue color.
Just saying hello!
Catching them while they were on flowers wasn’t easy.
This one was small, and it’s body was thick enough that I thought it was a hummingbird for a second.
Say cheese.
Yellow fellow.
A worker pointed out this blue butterfly when it was staying still and we could get pictures. He called it the ‘money shot’. These blue butterflies, and others of every color you can imagine, flitted through your view constantly, but didn’t stop often enough to get photos of them all.
This is how that blue butterfly looks with his wings closed. Signage said that some of these startling colors are so that the butterfly can open its wings and the color will startle a predator.

We set the record for heat in the Tampa area yesterday. If it wasn’t a record in Gainesville then I’m sure it was close. Plus the humidity was even more than what was natural to enhance the rainforest atmosphere. But it was a worthwhile trip, we were happy we got to enjoy this colorful place.

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Amazing artwork, bugs, butterflies, flowers, friends, fun, gardens, life, life goes on, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip

It’s all about the bees…

Heritage Gardens was supposed to be about the hummingbirds. I was there two years ago and came across a shrub that was just off the walking path and the flowers there were making the hummingbirds very happy. And the hummingbird moths too. So in my usual way I totally expected them to be right there waiting for me to take more pictures of them this time. So much of life has changed in the last two years, why should I expect the hummingbirds to be carrying on in the same way? I’ve certainly chosen a bit of a different path for myself these days, I guess they can too.

I was attracted to the intense blue and purple colors of this hydrangea.. The bee was a bonus.
Gorgeous hollyhocks.
The charming windmill.
Chipmunks are so cute, and we don’t see them in Florida.

Wait, I said this was about the bees, didn’t I?

Orange bee…
Pink bee…
Purple bee…
Oops, this is a butterfly!

Lego sculptures were found throughout the gardens.

Same picture from this angle…
And then from this angle.
And now we see how this was done…

We had such a nice day. And when we got back my friend got to reunite with two close friends from childhood for the first time in over 20 years. After all my travels and reconnections these past few years I know just how great that feels. What a very nice day.

'scene' along the way, adventure, boats, connections, exploring new places, finding my way, flowers, friends, fun, gardens, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip, weather

A lovely day in Rockport…

If there ever was a time for me to learn to replace the sky in an image then today would be the day. My day in Rockport really was lovely, after all, it wasn’t raining. But the sky could have been a lot prettier. But the lack of color in the sky couldn’t spoil the colorful scenes I was seeing everywhere I looked.

This, I was told, is the iconic image of Rockport, so it was the first image we took
If I didn’t believe it when I first heard it, then this sign would have convinced me.
As we walked to the waterfront these glimpses down the alleyways made me anxious to get there.
I have been seeing these gorgeous hydrangeas everywhere, but none prettier than these.
Hollyhocks are a favorite from my childhood.
And then we were there.
The restaurants touted fresh lobster, and it probably doesn’t get fresher than this.
Another view of the iconic building. It was destroyed in 1978 by a huge storm, but the townspeople pitched in to recreate it.
The scene behind the facades.
You would likely have a view like this no matter which of the waterfront restaurants you might choose to have your lunch.
Or a view like this…
This parade of little sailboats was being towed by the speedboat ahead of them. We decided that it was a group of kids being guided in after sailing lessons.
Where ever you choose to eat you will have seagulls staring longingly at your lunch. But we had this house sparrow keeping us company.
When we finally arrived at our room for the night we found this great potential sunset view right from the doorway. But the clouds took over.

When you are retired every day is a vacation I know, but to be back ‘home’ with time to enjoy places I never visited when I lived here is the best of all possible worlds.

a second look, black and white, brainstorms, fantasy images, flowers, friends, fun, gardens, learning, live and learn, perseverance, photography, technology

Black and white…

I think I liked it better when I saw life as if it was black or white, right or wrong. Of course I was just a kid then. It didn’t really take long to see the 50 shades of gray for every subject under the sun. Life was simpler then.

But in this case black and white refers to a class we took on Saturday, on black and white photography. I haven’t been drawn to that genre exactly, but as I listened to our leader Jeff, I thought of a picture I’d just taken at Bok Tower Gardens and couldn’t wait to come home and see how it would look in black and white. I was quite happy with it, and with several others I took that day. Plus, as I edited with a friend I was taught a much easier way to save my photos for the blog. It was a fun morning and I was quite pleased with myself until I realized that I’d gotten confused, (who, me?), and had put the last few days’ photos onto the ‘wrong’ external hard drive, and my new way of doing things had gotten a lot more confusing. Operator error, the story of my life.

It was a fun exercise to look for photos with a lot of contrast in them and then convert them to black and white. There will be a further class on editing said pictures, but I couldn’t resist attempting this on my own.