Getting up at 4 AM is how I used to get out for the sunrise. I was bored by the time the sun came up so it was something to do. Today was one of those 4 AM mornings, and the weather cooperated, so I headed out for the first time in a few days. I think I’ve given up on fighting the weather and always heading out for photos, at least for the time being. Between the heat and the rain it’s so much easier to stay home. Or maybe it’s my age.
For instance, that’s not the remnants of a horrible accident that are dripping down the windshield of my car. That’s soap suds, evidence of the big excitement of my day, which was a trip to the car wash. It felt good to get that long overdue chore over with. I like that car wash with its free vacuum stations to get the inside clean also. And as I ran the vacuum over the floors I happened to look across the street at the very cute mini-golf course, and from that angle I saw it as a photo op. A visual trip to the Congo River, complete with a plane crash. I’ve noticed it many times as I have driven up and down that road, but I’ve never played golf there. And if I’m honest it wasn’t quite as hot today, not like it has been. I’ve been using the weather as an excuse to myself for being stuck in the house day after day. Those morning and afternoon thunderstorms coupled with the beastly hot days are all the excuse I need to take refuge in my recliner. Soon we will be into the best of Florida’s weather. I can’t wait.
Good thing I was taking my photos from the sidewalk or I might also have stumbled into the quicksand like this poor fellow…
Getting out for the sunrise has been a bit more of a challenge lately because I haven’t been getting up as early as I used to. But on this particular morning a palmetto bug walked on my leg at 4 AM, and sleep was out of the question after that. And since it wasn’t raining I headed out. I’ve said it before, as I stand on the bridge over-looking the river I’m always amazed to see this flock of birds flying in. They circle and they circle, and I know that they will eventually land, en masse, on the wires across the street. They arrive like clockwork every time I’m there for the sunrise, operating as a unit, suddenly lifting into the air and then settling back onto the wires. With the sunrise being disappointing I concentrated on picture after picture of the birds, because I kept hoping they would circle in front of the sunrise colors that were lighting up the clouds on the west side of the street. The sunrise itself started out quite promising, but quickly fizzled out. But the clouds across the street just got prettier and prettier.
It’s the first day of a challenge from my photography club, to post a picture a day, and with the rainy weather on the horizon that may not be the easiest challenge to meet. But so far so good.
I had a plan. The plan was to find the herd of buffalo I’d seen the day before and just watch them. I’d get out my three legged camping stool and my longest lens and tripod, and just sit there and observe. If only the buffalo had been there. I kept driving since I didn’t remember exactly where along Rt. 89 I had seen them, and found myself in Jackson. Which wasn’t a bad idea because I don’t think I had ever let any car ever get as dirty as mine was, plus it needed an oil change, so I was happy to get those things done. And of course I got a few pictures while I was there. I used to always buy a piece of jewelry when I traveled, but now my photos are my souvenirs.
So I headed home happy that I got those two things done, and found dramatic skies AND buffalo. They were much further back off the road this time, so even the longest lens couldn’t do what I’d imagined I could do, but there is always tomorrow!
Fifteen minutes into the drive yesterday had me entering Texas, and soon the initial flat terrain gave way to green hills dotted with brush and stands of trees. Just to the right of the road was a slightly raised railroad track, and it didn’t take long to see a train, and then a few more. And, being Texas, everything was bigger. The views in all directions, the sky, and even the train seemed miles long. It was a pleasant view and soon reminded me of the cowboy shows I watched on TV as a kid. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see some cowboys appear over the crest of a hill, wearing their bandanas over their faces, and not for Covid 19, but to chase down the train to rob it. In those long ago TV shows the cowboys would catch the train, so when I found myself essentially racing a train I voice texted a friend who worked for CSX and asked him how come on TV the cowboys caught the train but I couldn’t out-run this one. He said that was Hollywood, in real life the train always wins. When I remarked about how long the train was, and complained about the lack of caboose, he said that in the caboose days the trains used to have five man crews, and now they have only two men working those huge long trains. And they would like to have a one man crew but the union keeps fighting it. Bigger trains equal less workforce, he said. I thought it was just bigger in Texas.
I knew I would stop for the day in Amarillo, so before I left that morning I had checked online for what to see there. Palo Duro Canyon state park came up right away and I hoped to get there early enough to do the drive through and get some pictures, so I decided to stop at a rest area to change the GPS to the park and drive straight there. I took the feature photo, liking how the structure stood out against the sky, but the ‘watch for rattlesnakes’ signs made me pause. I walked up the hill to this little overlook, but not until another gentleman was already there, in hopes he had scared off any rattlesnakes that might have been hanging around. I was happy to catch another one of those endless trains passing by. I didn’t stay long though, it was 102 degrees when I was there.
And, like the day before, as I actually approached my destination the view had changed to this. I checked the temperature and it had dropped to 64 degrees.
Big sky, big storm, and the biggest lightning bolts you can imagine, each one seeming to hit the ground. Of course I had to change my plan and head to a hotel in Amarillo instead. Somehow the storm still seemed to be in the distance, to my right and left, so I took my opportunity to take some photos of the displays as you entered the parking area. Not the photos I’d hoped to get, and I’m still undecided as to whether to head to the park before I leave for Colorado. We will see what the morning brings.
A historic Saharan dust plume is headed our way. ‘Our’ being Florida. It’s big news, on the internet at least. And with it will come fabulous sunrises and sunsets, so good news for the photographers out there. That’s all we needed to hear, so last night we headed to Pine Island for the sunset, and I was disappointed. As fabulous Florida sunsets go this one wasn’t going to win a prize. As with everything these days, the predictions are all over the place. Wednesday, Thursday. and Friday were supposed to be the best, or so I read. This morning I saw a map that has the plume not reaching us until Sunday. No wonder I pay no attention to the news these days. And yet I’m sure I’ll be out there again…