connections, coping, courage, faith, finding my way, friends, gardens, go with the flow, growing old, life goes on, loneliness, perseverance, photography

I went to a garden party…

“I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends,
A chance to share old memories and play our songs again.
When I got to the garden party they all knew my name,
No one recognized me I didn’t look the same.”

“But it’s all right now,
I learned my lesson well.
You see you can’t please everyone,
So you got to please yourself.”

Maybe Ricky Nelson knew what he wanted out of life, how to please himself, but I’m not as lucky.  I have no idea what I want the rest of my life to look like so I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and hope it comes to me one of these days.

I took these pictures at the little local botanical garden this morning.  I was in search of butterflies but the sprinklers were on in the butterfly garden and I guess that kept them away.  But these structures caught my eye, and ‘garden party’ started playing in my head, and then I started thinking, about life and it’s twists and turns.  Maybe ‘blowing in the wind’ would have been a more appropriate song for my current state of mind…5-10HDRshed25-10HDRshed-35-17castle5-17iris5-17tilebench5-17tilerug5-17whiteflowers5-17budda5-17peekabooWhat’s the phrase these days, ‘fake it ’til you make it’…

adventure, birds, Florida wildlife, go with the flow, learning, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography

Photo safari…

I lost track of how many times I heard the words ‘one more stop’ on Friday’s epic photo journey.  But even though we set out hours before, and were hours away from home, it would be crazy not to stop as we passed by Six Mile Slough and the Celery Fields, not to mention Venis rookery.  It was up to me to stop, or not to stop, so we stopped at them all, and I was glad every time because everywhere we stopped the birds were happy to pose for us.  Did I mention what a nice day it was?  I hope so, because it was, a very nice day.

Immature Black-crowned Night Hawk, according to Merlin
Yellow-crowned Night Hawk
Cattle Egret, and below we see why they are known as Cattle Egrets


Merlin was stumped on this one, I say male Grackle
Eastern Mockingbird


Great Blue Heron, I waited for her to stand up to see the eggs, barely, but I had hoped for chicks.
I never dreamed a Roseate Spoonbill would just fly in and join the fun!
Female Grackle, common bird, but she did fly in for a close up
Limpkin, who are responsible for all the open, empty, shells laying along the shore
Purple Gallinule, my friend was quite happy to see them


The Great White Egrets were responsible for much gnashing of, well, bills, and all the appropriate sound effects to go with it!


go with the flow, healing, life goes on, moments, natural wonders, nature, photography, sunrise


I was the only one there for the sunrise at Hammond’s Creek bridge.  Well, if you don’t count the no-see-ums that is.  They were there in spades, and attacked before I could get the camera set up.  For once I was happy that I barely made it as the sun came up.  The two footed Great Blue Heron was there too, and watched me as I switched back and forth across the road, shooting the sunrise and the reflection.  And just as I was getting ready to leave the Budweiser bicycle guy rode up and said ‘hi’.  I made fun of him after I met him last time, and I felt a little bad about that since he was so friendly, and said he was glad I got some good pictures.  I didn’t stay to see if he enjoys a beer with every sunrise…


friends, fun, go with the flow, photography

Racing redux…

It was back to Tampa Bay Downs today, on a gorgeous, sunny, Florida day.  The members of the group were enthusiastic, more so than the horse below who seemed to want to do anything but what the trainer wanted him to do.4-28calmdown4-28calmdown24-28whoa4-28whoa2

This horse and trainer seemed to be on the same wavelength however.4-28coolingoff

A handsome horse…4-28horseface

Racing is a dirtier business than I realized…4-28intheturn

After a dirty race it’s time to cool off.4-28coolingdown

Snuck in a photo of a few of the group members doing their thing.  Seems only fair, but of course I hate being on that side of the camera myself…4-28raceday1



donuts, Florida landmarks, food, fun, go with the flow, pastries, photography, silliness

The Florida Strawberry Festival…

That I”m a rookie at this photography stuff came home to me again when I realized that I had taken a lot of pictures at the strawberry festival yesterday, but never took one of the actual strawberry shortcake.  I had wondered if I would come away with nothing but pictures of mounds of whipped cream and strawberries, and came away with none.  I wonder if Sunday afternoon might be the biggest crowd of the entire week, but I found myself sucked into a vortex and just snapped photos as the crowd swept me along.  If it’s shortcake you are looking for then you’ll have to get down there yourself, it runs through the 11th…



I found the charm I was looking for in the exhibition hall where they displayed their winning cakes, horticulture, quilts, and lots more.  A large display case held images of all the strawberry queens over the years, but I was a little disappointed that 1948, my birth year, wasn’t represented.  But then I saw that she was in a featured showcase of her own.



Maybe it’s the fact that I pack donuts for a living, but the donut burger caught my eye.  You always hear about crazy fair food, and I was excited to take this picture because it was early on and I expected to take lots of photos of food, but this and the elephant ears were my only food photos.  And I was obnoxious and told the woman that that’s not what we call elephant ears at Publix.  She said that hers were ‘authentic’.donutburgerelephantearI purposely wanted to go to this event alone, as I do most of the time when I’m wanting to take pictures, because I think I’ll drive another person nuts with my photo taking.  But I think that with another person’s perspective my visit might have been even more fun.  So grab a friend and go, but try not to miss the strawberry shortcake!

birds, eagles, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, go with the flow, Jenkin's Creek, perseverance, photography, sunrise, unintended images

Lost opportunities…

I told myself to go out for the sunrise.  I had finished the coffee, caught up with Facebook, and there was still time to head out.  I had seen stars out there when I let the dogs out, so it wasn’t overcast.  But as I made my first turn I spotted the moon, big and round but very low in the sky, with wispy clouds over the face.  Now I had a different plan, skipped the turn to Bayport and headed for Hammonds Creek bridge, simply because it was closer.  I felt like I was racing to get there before the moment had passed.  And I thought it had because I hadn’t seen the moon again, so I made the turn to Jenkin’s Creek, just a little further.  And in the last stretch of road I saw the moon again, just as it sank into the low clouds.  They talk about lost opportunities at work, but they are talking about sales of products, but these are the lost opportunities that drive me nuts.

The colors of the sky were pretty, but the sunrise would have been prettier at either of my other options this morning, and I was mad at myself.  And then I noticed two shapes in the dead tree across the inlet.  I didn’t even hurry, sure they would turn out to be vultures.  It wasn’t until I moved the car across the parking lot, set up the tripod, and finally looked through the zoom lens that I saw they were eagles.  I took pictures as they looked left, then right, in unison, and just as I was about to leave I thought I saw one ‘defecate’.  That was the polite term that Jeff, guru of the photo group, used when he said that you must know bird behavior.  They lighten the load just before they fly, he said.  So I backed the zoom off a little bit to give myself some room, and off he took!  3-1eagle83-1eagle73-1eagle53-1eagle43-1eagle33-1eagle23-1eagle1I’ll be looking for that moon tomorrow…