'scene' along the way, exploring new places, family, foggy sky, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, road trip

In the Smokies…

We are enjoying lovely weather in the Smokies, but not having WiFi has prevented me from working on my pictures and sharing them. It hasn’t prevented me from taking tons of pictures however, so I will have lots to keep me busy when we get home. The fall foliage we hoped for isn’t at it’s peak, but it smells like fall, and there are enough beautiful trees to make me happy. And we still have a few days.

a second look, adventure, birds, bucket list, exploring new places, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, perseverance, photography, sunrise, sunset, travel

A clean slate…

One day ends…

Another day begins…

A clean slate…

The usual morning crew, plus one…

This hawk has been sitting on various lamp posts and sounding off when I’ve been walking in this neighborhood. Finally I was able to get a picture, though not such a great one with the phone. I love the phone but there are limits to the pictures you can get with it.

This Great Blue Egret finally emerged from the shadows and posed for me.

And when you are reading this we will already be heading out on our next adventure. I’m listening to torrential rain as I’m writing this, and hoping for better weather in the morning. What will the day bring I wonder?

a second look, adventure, boats, facing facts, Florida landmarks, food, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip, sky, sunset, weather

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…

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, adventure, bucket list, exploring new places, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, sky, storms, travel, weather

Asheville to Tybee Island…

We were very lucky to have a nice day to spend in Asheville, in between raindrops the day before and again the next day. We wandered a couple of blocks through the charming downtown and people-watched for the afternoon. The next day was our big drive home, most of which was through the sometimes torrential rain, so a planned stop at Tybee Island was cut short, and we drove home using all the possible speeds on the windshield wipers.

Tell me this storefront window wouldn’t stop you in your tracks!
This happy little girl was enjoying herself.
Maybe the dancers are her mom and dad?
We wandered a very nice art gallery and found this old fashioned soda fountain to entice you once you were finished. My friend worked as a soda jerk (is that politically correct these days) and made more than his fair share of Raspberry Lime Rickys in his day. I drank more than my fair share in my day too, and there we were in the same home town, but it took a common interest in photography and about 70 years for our paths to cross.
This sign was in front of Ben and Jerry’s, a good place for it!
Tybee Island Light Station, in the mist.
Those clouds!

Once we crossed into Florida the rain let up so the drive home was uneventful after that. We were very lucky to have accomplished all that we set out to do while we were away. We each reconnected with friends and family, and we certainly enjoyed the scenery everywhere we went. I wonder where we’ll go next?

'scene' along the way, adventure, attention to detail, exploring new places, friends, fun, Just do it, live and learn, making memories, natural wonders, perseverance, photography, road trip

Looking Glass Falls to Chimney Rock…

Waterfalls were supposed to be the destination for stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway on our last day. Nearby Brevard County, NC has dozens of waterfalls, but we had been away for quite a while and if we were to go there we wanted to spend lots of time, so we settled on the falls that were right on the parkway as we continued south. Only there was a detour that took us past Linwood Falls without being able to stop, a big disappointment. But Looking Glass Falls made up for it.

The view from the road was certainly nice, but I had to go down the steps for a closer view.
Not the biggest waterfall ever, but the weather was rainy off and on so we were glad for this opportunity for a few shots.
Sometimes having other people around makes a place seem even more special, and on this day a few more hardy souls were braving the rain to come to the falls.
And when I looked upstream I discovered yet another unexpected photo shoot happening. This time a pregnancy shoot. Not a great picture but it’s the best one I got.
We stopped to see a rocky stream along the way.
As we ascended yet another steep drive up, with lots of twists and turns, we encountered mirrors along the way to make those hairpin turns a bit safer.
And then there it was, way up high, Chimney Rock. Seeing the walkway I knew I was going to have to go up for the view. And discovering that there was an elevator was a happy surprise.
The view, it wasn’t disappointing.
Zooming a little closer, because I could.
Lest you think there was a nice, level patio of sorts to stand on and enjoy that view. Nope, it was impossible to approach the railing at the sides without climbing over lots of rocks, so I just stayed put and got what shots I could.
This is the view of the tunnel that leads to the elevator. The signage along the walkway tells you that if you are standing in line at this spot your wait will be 30 minutes, etc. On that rainy day there was no wait at all. When I reached the elevator I turned to take this shot.

Somewhere in this trip we found a cliff-side overlook, where, we were told, they held events that allowed people to become certified to paraglide. (I hope that’s the right term.) For the life of me I couldn’t see down the cliff, try as I might for a photo. The feature photo was from this same area. Spending a few days traveling those very scenic roads was a pleasure, not only for a photographer, but for anyone who appreciates nature in all it’s glory.