'scene' along the way, flowers, fun, Just do it, nature, perseverance, photography, weather

Crepe Myrtle…

This New England transplant just loves crepe myrtle, but mostly because those trees covered in blossoms remind me of lilac bushes. And, as I rode the trike around the neighborhood looking for some to photograph before they are past their prime, I discovered that they smell pretty good also. Days of being driven into seclusion by the hot, humid weather had me desperate to get out, and it felt great. Let me clarify, riding on the shady side of the street felt great.

Deep red crepe myrtles line the median strip of my friend’s neighborhood. I think they are the most dramatic color variation. But they certainly aren’t the only color.

I think that I see more white ones than any other color. They peek over fences and also line the roadways.
Several shade of pink are also seen.
But my favorite color is the ‘lilac’ color. Be still my heart. I could almost convince myself that they are, in fact, lilacs. As long as I don’t take a whiff.

I belong to a Facebook group for the Liberty Trike Owners, and I read enough comments about people tipping over on their trikes as they take corners that I think I must really look like a little old lady as I putter along carefully. Honestly, riding seems very intuitive to me, I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone and I haven’t had any problems at all. And I’m not ashamed to say that the electric pedal assist does help out a lot. My tour of the neighborhood wound up at the little pond to look for dragonflies, even though I knew that there would be no shade for me there. I almost gave up before this one finally showed up. I felt better about hiding from the heat after my ride. I earned my time in the chair with my book.

I wonder why they land on sticks?
'scene' along the way, exploring new places, Florida wildlife, Just do it, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, sunrise

Two birds…

I will never have to spend time waiting line for gas at Sam’s again. Why not, you may wonder? Because this morning I got up early enough that heading out to check out the sunrise view from the little pond behind Sam’s turned out to be a stellar idea. The sunrise could have been better, but it was good enough. And I had egrets and an anhinga for company. And, better yet, gas was $3.69.99/gal. It’s seriously ridiculous how quickly that has become a number to rejoice over, but here we are and I’ll take it. All together is was a very nice morning, I killed two birds with one stone.

Quite a good sunrise actually.
It quickly began to fade however.
I had pleasant company to enjoy it with me.
And this anhinga, but that’s all of him that I saw.

I have lamented the lack of good spots to view the sunrise and sunset in this neighborhood. But I’ve known about this pond all along, and decided that I’d have a view to the east months ago. I wonder what else I’m missing.

'scene' along the way, birds, friends, fun, Just do it, life, live and learn, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, Natures little dramas, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, unintended images

You just never know…

The current obsession among the photographers here are the rookeries that we are lucky enough to have in our area. Nesting birds have been busy building nests, and sitting on eggs, and now we have the pay off in the first hatchlings of the season being captured by the camera. We were at a rookery yesterday, along with a few other photographers, and we happily clicked away as we saw little heads bobbing up and down. But on the way home, me as the passenger, and with the camera in my lap because I had been reviewing the photos to see if I got any decent pictures, I saw a hawk land on a post as we stopped for a red light. So I rolled the window down and got a couple of pictures, and then he took off. I didn’t see the lizard until I got the pictures into the computer. I went through the pictures in the camera and did find some ‘baby’ pictures to use, but when these last few pictures popped up I felt like these were the cherry on top. You just never know what’ll happen when you head out the door.

“Oh shoot,” I thought when I came to this picture, “I missed him.”
“Oh good.”
“All right!”
'scene' along the way, a second look, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, flowers, friends, fun, gardens, Just do it, life goes on, marriage, nature, perseverance, photography, turtles, unintended images

Much ado in the gardens…

We were promised a weekend of perfect weather and that came true, but with spring break in full swing, an AirFest at McDill AFB for the first time in a couple of years, plus a Pride Parade, all happening in downtown Tampa on Saturday, we were worried about traffic. So we wimped out and the Florida Botanical Garden was our destination yesterday. There weren’t so many flowers, but the scenery was pretty.

Gorgeous weather, high 70’s and low humidity.
That must be perfect water lily weather because they looked like they were taking over the world.
It’s free to come here and sit quietly and read a book, which is what I saw people doing.
Okay, there were some flowers. Light Bulb Clerodendrum with a few pinwheel jasmine thrown in.
The bougainvillea are coming back from a cold couple of nights not long ago.
There were full trees of bush allamanda.
Yellow hibiscus. Yellow flowers took the day I think.
I love it when bumble bees land on purple flowers.
The lilies were so pretty that I just had to take their picture along the water, but even as I took the picture I knew they really wouldn’t show up.
A cardinal serenaded us.
Mama alligator, which I might have ignored if people hadn’t been excited to see her babies. I know I’ve been pouting about not seeing babies/chicks lately, but these babies aren’t the ones I’ve been looking for. I suppose their mother thinks they are cute.
People said their were three little ones, I only saw two.
Here she is from an overlook on the other side of the water. A couple were there looking down into the water, so I pointed her out across the way. “Oh”, they said. “That’s where she moved to. She must have had 65 babies right underneath the overlook the other day.” They were disappointed to hear that there were only three of them.
Mirror, mirror on the wall…
You might choose to peek through this pretty opening into the wedding garden. We had seen chairs being put into place earlier. But we arrived just in time to see the ring bearer run back to where he came from, and then get picked up by the man who eventually walked the bride down the aisle and deposited into his seat. I wasn’t ready to capture that moment.
I was ready for this one though. The first flower girl dutifully throwing flower petals, and the little one racing up behind her wailing away.
Then came the bride, who wore a smile almost as big as her dress, which drew oohs and ahhs from our little group of wedding crashers in the doorway. She was followed closely by the photographer who was being paid to take pictures. I think the kids had calmed down by this time.
And she joins her groom. If you are wondering about the pattern on her escort’s jacket you are not alone. I can’t figure it out.

Maybe my title of Much Ados in the Gardens should have read much ‘I dos.’ As things do tend to happen, you just never know exactly what you’ll get when you head out to go shooting. So just keep heading out the door, and be sure to take your camera.

'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, Florida wildlife, fun, Just do it, live and learn, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, perseverance, photography, unintended images

Posers…

We made a special trip to the rookery the other day, sure that at least a few of the chicks would have hatched, and we were looking forward to seeing them. But we didn’t see any chicks this visit either, and I didn’t have the best attitude as I walked around and took pictures. Sometimes I forget that the point is to see what’s there and not try to second guess things ahead of time.

These big birds can look so odd perched in what looks like just twigs up high at the tip-tops of the trees.
Overhead the grackles kept chattering away.
Not to be outdone the ibis perched also.
On the shrubbery below were enough snowy egrets for us to be sure they are nesting. More chicks to look forward to.
Along the shore a little blue heron came so close to me that I couldn’t get his feet in my shot.
Tri-color herons are nesting here too.
There are lots of egrets just sitting on their nests, but some are still building that perfect nest to raise a family.
One must remember to put their best foot forward at all times.
I was amazed to see a wood stork taking a bath the other day. Now I see they are a very well groomed species of bird.
A circle in a square.
At least there is hope, I see eggs in that nest.

To be honest I was pouting to myself as I walked back to the car to put my tripod inside. But then I heard a noise. A rat-a-tat-tat that meant a woodpecker was nearby. I expected a more common little downey woodpecker, but I found a pileated woodpecker and got quite excited because they aren’t so common to see. I will always check to see what’s going on in the trees across from the rookery from now on. But when I looked at my pictures I was disappointed because all the pictures were blurry, that head of his was never still. But I did get one shot, which kind of saved the day for me.

a second look, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, perseverance, photography, strangers become friends

Rooting her in…

If I’m being honest I can’t say that I went to the horse races on Saturday with much expectation of taking pictures of the races themselves. Short people are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to trying so shoot over the three sets of barriers that separate the onlookers from the track. So I figured I’d shoot the scene, or people, but I didn’t expect to shoot birds.

Now this was a race that a short person could shoot. We had a clear leader until he stopped to peck in the dirt.
So many racetracks.
Before the first race they were hosing down the horses after their walk and this one wanted no part of it, prompting a little girl standing next to me to tell her mother, “That one is being naughty.”
My friend likes to pay attention to the jockey’s faces, so I paid attention too, and I think this jockey wasn’t happy to see his horse being naughty.
We aren’t allowed to go down to the final turn anymore, so this was the best I could do from my vantage point. And the naughty boy didn’t win.
So for the second race we walked up onto a balcony which gave us a better view, and was in the shade! For some reason I had paid attention to the horse and jockey with the red and white striped jacket. And he was first out of the gates.
This was a much better viewing angle at the turn.
It was only when I reviewed the pictures this morning that I actually enjoyed the races themselves, frame by frame. So I was a little disappointed to see the horse and rider I had noticed be overtaken and lose the race.
This was the third race, and when we saw that it was a turf race I hurried back to the balcony or I wouldn’t get any decent shots at all. Little did I know that this would be the race I enjoyed the most. Pay attention to #1, with the jockey in the green jacket and red hat.
As they came around that first turn #1 was holding her own.
As they came closer I thought she was boxed in.
And even more boxed in. This was crazy. I had checked my pictures to look for the winner of this race so I could follow their progress, but now I thought I’d been mistaken.
A horse was pulling away and ‘my’ horse was falling back. But they had to circle the track again, so at this point I stayed upstairs but moved down to have a clear view of the finish line.
And here we are at the finish line. #1 is the winner! I wish I had pictures of how she managed to move through the pack.
Here is our winner, young and female, with a girlish voice, so excited as she hugged the (female) owners in the winner’s circle. Someone in the crowd was wondering out loud if she was riding any more horses that day.
We stayed for one more race. I stood with one foot on a curbing and one on the fence post to take this last shot. Don’t I wish we could stand on the rail where the official track photographer stands.