adventure, facing facts, friends, fun, go with the flow, learning, making memories, natural wonders, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography

Milky Way Photography…

Honestly, the timing could have been better.  My cousin and I had gotten up at 3 AM to take my uncle to the VA Hospital for sinus surgery (all went perfectly), but in these days of social distancing we weren’t allowed in, and even though we had a nice breakfast out, we endlessly waited in the hospital parking lot.  Part of that waiting period included me thinking there would be a bathroom somewhere for people who were also in this situation.  Port-a-potties were out there, somewhere, they said.  I was pointed in various directions, and in .93 miles, during which I briefly considered climbing a fence, but instead opted to backtrack to where I started from and skirt a retaining pond instead, I was finally back in the car.  And still we waited.  And that’s when I got the message that friends were meeting at 2 AM on Pass-a-Grille beach to take photos of the Milky Way.  Like I said, not the greatest timing exhaustion-wise, but too perfect of a chance to learn something new to pass up.

With lots of hands-on instruction from my very helpful friends, I tried, I really did.  And even though my best (also heaviest) tripod was in the car I chose the lighter one.  And my best choice of lens wasn’t ideal, but adequate for the moment at least.  I say all this to distract myself from facing that it’s on me that instead of sharp stars in the sky my photos resembled a sky full of commas, flocks of birds, and tadpoles.  But in the photos you do see the Milky Way instead of the faint smudge in the sky, which is how it appeared to me in person.  It’s a start, and I hope to get a lot more practice on my next adventure.06-20-20milkyway406-20-20milkyway106-20-20milkyway7

a second look, adventure, friends, fun, learning, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, sunset, technology

Opening up…

 The good news is that Pine Island is open again, with restrictions of course. My friend and I decided that we would head there for the sunset on Thursday night when we hoped it wouldn’t be too crowded. My first impression as I drove through the gates and saw all the cars was startling, but the parking lot may have looked crowded, but the beach was not. My second revelation came when I turned on my camera to take a picture of the scenery with a lone fisherman who happened to be positioned just right. That’s when I got the dreaded notification that I had no card in the camera. I’d never done that before, but I guess it had to happen eventually. Of course I had my trusty iPhone with me, and I knew that this would be my opportunity to put our recent class in Lightroom Mobile to the test. It was supposed to be great, according to our fearless leader Jeff. And he did make it look easy, but I had to force myself to stick with it and not just give in to the easier, more familiar version of that not-so-intuitive-application on the computer. Who knew that when I bought the iPad and Apple Pencil nearly three years ago I’d finally be putting them to use.IMG_2867rampIMG_2860IMG_2859runnerIMG_2807distancingIMG_2804bettyIMG_2799sunsetPineisland2IMG_2833pineisland3 

Alas I must confess.  Editing the pictures was tough but I managed it.  But when it came to putting them into this post I eventually resorted to using my laptop.  I have so much more to learn.

a second look, facing facts, learning, live and learn, old dogs new tricks, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, reality check, technology

Delete, delete, delete…

You know what?  Yesterday I said that my technology issues weren’t because of anything I did or didn’t do.  I said that because I had been attending an online photo class with my group and our leader said that some of us are using computers that just don’t have enough power to work well in Lightroom.  It wan’t the first time he talked about us beginners and our approach to photography, and I always feel like he’s been looking over my shoulder because he has a knack for bringing up something that’s had me tearing my hair out.

But in this case at least the issue was me being a bonehead.  I bought my desktop computer because of the storage issues I was having with my laptop. I needed to preserve my laptop so that I would have it to use while I traveled.  And I did buy an external hard drove for the computer, but it was a challenge to figure out how to get the photos to be stored on the external drive.  So in the meantime I proceeded to go out and take pictures and let them live on my brand new computer hard drive, and I didn’t give it a second thought because 1T of storage would never get used up.  Right?  Wrong.

All of which explains why I’m sitting here going through the thousands of pictures that are taking up space on my hard drive, and deleting them.  One by one.  And coming across a few I liked here and there, but hundreds of them are just junk that I won’t ever miss and didn’t know they were there in the first place.  Hundreds of pictures of dolphin fins, taken just in case you could catch a fabulous picture of one leaping out of the water.  Which, of course, never happened.  Delete, delete, delete…

These are from the Dunedin marina, and the feature photo is a hawk who happened to pose for me in my former backyard on a day with perfect light.  04-29-20dunedinmarina2.jpg04-29-20dunedinmarina.jpg

a second look, adventure, birds, blessings, Florida wildlife, home, learning, life, life goes on, making memories, memories, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography

Back in the backyard…

I wasn’t literally back in the backyard, I was revisiting a photo shoot from two years ago.  That was the second year that I watched this Sandhill Cranes couple raise a family right under my nose.  I knew from experience that this would be the one day that those parents would keep the babies right there, close to the nest.  I had been shocked the year before when they had marched the two day old chicks off the nest and disappeared and didn’t return until late afternoon.  I took 415 pictures that day, which I have now culled down to 22 photos.  My first photo was taken at 1:45 in the afternoon, and between the harsh light and the fact that the babies were in grass that was taller than they were, even the new zoom lens I had bought couldn’t get much of a picture.  But still I kept shooting.  My last picture was taken at 5 PM, and by then the light was much nicer and the parents had taken the babies to the edge of the water where they were more visible.  And that’s when they all swam to the nest, which was on a small island in the center of the lake. 04-28-20sandhills404-28-20sandhillbabies304-28-20sandhillbabies204-28-20sandhillbabies

Also on the lake that day was the ever-present little blue heron, and a tri-colored heron. 04-28-20littleblue04-28-20tricolorheron

I think I remember that this was a Pied-billed Grebe.  This was one of the many different birds that dropped in for a visit, and then I didn’t see them again.  The wildlife I saw from my backyard is what drove me back to my interest in photography.  And what a blessing that has become for me, bringing me new friends and adventures.  I’m happy to re-visit these photos while I wait to see what adventures are still to com.04-28-20piedbilledgrebe


'scene' along the way, adventure, following the rules, fun, learning, life goes on, lizards, moments, nature, perseverance, photography, weather

A wide-angle view…

The subject of today’s photography class was lenses, and it sent me scurrying out of the house with the 10-18 lens on my camera to see what I could see.  I had asked our fearless leader for a suggestion of what lens to buy after I told him that I wanted a wide-angle lens.  I was thinking about the iPhone, and I found it annoying that I could see such a difference in my iPhone shots as opposed to my my camera shots when shooting something like a sunset.  The iPhone shots were wider angle, and when the sky was especially gorgeous I was disappointed that the shots from the camera showed a more narrow view.  So on his recommendation I bought the aforementioned lens, and then I reported back to him that I didn’t like it.  His response was that I wasn’t taking the right pictures with it.  The net effect of taking a far off vista with that wide-angle lens was that things were way too tiny and off in the distance.  No, today I learned that I needed to take shots that included interest in the foreground, or that’s what I decided after class today, and that’s what I set out to do.

Finding spots to shoot will be easier when our travel bans are lifted.  Even parks with no gates had portable barricades and no trespassing signs barring the way.  So I did the best I could along the road leading to Green Key Beach.  I talked with this woman as she unloaded her inflatable paddle board out of her van and headed out for a day’s paddle.04-17-20paddleboarder

I also enjoyed talking with this boy and his grandmother.  He was excited for me to take a picture of the little minnow he caught, so I did.  Really, it’s in there.04-17-20guppy.jpg

I never saw who these shoes belonged to, but I’m glad they left a prop there for me.04-17-20shoes.jpg

Then I drove to a pretty park that I drive past when I’m looking for eagles.  And I went on to the eagle nest afterward but nobody was home.04-17-20gulftrace.jpg

The final stop was Tarpon Springs, which was sad to see so empty in what is probably the best weather of their season.  Boredom doesn’t seem like  such a problem in comparison.04-17-20HDRboat.jpg04-17-20HDRbouy2.jpg04-17-20HDRbouy.jpg

Before I came home I tried another iris shot.  What a nice day to be outside.  And I have to say that I saw people two-by-two for the most part.  Keeping the rules.04-17-20iris.jpg

And this guy has nothing to do with anything.  He was peeping in my front door this morning, I could see him through the slats in the mini-blinds, so he was my first photo of what turned out to be a very nice day.04-17-20peepingTom.jpg

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, gardens, healing, learning, making memories, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, simple things, The Narrows, turtles


The Narrows came to me in a brainstorm as a place to go with my friend while she was here.  How often do you get to see raptors up close and personal?  Or at all really.  The brainstorm came to me because while we were at the eagles one day we ran into a friend of mine who volunteers there.  I have walked the trails with him while he held a little screech owl on his wrist and interacted with the other visitors on the trail.  It’s such an unusual way to visit with nature.

But this visit was a little disappointing at first.  There were no volunteers out on the deck with hawks, or Sarge the eagle, on their wrists.  They hadn’t changed their policy, they said, but there is a shortage of volunteers to take the birds out.  A group of disabled veterans arrived as we were getting there also, and I thought they were visitors, but in a little while we saw them out with birds on the trail.  One said that the bird he was holding had had a brain injury, and he had a brain injury also.  It’s a heartwarming place to go.  Maybe a 90 minute drive isn’t too far to go to volunteer…02-29-20vet-owl02-29-20vet-owl202-29-20kestrel02-29-20horned02-29-20Egreathorned02-29-20Easternscreech02-29-20barredA volunteer pointed out the dark-eyed owls and light-eyed owls, and said that the dark eyed ones are spectacular night hunters.  Nature has given them incredible night vision, and I have read that owls can see their prey a mile away, so day hunters also have us all beat by a mile.

I had a plan for the next day also.  I was going to take my friend to the Florida Botanical Gardens for a photo walk with my photo group.  For the heck of it I checked to see where it was in comparison to The Narrows, and it was only two miles from where we were at that moment.  So of course we headed there, but on a chilly day in February it was not nearly the amazing place I have visited in the past.  We didn’t stay long at all, but I am glad to know that I can easily visit these two places on the same day from now on.  Kind of a BOGO!02-29-20rose02-29-20hearts