a second look, boats, fantasy images, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, learning, nothing's easy, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, sunset, technology

Deja Vu…

Four years ago to the day, last Saturday to be precise, I went to my second photo walk with my ‘new’ (at the time) photo group. I saw the announcement of a photo walk to see the Dunedin Christmas Boat Parade and had to summon up all my courage to go join in with a bunch of people I didn’t know. Especially true since I was such a novice with my camera, which to me was a big deal investment, but I was barely functional with it. Lucky for me one of the group administrators set my camera up for me that day, thanks Kate. Our leader Jeff had snagged prime territory for great views of the boats as they made their way into the marina, and even provided chairs for us to sit on. A luxury I’m afraid I didn’t appreciate until 4 years later when we were faced with finding a place to shoot the scene on our own. Weighed down by equipment, and with two (really three) hours to kill before the boats would arrive, we decided to take advantage of the empty bleachers which would give us a great view of the boats arriving at the marina. Great view yes, but a challenge for photography with boats arriving and leaving and their lights overlapping, etc. The feature photo is from my iPhone as the sun was setting, and it was about 6 PM, time for the parade to begin. It took almost an hour before the boats began to arrive at the marina. A dramatic sunset filled the gap.

If we had brought chairs we may have been able to sit at the railing. On the other hand, the top row of the bleachers was a pretty good perspective over all.
The sunrise itself got a lot more dramatic than it first appeared that it would be.
The reflections were amazing…
There was a dolphin sighting…
I didn’t see a bear in the Smokies, but I saw a bear on a boat.
Boats were coming and going…
And going and coming…
Frosty was there…
A simple display created quite the reflection.
The boats came into the marina to make their turn…
Rudolph lit the way…
Some boats carried lots of people, some not so many…
Do I know what this boat was all about? No. But I included this picture because of the little girl…
And finally Santa arrived, escorted by the Pinellas sheriff department.

Even though I had advice about what settings to use for this shoot I will need more practice before I’ll be really happy with shots like these. But I was happy with the day itself. Winter in Florida can’t be beat.

'scene' along the way, adventure, Amazing artwork, attention to detail, bucket list, exploring new places, fantasy images, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, Just do it, learning, making memories, old dogs new tricks, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip, the big picture, weather

Sanding Ovations…

I have always wanted to see the sand sculpture event at the beach, but something always prevented me from heading to Treasure Island. And it was not on my mind at 2 AM on Friday when I walked out the front door to look for the lunar eclipse and got rained on. I hadn’t seen a notice that the sand sculptures were even happening, but, lucky for me, my friend did, and off we went. You can see from the pictures that it was a perfect day, hot in the sun but with a wonderful breeze to cool you off and keep the kites aloft. Traffic was surprisingly light driving there, and I was delighted that I had easy access to the sculptures without people in the way. I neglected to notice all the commotion in the background of my pictures while I was taking them. And with the tools in Lightroom and Photoshop I could have knocked my head against the wall trying to remove them, or I could not worry about it and assure myself that I’m presenting an accurate picture of the event. But I’m sure there are lots more people and distractions going on today and tomorrow as the event reaches full swing.

You can see that this is a work in progress. I have no idea when the judging will take place, but I was blissfully unaware of the unfinished aspects of some of the sculptures while I took pictures. They will be on display through the holidays, barring weather related damage. This one is Neptune’s Organ.
Lest you worry about my hydration during this event you’ll be happy to know that we drank Liquid Death while we walked around. At one point I was holding two cans of this when a gentleman asked me how my drink was, and was disappointed to realize it was water. Not even fizzy water. Many people probably shook their heads over this old two-fisted drinker.
This ” tort-a-potty” was one of the first stops of the day.
I didn’t catch the name of this one, something about a mermaid trapped in the kelp.
The DJ was playing some really fun music as we walked around, and he announced that someone had just told him that since he was located beside a sculpture named ‘whale wash’ then he ought to play Car Wash, and he did!
This one was Pilotfish. Those portholes were actually openings to the other side, with different faces looking out on that side.
The hiney on this one caught my eye so I took this picture. As the day went on there were plenty of bikini clad gals walking around showing almost as much hiney as this.
I made it a point to take another photo of that last sculpture and totally missed seeing that he was kissing that scuba guy kite who hovered over us all day.
This is the pregnant mermaid. I love that the little toy rocking horse is actually a sea horse.
Biting the arm that feeds you.
A mighty battle…
The flip side of the battle sculpture was this fresh fish sign.
When you don’t pay attention to the activity in the background you might wind up with a picture you could title “Off With His Head”.
This castle sculpture was placed at the far end of all the sculptures, and was the biggest and most elaborate. I was happy that I could crop the photo and only have a couple of people in it. For scale, LOL, but not really.
This might have been the more interesting view of that castle sculpture, if not for the tools of the trade all on display. I’m surprised that they didn’t show when I took the picture from the other side.

You can certainly tell which photos were taken with the sun behind the sculptures and which had the sun on their faces. As usual I was happy to be out talking pictures in such a fun environment, it’s only when I look at the pictures later that the details of backgrounds and shadows really hit me over the head. But there was so much going on, rows and rows of vendors and a great selection of really good food to choose to eat, that I just happily clicked away. It might be worth another trip next Friday…

'scene' along the way, boats, coping, exploring new places, facing facts, friends, fun, Just do it, learning, live and learn, perseverance, photography, sunset, technology

This is a test…

With the change to daylight savings time comes an extra added bonus to me. Our Tuesday night photography meet-up, which is more social than anything, convenes for dinner at 6 PM. At this moment sunset here is at 5:37PM, making it possible to stop for a quick photo op on the way to Clearwater. Weaver Park seemed like the perfect spot to stop. Nice scenery and a hop, skip, and a jump to our destination. So the stop and the sunset were perfect, so far so good. And let me assure you that I had nothing whatsoever to do with the predicament of the boat in the feature photo. In case you wondered. How it got hung up on the rocks remains a mystery at the moment.

It seems this egret wondered about the boat also.
Signage at the pier says no fishing, but not everyone got the message. I loved seeing that moon overhead.
It was quite chilly and windy, so by the time I took this photo I was anxious to get to the car and be on our way to visiting with friends and having dinner.
Not that I rushed away.
One last image before we left.

As far as the test goes it was an abject failure. I was able to edit the photos on the iPad in Lightroom mobile, and save them to a thumb drive. That was fine. But once I was in WordPress and trying to add the pictures from the thumb drive was when the iPad couldn’t seem to ‘see’ the thumb drive. It seems that the smarter all these devices get the dumber I seem to get. It’s pretty darned annoying…

I resorted to using the computer this time, but I’m still in hopes of using the iPad as my computer while I travel. Or I could just stay home, but what’s the fun in that?

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, exploring new places, friends, fun, kids, learning, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel

Odds and ends…

I was chauffeur driven for a week in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, which means I was taking pictures from the car, a lot of pictures. Now when I look at my pictures I have some that never did fit into any post I made already, but I liked them, so here goes. The feature photo is one of the four tunnels we drove through every day we were in NC. Two tunnels were longer, but that doesn’t make for as interesting of a picture.

Mingus Mill. A destination in the park, but one that didn’t yield as many pictures for some reason.
I loved seeing these silos along the roadside in Bryson City. After wishing to stop each time we drove past I finally said something and my driver kindly obliged.
This view escaped us the first couple of times we passed by, but once we noticed it we made it a point to stop for a picture.
The actual water wheel in action. Just for show at a shopping area.
This is a view into the house at the farm museum at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. I noticed this boy standing still, looking into the room, after the rest of the family had moved on. I wondered, hoped really, that he was trying to imagine life in those days.
Just a flower that caught my eye.
This carving is outside the Indian museum in Cherokee, NC.

I’m so glad that we made this trip. My computer is full of images of lovely fall scenery. I was initially disappointed that all the hills weren’t ablaze with color, but once I found myself traveling through tunnels of foliage overhead I was quite happy with the fall foliage we did see. It was a nice trip, but it’s also nice to be home…

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Puckett cabin…

Continuing the theme of life along the Blue Ridge Parkway long ago we have the Puckett cabin. Home to ‘Aunt’ Orelena Hawks Puckett, who’s story left me astounded. Here is a photo of the sign that left me so amazed.

In case you are reading on your phone and can’t read the writing on the photo, she began her career in midwifery after age 50, and delivered her last baby in 1939 at age 102. She rode horseback or walked to care for her patients. The sign says that she never lost a mother or baby through her own fault. But, most upsetting to me, is the fact that she bore 24 children and none lived past infancy. I can’t help but wonder what the reasons for that were. And to realize that she was a hostage to her own body to have become pregnant all those times, which would have been enough to drive anyone over the edge, but she served her community all her days. To say that life was hard in those days is such an understatement.

To be honest I can’t remember if this photo was taken before or after we saw Puckett cabin. Not that it matters, but you can see that the scenery along the way had changed a lot from the scenery along Skyline Drive. We stopped for other displays along the way, more mountain homes, and a pond at which I spotted the white butterfly.

'scene' along the way, adventure, antiques, attention to detail, backyard visitors, courage, exploring new places, fences, finding my way, friends, history, just imagine, learning, making memories, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip

Thoughts of the past…

The Blue Ridge Parkway offers more than just the fabulous scenery at their stops along the way. Sometimes you find a preserved example of an Appalachian Farm to explore. It was nice to get out of the car for more than a minute or two, to walk a little, and to think of what challenges people faced not too long ago, to make a living in this quiet place.

If you stop to think for just a moment you realize that each section of fence was the result of hard labor on someone’s part. The lovely tree we can attribute to God’s handiwork.
Simple home for simple living.
The barn, to shelter the animals who depend on you and also provide their labor as well as food.
We didn’t talk with these photographers, though now I wish we would have. They had a nice camera/lens set up, and a tripod, and they seemed intent on the flowers behind the fence. Or was it something else?
The root cellar, preserving the fruits of your labor for the long winter days.
And the outhouse. We all know how necessary that is.