All that had to cross my mind yesterday was to think of how long it’s been since I’ve been to the zoo and I was out the door so fast that I got there before they were open. Oh, they’d let you in, but you couldn’t leave the entry plaza. But soon I was looking at the orangutans, of course, but I honestly had a very hard time spotting ‘our’ baby. Mom doesn’t hold him in quite the same way these days, he is expected to hang on for dear life as she moves around their enclosure. I saw an especially small baby who was all over the place playing, including as high as he/she could climb, and I finally had to ask a keeper if the newest baby was allowed to play yet. She said that he wants to, but Mom doesn’t let him, so far. And I finally remembered to ask about the contest they held to name this little guy. With a grandmother named Dee Dee, and a mother named Randee, I’m not surprised that the winning name was Riplee.
When I told my Uber driver that I was planning to go to Magnolia Plantation he immediately said that I should go to Middleton Place. I have friends who would have planned ahead and learned some of the history of both of these places, which of course I didn’t do. Middleton Place was every bit as beautiful as the day before, possibly because the two gardens are only a few miles apart and full of azaleas. This is the country’s oldest landscaped garden, is what the brochure said, and it’s also a National Historic site.
I hope there will be many more visits to this area in the future because both of these gardens deserve another visit or two, and there is more to see in the area also. I bought a tee shirt in the gift shop that says Middleton Place, because that is/was my kids’s last name, and it was mine for 10 years or so. I mentioned that to the clerk and she asked if I was a descendant, if I had said I was I wonder if I’d have gotten a discount…
Eventually I realized that the cars weren’t just driving up and road and revving their engines, they were leaving, the cars and coffee event was over. But the water taxi was due to arrive in a half hour or so, and I figured that a round trip on the river might be a fun thing to do before I headed home. You can ride for the day, and get off and on all you’d like, which I’ll have to do another time so that I can explore the stops along the river. I had to google most of this information because I have realized that I know next to nothing about Tampa. But I know more now than I did before I rode the river.
The clouds seemed to be on the verge of breaking up, or so I told myself as I rode the taxi. But it was still a pretty day to be out on the water.
There was a lot going on at Pine Island on Sunday night. Larger groups than are probably supposed to gather were clustered at the various picnic tables. Delicious smells wafted by on the breeze, while kids played and chased those gulls, and a photo shoot took place in anticipation of a new addition to a family. One group erupted in a chorus of ‘happy birthday,’ and the drummers of the drum circle kept up their beat, while the dancers twirled and swayed.
When I took the feature photo I had no clue how much I would like it, and how many directions it took me as I looked at it. My friend and I had watched the girl in the hammock and her two friends as they struggled to get the hammock successfully anchored between the two trees. It was comical and I thought that I ought to be shooting video, and now I wished I had. But in going through my pictures I didn’t single this one out to start with, but eventually I saw that the girl was sitting up so I started to crop it to be just her and her two friends. But then I thought I saw two more pictures in that one image; the two guys over to the right, standing beside their cooler, each with a bottle of beer. And also the two girls way over to the far left, one pointing back over her shoulder to where the sunset would be happening shortly. Even the man walking past, head down, staring at his phone, told another story. I didn’t want to crop the photo, I wanted to keep it as it is. I liked the thought of so many separate people, each with different joys and sorrows, all choosing that moment to escape their every-day lives and come out and enjoy the sunset. Together, yet separately.
I thought I was done with this post, but I went back through the photos with an eye toward ‘street photography’ and this one jumped out at me. The photographer, the drummer, the biker whose shirt matches his bike, the beer drinkers still drinking, and, way over to the right, on the far side of the retaining wall, the photographer and his baby-shoot subjects. Hmm, I thought I needed to go to a city to do street photography, but I stand corrected.
That guy is still on his phone, missing the whole thing!
A trip to Safety Harbor for the sunrise always includes the ulterior motive of heading to Philippe Park to see the owls, or at least try to see them. There are always other photographers there, and I usually embarrass myself when I can’t seem to ‘find’ the owls that everyone else seems to have no trouble seeing. Not yesterday though, the Mom was sitting on a branch that even I had no trouble spotting. Seeing Dad, however, took a little more sleuthing, but now that I’m informed that that’s his favorite spot it’ll probably be easier to spot him next time.
I was told that Mom was keeping an eye on the nest while dear old Dad, tuckered out from his night of hunting, snoozed nearby. And in the nest was a curious baby, or make that two of them, easy to see after you finally do realize where the nest is.
And that’s basically it, Mom watches, Dad snoozes, and baby occasionally pops his head up but mostly is hidden down in the nest. The photographers were waiting, wanting to see Mom fly to the nest and get that owl-in-flight shot, but since nothing much was going on I was tempted to leave, my good-byes were on the tip of my tongue. Then a couple of blue jays seemed to be pestering the parents. That blur to the right of Mom was one who photo bombed the shot. Mom’s ‘horns’ came up, she wasn’t happy, but nothing much happened until the crows got in on the act.
Several crows landed above Mom, and several more near Dad, and they were working together, by the sound of their crowing they were quite obviously harassing the owls.
Mom was getting fluffed up, and the photographers got excited that she was going to fly.
I had just enough time to zoom out a little to give myself room when both owls took off, and those crows did too. I wish I’d gotten sharper shots, but I have to say I was glad to get them at all. From the groans I heard around me I think several people were caught off guard. And that was the finale for the day, for me at least. If the crows were intent on raiding the nest it didn’t work, not this time, and the owls returned to their chosen spots to continue their watching and snoozing…
A beautiful day in a beautiful park, but I get up so early to get to the area for sunrise that I’m too anxious to head home to explore the park and just enjoy it…
I have a friend who seems to always find the perfect spot to view an unusual situation for a photo op. Sometimes it requires being on a beach 50 miles from home at 2 AM, which I did once and it really wasn’t too bad. So I really had no excuse not to try to find the spot for the sunrise and moonset that were going to occur at roughly the same time on Thursday morning. Doesn’t that sound intriguing? Would they be in the same shot somehow? I won’t know until I see her pictures, because I didn’t head out quite as early as I would have had to. But I did decide that I might be able to get a good view of the moonset and sunrise from Bayport. It’s almost as far of a drive for me, but a much easier traffic-wise and I know the area. So off I went and this is what I found, which isn’t what I hoped for, but it was fine. The reverse is true for this evening, a moonrise and sunset happening at nearly the same time. And if I want to join my friends I could find the spot in the daylight. We’ll see how brave/energetic I feel later today…