adventure, exploring new places, following the rules, friends, fun, live and learn, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, technology

Hockey anyone?

I believe I’d been to one hockey game in my life, and we sat in the nose-bleed seats so I’m sure I paid no attention what-so-ever to the action on the ice. I also remember watching hockey on TV with my son, on an old console TV that sat low to the floor, and we laughed our heads off over the kitten who zoomed back and forth trying to catch the puck. So I had very little preparation for the game I attended the other night with my photographer friend, who is primarily a sports photographer by choice. ‘Try to get the puck in your shot’, was the main instruction given to me before the puck dropped for the first game of the season. Of several seasons with the pandemic. USF vs. UCF…

The ceremonial puck drop to start the game. The one and only time you could hope to see their handsome faces.
Finding a few square inches of clear glass to shoot through proved to be quite an impossible feat. And we stood at the edge of the rink, so I will dress more warmly next time.
Sometimes you are glad that that scuffed up glass is there!
‘Concentrate on the goalie’, was another suggestion.
That proved to be good advice.
I really wanted to see their faces as they skated with the puck.
I didn’t concentrate hard enough not to wonder where this guy wandered in from.
More action at the goal. I hope that’s good padding they have on.
In pursuit of the puck.
‘Carrying the puck’.
The puck drop. I’m proud of this shot.

In the feature photo you see the teams shaking hands in a refreshing display of good sportsmanship. Especially welcome after watching such a physical game as this. It was a fun evening…

'scene' along the way, a second look, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, live and learn, making memories, perseverance, photography, Rise and shine, sky, sunrise

Also in Aripeka…

One-Foot Fred may not have shown up for the sunrise this morning, but the sunrise sure did. I could hardly get myself out the car and set up fast enough when I saw the color. The feature photo is my first shot. One photographer commented about how lucky we are to live where we live so that we can go to Aripeka in the morning and see such a spectacular show. I had to agree. And she comes for the sunrise often so I asked if she’d seen Fred lately, and she had, about two weeks ago. There is another great blue heron who comes to the area for handouts now too, she said. It has a bobber around it’s neck so they have been trying to catch that one to get that off of him. No luck so far though.

I needn’t have worried, the color just got better.
My attempt at another angle of virtually the same shot.
What more could I ask of a sunrise?

I also made a new Facebook friend this morning, just in time for us both to see a dolphin in the water. Yes, in Aripeka. She saw him first, then we both saw him breach, and boy was he big. So there we were, poised to take a photo, she with her phone and me with my camera, but he never came back up. Maybe he went back under the bridge and out to the gulf, neither of us thought to look behind us. Nice to meet you Viana, hope you like the pictures

adventure, attention to detail, birds, exploring new places, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, gardens, live and learn, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip


I have to confess that as much as I enjoyed the butterflies at the Butterfly Rainforest yesterday I did let myself get distracted by the adorable Chinese Painted Quail that were busy scooting around in the underbrush. And sometimes napping on the walkway. Another visitor asked if they were okay, and the workers said yes they were. And added they they are the worlds smallest variety of quail. You can see them in the feature photo, a male and female I would expect.

See that tiny little pink dot nearly in the center of this photo? That is a Summer Tanager and it was busy taking a bath and didn’t seem to mind that I was intent on getting pictures.
Thank goodness for the zoom, he was too cute to miss.
He was splishing and splashing.
So cute.
And when he was done he up and flew away.

Actually the fun started right when you walked into the lobby, before you even entered the rainforest. In the lobby was a huge screen on the wall, and when we entered on the screen was a Mastodon and baby, wandering in the lobby. We quickly discovered that if you walked into the area the animal on the screen would start following you, and chasing you. You can imagine how excited the two young boys we saw were as they were chased by a tiger.

Not a great photo I know, but it was quite effective in person.
Tigers chased you more than the Mastodons did.
Also on display in the reception area. Fossils was the other big feature while we were there. I was sort of along for the ride, not expecting to be as interested as I turned out to be.
This display was nice, in the kids’s play area.
Hanging above the kids’s heads, the stuff of nightmares.

Did you know that giant sloths existed years ago? Big! Like 14 feet tall or so. And Dog bears? Not a dog and not a bear, but a dog bear. And did you know that horses used to be small and have gotten bigger over time? I didn’t either. And now I wish I’d taken more pictures.

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, 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.

'scene' along the way, adventure, exploring new places, friends, fun, live and learn, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip

Fenwick Island Light…

It takes a while to catch up with yourself when you get home from a long road trip. Especially one that had so many elements of home, family, and friends for each of us. It was nice to be in Maryland again, but I really hadn’t spent much time at the beach there over the years, so in our search for the ponies at Assateague we stopped when we saw a sign for the Fenwick Island Light. I’d heard of it but hadn’t wondered much about it’s history.

I had to face facts that there wasn’t going to be a good way to get a shot of this lighthouse, and my photoshop skills wouldn’t do the trick to get rid of the power lines.
Well, if I looked straight up at it there were no power lines.

It seems that the Penns of Pennsylvania, and the Calverts of Maryland were in disagreement over the location of the actual border between their states. Three counties in Pennsylvania were in question, and they agreed to have the land surveyed and a marker was placed on the spot that was decided upon. The marker stands at the front of the lighthouse. And, surprisingly, those counties now make up Delaware.

This was placed to serve a purpose, not for its decorative value.
I had spotted these markers in Yellowstone and in the Tetons, but this is the first one I’ve seen in the east.

We weren’t allowed to climb to the top, which was fine with me. But I did enjoy this tiny space with the brick and the spiral staircase. A glimpse into the past…