a second look, adventure, bugs, Florida wildlife, live and learn, nature, perseverance, photography

Admitting defeat…

The wildlife at the Hillsborough River State Park chased me away from the photo walk I had been looking forward to attending today. The wildlife in this particular case were some very aggressive mosquitos. I tried to suck it up and be at least as tough as the two Mikes that did finally show up were, but eventually I cried uncle, apologized, and high tailed it back to the car. When I add hashtags to my posts I always include ‘perseverance’ and ‘photography.’ But the photo walk I attended today defeated me, at least as far as perseverance goes. I did get a couple of photos though, so it wasn’t a total bust. And the rapids, such as they are, were flowing better than usual so I’m happy that I got that far into the woods at least. I took a Benedryl as soon as I got home, but tried to resist taking another one or I’d have slept the rest of the day away.

I love this sign.
If I hadn’t been so busy swatting mosquitos I would like to think that I would have climbed (carefully) down to the bank of the river and have had a much nicer view of the rapids.

I’ve learned my lesson. I will keep bug spray in my car, as well as in the basket of the trike, which is where it was today. Maybe even in my camera bag if I’m sure it won’t leak. Then I will do better at that perseverance thing. I’m afraid I may have promised myself that in the past, but this was the worst mosquito attack I’ve ever experienced. Or I’m getting wimpy in my old age.

a second look, adventure, Florida landmarks, fun, live and learn, perseverance, photography, ZooTampa

Doing my homework…

We went to a fun photography class on Saturday. It was a refresher class on how to shoot photos at the zoo. The reminders were helpful, even if I didn’t manage to adhere to them as strictly as I might have hoped. Getting your lens up close to a wire fence or a plexiglass window will cause the enclosure to not show at all. Our leader, Jeff, also reminded us to watch out for unfortunate backgrounds for our photos. Try to select a spot with a good background and wait for the animal to to walk into that spot, suggested Jeff. I’m afraid my patience wore out long before that happened.

I decided that catching the elephant munching on grass would do for a shot.
There were lots of kids at the zoo this morning, and they were very excited to see the flamingos.
Jeff used a photo of a giraffe during the class. He challenged us to try to get both eyes in a photo. I did it, but barely.
I’d been skipping the lorikeet enclosure the last few times I’d been to ZooTampa. Now I wonder why.
When you have cut off a body part make it look like you did it on purpose. The kinkajou is missing a very long tail, but only in my pictures.
The Komodo dragon enclosure is directly behind the orangutan playground. But when we arrived the orangutans weren’t out yet, though their greens and lots of colorful boxes were waiting for them. So I peeked through the glass and this guy was right there. I was happy the glass was there also.
An Okapi, possibly assembled by a committee.
Getting an angle on the Spoonies wasn’t easy.
This needle-nosed alligator look alike is usually looking sleepy. Not today!
The tiger was facing away from me. Then he lifted his face into the sun.
Then he turned and looked at me. I didn’t worry about having the lens zoomed in a bit too close.
Someone else was looking at me too. He was big, but the guy next door was way bigger!

As you might suspect, there are a lot of orangutan photos yet to be viewed. They’ll keep me busy tomorrow.

a second look, backyard visitors, birds, life goes on, live and learn, nature, perseverance, photography

Close to home…

Another trip out to the neighborhood park with the new camera yielded no dragonfly shots. I went out much earlier in the day, hoping there would be some dragonfly/bird action. What I found was a couple of moms and their kids packing up some lacrosse equipment, so I was a bit late for potential action shots. I kind of hate the question, “What do you like to shoot?” Whatever crosses my path is my answer…

I did see Palm Warblers, the tiny little birds I’ve been hoping to shoot for a while now.
It was a good exercise for using the 100-400mm lens I bought for the new mirrorless camera. You see how tiny these little birds are, plus they are busy little things. And the extra megapixels in the camera helps keep some sharpness when you have to crop a LOT.
These cute little birds at least provided an opportunity to practice, practice, practice.
So I thought I’d sit on the bench and wait and see what would happen. But you are seldom without a lizard for company here in Florida. My son once brought one home in the little container I’d given him, with holes punched in the top, to collect ‘callipiders.’ When I saw it on the rug I jumped up onto the bed and started screaming. His four-year-old self had to rescue me. I’m better now.
No dragonflies, no spiders, just weeds.

I was concentrating on the tiny birds and nearly missed the Great Egret strolling through my shot. Being outside is such a pleasure these days. It might be hot in the sun still, but it’s delightful in the shade. I may get homesick for New England here and there, but Florida really is home to me these days.

adventure, coping, finding my way, Florida wildlife, live and learn, nature, perseverance, photography, Uncategorized


I love my car, I really do. It has taken me on a lot of actual miles, which in turn lead to many emotional ‘miles’ over the last few years, and for that I am grateful.

But if I have one complaint about the car it’s the fact that the windshield fogs up whenever I head out for a sunrise photo shoot. I have no idea if my previous cars also fogged up in the early morning darkness because getting out for the sunrise was never a priority until the last few years. My routine to combat the nearly impossible-to-see-through windshield involves using the defroster, turning the heat on even though I don’t need it, and opening windows a crack, none of which seem to do much to solve the problem. So I drive with the windshield wipers on. If other drivers notice this I assume they are also struggling to see where they are going so they probably understand my dilemma.

But this morning it wasn’t the thought of a nice sunrise that had me out in the darkness, it was a hankering for a pumpernickel bagel that rousted me out. I started the car and immediately the windshield fogged up, so I turned on the wipers, opened the window a crack, and flicked away a drip of water from my hand as I started up the street. After I turned onto the main street, the one with no place to pull over, is when I saw something jump on the dashboard. I screamed my best horror movie surprise scream, but I quickly saw that it was a frog. A frog which I now realized was the ‘water drop’ that had landed on my hand and that I had flicked away. Now I was watching the frog as he tried in vain to jump out the windshield, while also trying to see the road through fog while the windshield wipers wiped away. The photo op came when I was able to pull into a parking lot and take a photo, after which I was going to figure out how to encourage him to hop out of the car. Instead he disappeared down into the opening between the dashboard and the windshield, and that’s the last I saw of him.

I can’t say for sure that no frogs were harmed in the creation of this blog post, but I must say that I did enjoy my pumpernickel bagel. And with two more in the freezer I may not have to repeat this adventure for a little while. And another day dawns…

'scene' along the way, adventure, attention to detail, attitude adjustments, friends, fun, live and learn, making memories, perseverance, photography, sunset

Plant City Balloon Fest…

I found myself to be a little disappointed as we first arrived at the Plant City Balloon Fest last night. It was smaller than I expected, less vendors and food trucks, but the nice sized crowd seemed happy. A live band was playing and people were looking for just the right spot, and setting up their chairs to get ready for a show. There was only one balloon fully inflated at that point, and I should have realized that there would be more to come. There were at least 8 or 9 balloons in all, and watching them being inflated was pretty entertaining. Entertaining and more than a little scary, seeing the flames so close to the fabric of the balloons themselves.

Flames, and fabric, and passengers, all pretty much huddled together.
For $25 you could have a tethered ride above the crowd.
I spotted Tweety being inflated and got a kick out of that one. But Sylvester was a surprise because he was facing the wrong way for a bit, and then he turned around. Of course if you have one you surely will have the other also. What surprised me was a couple of kids in front of us who paid no attention to them, they probably never saw the Tweety and Sylvester cartoons. But at least two senior citizens got a kick out of them.
I really wanted to use this shot as my feature photo, but that would have given it all away right from go.
There was a laser show at 8 PM, and they scheduled another one for 10 PM but we left after the first one. The lights were amazing, I will admit, but the photos aren’t great, only a hint of what it was like.
There was about a half an hour, maybe more, of amazing color.

The best thing about this event was that it was only a half hour from home. An easy drive, which isn’t always the case. When I see this event again I’ll happily go.

a second look, brainstorms, Just do it, learning, live and learn, perseverance, photography, sky, storms, technology, weather

Getting ahead of myself…

The other day I decided that it was about time I went out to do something, anything. But right about then my phone app informed me that it was raining, only it wasn’t. I looked out to see dark clouds overtaking the sky, but leaving sunlit white clouds in a still beautiful blue sky. So I grabbed the new phone, the one that has an amazing new camera that does work, even if I can’t use it as an actual phone at the moment. One of the abilities of the new iPhone 14 pro max is the ability to take a 48 MP photo, so I set it to do just that and rushed to the park and shot a few photos of that gorgeous sky.

I hoped the depth of that sky would come through.
I disturbed the ducks who were all sitting on the bank minding their own business.
More sky, just because.
I wondered how that sky would look in black and white. I hope I can take the black and white class the next time my club offers it.

There was a problem though. At 48 MP WordPress couldn’t process the images as they were, and my post never uploaded, or even saved in WordPress. I guess it gave up and sent it into trash. So these are the reduced size photos that made WordPress happy, and makes me wonder what the heck you do with a 48 MP photo. Print it probably, another example of a technology that I haven’t mastered as of yet. It wasn’t my intention to have to deal with a new phone, camera, and even lens, all at the same time, but that’s where I am at the moment.

And, by the way, I made it back into the house just as the skies opened.