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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…

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Crystal Beach…

I’m afraid that the feature photo gives this whole post away. You’ve already seen just how pretty the sunset got. But I’m ahead of myself. When I arrived at Crystal Beach ahead of my friend I was happy to see a somewhat promising scene for our sunset shoot.

A potentially decent sunset in the making, I thought.
As I watched the clouds seemed to be moving, creating a bit of drama up there.
I kept taking pictures, becoming more excited as the sky continued to develop.

But as much as the sunset was the goal, the real excitement was that my friend, Maryann, was bringing the drone(s) she had been flying for the last few months. DroneS, because apparently you can’t have just one, or so she tells me. I’ve been amazed from the first time I’d seen drone photos, wondering how the heck you point them at what you want them to ‘see’ and then hold them steady enough to take a decent photo. Just handholding a camera can be a challenge at times. And then she arrived, and I became torn between getting shots of the sky as it got prettier, and then resetting the camera to shoot the drone itself, which turned out not to be a challenge at all because it just rose up in the sky and stayed put. Went up straight, no guesswork there, so avoiding trees and power lines isn’t really an issue. Then she showed me her phone screen, which showed the drone view, and she could take pictures at will. The controller looked like a video game controller, so that took care of aiming her. And before you take the drone up you ‘pin’ the spot where she started so that when you call her she comes ‘home’.

The drone view.
Hovering completely still, but sometimes up over 100 feet and it wasn’t so easy to see her.
Maryann had drawn a crowd and she was explaining things to them more than she was to me. I was eavesdropping as I dashed around getting photos with the camera and the iPhone.
It was hard to turn away from the sunset to pay attention to what the drone was doing.
This, I thought when I took it, would be my ultimate picture of the night.

We were about ready to call it a day when I happened to glance over and saw that behind some trees another whole cloud bank was ablaze with color. I had to go back out onto the pier to get that feature photo. It was quite the finale of the evening. And what I failed to explain is that I drive past the turn off for this beach every time I go to Clearwater for a class, and many times for the photo shoots also. But I had never noticed the sign for Crystal Beach, just another one of those details that seem to escape me as I go about my days.

PS. Maryann was happy to point out that no rules of flying drones were broken in the making of this blog post!

PSS: You can check out Maryann’s stuff at MaryannMiller.com. Also look for her at

http://www.marymiller.zenfolio.com

a second look, adventure, Bayport, Florida landmarks, fun, Just do it, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, sky, sunrise, Up and at 'em

Bayport was calling my name…

Actually I’d been hearing that call for a while now, so it was silly of me to wait until daylight savings was in effect making me rush more than I’d have had to just the week before. The weather report said cloudy all day, but I walked out my front door to check for myself and saw that there were breaks in the clouds, so off I went. I guess it goes without saying that I was glad I rousted myself out. It was a beautiful morning.

Sunrise was in full swing when I parked and got out of the car with my cell phone to get a quick picture. I never did remember to get the camera out, there just wasn’t time.
I hurried onto the dock to position myself to get this shot of the fishing boat crossing the water in front of me.
I’ve lost track now of just how long it took for this dock to be rebuilt, but it’s a boon to the fishermen and the photographers too.
It kept getting prettier.
And, as always, the pastel clouds behind me caught my eye.
The sun peeked above the trees and that seemed to be the cue for the grackles to fly in. Several of them watched the sun coming up with me.
I had expected to head to the car after the last shot, but I heard the motor of one more fishing boat heading out so I stopped for one more shot.
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Details…

A couple of weeks ago one of the photo club members was at Myakka River State Park and saw a flock of Roseate Spoonbills fly in. “A hundred”, he said. His pictures were amazing, and ever since then ‘Spoonies’ have been on my mind. A very fun Octoberfest party in Myakka City was just the excuse we needed to head to the park ourselves. We went this morning, and after driving the whole park it became obvious that if I was going to get any sort of pictures of the spoonies I was going to have to walk a very wet and squishy path. But I was happy to see them at least. When I got into the car and looked at my pictures I lamented that the turkey vultures had photo bombed the pictures. Earlier in the day I had said that I’m not a detail person, and when I got the pictures into the computer I saw who else had photo bombed the pictures and proved my point. How did I miss that alligator, and why did all the birds just hang around with him?

They did at least keep their eye on that big boy.
These were the most spoonies I’ve seen so far so I’m happy.
I saw this cute guy from the bird boardwalk.
Merlin says it’s a black necked stilt.
I always loved to see the tri-color heron who visited my back yard in Spring Hill.
We saw lots of wood storks and ibis too.
This is a pretty park.

There are many parks within a couple of hours of home that we can go to see birds now that the migration season is upon us.

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BooTampa!

They were preparing for Halloween at the zoo the day we were there. And it was toddler day, which explains all the little kids owe saw…

Spooky garden scene for the kids.
Even spookier.
Dr. Hoo Doo.
Big blue spider
And now this. Mask or no mask?
Colobus monkey costumes?
Whoever they are they are enjoying the view.
Who would fit into an elephant costume except another elephant.
Definitely a mask!
Most colorful costume prize winner.
Really Riplee.
His antics were so cute.
I forget the full name of these guys, but Schmidt is in there somewhere.
My only shot from the safari ride around the zoo.
Just a nice flower, with a teeny tiny bee in the center,

Lightroom has added some powerful new features in this week’s update. Our Photo guru is planning on teaching a class to show us what’s available and what we can do with these new features. I will be stuck until then though because I uploaded the file but now I’ve lost Lightroom all together. These are photos I had worked on before. I haven’t resorted to total panic, yet…

a second look, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, kids, live and learn, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography

Catching up with Riplee…

The other day it dawned on me that it’s been quite a while since I checked up on Riplee. You remember him, the baby orangutan who was born last November 15th, so he is nearly a year old. I think that each time I’ve been back to ZooTampa I’ve hoped to see him displaying his own baby-orangutan self, but up until yesterday each visit had him still in his mother’s arms. The infancy lasts longer than I might have thought. But this visit, I hoped, would be different. And it was.

We arrived early enough to catch the orangutans enjoying heads of romaine, and slim branches covered in tasty leaves. As evidenced by the enthusiasm they displayed.
At first glance Riplee seemed to be coming in second to the head of romaine his mother, DeeDee, held. You can probably guess that I took pictures almost constantly once Dee Dee turned around and I could see the baby, but it was hard to get one that showed his face at that point.

After taking many, many pictures we decided to walk through the rest of the zoo to see what we could see, but when we returned we found that Dee Dee and her mother were sitting side by side up on a large post with their backs to us. Riplee was between them, holding onto two ropes and appearing to be wishing to climb them. Now this was the sort of photo I’d been hoping for the last few times I’d been to the zoo.

It was so exciting to see him on his own, so to speak. The only thing was that once I looked at my pictures in the computer I realized that Riplee’s poses were not modest, not a bit. I wasn’t sure which photos to use on social media in that circumstance, but lucky for me I had so many that I was able to find some that were cute and also preserved his dignity.
He not only wanted to climb the ropes, he also seemed to be willing to taste them too.
He climbed ever higher, while his mother, by all indications, paid no attention. It shouldn’t have been surprising since n their native Borneo their name means’ tree people’, because they live most of their lives in the tree canopy above them.
Somehow he found things to taste as he climbed.
Eventually he reached the tippy-top, and suddenly there was mom, who took charge and got him down.

This little guy will be so much fun to continue to visit. If orangutans hadn’t already been a favorite of mine they certainly would be now.