a second look, birds, friends, fun, learning, making memories, moon, pelicans, perseverance, photography, sky, sunset

Try, try again…

I looked at my Crystal Beach photos again and wondered where my head was when I chose, and edited, photos for my last post. Maybe I should wait an extra day between working on them and posting them to see if I still think they look good. Or I can blame the recent cataract surgery since I have over a month to go before they’ll check my vision again. So this is the same shoot but different pictures.

I guess you can see why I wondered if the sunrise would be extinguished by those dark clouds. On the other hand it’s so fun to see the sun’s rays peeking through any opening in the clouds that are there.
The little blue, or rather un-blue, heron again.
I was excited to see some color coming out in the sky, and we found this natural ‘frame’ for the scene, so I took a lot of pictures of this same scene.
And yes, as the sun began to drop from under the heavy clouds the color came up.
The word twinkletoes came to mind when I saw this picture in the computer.
Flocks of pelicans were flying over. Heading for a roosting spot nearby, or maybe they have many miles to travel?
Still looking for nice foregrounds for the main event.
Gotta love a nice moon shot. And there is a full moon set complete with a partial eclipse coming on Tuesday morning. Very early.
I heard one of those girls comment that ‘this is dangerous’ as she skated onto the pier on roller blades.
And there it was finally, what we were waiting for. The sun escaping those dark clouds and giving us the color we hoped to see.
It was worth waiting for.

The feature photo is the view looking to the south from the pier as I waited for my friends to arrive. I know I mentioned that our visit with friends after the shoot included sitting outside in perfect weather, but did I mention the candlelight? Thanks to Eddie and Linda for their hospitality.

'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, butterflies, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, flowers, friends, fun, gardens, making memories, Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, perseverance, photography, technology

Butterfly garden…

The thought of another rainy day had me a little down in the dumps yesterday. But when the sun came out in the early afternoon we decided to go to the Nature Coast Botanical Garden with our cameras. The last time I was there they had recently pruned all the greenery back, and I thought it looked a bit sad. This time the greenery was lush, almost overgrown, and the butterflies were seemingly frantic in their activity. The feature photo is the two black butterflies who were in constant motion, chasing each other and flitting from flower to flower. After the fact I thought of the adjustments I might have made in the camera to help stop the action, fearing I hadn’t gotten any sharp photos. I’m actually surprised to have gotten a couple.

I guess they slowed down a little.
This garden has the luxury of lots of shade, and many tables and benches that you might chose to stop at to relax. You might even bring lunch. I used to pass this garden almost every time I left the house, now it’s a little out of the way, but not too far.
I love this little castle planter. I can’t resist taking a picture every time I visit.
This sculpture is finished now, carved out of the trunk of a tree that stood here. What a beautiful addition to the garden.
While my friend looked at the train garden I was excited to see this big yellow butterfly, who posed rather nicely for me.
I really didn’t get as many good shots of him as I thought I had. The new camera has a ‘joy stick’ that you can move with your thumb to adjust your focus. It’s not natural for me to use that yet so I cut off pieces of his wings in a lot of shots.
The train garden sits like a little oasis surrounded by the train tracks. The owner runs the trains on Saturdays, at least some Saturdays, and there is a button the kids can push to make the sound of the train whistle. Tucked away in that foliage are two little waterfalls, but you will have to take my word for it since they were well hidden.
This train station seems new to me. Those passengers will have to wait a while for the next train.

It’s a treat to get outside even for a little while. And dinner with the photo group finished the day off perfectly.

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, friends, fun, making memories, perseverance, photography, sky, storms, strangers become friends, weather

Shooting with friends…

Our photography group was incredibly active before covid, and we have now begun to schedule photo walks while we pray for them not to be rained out. After I joined I attended all the classes and photowalks that I could manage, and that has been a blessing to me with the new friends I have made. So last night we set out to St. Pete for the night photo walk extra early, to beat the traffic. This despite some very ominous skies in just the direction we were headed. We parked two hours early, and just then we heard a crack of thunder just over head. But, amazingly, the storm didn’t materialize and the clouds blew inland. And quite a few other photo-walk starved members showed up for a fun evening.

We met near the St. Pete Pier and rode the free trolley to the end of the pier to grab a light dinner and kill some time before the shoot.
The fisherman on the left has caught a shark a day since last April, or so said the trolley drivers. The fisherman knew that they were talking about him so he came over and got out his phone to show us photos of his prize catches.
This is our spot to meet the group. Silly me, I touched the ‘papers’ on the bench since I thought they had gotten all wet in the short rain that we did have… but they were part of the sculpture.
And then we walked along the busy downtown streets, peeking into doorways, and at fun store fronts, as well as busy bars and restaurants.
I will confess that I was hot and sweaty, and struggling with an extra heavy tripod that I have no intention of borrowing again. My fellow photographers were shooting up at buildings, and squatting on their heels to get the angles they were looking for. I was barely keeping up, and when I got a chance to shoot I didn’t even set up the tripod, I just used it as a monopod and I was sure I wouldn’t get any usable shots at all. That I did came as a huge surprise to me.
I almost skipped shooting this doorway but my friend told me to take the shot and he’d wait with me.
This was my last shot and my favorite. We were returning to the car about a half hour after sunset and I liked this view. Another shot taken on the run, I think I’m loving my new camera.

The group stopped at one of the bars we had walked past and all had a drink together. Or maybe two even. I think I wasn’t the only one to be happy to be out shooting in a group again. And to think of the months of nice weather we have ahead of us, and all the places we might go, makes me happy.

'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, black and white, exploring new places, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, moments, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Puffins redux…

The gal from Audubon who rode along with us on our Puffin adventure acted like a bit of a cheerleader. She gave us a talk about their history in Maine as we were cruising to Egg Rock Island, and warned us that it was possible that we might not see them at all. No guarantees. She told us about their habits, how hard it is for them to become airborne, and that we might see them ‘running on the surface of the water’ until those flapping wings took over. So I blame her for the fact that 463 photos of the 1344 that I took on vacation were taken on that cruise. We first came across just a few, but they were close to the boat and in the sun. They might have been the only ones we saw, so I started shooting and pretty much didn’t stop.

Remember the Puffins were bouncing with the surf, and so was the boat, which was another reason to just keep shooting. I wasn’t expecting so many shots to be reasonably sharp.
The groups we saw later were more Puffins but further from the boat.
I carefully checked all my pictures looking for interactions between them, which was a bit tedious, but as far as activity goes this was about it.
But we did see them fly, and probably wouldn’t have appreciated that as much without the Audubon gal telling us that they flap their wings 400 beats/minute to become airborne. I said it before but I just have to repeat it. She said to think of them as “pudgy, slow-moving, hummingbirds.”
Look at the little guy in front, what a graceful little thing he is, LOL.

If I ever see a cute little stuffed animal Puffin I know I’ll have to adopt it…

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

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse…

Rocks and sailboats and beautiful harbors. Is it any wonder that I can’t look at a photo and have a clue which day and/or place it was taken. But I can check my Lightroom data and know which day on the calendar it was taken, but remembering where we went on that day is sometimes hard. My friend was the one who noticed the Puffin cruise and signed us up, but he also wanted to see the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse after we had lunch. This sounded like a fine idea to me…

I have one camera and one all-purpose lens, so I hopped out of the car and took this picture while he was still putting together the camera/lens combination he wanted to use. Maybe I have the perfect set up for myself, the fewer decisions I have to make the better. But I do think about newer, ‘better’, equipment now and then, so I’ll never say never.
I couldn’t resist posting this picture because I liked seeing the horizon line through the window.
Pemaquid is open and you are allowed to climb to the top, but we didn’t attempt that. We did go into the fisherman museum next door.
I loved that stained glass window.
There was more to see there than just the lighthouse. I loved the view, but unlike other people there I resisted the urge to walk out onto the rocks. Especially since the signage cautioned that occasional larger waves are possible, and they might sweep people off the rocks.
Maybe these people didn’t have cameras to protect since they weren’t worried about that occasional wave.