Saturday night’s sunset was gorgeous, what little I got to see of it. I ran out the door barefooted and took a picture with my phone. When that happens it always makes me want to head out for the sunrise the next morning, as if the color from the night before will somehow make the sunrise just as pretty. I didn’t work, at least the other ladies who happened to be at Bayport taking pictures were complaining that it wasn’t what they had hoped for. ‘Thank goodness for the full moon’, they said. I didn’t disagree, but at the last minute, once the sun was up, the sky did get pretty, and yes, thank goodness for that full moon.
This park is just lovely, but I usually don’t stop to admire it’s green and shady peacefulness. My usual process is to get to Safety Harbor for the sunrise and then head to the park to see the owls, and once I’ve gotten those pictures I’m ready to drive the hour home again. But I did take a few moments to take some pictures of the park the other day. I love the stonework of the retaining walls and the path that zig zags its way down the slope to the water. As I took the feature photo I saw a bird fly through my shot, you can see it just below the horizon line towards the right hand side of the photo. I thought to myself that I hoped it would look good in the shot, but what took me by surprise was the big splash I heard a second later. I thought it must have been a pelican since they aren’t graceful when they hit the water, but I was surprised to see an osprey with a fish flying up and away. You know I took pictures but they were all too blurry to bother with.
As I approached the car to go home I saw a photographer under a tree near my car, shooting up into the branches. There had been a group there earlier also, and I was told that there was a screech owl up in that tree. I have a hard enough time seeing the much larger great horned owls so I stuck to my guns and got my owlet shots, and then my shots of the park, so I made one last stop and discovered that the osprey had chosen that tree to stop and have his lunch.
Now I was ready to go home, but I stopped to talk with a woman who asked me about the owls. I walked her over to the spot where I had stood to take my pictures and couldn’t spot the owlets, or the mom, and the entire lighting seemed very different. Sometimes you just get lucky I guess.
For someone who got up at 4 AM I’m not sure how I managed to be too late getting out of the house to get to Safety Harbor for the sunrise. But my ulterior motive for going there was to see the owlets at Philippe Park again before they leave the nest, and it wasn’t too late to see them so off I went. As usual there were photographers busily clicking away, and soon I was too. The first of the owlets was in view, and his light coloring on top of his head allowed me to spot him pretty quickly.
I heard comments around me that indicated that there were two owlets there, but I couldn’t see a second one, not while I was taking the photos.
Mom was nearby and it took a lot more looking on my part for me to spot her. And is it any wonder? Nature is amazing, look how camouflaged she is! Crows were making pests out of themselves again today but for some reason it didn’t cause much commotion. The first owlet, however, did flap it’s wings and it moved over to the right where it was almost completely hidden by the Spanish moss. Maybe that left room for owlet #2 to pop up, and #3 was right there too. This was such a treat for me. I had heard that there were three in the nest, but I told myself to be happy to get shots of one at least. What a day!
I wasn’t quite sure where I was heading for the sunset when I left the house last night, but I wound up at Green Key beach, where I found it was high tide and I regretted my choice immediately. High tide leaves you with exactly one view of the sunset, unless you are this guy…
He may have been standing in the water because a cast of characters had totally taken over the other possible view…
There was something new and different to see on the beach however.
This rock tower was built and rebuilt a few times while I was there. Another photographer and I walked onto the sand to take a picture as this boy was placing a small stone atop his tower.
I called to the kid, “Don’t knock it down yet.”, and the photographer answered, “Oh, I won’t.”
It did appear that the sunset would be extinguished early.
But the sun emerged from the clouds for one last lovely view…
I made a quick stop at the rookery today, and found that the only action going on was at the wood stork nest. Oh the decibel level was up, somewhere more babies were demanding food from their overworked parents, but the only movement I could see was at the same nest I noticed last time.
It is nice to find photo ops in my own neighborhood…
I have to hand it to the lens ball. As a conversation starter it really can’t be beat. Every time I’m out with it someone comments, and I always invite them to take pictures also. And they do, because even the cell phone works like a charm with it. That’s what happened the other night. Two couples were out for the sunset together and they asked about the lens ball and then took their own pictures through it. We had a running conversation all evening, because when it was finally sunset they got to try it again. I saw them as I was leaving and felt like I was saying goodbye to friends. One man said, “Keep enjoying life”, and I’m happy to think that that’s how I came across to them. Because I do.