a second look, bugs, dragonflies, Florida wildlife, life goes on, nature, nothing's easy, perseverance, photography, pond creatures

Self defense…

It was back to the pond to look for the dragonflies again yesterday, but this time with my 150-600mm lens. I haven’t used it in so long that it resisted me as I tried to extend it to the full 600mms. And it was just so heavy that I struggled to keep it still even with the tripod. Then there was the zoom that was almost too much, so that finding the dragonflies that were right in front of me wasn’t easy. I guess I’ve been spoiled by the smaller lens I use all the time. But the dragonflies cooperated this time also, and I have no idea how that shell wound up in the grass but it caught my eye.

There were some acrobatics going on.
this was as close to seeing a face as it got.
Butt. shots were easier to come by.
They held their poses like champs.
After a while I concentrated on the flowers that were there in case there were bees on them, but I didn’t have luck with that this time.

The sun came out from behind a cloud after just a few minutes and that was enough to send me back to the house. No wonder the sunrises and sunsets are fun to do here in Florida. We do them in self defense.

'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, Florida wildlife, fun, life goes on, live and learn, nature, nesting, nothing's easy, perseverance, photography, Uncategorized

Rushing Mother Nature…

Rushing Mother Nature rarely pays. At least when you are talking about nesting birds and stubbornly non-hatching eggs. You may arrive at a rookery, doesn’t matter which one, and find lots and lots of birds, looking like piles of feathers, just suspended in the shrubbery doing nothing. There may or may not be a mate standing beside them, but they are also doing nothing. Such was the situation the other day, and all this nothing-ness caused me to walk a little way down the block to a pond I knew of which sometimes has some birds visiting. That’s where I found this wood stork taking a bath. He splashed and he splashed, and then he dried himself off, only to start the process over again. Round two is what you are seeing in the profile picture. And I really don’t know if it was round two, how many more times did he do this before I took a peek?

Little birds splashing in the water look cute. This guy just looked silly.
I thought he was done and starting to shake himself off.
But when he got to this stage he ducked himself back down and started over again.,
It seems there is always a great egret or two who are trying to attract a mate, even while surrounded with other birds on their nests. Privacy is non-existent in the rookery.
If there aren’t other birds photo bombing your shot, then it’s sticks in front of the bird’s faces. Ah, but check in the nest below this one. Instead of doing the mating dance I think this one’s feathers were just blowing in the breeze, and it got up to tend the eggs. Just below the bird, do I see a tinge of blue eggs that are being turned? Or is it wishful thinking?
There I was on my ladder, focusing on the rookery just across the water, when a wood stork flew into the shrubbery right in front of me. I quickly took a shot, too quickly, because the auto focus chose the shrubbery as the subject, instead of the bird. But I kind of liked this shot.

There are many places you can go to take pictures, and usually it’s all up to Mother Nature whether the sunrise or sunset, or just the weather in general, will cooperate with you. But this time of year the rookeries are a sure bet. The birds will be there, possibly just sitting there, but they are there. Mother Nature sees to that. But one of these days we will hear the chicks calling out to be fed, and the real fun will begin. So we will keep going back.

a second look, boats, fantasy images, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, learning, nothing's easy, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, sunset, technology

Deja Vu…

Four years ago to the day, last Saturday to be precise, I went to my second photo walk with my ‘new’ (at the time) photo group. I saw the announcement of a photo walk to see the Dunedin Christmas Boat Parade and had to summon up all my courage to go join in with a bunch of people I didn’t know. Especially true since I was such a novice with my camera, which to me was a big deal investment, but I was barely functional with it. Lucky for me one of the group administrators set my camera up for me that day, thanks Kate. Our leader Jeff had snagged prime territory for great views of the boats as they made their way into the marina, and even provided chairs for us to sit on. A luxury I’m afraid I didn’t appreciate until 4 years later when we were faced with finding a place to shoot the scene on our own. Weighed down by equipment, and with two (really three) hours to kill before the boats would arrive, we decided to take advantage of the empty bleachers which would give us a great view of the boats arriving at the marina. Great view yes, but a challenge for photography with boats arriving and leaving and their lights overlapping, etc. The feature photo is from my iPhone as the sun was setting, and it was about 6 PM, time for the parade to begin. It took almost an hour before the boats began to arrive at the marina. A dramatic sunset filled the gap.

If we had brought chairs we may have been able to sit at the railing. On the other hand, the top row of the bleachers was a pretty good perspective over all.
The sunrise itself got a lot more dramatic than it first appeared that it would be.
The reflections were amazing…
There was a dolphin sighting…
I didn’t see a bear in the Smokies, but I saw a bear on a boat.
Boats were coming and going…
And going and coming…
Frosty was there…
A simple display created quite the reflection.
The boats came into the marina to make their turn…
Rudolph lit the way…
Some boats carried lots of people, some not so many…
Do I know what this boat was all about? No. But I included this picture because of the little girl…
And finally Santa arrived, escorted by the Pinellas sheriff department.

Even though I had advice about what settings to use for this shoot I will need more practice before I’ll be really happy with shots like these. But I was happy with the day itself. Winter in Florida can’t be beat.

a second look, adventure, birds, brainstorms, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, nothing's easy, One-Foot Fred, perseverance, photography, sunrise

Expectations…

I peeked out my front door to see what the sky looked like the other day, and I saw a bright crescent moon hanging low in the dark western sky. I should have taken that picture because the shot I thought I’d get in Aripeka didn’t materialize. The cloud cover there hid the moon, and most of the color from the sunrise also. But I saw Fred, my favorite one-footed great blue heron, who hadn’t put in an appearance in a while. You can’t tell it’s him from my pictures, but occasionally he would lift his right leg out of the water and suspected it was him, and it was confirmed as he suddenly flew out of the water and towards the house down the street where breakfast was apparently being served.

He basically stood there, looking back and forth, and then flew off. But it’s good to know that Fred is still with us.
As the sun came up so did the color.
Beautiful color but it just didn’t take over the entire sky as I’d hoped it would.
That purple color is natural.
Sometimes the sky to the east is bathed in lovely pastels, but not this time.

I think I have finally outsmarted myself. I have new hardware, my iPad, and upgraded software with an upgrade to IOS and an upgrade to Adobe Lightroom, which means that I already had lots to learn. Doing things as I was used to doing them wasn’t going to work until I figured out a few things. Then my external hard drive, the one that holds all the pictures I’ve taken while traveling over the last few years, seems to be done. Kaput. I’ve learned so much since I joined my photo group, I’ve hung on our photo guru’s every word, except for the part where he said to always back up to more than one device. Sigh. Nothing’s ever easy.