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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…

'scene' along the way, blessings, brainstorms, exploring new places, Florida landmarks, friends, Just do it, live and learn, making memories, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, sky, sunset

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

'scene' along the way, exploring new places, family, foggy sky, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, road trip

In the Smokies…

We are enjoying lovely weather in the Smokies, but not having WiFi has prevented me from working on my pictures and sharing them. It hasn’t prevented me from taking tons of pictures however, so I will have lots to keep me busy when we get home. The fall foliage we hoped for isn’t at it’s peak, but it smells like fall, and there are enough beautiful trees to make me happy. And we still have a few days.

a second look, attention to detail, friends, fun, hockey, kids, making memories, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, technology

Those photo ops…

I’ve already admitted that I have never been a fan of hockey. It just never seemed to be on the TV growing up, or since. But now that I have a friend who’s favorite sport is hockey it seems I may be making up for a lifetime of not watching it. Which might not have been a particularly welcome change if not for the fact that I am happiest with a camera in my hands. If there is one thing that going to a hockey game will give you it’s photo ops galore. The action never stops. You don’t have to wait for a bird to turn its head, or hold your breath while you try to will the sunrise or sunset colors to develop. Nope, there is something going on all the time, and so you may leave the game with 608 pictures in your camera. Or over 1000 as one of the group said she took. And, thanks to the group, we discovered that the upstairs view isn’t covered with netting except on the ends in range of the goals. So the center is open, no scuff marks on the glass or netting to shoot through. And there’s a bar, and a place to sit with a beer to watch the game and shoot pictures. Warmer too! I think I’m becoming a fan.

The puck drops are irresistible as a photo ops. It’s about the only time they stand still, and the hope is to get the puck in your shot. If you can see the logo on the puck all the better!
Blocked that shot.
There is a puck in the goalie’s mitt. One of the group with a really great camera managed to catch a shot of the puck as it entered the glove. I came very close to missing this shot.
Focusing on the goalie usually results in a tangle of people. This was a lucky shot from up high.
I liked seeing the kicked-up ice in this shot.
Defense!
Unfortunately our home team’s goalie let a few of these shots get through and we lost the game.
Lots of action all the time.

I do wonder how I would have felt if my son had wanted to play hockey when he was little. All the contact and shoving each other that goes on, and of course the fights, would have bothered me. But then they do all shake hands after the game, I guess I would have had to concentrate on that.

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Hockey anyone?

I believe I’d been to one hockey game in my life, and we sat in the nose-bleed seats so I’m sure I paid no attention what-so-ever to the action on the ice. I also remember watching hockey on TV with my son, on an old console TV that sat low to the floor, and we laughed our heads off over the kitten who zoomed back and forth trying to catch the puck. So I had very little preparation for the game I attended the other night with my photographer friend, who is primarily a sports photographer by choice. ‘Try to get the puck in your shot’, was the main instruction given to me before the puck dropped for the first game of the season. Of several seasons with the pandemic. USF vs. UCF…

The ceremonial puck drop to start the game. The one and only time you could hope to see their handsome faces.
Finding a few square inches of clear glass to shoot through proved to be quite an impossible feat. And we stood at the edge of the rink, so I will dress more warmly next time.
Sometimes you are glad that that scuffed up glass is there!
‘Concentrate on the goalie’, was another suggestion.
That proved to be good advice.
I really wanted to see their faces as they skated with the puck.
I didn’t concentrate hard enough not to wonder where this guy wandered in from.
More action at the goal. I hope that’s good padding they have on.
In pursuit of the puck.
Score!
Concentration.
‘Carrying the puck’.
The puck drop. I’m proud of this shot.

In the feature photo you see the teams shaking hands in a refreshing display of good sportsmanship. Especially welcome after watching such a physical game as this. It was a fun evening…

'scene' along the way, a second look, coping, Florida landmarks, Just do it, learning, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, sunset, technology, unintended consequences

Outsmarting technology…

Turns out I’m not smart enough to outsmart technology, although I outsmart myself regularly. I’m back home on my desktop computer and I can’t get a start page to write a new blog post. More correctly, I’m on my phone at the moment. if I start a post here can I open it on the computer and finish a post? Guess I’ll find out.

And the answer is no, I couldn’t. So how many devices does it take to write a blog post? Three, so far. I’m now on my laptop, the pictures were in my desktop, but I bought a flash drive the other day so hopefully I’m good.

I have asked for help from WordPress twice so far with no response. And since I pay to upgrade so that anyone nice enough to bother reading this doesn’t have to see ads, I would hope that I rate a response from them. At least the post-storm sunset from Hudson Beach was nice. A low tide view when I had expected lots of water. And I almost gave up, but it did, finally, get pretty.

The new USB drive didn’t work, just saying. It was too new for this old laptop. But I found an old one that did work. Sometimes us old things do manage to save the day, at least when they stick together. Or something like that…