adventure, facing facts, friends, fun, go with the flow, learning, making memories, natural wonders, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography

Milky Way Photography…

Honestly, the timing could have been better.  My cousin and I had gotten up at 3 AM to take my uncle to the VA Hospital for sinus surgery (all went perfectly), but in these days of social distancing we weren’t allowed in, and even though we had a nice breakfast out, we endlessly waited in the hospital parking lot.  Part of that waiting period included me thinking there would be a bathroom somewhere for people who were also in this situation.  Port-a-potties were out there, somewhere, they said.  I was pointed in various directions, and in .93 miles, during which I briefly considered climbing a fence, but instead opted to backtrack to where I started from and skirt a retaining pond instead, I was finally back in the car.  And still we waited.  And that’s when I got the message that friends were meeting at 2 AM on Pass-a-Grille beach to take photos of the Milky Way.  Like I said, not the greatest timing exhaustion-wise, but too perfect of a chance to learn something new to pass up.

With lots of hands-on instruction from my very helpful friends, I tried, I really did.  And even though my best (also heaviest) tripod was in the car I chose the lighter one.  And my best choice of lens wasn’t ideal, but adequate for the moment at least.  I say all this to distract myself from facing that it’s on me that instead of sharp stars in the sky my photos resembled a sky full of commas, flocks of birds, and tadpoles.  But in the photos you do see the Milky Way instead of the faint smudge in the sky, which is how it appeared to me in person.  It’s a start, and I hope to get a lot more practice on my next adventure.06-20-20milkyway406-20-20milkyway106-20-20milkyway7

adventure, following the rules, friends, fun, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography


I’m pretty sure that this safari at Zoo Tampa is the only sort of safari I will ever experience.  I’ve been there before of course, but this was the first time the animals in the Africa section ever caught my eye so much.  Usually the giraffes are more interested in the people feeding them, and I usually take a picture or two of elephants standing around and then I move on.  But not yesterday.  A friend got tickets to a limited admission event for seniors held at the zoo yesterday.  The social distancing mandates weren’t a problem with the 500 ticket limit in place, and despite the heat even the animals seemed to cooperate and we had a great day.05-26-20rhino05-26-20safari305-26-20twoheads05-26-20giraffe

And the  elephants were also doing their part.  Who wouldn’t enjoy seeing a baby elephant, even if you have to take a lot of elephant butt shots to get a photo?05-26-20babyelephant

We especially enjoyed it when they moved on to their watering hole.  Seeing the baby elephant frolicking in the water was so fun, even if the adults were making photos a challenge at times.  But perseverance pays off now and then.05-26-20wateringhole05-26-20wateringhole205-26-20babyfeature05-26-20wateringhole3

Trust me, we weren’t wishing to join them in the water even with the heat.  Nope, it was a bit aromatic as we watched…

'scene' along the way, a second look, Just do it, losing it, moon, natural wonders, old dogs new tricks, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, Rise and shine, sky, sunrise


It was the moon that got me out bright and early on Sunday morning.  Not a full moon, or a blue moon, or a blood moon, just an ordinary crescent moon.  It was shining so clearly in the dark sky at 4 AM, and I thought of all the times I got up to let the dogs out and spotted a nice moon in a clear sky and got out my tripod and camera to try to take pictures, but they hardly ever turned out.  So I resisted the urge.  But it was still shining out there at 6 AM, and the sky was still just as clear, so off I went.  I’m glad I got a picture of the moon because a pretty sunrise to go with it might have been nice, but that didn’t happen.  It just got light out with no fan fare whatsoever.

And I must be feeling like a rebel because I’m breaking the rules by posting this picture this morning.  Our camera club leader, Jeff, says that he ‘isn’t good enough’ to take a picture that doesn’t need to be cropped.  I wonder if he has any idea how seriously I take his comments, taking them to heart like they are written in stone, when he may have just tossed off a comment with hardly any thought.  At any rate I force myself to crop my photos and yes, I can see that it does make it a better photo.  Not this photo though.  I can’t crop it without losing the moon, and the moon was the entire reason I was standing on the bridge at 6:15 AM waiting for something more to happen.  Or I might crop it and post the cropped version and erase half of what I wrote here.  Or I could go back to bed…05-17-20sunrisemoon05-17-20sunrisemooncropped

I’m not such a rebel after all…

'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, finding my way, Florida wildlife, following the rules, life goes on, nature, nesting, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, unintended consequences

Passing time…

I visited the rookery yesterday and found nest after nest of what appeared to be nearly full grown wood storks, mostly standing at attention.  Waiting for what I wonder, mom to feed them?  I love the expression on the face of the younger one in the feature photo,  I think they are still my favorite babies.   I think this egret mother takes her life in her hands when she shows up to feed her babies.   They tackle her, it doesn’t look pleasant, for mom at least.05-16-20egrets

The cattle egret babies are growing too.  Without an adult on the nest with them it took me a minute to realize which nest was theirs.  05-16-20cattleegretbabies2


A friend told me that the wood storks have taken over this rookery, it wasn’t always this way.  I lived in the area for 10 years before I ever knew that it was there, and now I have to wonder what happens at the end of the season.  I’ve been headed north by this time the last two years in a row, so I guess I flew the coop before they did.  Do they all just fly off one day?  I’ve stopped out of curiosity when it isn’t breeding season and there wasn’t a single bird around at all.  It would be fun to see all those big babies start flapping their wings and taking off, but so far I haven’t seen any practicing.  I’m just as bad.  I feel like flapping my wings and taking off too, but can’t seem to make a plan.

My old friend says that the secret to life is to never make a plan, then everything is always going according to plan.  I wonder how his life might have changed if he had  had a plan.  And my life looks nothing like I ever thought it might despite all the plans I made for myself over the years.  I feel like I should say something profound right about now, but I haven’t got a clue.  Just letting the days pass…


a second look, adventure, friends, fun, learning, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, sunset, technology

Opening up…

 The good news is that Pine Island is open again, with restrictions of course. My friend and I decided that we would head there for the sunset on Thursday night when we hoped it wouldn’t be too crowded. My first impression as I drove through the gates and saw all the cars was startling, but the parking lot may have looked crowded, but the beach was not. My second revelation came when I turned on my camera to take a picture of the scenery with a lone fisherman who happened to be positioned just right. That’s when I got the dreaded notification that I had no card in the camera. I’d never done that before, but I guess it had to happen eventually. Of course I had my trusty iPhone with me, and I knew that this would be my opportunity to put our recent class in Lightroom Mobile to the test. It was supposed to be great, according to our fearless leader Jeff. And he did make it look easy, but I had to force myself to stick with it and not just give in to the easier, more familiar version of that not-so-intuitive-application on the computer. Who knew that when I bought the iPad and Apple Pencil nearly three years ago I’d finally be putting them to use.IMG_2867rampIMG_2860IMG_2859runnerIMG_2807distancingIMG_2804bettyIMG_2799sunsetPineisland2IMG_2833pineisland3 

Alas I must confess.  Editing the pictures was tough but I managed it.  But when it came to putting them into this post I eventually resorted to using my laptop.  I have so much more to learn.

'scene' along the way, a second look, backyard visitors, birds, Florida wildlife, following the rules, life goes on, live and learn, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography

Here we go again…

This trip down Memory Lane has been fun, a second chance to see photos from the past.  When I see them I remember them, and I remember where they were taken, but I’m pretty sure I would never have thought of them and then looked for them.  Had I gotten serious about my organization in Lightroom earlier I’d be able to look up photos by keywords when I want to see them, but I always have been someone who has to learn the hard way.

I have discovered pictures of some of the post sitters from my back yard.  The post has measurements to keep track of water levels in the lake.  The lake was dry for several years after we bought the house, but eventually the water levels came up and the wildlife returned.  I frequently was lured into the backyard by one bird or another sitting on that post out there.  I would have liked to have found examples of all the birds that used to land on that post.  The hawk was a frequent visitor, just keeping an eye on things.  And a little blue heron seemed to be out there daily too.  Eventually I realized that it wasn’t always a little blue heron, sometimes it was a tricolor heron.05-04-20tricolorfencesitter.jpg05-04-20gregretpost205-04-20gregretpost05-02=20stumpsitter

I thought that I’d be able to re-edit the photos with some of the tips I’ve been learning lately, but the past edits are destructive and I can’t take the picture back to it’s original version.  And that is the single biggest reason to use Lightroom, and that makes it worth while even if it has been driving me nuts lately.  So these photos make me cringe a little, but I am reminded of the German baker I used to work with who always said, “It is what it is.”