The feature photo, and only photo that I know about at this moment, is the uninvited company I found out on the lanai this morning. I have resisted becoming attached to this lanai after loving the one at my old house. There is no lake here, no pond critter serenades, but the birds do sing so that’s something. But this morning I found myself at eye level to a creature that I quickly realized wasn’t a lizard. Lizards are so common, and mostly keep their distance, but this sticky-fingered creature was eyeing me up. As I was doing to him. So he retreated into the corner and then climbed to the very top of the corner brace. I thought that I would have to warn my friend when he came out because this little guy would be directly over his head if he sat in his usual chair. But Tampa Bay Lightning fans who have endured a disappointing play-off game and then a frustrating drive home aren’t given to getting up early the next morning. Maybe it’s the effort of growing a beard in solidarity with the players, a long-standing tradition I’m told. It’s currently in the whisk-broom stage, but I digress. It turned out that my fears as to the little guy’s jumping weren’t unwarranted, because he jumped onto the end table, landing with a thud, which is when I took his picture. Looks like he needed to wipe his chin after his breakfast. By this time the sun was baking me, the coffee was cold, and it was time to go in. I hope this guy finds his way back outside as stealthily as he found his way in, so I don’t have to check the corners of the roofline before I sit out here again…
I will never have to spend time waiting line for gas at Sam’s again. Why not, you may wonder? Because this morning I got up early enough that heading out to check out the sunrise view from the little pond behind Sam’s turned out to be a stellar idea. The sunrise could have been better, but it was good enough. And I had egrets and an anhinga for company. And, better yet, gas was $3.69.99/gal. It’s seriously ridiculous how quickly that has become a number to rejoice over, but here we are and I’ll take it. All together is was a very nice morning, I killed two birds with one stone.
I have lamented the lack of good spots to view the sunrise and sunset in this neighborhood. But I’ve known about this pond all along, and decided that I’d have a view to the east months ago. I wonder what else I’m missing.
I had been taking pictures at the rookery for quite a while. The nests look like piles of sticks, the ones you can actually see that is, and I was quite sure that with all the little heads bobbing up and down I’d probably gotten a few clear shots that I’d be happy with. So I was a little bored, but my friend hadn’t ever gotten himself out to see the new little chicks before so he was still having fun. But I was wandering a bit, and then I saw him. A wood stork out of the corner of my eye. He was flying in with a nice piece of nesting material. But instead of making a beeline for the nest he looped around just enough for me to get my camera up and start shooting. No plan, no attempt at composition, just start shooting and attempt to get him in the shot. Later on when I got the SD card into the computer I looked at the pictures in order, always looking for the best shot of the chicks. There were several hundred pictures, and I was deleting as I went, so I was getting tired of the whole process when I got to these pictures. Yes, I’d gotten the wood stork. Well, most of him at least. And I cracked myself up when I saw them. So here they are, all my shots of this big, awkward, funny-looking-but-somehow-charming, wood stork.
Just a few seconds out of a photographer’s day, but most of the time that’s all it takes to make your day.
The current obsession among the photographers here are the rookeries that we are lucky enough to have in our area. Nesting birds have been busy building nests, and sitting on eggs, and now we have the pay off in the first hatchlings of the season being captured by the camera. We were at a rookery yesterday, along with a few other photographers, and we happily clicked away as we saw little heads bobbing up and down. But on the way home, me as the passenger, and with the camera in my lap because I had been reviewing the photos to see if I got any decent pictures, I saw a hawk land on a post as we stopped for a red light. So I rolled the window down and got a couple of pictures, and then he took off. I didn’t see the lizard until I got the pictures into the computer. I went through the pictures in the camera and did find some ‘baby’ pictures to use, but when these last few pictures popped up I felt like these were the cherry on top. You just never know what’ll happen when you head out the door.
Even though I had lived in Florida for eight or so years, I don’t think I became acquainted with the name Clyde Butcher, or his incredible photographs, until I joined my photo group four years ago. Florida Center for Creative Photography, which has taken over my life in a very good and welcome way. When I saw mentions of Clyde Butcher I think I nodded knowingly, to cover my uneducated rear end, and then looked at his wonderful images online. He has published books also, and he has a studio in Venice, Florida, which I am belatedly hoping to visit.
I took these pictures a couple of weeks ago, intending to write a post about them so that anyone who visits the area, (yes, you Maddie), might choose to stop in at the Clearwater Library to see these images for themselves. Though seeing his images online is wonderful, until you have stood next to an image that is taller than you are, or ones that are 9 feet long, you can’t begin to imagine how incredible they really are. And to see what he goes through to take the images and produce such amazing prints is just as incredible as the images themselves. When I took these pictures they looked great in the iPhone, it’s only now that I see all the reflections in them, but I hope it’s enough to whet the appetite to see them for yourself. Perhaps at his studio if you are in the area, or in the library in Clearwater. The display runs through May 2022.
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 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…