That was the name of the class that my friend and I attended today, It was a wonderful class and we stopped on the way home to take pictures. I’d like to say that I tried to apply some of what I learned in the class to the photos I was taking, because you are supposed to visualize the photo you want ahead of time and then make it happen. Beginners ‘spray and pray’, which means you take a zillion pictures and hope you get a good one. I confess, I’m guilty of that. But we had fun today, and practice makes perfect, or so I’m told. I tried to whip them into shape through cropping, at least to some extent.
We got rained on while we were taking pictures at Hammock Park, but we were luckier while we had lunch outdoors by the water. What a nice day…
After the sunrise I decided to swing by the pond in my community to look for the family of ducklings I had heard about. There were 13 to start with, and they were down to 9, so I wanted to see them soon. I’m jealous of my photographer friends who can, sometimes literally, sit on their patios and take gorgeous sunrise and sunset photos. Lovely views come with higher prices I’m sure, so it’s a trade off, but when I hear of a photo op that’s so close to home it’s a treat and I don’t want to miss it.
But someone else was also watching the pond along with me. An osprey up in the tree on the right hand side. I nearly missed seeing him at all. Was he looking for the ducklings also? I had to google it to know for sure, and found out that they eat 99% fish, but small animals and birds are also possible. So maybe I was happy that the duck family wasn’t there. And I was happy to see the osprey take to the air, but mostly for the photo ops…
When you finally wake up to a morning without the threat of immanent thunderstorms you quickly figure out somewhere to go to get out and enjoy it. For me it was John Chestnut Park, a place that I always feel like I can count on for wildlife, even if it’s just little birds and squirrels. It’s a pretty park, I love the stone and wood structures, even if they are just picnic pavilions or rest rooms.
But on this day the wildest wildlife happened to be the people out playing on the water. I guess I wasn’t the only one wanting to get out and enjoy the weather.
That water skier was some serious eye candy, but this little guy was pretty darned cute too.
I also found a butterfly section that I hadn’t seen before. No butterflies though, only a couple of very big bees landing on little purple flowers and then waving in the breeze making getting a photo next to impossible. But I had to try.
Eventually I moved on to Anclote River park, where I found a lawn blooming with morning glories. That’s the feature photo, if I ever manage to figure out how to add a feature photo to this post. And an Osprey on the hunt.
My last stop was just up the road at Anclote Gulf park where I had a nice chat with another photographer. It was very low tide, and we were both surprised to see white shapes in the shallow water, lots of them. At first I thought manatees, and then it dawned on me that they were stingrays. I hadn’t seen them there before, or at all really. Plus a little blue heron and a limpkin, shaking his booty.
As I’m writing this post I’m hearing thunder. I’m glad I got out when I did!
To spend a day out shooting pictures and ‘only’ come home with 668 is not particularly a lot. But it’s a lot to go through and it leaves you with pictures that are left over, that didn’t quite fit the story you were telling, or you simply missed them. Or maybe they just wanted to stand alone.
All day long we had a running debate over whether or not the bird we were looking at was a tri-color heron or not. But once we did see one we didn’t have to debate anymore.
Green herons seem more rare of a sighting, or maybe they just hide better, but I was happy to see this one. And this pale colored one was a mystery to me, but Merlin says it’s a black crowned night heron.
Soft shelled turtles aren’t particularly cute, but we were amazed to see this one camouflaged in the algae. And the orange shell of these turtles stood out too.
An osprey flying over with its catch in its talons is always a goal to see. But if he stops to eat in a tree it’s the next best thing.
I missed the excitement when this hawk stole this snake from an ibis. I did get to see him make short work of it.
A butterfly is always a pretty picture, and this green dragonfly was my favorite dragonfly picture of the day, but I somehow failed to export it so I missed it on my dragonfly post. But it’s too pretty not to post.
I confess, I was feeling a little sorry for myself, missing sitting in my former backyard with my camera and letting the photo ops just happen as they may. Would it really be easier to be in quarantine in that house as opposed to this little place? Probably not, it just seems that way. But with that in mind as I walked the park yesterday I decided to look for dragonflies at the edge of the lake, and there they were. Not as pretty colors as some I’ve seen, these all seemed to be black. And they were pausing on the tips of the grasses that were being tossed about by the wind. But one guy landed in the grass giving me a better chance for a picture. As I concentrated on taking pictures I remembered that my fellow park residents always talk about the alligator that suns itself on the far side of the lake, which is where I was at that moment, so I decided that I was done for the day, though I paused to watch the osprey who was cruising on the wind overhead.As I headed home I thought of the big, fat orange dragonflies that always seemed to zoom by, teasing me while I tried for pictures in my backyard. Zooming past but never landing where I might have a shot at a photo. Then when I got home and put my photos into the computer I discovered this one. Now I will have to go back and be more patient, and better prepared with a tripod next time. It’s odd what’s right under your nose sometimes and you don’t even know it.
You would think that with all the time I’ve spent at the rookery I might once have looked up and noticed the osprey nest off in the distance. One day there was an osprey hunting right at the rookery which scared me to think it might be ready to zoom down and snag a baby bird. He did zoom but came up with a fish, and I may have had the camera ready but I didn’t get the shot. I also didn’t ask myself where that osprey came from. But the last time I checked on the rookery I saw it, the nest in the tower in the distance. I saw them in the air also, but too far away to see them well, and I started wondering if I could get a shot of them with a fish.
The good news was that I only had to drive a couple of blocks up and over to get a better view of that tower. But the bad news was that I could see that there was never going to be a good shot of that nest, the structure was in the way. And then he took off and I thought I might be in luck after all.
I saw the dive, and saw that he had something in his talons. I hoped it was a snake, but no, it was just a stick.
Another bird who is busy feathering it’s nest, so to speak? Will there be little ospreys before too long? I will be keeping track now that I have discovered yet another nest in my neighborhood. I wonder what else I might be overlooking. I’ll try to keep my eyes open from now on.