food, perseverance, photography, technology, the easy way out, unintended consequences

Food for thought…

Grapes, I can’t get enough of them lately. I don’t know it the same thing applies everywhere, but the grapes I’m buying here in Florida lately are really good. I mean really, really good. So I crave them, and I’m sitting here realizing that this craving is exactly like craving candy or ice cream, or any other ‘sweet’ that I shouldn’t eat. But grapes? It’s fruit for gosh sake, how bad can it be? And considering that this obsession has been going on for a while, what is the equivalent amount of wine that my grape consumption represents? Wine ‘on the hoof’, so to speak. So far I haven’t had to resort to anything illegal to fund my grape habit, but with my reduced hours of work per week who knows how long that will last. I did eat $10 worth in one day, which I only know because I bought them and finished them all in one day. If the 24 hour period spans two days it really doesn’t seem that extreme.

Aside from grapes I do ponder what to eat, but not because I’m craving carbs or anything like that. I just don’t know what to eat, mostly because my diet instruction came second hand from an acquaintance who said that his PA daughter said, “Don’t drink your calories.” Okay, that’s easy, I thought, even though I don’t think that coffee was an approved drink, but no one gets between me and my coffee. Then I asked okay, what do you eat, he shrugged and said “a lot of salad”. I realize now that the reason this all worked for me is because I said to myself, ‘Self, you like salad. And water, easy peasy”! And it was. Had I said to myself that I wasn’t going to ever eat a piece of bread again it would have been harder. A lot harder! By the time that thought crossed my mind I had seen results, and I have no real desire to change anything. So I’ll pull up my big girl pants, which are now held in place by a belt so there is no worry about what unintended consequence putting my phone in my back pocket might cause. You gotta do what you gotta do!1-13groceries.jpgI went grocery shopping today.  This is the mainstay of my diet lately.  I could have added a jar of peanut butter which I spread on the celery, and a can or two of Progresso soup.  I don’t eat much processed food, but this chilly weather has made a nice bowl of soup a must here and there.1-11truthinadvertisingDid I say that I don’t do processed food much at all?  When I do make an exception it usually turns out like this.  I have a little glass pyrex bowl, but even if I had transferred this meal into that bowl it wouldn’t have looked like the illustration.  It tasted okay, and was on sale, and dinner in 8 minutes was too much to resist…

 

birds, eagles, Florida wildlife, Jenkin's Creek, nature, nesting, pelicans, perseverance, photography, sunset

Don’t give up…

The Anclote Fishing Pier smelled like… fish. I had walked out almost to the end of the pier for a sunset photo op. Evidently the fishermen clean their fish out there.  Phew!  But I’ve gotten ahead of myself…1-10sunset1feature copy

First was a futile trip to Bayport for the sunrise that didn’t happen. Then off to Jenkin’s Creek where I amused myself taking photos of a Great Egret while I waited for an eagle, and then an otter showed up.  But no eagle so I gave up. But as I pulled out of the parking lot I saw an eagle flying in, so of course I turned around.

I couldn’t resist heading out again later though, blame the fabulous weather. There was the eagle nest that I hadn’t visited since our cold spell, I wondered if all was well, and it was. Except all I got to see at first was the nest itself. Then a head popped up so that I was sure mom or dad were there. And so the wait began.1-10mindingthenest.jpg

But then I spotted Dad, or was it Mom, in a nearby tree. My eagle watching friend had said that the parent that is off the nest is always nearby, but I didn’t spot him at first. He was posing nicely. Well, his back was to me, but I think he can swivel his head 360 degrees, which was fortunate from the point of view of photo ops.1-10it'sdadormom copy

1-10eagle3 copy.jpgI watched for a long time until he flew off to a tree farther away. Then he swooped down out of sight and I was holding my breath hoping that he would come back with dinner for mom. I have to stop trying to anticipate what will happen and just let things unfold. He did return and was on a branch very close to the nest. Then mom joined him on that branch and it made me think of them comparing notes. When Mom flew off to hunt, Dad took over on the nest, which is what I was waiting for, only I had hoped for both parents on the nest together.

It was time for me to go see what I could see at the fishing pier.  But I already showed you a sunset photo, and the flock of birds flying against the reflected sunset color, but I didn’t show you the pelican.  It was a great sunshiny day!1-10pelican copy

birds, Florida wildlife, natural wonders, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, unintended consequences

In search of…

A Roseate Spoonbill… which had been at the top of the list of birds I’ve wanted to see ever since I saw a photo of one on the Florida Birds Facebook page.  So Saturday it was off to Circle B Bar Reserve, where I had heard that my chances of seeing a Roseate Spoonbill were pretty good.  And I did see them, a glimpse of pink through the thick shrubbery lining the trail.  Getting a good view of them was a challenge, let alone a clear photo.  Plus they themselves were mainly hunkered down in the tall grass and not very active in the cold.  Except for one cooperative fella.

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Immature birds have white feathered heads and paler plumage.  They feed by wading and swinging that spoon-shaped bill back and forth in the water to feed on small fish and crustaceans that are ignored by larger wading birds.

At first I was mainly interested in trying to get better photos than I thought I could take.  This interest in birds is an unintended consequence since birds are such a plentiful and interesting subject for photography.  I’m learning a lot.

 

birds, dolphins, Florida wildlife, Jenkin's Creek, learning, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, technology

Lightroom Chronicles…

Lightroom is THE photo editing program to use, or so I’m led to believe.  And I have it in my computer since the subscription to Photoshop includes Lightroom.  I always thought of Photoshop as the ultimate editing tool, and I’ve gotten pretty comfortable using it for the basic sorts of edits that I do to my photos.  But I’m told that Lightroom is easier, (ha!), and you can edit a photo the way you want it, then you can turn those edits into a preset and apply those same edits to all the photos you might choose to, all in one click.  It’ll probably be great once I’m used to it, maybe…

An alternate title for this post could be, ‘If It Ain’t Broke…’, because I was merrily writing posts and taking pictures, and not unhappy with the results.  But all of this raving over Lightroom caused me to take RAW images the last couple of days, the better to edit them the way you want them in Lightroom.  First I went to the eagle nest where nothing at all happened.  And I didn’t think that anything was going to happen at the fishing pier either, until the dolphins showed up.  Not only was I on the pier, so above the dolphins, but I had the 600mm lens on the camera, so better photos of dolphins than I’d been able to get before.  But RAW images!  Needing to be edited in Lightroom?  Why can’t I ever seem to leave well enough alone?  If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.  Should be my new motto.

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I’d be too discouraged to continue if not for this female grackle that landed on the railing nearby.  Maybe this is more the sort of photo that could benefit from being a RAW image and the editing technique I was trying to master.  I only got two pictures before she flew away, but these two pictures will keep me interested in learning something new.

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We played with Lightroom in a class a while back, and I had forgotten that we set a watermark.  It feels a bit pretentious to me, amateur that I am…

 

 

birds, Florida wildlife, learning, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, Pine Island, sunset, weather

Blowing in the wind…

The whole reason I went out for the sunset last night was because the rain had stopped, the cloud cover was breaking up, and I expected a lot of ‘fire in the sky’ out of the sunset.  Not so, and I know why.  It was the wind!  I suppose that Pine Island being a peninsula is why it’s always so windy there, and that’s the blessing that lets you come out for the sunset on the hottest of summer days.  But last night it would drive me off the beach as soon as the above picture was taken.  And I think it blew the clouds away.

But if I was cold, imagine how cold this bikini-clad model was.  They took pictures for quite a while and I never heard her complain.  And I wondered if the wind would interfere with the photos, but maybe not.

1119photoshootAnd didn’t I just question whether photo shoots and tightrope walkers were just a summer thing?1119tightrope31119tightrope11119tightrope2

And it’s tough to have a drum circle with only one drum.  Soon a second one joined them, but as cold as I was I didn’t stick around to see if it turned into a full drum circle.1119drum.jpg

The thing that has bugged me about trying to photograph the Skimmers is that they usually look as if they don’t have eyes.  At least you can see that there are eyes in this photo.  And I can see their longer lower bill, which they use as the skim across the water with that lower bill in the water and scoop up dinner.  Normally I just see them standing around, but last night I saw one in action, skimming across the water, but much too fast to try to get a picture.  At least these guys are easy to spot.1119skimmer1119slimmer2.jpg

But the find of the day were the Sanderlings.  If that’s what these pale little birds are that is.  I’ve been on the lookout for them ever since my photographer friends said I had missed them the night before.  They weren’t there last night to tell me if that’s what these cute little birds are, and Merlin says that they may be Sanderlings or Western Sandpipers.  Either way they are new to me.  It must look odd when I concentrate on the shore birds the way that I do.  I have to look long and hard to start to see how different they are from each other.  And I can identify a few of them now, so I’m learning.  It was a fun, even if freezing, night…1118sanderling.jpg

birds, faith, Florida wildlife, life, loneliness, moments, natural wonders, nature, perseverance, photography, Pine Island, simple things, sunset

What would make a person…

… return to Pine Island night after night, in hopes of a spectacular sunset?  Or some other  activity that would be an interesting photo op?  This is why…

On the drive over I decided to try shutter priority in the camera in hopes of sharper shots, and was immediately rewarded when I found Willets in the crowd, and cute girls to practice on.

The spectators were gathering…

And the sunset…

And then the afterglow, that got more and more spectacular…

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And the feature photo in the header of this post was taken from the parking lot as I was trying to talk myself into leaving.  Once in a while there is a sunset like this, and that’s why I’m out there almost every single night.  And why I believe…