adventure, childhood, photography, Pine Island, silliness, simple things, sky, unintended images

Widget’s tale…

After two cold, rainy, and entirely dreary days, it was almost startling to see some blue sky that afternoon, but still lots of clouds. Clouds that just might be lit up by the sunset. I hadn’t been out for the sunset at Pine Island in quite a few days, so off I went. I complained when the wind wasn’t there the other day, and the no-see-ums were there, well, the wind was back, in spades. The clouds had been blown almost entirely away and the seagulls kept taking to the air, and flying nowhere. They couldn’t make headway against that wind.


And that wind, well, the seagulls weren’t the only ones who struggled with it. Don’t I always say that Pine Island never disappoints? That the people I meet are just as important to me as the sunsets? Well, we can now add elves to that list, or, one elf at least. His name is Widget, and he had quite the tale to tell…

Widgets mission
It seems he had been chosen by Santa for a very special mission, one that had taken him to Hawaii. It was hard work training those elf recruits, so before he left Hawaii he earned a chance to relax on the beach…Widget gets some sun

But then a huge gust of wind blew across the beach, and Widget found himself flying through the sky.  All he could see were all the seagulls who were also being blown in the wind with him.  He was flying and flying, and he was very scared, but mostly because he didn’t know if he would ever see his boy Jonah again.  He just wanted to go home.

Widget touches down

There were hardly any people on Pine Island on that cold and windy evening.  But lucky for him Jonah’s mommy was one of the people there on the beach, and we all saw him as he flew through the air, and landed with a thud, and we ran to see if he was okay.  He didn’t care that he was cold, or that he was covered with sand, he said he just wanted to go home.  And then he smiled…

Widget's selfie


natural wonders, photography, Pine Island, sky, sunset

Third time’s a charm…

It was the third time I had gone out to take pictures that day.  Pine Island again, because the clouds at home were lit up so nicely an hour before sunset that I just couldn’t stay home.  It would have been a sin not to go out and enjoy what Mother Nature had provided.  No people and no stories that day, and no breeze.  There is always a nice breeze at Pine Island, I thought.  But with no breeze we also had no-see-ums, so all I’ve got are a few pictures of a gorgeous sunset, and I was outta there!


birds, egrets, Florida wildlife, Jenkin's Creek, life goes on, loneliness, memories, nature, photography, Pine Island, sunset

On the advice…

…of a friend I went out last night with a dryer sheet on my head, tucked under the back of my visor.  And another one sticking out of my shirt, held in place by my bra strap.  I had considered bobby-pinning one to my head, shades of what Catholic girls of a certain age used to do with a tissue if they found themselves without a head covering to wear to Mass.  My friend had been advised that a dryer sheet would keep the no-see-ums away, but evidently I bought the wrong brand because I think they liked me more last night.  A fisherman told me that these little pests are seasonal and that they’ll be gone once we have our first freeze.  I told him that I wasn’t sure that I was rooting for that to happen anytime soon.  But it is inevitable and at least now I’ll have a reason to be happy about it.

He also told me that I had missed the eagle.  It had been across the way in the same tree where I had seen him before.  He says that the eagle was always in the trees where the wood storks are roosting now, but now they have taken that one over.  1127storksI should have gotten great pictures of an egret catching his dinner, and flipping the fish over and over until he got it into position to swallow it.  I had that cheap new lens attached to the camera and was afraid to switch to my other, better, zoom lens.  Better quality wise, but I don’t know if the distance would have been too much for it.  If I had known how long he was going to play with his food before eating it I might have gone ahead and switched.  I couldn’t wait to go home and see what I got, which wasn’t much.

1127egret11127egret2I gave up, switched lenses, and headed to Pine Island.  And quickly captured this photo from the parking lot for fear that it would change before I made it across the beach.  1127sunset1

I’m thinking that I need to find new places to go to take pictures.  But in order to do that I might need to change my work schedule and I’m finding myself fearful of doing that for some reason.  Charley has been talking in my ear lately, he had been fairly quiet for a while, but he used to tell the young patients who complained about working, “If work gets in the way of your social life then quit work.”  As always he was being sarcastic when he said it, and that’s how I’m hearing it in my ear.  Sigh…




birds, Jenkin's Creek, nature, photography, Pine Island, sunset


I have made the same promise to myself over and over again, but I always seem to break it. I say that I will not do any online shopping at 4 AM anymore, because I have learned that my judgement is impaired, probably by lack of coffee. I seldom buy things and return them, but when I do return them they are often a 4 AM purchase.
My latest middle of the night purchase was a 500 mm camera lens, which included a few extras in the box, and a year of Amazon prime. And free shipping. I wasn’t expecting a lot since was only $89. And within days it was waiting for me when I dashed home at lunchtime to let the dogs out. I quickly put it on the camera body and went out back and took a few not-so-great photos, and I’ve been toying with the idea of sending it back ever since.
But I decided to take it out with me this afternoon, and bring the tripod because part of the problem with a zoom lens like that is holding it steady enough to keep the picture sharp. If I spent $13,000 (!) on one it would come with onboard stabilization, but since that’s not what I bought I assumed that this lens would require a tripod. Plus I had read the instructions by this time, and I was supposed to use manual mode. To test the lens I decided to go back to Jenkin’s Creek, in hopes of the eagle being across the way. It wasn’t, but the wood storks were back in their tree, along with a Blue heron, so I got lots of practice. But the no-see-ums were there also, so I moved on to Pine Island where I found new birds (to me), a pelican, and a very cute little boy.


The new birds were double crested cormorants.  I haven’t spotted them before.  I could see them well enough to know they were different, but I was disappointed in the photos.  Thankfully, Merlin recognized them despite not being a great photo.1124cormorant

This cute little guy was very far away, I’m most impressed with the amount of zoom based on these photos.  1124littleboy31124littleboy21124littleboy1

Did I forget the sunset?  Of course not, but took this with my iPhone.  And as the sun set the horizon seemed to be on fire until nothing was left but the burning coals effect.  Another nice night, and with the time change I’m home by 6:30.  Nice for an early riser like me.  Are the photos tack sharp? No they aren’t. But did I have $89 worth of enjoyment out of it? Yes, I think I did…1124sunset1124burningcoals





connections, moments, nature, photography, Pine Island, simple things, sunset, unintended images

Photo moments…

Oh go out, I thought to myself, if nothing else you’ll be able to gas up the car. So off I went again, to Pine Island on a day that was overcast and not promising as far as the sunset goes. But I needed some more shore bird photos so off I went. And, as always, there was something unexpected going on at Pine Island. These people were feeding bread to the seagulls, which is probably frowned upon, but it made for some interesting photos. They were having fun and I have to say I caught their enthusiasm.

The sunset itself wasn’t much, just a hole in the cloud cover where some of the sunset light could come through. But what was surprising was that the sky opposite the sunset was prettier than the sunset promised to be. Plus the sky to the left of where the sun was setting was also full of streaks of light. The prettiest sky of the night.

I saw a young man heading toward the sunset with his camera, but he stopped to chat with a couple who were there for the sunset. They told him they didn’t want him to miss his shot, so when he headed over to where I was with my camera I pointed out the gorgeous sky to the left. We had a nice chat while we both took pictures. Then he wanted a shot of himself with his camera. He had intended to use his tripod, but then he asked me to take the photo and he got out another of his cameras for me to use. This proved to be fun, and I loved using his very nice Sony camera. But I snuck a picture with my iPhone also. In talking I realized that he was the photographer doing the bikini photo shoot the other night. He said he saw me that night, I was the ‘little woman with the camera’. LOL. He’s from NYC, and works for the transit authority when he isn’t out taking pictures. Imagine the photo ops there. Wanderlust takes over when I think of all the photos I’d like to take in this world. Or the photos I wish I’d taken in my life. I have to remind myself that photography as a hobby was a very different animal back when I was his age…


I had this post finished and ready to be posted this morning, and then the tables were turned when he sent me a photo he took of me!  I love what photography has added to my life…


birds, blessings, connections, Florida wildlife, moments, nature, photography, Pine Island, simple things, sunset

I’m thankful…

My last trip out for the sunset had me on the opposite side of the beach from where I normally go. It was high tide, and the shore birds were scarce on ‘my’ side, so I checked the other side and was happy to see them there. As I was looking at the various birds, looking for different ones to photograph, an older man nearby commented about the birds. He had never seen so many, he said. He was here in Florida and none of his family could believe he was here so he wanted to take a picture. He had been sick, he said, but two weeks in Florida had fixed him right up. He seemed quite pleased. But not with his photos. He wanted to take pictures that would show the birds and the sunset, but I told him that as long as the sunset was behind the birds you would only see them in silhouette. He understood what I meant immediately and moved up the beach to take more pictures. When he came back he was excited to show me his photo, and held up his little old phone, which was ‘repaired’ with scotch tape on the corner. But it took a decent enough photo, with the birds highlighted by the sunset. He happily wandered away, saying that he was going to send it to his daughter.

I know I really go out for the sunset to take pictures of my own, but these sorts of little exchanges with strangers are equally important to me.  I’m thankful for the human spirit that allows us to connect with each other, if only for a moment.  I hope you have many reasons to be thankful also.