I set the alarm for 4:30 AM, and then was awake from 12:30 on, waiting for the alarm to go off. Of course I’d fallen asleep and was startled when it did go off, but such are the trials and tribulations of a photographer in search of a nice sunrise. Not only a chance to shoot in a fun place with friends, but to go to a new breakfast spot with the most amazing looking waffles ever! At the last minute I let myself be talked into a frittata instead, and now I have to go back for the banana maple pecan waffles that I failed to choose this morning. And the breakfast possibilities distracted me for the last half of the shoot since I was starving. Or I could just win the lottery and move to Safety Harbor altogether, but then I’d be in range of those waffles every morning and that would be dangerous.
Fun with friends in Florida, where you can get your activity in early, before it gets too hot, and then nap away the afternoon while the sun blazes away. Or while the thunder rumbles, even if it doesn’t rain. Makes for a perfect day.
Armed with ‘better’ lenses we headed back to the owls the other day, and found pretty much the exact same scene as we did a few days before. One owlet peeking out of the nest with Mom behind him. As we arrived, however, Mom flew out of the nest and onto a nearby branch, and there she posed for a few minutes before flying back to the nest. I was able to get the feature photo before she flew back to her babies. So all in all not such a bad little while in Philippe Park.
Then we were off to nearby Moccasin Lake to the raptor rehab there. Again our timing was good since the volunteers were getting the owls out of their enclosures for a few minutes.
We made a last stop at the Safety Harbor marina. People were gathered on the pier looking down into the water, so we hurried to see what they were seeing. Not wildlife, but a person who said he was licensed to explore the water’s edge to see what was there. It was the only thing to see on a cloudy day, but we went home happy.
I used to head out earlier in the day for my photos than I seem to do now. Sunrise, and then whatever other stop I wanted to make. The beauty of that was that when I came home I had something to do. Namely, work on my pictures and turn them into a blog post. If I had multiple pictures from more than one stop then so much the better, I had fodder for multiple blog posts. Having those pictures in the camera felt like having money in the bank. Silly I know, but that’s how I think.
Yesterday started out a lot later than I’m used to. First stop was the eagles, but not much was happening there so we moved on to the owls at Philippe Park.
And then it was time to head to Clearwater to meet with our photo group and have dinner. But the timing conveniently allowed for a stop in Dunedin for the sunset. It was a more successful day of shooting than I thought it was while I was pressing the shutter button all afternoon.
Judging by the number of photographers there it was a perfect night for a Pink Moon at Safety Harbor. Yes, it could have been more perfect if the moon would have shown itself through the clouds when it was still behind the Tampa skyline, but I didn’t hear anyone complaining. Just one by one people started saying they were starting to see it showing through the clouds, what a night it was. Some nights are just right.
A trip to Safety Harbor for the sunrise always includes the ulterior motive of heading to Philippe Park to see the owls, or at least try to see them. There are always other photographers there, and I usually embarrass myself when I can’t seem to ‘find’ the owls that everyone else seems to have no trouble seeing. Not yesterday though, the Mom was sitting on a branch that even I had no trouble spotting. Seeing Dad, however, took a little more sleuthing, but now that I’m informed that that’s his favorite spot it’ll probably be easier to spot him next time.
I was told that Mom was keeping an eye on the nest while dear old Dad, tuckered out from his night of hunting, snoozed nearby. And in the nest was a curious baby, or make that two of them, easy to see after you finally do realize where the nest is.
And that’s basically it, Mom watches, Dad snoozes, and baby occasionally pops his head up but mostly is hidden down in the nest. The photographers were waiting, wanting to see Mom fly to the nest and get that owl-in-flight shot, but since nothing much was going on I was tempted to leave, my good-byes were on the tip of my tongue. Then a couple of blue jays seemed to be pestering the parents. That blur to the right of Mom was one who photo bombed the shot. Mom’s ‘horns’ came up, she wasn’t happy, but nothing much happened until the crows got in on the act.
Several crows landed above Mom, and several more near Dad, and they were working together, by the sound of their crowing they were quite obviously harassing the owls.
Mom was getting fluffed up, and the photographers got excited that she was going to fly.
I had just enough time to zoom out a little to give myself room when both owls took off, and those crows did too. I wish I’d gotten sharper shots, but I have to say I was glad to get them at all. From the groans I heard around me I think several people were caught off guard. And that was the finale for the day, for me at least. If the crows were intent on raiding the nest it didn’t work, not this time, and the owls returned to their chosen spots to continue their watching and snoozing…
A beautiful day in a beautiful park, but I get up so early to get to the area for sunrise that I’m too anxious to head home to explore the park and just enjoy it…
I really ought to plan my photo trips a little better, but somehow they do seem to work out, one way or another. So maybe flying by the seat of my pants isn’t all bad. But looking up the travel time to Safety Harbor at 5 AM (30 minutes), and expecting it to be the same if I left at 6 AM, wasn’t my smartest move. I had less than 5 minutes until the sun peeked above the horizon this morning, I made it, but barely. Another photographer informed me that I had missed a beautiful moon set though. I have the app (PhotoPills) to let me be more aware of these photo ops, but I still haven’t learned to use it. Sigh. And still another photographer chose to inform me that I should get rid of my lens and buy the one that he had. I think this is the first time I’ve run into someone like that, photographers are generally a really nice group of people. I’m sticking with my lens, it’s the person behind the camera who leaves a bit to be desired sometimes.
LensBall gives you a different perspective, especially when the views are limited…