'scene' along the way, adventure, bucket list, Camping, Just do it, making memories, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography

And so it begins…

Day one at Fort DeSoto campgrounds had me finally set up by 3 PM.  This is a lovely campground but the tent/pop up area has a narrow, one-way, road, with equally narrow and abrupt turn-offs in which to back your camper.  Even with two people directing me it was quite an ordeal, and it has occurred to me that getting it out of here just might be as bad, or worse.  Guess I’ll worry about that later.1-20-20woodpecker

But I was anxious to get out for pictures so I rushed up to North Beach because I could see that the sun would be setting in that direction.  On the way I stopped for the first couple of osprey nests I saw, but I soon realized that they were everywhere, and they all were occupied by at least one adult.  They certainly didn’t have any protection from the wind up there.  And the ranger had told me that there was an eagle nest on the cell tower, you can’t miss it, he said.  It wasn’t the natural setting of the eagles I’m used to seeing so I probably won’t be staking this nest out.1-20-20osprey1-20-20eaglenest

With temperatures in the 40s and a brutal wind, it was almost too much, for a Floridian at least.  And the waves crashing on the rocks were dramatic, but the tide was coming in and I began to worry that the camera would get splashed.  But it didn’t, and neither did I, and the sunset was lovely.  And I drove back to the campground never suspecting that I’d discover that when I plugged in the heater, or the charger for the computer, that the plugs weren’t going to work.  Lights yes, plugs no.  And I must have used my last gasp of propane testing that I had propane, because that heater didn’t work either.  So I’m roughing it until I figure it out, and warmer weather is coming, or so they say.1-20-20slywywithpalmtrees1-20-20sunshineskwayfeature1-20-20wavescrashing1-20-20northbeachsunset

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Heros, history, learning, live and learn, moments, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

The Brooksville Raid…

The Brooksville Raid was not a civil war battle but a skirmish, which had no clear winner.  Perhaps that’s why the reenactment weekends are structured by coin toss as to which side wins.  And the other side wins the next day.  A very civilized way to do things I suppose.  The gates open at 9 AM and the battle doesn’t happen until 2:30, so there is a lot of time to wander in the encampments where the reenactors spend the weekend, not just reenacting the battle but reliving life in the camps also.  They wander through the crowds in their costumes, the troops practice their drills, and it does help you to imagine what life would have been like for those poor soldiers.  Maybe not so poor on a gorgeous, sunny Florida day, but that wasn’t always the case now was it?

01-18-20brooksvilleraidflags01-18-20brooksvilleraidmedicinewagon01-18-20brooksvilleraiddrumsandpipes01-18-20brooksvilleraidcoffeewagon01-18-20brooksvilleraidcanoncrew01-18-20brooksvilleraidpraying01-19-20brooksvilleraid4horses01-19-20brooksvilleraidcamp;ife01-19-20brooksvilleraidcarryingtheflag01-19-20brooksvilleraidexchange01-19-20brooksvilleraidgirls01-19-20brooksvilleraidhoopskirts01-19-20brooksvilleraidmermaid01-19-20brooksvilleraidredhead01-19-20brooksvilleraidsupplies01-19-20brooksvilleraidthreeladies01-19-20brooksvilleraidtwocamp01-19-20brooksvilleraidwares01-19-20brooksvilleraidsasparilla

Sarsaparilla, I hadn’t had it before.  Choose your bottle and fill it for $5, and refills are $2!

'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, eagles, Florida wildlife, moon, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, reality check

You can’t win them all…

My assumption that heading to the eagle nest for pictures would be a sure thing was definitely optimistic.  Why wouldn’t I think that after Monday’s great day of shooting?  So I went yesterday, determined to get better acquainted with the lens and tripod I hadn’t used for probably a year, not since the last time I had gone out for photos of owls.  As usual there were photographers there when I got there, and I learned that the babies had been fed earlier.  Dad was on the nest with the babies, they said, and we saw Mom fly in and land in some pine trees out of reach of our lenses.  And that’s how things stood for the couple of hours I was there.  My attention wandered to the faint moon still showing in the sky, and eventually I wandered to the fishing pier where I found the tide lower than I had ever seen it.  It was amazing to think that I’ve stood on that pier and watched dolphins swimming right below me, but not this time.  01-16-20momandchicknew01-16-20moonoverthenest01-16-20fishingpier201-16-20fishingpier

When I got home I looked through the pictures I’d gotten, few that they were, and I looked again at what I’d taken on Monday and found a few more that I liked.  And that was that.  But it was a nice day to be outside enjoying the weather and chatting with the other people keeping vigil.  It seemed we all left at about the same time, I wonder what excitement may have happened later.  What did we miss?  Maybe that’s what keeps us going back…01-16-20eaglet01-16-20eaglepluschick201-16-20eaglepluschick01-16-20eaglepants

'scene' along the way, a second look, eagles, Florida wildlife, life goes on, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography

The circle of (eagle) life…

I was up north last winter when the nearby eagles were raising their young, so it’s a treat to watch them now.  I’m an amateur, I think some of the photographers I saw there are there nearly every day.  But I hadn’t been in a couple of weeks so.  When I saw that the eaglets were already popping their heads up out of the nest I needed to play catch-up.  It was so fun to watch, or pretend to, since I was struggling to focus.  I needed to focus manually with my big lens and extender, and no matter what I did it didn’t appear to be in focus.  All the while the other photographers were exclaiming over how cute the little ones were, so I finally ditched the extender and stuck with my 150-600 Tamron lens, which allows auto focus.  To see these tiny creatures at all is amazing since they really are quite a distance away.

Seeing a parent fly in with a fish started the action for me.  My fellow watchers were remarking on how tired this eagle was.  I asked how you could tell and the answer was that it was panting, like a dog. 01-14-20incoming101-14-20incoming201-14-20incoming301-14-20momandbaby101-14-20momandbaby201-14-20momandbaby301-14-20momandbaby4They were also all excited when they spotted two eaglets!  I just shot picture after picture and hoped I had gotten something.  If I heard them shooting then I did too.  But after a while I was able to sort out what I was seeing through the lens and yes, there were two of them.  01-14-20twochicksThe other parent was in a nearby tree, arriving soaking wet, and I caught this image as he ‘shook his tail feathers’.01-14-20shakeitoff

But I can’t leave this on such a silly note, when we all know just how regal they are, even when wet.01-14-20wetbutregal

'scene' along the way, adventure, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, fun, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Florida native wildlife…

Do you see it?  In the feature photo?  The manatee coming up for air?  Seeing this wild manatee from the river overlook at Homasassa Springs Wildlife Nature Park was a bonus.  They were outside the park, but the underwater gates are open this time of year so that the wild manatees can come in when the weather dictates.  The park itself has undergone a few incarnations over the years before being taken over by the state.  It once housed exotic animals, but now is a rehabilitation facility for native Florida species.  All the permanent residents are not able to be returned to the wild for one reason or another.  The vast majority of the park is open and many of the birds you see are wild and free to come and go as they wish.  I have a confession though.  Taking these pictures seems like cheating since the animals are captive.  It’s not the thrill that it would have been if I had seen them in the wild and gotten these pictures.  But they are beautiful, and this is a fun park to visit.1-10-20flamingoview1-10-20flamingos1-10-20eagle1-10-20crestedcaracara1-10-20burrowingowl1-10-20bobcat1-10-20GBH1-10-20greenandtri1-10-20hankypanky1-10-20hawk1-10-20heron1-10-20homasassaview21-10-20panther1-10-20redfox1-10-20Shermanfoxsquirrel1-10-20spoonbill1-10-20surfacing1-10-20vulture1-10-20whoopingcranes

And here we have Lu, who is a holdover from the exotic animal days.  He was a movie star in the past, but he is now going to celebrate his 60th birthday on January 24th.  His real birthday is the 26th, but they always have a party for him with school children so they planned for a weekday.1-10-20Lu

And Frankie enjoyed a bit of a family reunion while she was there.1-10-20Frankie'sroots

'scene' along the way, adventure, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, fun, Jenkin's Creek, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography

In pursuit of the manatees…

I once read that you must choose a feature photo that will entice people to click on and read your blog.  I’m sure this picture today wouldn’t do that for me.  It’s the view from the observation tower at Linda Pederson Preserve, but it’s not the view that got me to climb the four story staircase.  No, I climbed it because I was confident that I would see a manatee or two from up there.  The waterways on the Nature Coast are spring fed and a constant 72 degrees year round, so when the weather gets colder along with the water temperatures the manatees come to the area to spend the winter.  I had a nice view of them from up there, but when I looked at my photos I was surprised at how much the reflections and the ripples in the water had affected the photos.  So between that and the fact that the manatees don’t do much except drift around and come up for air now and then there weren’t a lot of useable pictures.  But I’m not complaining.1-9-20twotees1-9-20onetee

There are other views to enjoy at this park, besides the one across to the fishing pier at Jenkin’s Creek.  I saw my first wood stork hanging around with the fishermen on that pier, and I’ve seen eagles, great blue herons, egrets, and the wood storks in the trees around the water.  I was there early once morning and standing on the little bridge when a family of river otters started to come onto the bridge, but they changed their mind when they saw me.  It’s a shame it didn’t get decent pictures of that!1-9-20LPPview21-9-20LPPview

There were lots of fishermen present along the water yesterday.  And I directed two disappointed women who were looking for manatees to climb the tower.  But I was really there to get another photo of Frankie, my flamingo photo prop for a challenge from my photo group. I had a heck of a time trying to hold Frankie and take a picture with my iPhone, it’s too big for my hand.  Along came a gentleman up the stairs and I told him he’d showed up in the nick of time.  He thought I meant because there were two manatees down there, but I told him no, I needed his help if I had any hope of getting a photo for the challenge.  He was happy to oblige.1-8-20Frankieandthemanitee

Now you see why I love my camera with the zoom lens.  I hope you see the manatees down there in this picture, but I was glad to zoom for photos in with my nice new lens, which I will refer to as my ‘new’ lens as long as I don’t buy a newer one.  But I think I’ve found a happy medium with my equipment these days.  I’m always ready no matter where I go.