birds, dragonflies, Florida wildlife, life, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography, pond creatures, simple things, storms

The good and the bad…

The good thing about dragonflies is that they return to the same spot all the time.  So you can get yourself ready, get the camera focused, and you’ll be ready to take your photo when he returns.  The bad thing about dragonflies is that they return to the same spot all the time.  And when they do come back they tend to land in the same position again, so you are ready to take the picture, but it’s the same picture every time.  I wish they would do something surprising now and then.  At least they are out back daily, giving me photo ops when Mama Sandhill crane sitting on her eggs becomes less than exciting.4-13dragonfly4-13dragonfly1-24-13dragonfly24-13dragonfly34-13dragonfly44-13dragonfly5

And, speaking of taking the same picture over and over, you probably suspect that my Sandhill crane on the nest photo is the same one and I’m reusing it periodically.  But I’m not.  I was worried when I was away over the weekend, worried that I’d miss the new Sandhill crane chicks hatching.  I was so lucky to be on the spot to watch as it happened last year, so I was happy to see her still on the nest when I got back, that I didn’t miss anything.  And poor Mama has been out there through two really bad storms, and still she is out there.  And her mate is there also.  I love that guy.  But I see that the grass surrounding the nest is longer than it was last year, I hope it will be easy to see the chicks with my big new lens.  But then they didn’t spend a lot of time on the next last year anyhow, so it will be fine. She said, optimistically.

And the Little Blue Heron who is always on the post out there.  I can’t help but take pictures of him almost glowing in the sun.  Not the same photo all the time, it just looks like it.4-13littleblue

fun, perseverance, photography, simple things, special effects, technology

Baseball and fireworks…

Last week the photo group went to opening day of the Clearwater Threshers baseball team.  They were playing the Dunedin Bluejays, and it turned out to be a very enjoyable evening.  During the ballgame the photo to get is the ball on the bat for the hitters, and the ball just leaving the fingertips of the pitchers.  I got neither, I tried though.  I had 477 photos, none of which even came close.  More practice is in order.  But all was not lost, the other photo op of the evening was the post-game fireworks.  That was a little more successful, thanks to advice from the group.  A 10 second shutter speed, I’d never have come up with that on my own.  You couldn’t see what you were getting on the camera, you were flying blind.  I will go again since this photo op comes up a few times during baseball season.  Senior price of admittance is $6, lots of fun for just a little money.

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flowers, life, life goes on, nature, neighbors, photography, simple things

Flower stalking…

No, this isn’t my yard.  This is the front lawn of the house directly behind me, across the lake.  Last spring I spent a lot of time with my camera trained on the back of this property, waiting for the Sandhill crane family to return to the lake in the late afternoon. I felt a bit like a stalker.  And if that’s how I felt then, I really felt it yesterday afternoon when I went back after the dog walk and stopped to take a couple of pictures of their front yard.  Charley and I had owned our house for a while before we happened to visit during the several weeks in the early spring when the azaleas in this yard are in full bloom.  They weave their glorious way between and around the oaks, a patchwork of pink, red, and white flowers standing out against the green of the lawn.  The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it is never in full sunlight, always in dappled shade, so not so easy to photograph. Maybe the shade is why it’s so pretty.  But the hours and hours that the owners spend tending their property, dueling riding mowers and all, surely must have something to do with it.

Seeing their yard must have made me remember some flower images I had just seen online.  They were taken at the Florida Botanical Gardens, and included some butterflies and bees. So I went to our local botanical garden just down the road from me and wandered down the paths with the goal of reaching the butterfly garden in mind.  But I found that all the shrubs had been cut back and there wasn’t a flower, or a butterfly, in sight.  Which tells me it’s time for me to do the same thing to my plumbago and bougainvillea bushes, and soon the butterflies and bees will be back in my own yard.  Every year the azaleas lead the charge, spring is coming…2-27purpleflowers2-27bottlebrush2-27azaleas2-27Japanesemagnolia12-27Japanesemagnolia22-27japanesemagnolia42-27Japanesemagnolia3I don’t think I had taken note of the Japanese Magnolia before, but with so few flowers in sight they stood out.  Seems I’m always taking note of something I’ve never noticed before…

finding my way, natural wonders, nature, photography, simple things, sunrise, technology, unintended images

Older and wiser…

When I let Ozzie out in the dark and quiet it was drizzling, which made me give up on the notion of joining the photo walk at John Chestnut park this morning.  And an alternative plan I had thought of was to go to Philippe park and visit the owlet.  I heard that she is flying between the branches now, and it was suggested that spotting her might be a bit of an exercise in Where’s Waldo since she would be camouflaged quite well in the thick Spanish moss hanging on the trees.  But then I saw a photo that had been posted last night that showed her falling out of the tree, and she has been taken to a raptor rehab, and will hopefully be returned asap.  With that sad news I decided that I’d stay home and take care of the house, but head out to 7:15 Mass first.  I was oblivious to the sunrise until I took my first right turn to head west, and spotted this.2-25Sundaysunrise2

I had to stop, I just couldn’t take a chance that there might be a better place, a better angle to take a picture.  Then I got to the corner and stopped again.  That’s where I took the feature photo above.  I felt like I was racing the clock, not because I’d be late to church, but because I hated to stop when I expected that the best view would be at the church itself.  It sits up on a bit of a hill, and I was arguing with myself that I should just quit wasting time and get there before the color started to fade.  But this last is the view from the church, not the wide open view I had expected.  What did I used to do when I saw these incredible displays that nature puts on fairly regularly but I wasn’t ‘into’ photography?  Did I not notice?   Should I just credit technology, since carrying an iPhone means I’m never without a camera, so that’s the inspiration?  Or just admit to myself that it’s probably that older and wiser thing…2-25Sundaysunrise

backyard visitors, go with the flow, nature, neighbors, photography, pigs, simple things, unintended images

The Wilbur Effect…

My only hope, I thought, as I walked out of work on my ‘day off’, was that maybe a photo op would come to me in the back yard, because I didn’t know if I had a trip out in me.  And that’s exactly what happened.  Okay, Zoe actually came to the rescue when she went to the back gate and Wilbur came over to say hello to her.  They snuffled each other through the fence.  Ozzie, on the other hand, acts like a savage beast, but the effort is lost on Wilbur.  He just snuffled through the fence, totally unimpressed with Ozzie’s mean killer dog act.

So I let myself in the gate to say hello.  I thought he’d frolic and I’d take pictures.  His hair is so wiry, not a cuddly creature.  Then he laid down so I could rub his belly.  And there was so such thing as watching him from afar, he likes things up close and personal.  I sat down on a paver to get a better angle, but that gave Wilbur a better angle also.  He came over, wet snout covered in sand, and proceeded to snuffle my feet, my legs, and my pant legs until I was wearing more of the sand than he was.  It felt like I was being sandpapered. I haven’t been that dirty since I was a little kid. I call it The Wilbur Effect.  Now excuse my while I toss those pants in the wash….

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finding my way, friends, growing old, home, life goes on, memories, natural wonders, photography, simple things, travel

New England girl…

I hadn’t even gotten the title written onto the page when Charley commented in my ear that I was a girl when Hollywood was a prairie.  That may be true, but what the heck.  My trips ‘up north’ usually result in running back and forth, trying to visit everyone, and not spending enough time with anyone.  Especially my life-long friend Kathy in New Hampshire.  But we had a BIG high school reunion a while back, the one where when your parents had it you realized how old they were getting.  And now it was our turn, and I went to New Hampshire and stayed put, and even then it wasn’t enough time together, we hadn’t run out of things to talk about.  Or places to photograph.  I was seeking stone walls, but found much more than that.  Old chimneys that once had families huddled in front of it, or a pot of stew simmering in it.  “Flower beds’ that would make you smile.  Old red barns, and rocky rivers, not unlike the rocky New England beaches, like Duxbury, that had Charley shaking his head.  Covered bridges, and hints of fall colors to come, but not while I was visiting.  Lake Sunapee, on a perfect day.  And the inevitable stone walls, some of them just outside Kathy’s door.

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And no, Ozzie wasn’t with me in New Hampshire.  I was playing with the Superimpose app and, like magic, there he was…