nature, photography, friends, fun, butterflies, adventure, perseverance, Florida landmarks, Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Preserve, sky, a second look, 'scene' along the way, road trip, making memories, exploring new places

A short visit to Chassahowitzka…

You know how it is. You head out the door intending to do one thing, but the conversation leads you in an entirely different direction. That’s what happened yesterday when we set out to see and take photos along the back roads of ‘old Florida’, but we wound up at the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Preserve instead. I’ve been there before, but I’ve always been the passenger tagging along with friends who know the park backwards and forwards. Which means that I have no idea how to get around in there so I wasn’t the best guide that a person could hope for. In fact we never did see the scenery I expected to show him, but that was okay, we’ll find that next time. And next time maybe there won’t be bow and arrow hunters in the woods, a fact that kept us close to the road as we got out for pictures. Not that we are hikers. As you can see from the feature photo we found lots and lots of butterflies in the thistles at the side of the road.

There was a lot of competition over this flower.
I love the detail in the thistles.
Rain was expected later on, but for the most part the skies were pretty.
And the rains we have had meant that we had to drive through puddles that took over the road in spots.
Trees and sky are your companions as you drive the winding road.
The sky seemed threatening at times, but mostly it was pretty.
Then on the way home we saw this rain falling in the general direction of where we were heading, but we seemed to drive around it. Then it started to rain as soon as we got home. Perfect timing.

The wildlife was keeping a low profile as we drove through. Of course it was afternoon and there is usually more action in the morning and at dusk. Still my friend was happy to see the Florida landscape as it was before people decided to ‘improve’ it…

a second look, adventure, boats, facing facts, Florida landmarks, food, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip, sky, sunset, weather

Sunset in Dunedin…

We finally got to head to Dunedin for the sunset last night. As we walked to the marina we saw sailboats returning from a sailing lesson, so of course I ran ahead so as to not miss the shot. As it turned out it’s a good thing the sailboats created a diversion for us because we had longer to wait for the sunset than we thought. And then the clouds took over.

Things were looking promising at this point.
There are a few variations on the view as you sit in the park next to the boat house.
We were treated to a grackle serenade as we enjoyed the view. No osprey nests were visible this time. Perhaps they were evicted.
I caught a photo of this fisherman just before he called it a day.
This little girl was busy swinging her net, but at no creature that we could see.
The sun was getting lower.
I told myself that the color was coming up.
Then I looked behind me in hopes of seeing pretty reflected color, and found this.
We headed to the car, really we were heading to The Lucky Dill for a beer, but I stopped and took one last iPhone photo of the sunset.

I think that the iPhone enhanced the color a bit in that last photo. I’m glad that the sunset itself, or lack of it, isn’t the make or break moment of the day’s fun. One way or another it’s always good to get out and go shooting…

'scene' along the way, a second look, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, live and learn, making memories, perseverance, photography, Rise and shine, sky, sunrise

Also in Aripeka…

One-Foot Fred may not have shown up for the sunrise this morning, but the sunrise sure did. I could hardly get myself out the car and set up fast enough when I saw the color. The feature photo is my first shot. One photographer commented about how lucky we are to live where we live so that we can go to Aripeka in the morning and see such a spectacular show. I had to agree. And she comes for the sunrise often so I asked if she’d seen Fred lately, and she had, about two weeks ago. There is another great blue heron who comes to the area for handouts now too, she said. It has a bobber around it’s neck so they have been trying to catch that one to get that off of him. No luck so far though.

I needn’t have worried, the color just got better.
My attempt at another angle of virtually the same shot.
What more could I ask of a sunrise?

I also made a new Facebook friend this morning, just in time for us both to see a dolphin in the water. Yes, in Aripeka. She saw him first, then we both saw him breach, and boy was he big. So there we were, poised to take a photo, she with her phone and me with my camera, but he never came back up. Maybe he went back under the bridge and out to the gulf, neither of us thought to look behind us. Nice to meet you Viana, hope you like the pictures

'scene' along the way, black and white, childhood, fun, just imagine, memories, moments, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, sky, unintended images

Just imagine…

I was missing my grandfather’s house yesterday. The gorgeous cloud formations made me remember laying on my back on the lawn, watching the clouds drift by and seeing what surprises I could find in them. I saw a happy little face off to the right in the feature photo.

I wanted to write that it looked like an explosion in a whipped cream factory.
My little happy person is off to the left in this one. Here I see a conversation happening, or is it an argument?
I turned one to black and white because I could. The texture of the clouds was amazing.

Of course by the time I got home and could have laid in the grass the pretty clouds were close to the horizon and the dark clouds were taking over, and I could hear thunder…

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Return to Cedar Key…

The day was going to be hot, but the sky was quite pretty and we hadn’t been out for pictures in a few days, so we made the drive to Cedar Key yesterday. My last trip must not have been on the weekend because I was surprised at the crowds at the restaurants and shops on the waterfront. Last time I was there I had taken lots of pictures of and in those buildings, but this time the crowds and lack of parking had us moving on. But not before we had clam chowder at Tony’s, which was at least as good as advertised. I was hoping for refills, but no such luck.

We are New Englanders, but this version of clam ‘chowdah’ holds it’s own with the best of them.
Patronage was steady, but not overwhelming for the cook/server, who was doing double duty.

There are adorable sculptures in the garden at the side of the library. They appear to be more weather-worn than when I was there before, but still charming as ever.

I love this sidewalk fisherman. He has a fish on his line, but not one of the little fish in the mural, he has snagged the big fish in the feature photo.
Love this little mural on the wall also.
If I take pictures of old barns out in the country then I guess an old building in town is also a subject.
This mural was a challenge to photograph without the cars that were sitting out front.
But really the sky was what I was wanting to see in my photos as we drove around the area.
Those clouds, and the blue sky just looked so pretty.
Our sole bird sighting. No Spoonies this time.
More clouds.
A tiny house. Too tiny.
Cemetery Point had been suggested as a viewing spot, but this grave was what caught my eye. Big Ed must have been something, proud southerner and firefighter, well remembered.
We can’t learn too much from this spot where Jimmy the Greek rests in peace.
At 15 miles per hour this was our view for quite a while after turning into a wildlife preserve.

,Leaving Cedar Key seemed like more of an escape than just a drive. Still on backroads the GPS gave us no clue as to where we were in relation to a town. After we turned into the wildlife area I asked how we were doing on gas, and the reply was that he wished I’d asked that question sooner. To which I suggested that the driver might have been keeping an eye on the gas tank without the passenger’s input. Eventually, like a mirage, a gas station appeared up ahead. And we were advised that if we just drove straight ahead we’d come to route 19 and we could head south to home! A fun day’s outing, with just a little added drama…

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Asheville to Tybee Island…

We were very lucky to have a nice day to spend in Asheville, in between raindrops the day before and again the next day. We wandered a couple of blocks through the charming downtown and people-watched for the afternoon. The next day was our big drive home, most of which was through the sometimes torrential rain, so a planned stop at Tybee Island was cut short, and we drove home using all the possible speeds on the windshield wipers.

Tell me this storefront window wouldn’t stop you in your tracks!
This happy little girl was enjoying herself.
Maybe the dancers are her mom and dad?
We wandered a very nice art gallery and found this old fashioned soda fountain to entice you once you were finished. My friend worked as a soda jerk (is that politically correct these days) and made more than his fair share of Raspberry Lime Rickys in his day. I drank more than my fair share in my day too, and there we were in the same home town, but it took a common interest in photography and about 70 years for our paths to cross.
This sign was in front of Ben and Jerry’s, a good place for it!
Tybee Island Light Station, in the mist.
Those clouds!

Once we crossed into Florida the rain let up so the drive home was uneventful after that. We were very lucky to have accomplished all that we set out to do while we were away. We each reconnected with friends and family, and we certainly enjoyed the scenery everywhere we went. I wonder where we’ll go next?