Having failed to see the eaglets on our last trip we decided to stop and see them when we were in the area again. We were told that one of the adults had just brought a big rat back for lunch, so not much was happening, but we waited a while. One adult stayed in the shadows, but the other found a spot in the sun in a tree a little way from the nest. And one of the eaglets decided to stretch his wings, so we left there happy with out stop.
Then we headed to Dunedin again to see the sunset before we headed to meet with the photo group. Another nice day.
This is my second year in a row of meeting an old friend in Longboat Key. Such a beautiful spit of land along the Gulf of Mexico, and the view to the other side is Sarasota Bay. The day was predicted to be cloudy all day, but the sun came in and out, and I had moments of wishing that the sun would disappear behind a cloud for a minute as we sat on the beach. Followed by welcoming the sun back as the breeze chilled us. It is a lovely place to spend a winter day in Florida.
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.
Lately I seem to be way too willing to decide that I’ll just stay home, I won’t go out for the sunrise or sunset. There are too many dark clouds, I tell myself, or the morning is kind of foggy. Last night was no exception. I was driving up Rt 19 and there were heavy dark clouds to the north, but when I turned into my street and looked towards the west I saw blue sky and nice puffy clouds. So I told myself to go out to see what I could see. That turned out to be a wise, or rather, a lucky decision.
When I hear all the talk among my fellow photographers about the great new cameras and/or lenses that are coming out lately, I am, momentarily at least, tempted to buy better equipment. My stuff is considered adequate, for a beginner. But if I’m honest with myself I’m really not willing to concentrate enough to master the technicalities of setting the camera, or doing more than basic editing. ‘Better’ equipment would probably have required me to change my lens when the dolphin showed up last night, and if he stuck around long enough for me to do that then I probably would have gotten better pictures. So the temptation is there, but it’s fleeting. I appreciate the freedom my current set up gives me. When the mood strikes then out the door I go, and I’m ready for whatever happens next. That feels good…
I’m afraid that the feature photo gives this whole post away. You’ve already seen just how pretty the sunset got. But I’m ahead of myself. When I arrived at Crystal Beach ahead of my friend I was happy to see a somewhat promising scene for our sunset shoot.
But as much as the sunset was the goal, the real excitement was that my friend, Maryann, was bringing the drone(s) she had been flying for the last few months. DroneS, because apparently you can’t have just one, or so she tells me. I’ve been amazed from the first time I’d seen drone photos, wondering how the heck you point them at what you want them to ‘see’ and then hold them steady enough to take a decent photo. Just handholding a camera can be a challenge at times. And then she arrived, and I became torn between getting shots of the sky as it got prettier, and then resetting the camera to shoot the drone itself, which turned out not to be a challenge at all because it just rose up in the sky and stayed put. Went up straight, no guesswork there, so avoiding trees and power lines isn’t really an issue. Then she showed me her phone screen, which showed the drone view, and she could take pictures at will. The controller looked like a video game controller, so that took care of aiming her. And before you take the drone up you ‘pin’ the spot where she started so that when you call her she comes ‘home’.
We were about ready to call it a day when I happened to glance over and saw that behind some trees another whole cloud bank was ablaze with color. I had to go back out onto the pier to get that feature photo. It was quite the finale of the evening. And what I failed to explain is that I drive past the turn off for this beach every time I go to Clearwater for a class, and many times for the photo shoots also. But I had never noticed the sign for Crystal Beach, just another one of those details that seem to escape me as I go about my days.
PS. Maryann was happy to point out that no rules of flying drones were broken in the making of this blog post!
PSS: You can check out Maryann’s stuff at MaryannMiller.com. Also look for her at
Actually I’d been hearing that call for a while now, so it was silly of me to wait until daylight savings was in effect making me rush more than I’d have had to just the week before. The weather report said cloudy all day, but I walked out my front door to check for myself and saw that there were breaks in the clouds, so off I went. I guess it goes without saying that I was glad I rousted myself out. It was a beautiful morning.