adventure, Florida landmarks, friends, moments, perseverance, photography, sky, sunset, weather

Clearwater ferry and sunset…

What if they gave a photo meet-up and nobody came?  I knew that cancellation was a possibility, but the clouds didn’t obscure the blue sky enough for me to worry about it as I left the house with 2 hours to spare.  As I stood at the ferry landing looking for other people weighted down with photo equipment I checked my email and found the notification that it was cancelled.  For a brief moment I considered heading home, but then I kicked myself in the butt and told myself to get on the ferry.  Not only that, but I decided to ride the sunset cruise rather than stand on the beach by myself, and that was a good choice.  I made two new friends, Rhonda and Art, and we had fun taking photos and pointing out photo ops to each other.  I showed Art how to set the focus and exposure in his iPhone, and he showed me some editing tricks that I hadn’t discovered.  We toasted the sunset with champaign, compliments of the cruise!   Rhonda said it tasted like ginger ale, which it did, and later I discovered that my horizon line was off in most of my photos, but I can’t blame the alcohol for that.  I’ll blame the boat, rocking on the water.  It was a lovely evening…

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birds, eagles, Florida wildlife, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, photography, sky

Defending the nest…

My fellow photographers inspired a trip back to the eagle nest today.  One photographer has been getting shots of baby eagles at a nest she visits, and it made me wonder how ‘our’ eagles are doing.  And beyond that, I heard that the eagles have been being harassed by vultures, and that they had to drive the vultures off several times yesterday.

I got there today about 2 PM and the eagle was tending the nest as you see it above, not in the nest but above it.  There have always been vultures in the air when I’ve ben there, but they have been off in the distance.  Today I counted 12 at one time in the air, and the eagle was constantly scanning the sky as I watched.1-24nesteagle1You can see a bit of a vulture flying over in this picture.  I don’t know if that bird is what inspired the eagle to take off and give chase, but it was amazing to watch them swoop, and reverse direction at top speed.  They disappeared behind the trees, and the eagle was still in pursuit when they reappeared.  I tried to catch the chase in pictures but it was impossible.  1-24nesteagle21-24nesteagle31-24nesteagle4 copyWhen she returned she landed on the nest.  She was still scanning the sky, but also looking down into the nest, at her chick maybe?  While she was gone I concentrated on looking at the nest in case I might spot a little head pop up to look for Mom, but that didn’t happen.  1-24nesteagle51-24nesteagle6Her mate did come back, I saw him flying in and zoomed onto the nest thinking that he’d land there, but I was surprised to see Mom take off and both of the eagles were now in pursuit of at least two vultures.  Again, amazing to see but not so easy to photograph.  When I left there was one eagle on the nest and one in the trees nearby.     Keeping watch, defending the nest.

moon, photography, sky, technology, travel, weather


It’s not unusual for the dogs to want to go out at 4 AM, but was unusual that it was so light out on Wednesday morning that I didn’t need to turn on the outside light to see them wandering out back.  The moon was big and beautiful, and straight up overhead.  Once it occurred to me that I hadn’t attempted a moon photo since I got the 600mm lens and extender I just had to try it.  Here I’ve been complaining about the cold, and yet I didn’t even notice the cold while I was taking pictures out there.  It was 30 degrees out, according to Siri, but with no wind it didn’t feel so bad.  Or I was so distracted by trying to get the tripod to point straight up that I didn’t notice.

Since that went well I was off to Bayport for the sunrise a little later, and found it to be so windy and cold that I got right back into the car and didn’t take any pictures at all.  Instead I headed to Jenkin’s Creek where the birds were no where to be seen.  So much for always finding an eagle at sunrise.  But at least I have my best moon photo so far…

1-4moonshot2 copy2

The featured photo is one I took quite a while ago and finally decided to see what I could do with it.  The moon was blown out, and I always seem to try to include branches or something besides just the moon in my moon photos, but it honestly doesn’t work well.  I guess the camera wants you to focus on one or the other.  But I liked this picture so I took it into an app called Distressed Effects and played around until I came up with this image.  I have a lot of photo editing apps that I never use anymore.  I’ve often thought that it might be fun to choose a single picture and put it through all the apps that I have to see what I could do with them.  If this cold snap continues to keep me inside I might just try it.

adventure, childhood, photography, Pine Island, silliness, simple things, sky, unintended images

Widget’s tale…

After two cold, rainy, and entirely dreary days, it was almost startling to see some blue sky that afternoon, but still lots of clouds. Clouds that just might be lit up by the sunset. I hadn’t been out for the sunset at Pine Island in quite a few days, so off I went. I complained when the wind wasn’t there the other day, and the no-see-ums were there, well, the wind was back, in spades. The clouds had been blown almost entirely away and the seagulls kept taking to the air, and flying nowhere. They couldn’t make headway against that wind.


And that wind, well, the seagulls weren’t the only ones who struggled with it. Don’t I always say that Pine Island never disappoints? That the people I meet are just as important to me as the sunsets? Well, we can now add elves to that list, or, one elf at least. His name is Widget, and he had quite the tale to tell…

Widgets mission
It seems he had been chosen by Santa for a very special mission, one that had taken him to Hawaii. It was hard work training those elf recruits, so before he left Hawaii he earned a chance to relax on the beach…Widget gets some sun

But then a huge gust of wind blew across the beach, and Widget found himself flying through the sky.  All he could see were all the seagulls who were also being blown in the wind with him.  He was flying and flying, and he was very scared, but mostly because he didn’t know if he would ever see his boy Jonah again.  He just wanted to go home.

Widget touches down

There were hardly any people on Pine Island on that cold and windy evening.  But lucky for him Jonah’s mommy was one of the people there on the beach, and we all saw him as he flew through the air, and landed with a thud, and we ran to see if he was okay.  He didn’t care that he was cold, or that he was covered with sand, he said he just wanted to go home.  And then he smiled…

Widget's selfie


natural wonders, photography, Pine Island, sky, sunset

Third time’s a charm…

It was the third time I had gone out to take pictures that day.  Pine Island again, because the clouds at home were lit up so nicely an hour before sunset that I just couldn’t stay home.  It would have been a sin not to go out and enjoy what Mother Nature had provided.  No people and no stories that day, and no breeze.  There is always a nice breeze at Pine Island, I thought.  But with no breeze we also had no-see-ums, so all I’ve got are a few pictures of a gorgeous sunset, and I was outta there!


Florida landmarks, friends, fun, photography, sky, sunset

Rooftop sunset…

If you find yourself in Clearwater on a Tuesday evening from November to March, you might choose to watch the sunset from the rooftop of the main branch of the Clearwater library.  I thought that perhaps the photo group had arranged a special photo opportunity, but no, anyone can enjoy the view.  But only on a Tuesday, after daylight savings time ends.

I confess to being disappointed initially.  You could see that the sun would actually set behind some buildings, and there wasn’t much opportunity to move around enough to give a different perspective on the sunset.  That view also includes Clearwater beach, but not a beach view I had imagined.  So that view was pretty much it.  Except for a view of the Scientology headquarters just a few blocks away.  It was pretty all lit up and I took a picture before anyone told me what the building actually was.  But the sunset itself salvaged the night by getting prettier and prettier.  We were supposed to be off the roof by 6 PM, and the sky was absolutely on fire right about then, but we dutifully left the rooftop and headed out for a nice dinner and photo chat nearby.  I had been longing to find some new sunset viewing spots, and this fit the bill nicely, with new friends to boot!