attitude adjustments, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, hockey, Home Team, making memories, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, technology

USF hockey…

The nearby Advent Health Skating Rink is the home rink for the USF hockey club’s games. Between the USF games themselves, and the free skate rinks, there is a good crowd there on any night we’ve gone to a game. But Saturday night’s game was beyond anything we had seen before, as far as a standing room crowd goes. We found standing room in the upper level that allowed for three people at a time to have a great view of the ice. I was the fourth, so I only took shots for a couple of minutes myself, but I shot on burst mode and assumed that with all the fast action I’d get a shot or two that I might want to use here. That proved to be a little optimistic. As you can see by the feature photo, the night’s game was billed as the “War on I-4”, because of the rivalry between the USF Ice Bulls and the Knights of UCF. It definitely wasn’t UCF’s night as they lost 10-0.

They rolled out the red carpet for the Bulls mascot to drop the ceremonial first puck.
Then the Ice Bull’s mascot and the Advent Health Mascot got the crowd going to start the game.
This was the extent of the action shots I managed to get.

It’s fun to go to these games because most of our photo shoots are an hour or more away. But this rink is just a few miles from home. The next time we go it’ll probably be a smaller crowd to deal with, which won’t necessarily improve my photos, but I will try to take advantage of having a view of the ice, and maybe a seat too!

adventure, attention to detail, birds, brainstorms, connections, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, making memories, natural wonders, perseverance, photography, road trip, technology

The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive…

This place has been on my mind to visit for a while now. It’s not a place to go in the summer when the sun is relentless, even if you are driving and hopping in and out of the car for pictures all day. As it turned out this particular day was quite windy, and therefore chilly, but I thought it was a great location to take my friend and her new camera with its great zoom.

This first gator view was across the water. I thought my friend might be freaked out, but she was too busy taking pictures to panic.
I loved the little grebe.
Anhingas, they are everywhere,
The colors on this grackle caught our eye. Shot through the windshield. Apparently the camera ignored the dirty glass, isn’t technology grand?
Ibis, in formation.
An Osprey hunting. I have no idea why the sky was so dark in this shot.
Did the osprey find his lunch? This one did anyhow.
A snowy egret, with her golden slipper on display.
A tricolor heron, pausing for a moment in the sun.
Merlin says that this is a Wilson’s Snipe. A first for me!

We drove home and stopped at our favorite, and only, place to get a ‘South Shore Pizza’ here in Florida. Kathy agreed it was up to par. I left Brockton, MA at age 20, and longed for this fabulous pizza ever since, always being sure to visit the Cape Cod Cafe when I’m ‘home’. Now I can get one whenever the urge strikes!

a second look, adventure, attention to detail, birds, Circle B Bar Reserve, connections, eagles, egrets, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, making memories, natural wonders, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, technology

The Gray Ghost…

There you have it, the inspiration for many a photographer to head to Circle B Bar Reserve. It’s a Northern Harrier, and I didn’t expect to see it at all. Or ever. We were on our last stretch of trail, which is wide open to see the sky in all directions, but our intention was to make it back to the car before the battery in the scooter gave out. But we forgot all about that when we saw this bird, circling in the distance. I zoomed my lens to the full 400mm, but in the bright light and at that distance I couldn’t see if it was in the frame or not. But I took the shots anyhow. I’ve seen photographers standing with their cameras on their tripods, just waiting, hoping to see him. If they did I’m sure they got better pictures than this, but for my circumstances I’ll take it.

This Pied-Billed Grebe was a first to see here also, but one visited my lake a few years ago.
You’ve heard of a bump on a log…
Heading out on this trail with all it’s roots may be what challenged the battery of the scooter, but now we know where to look for the eagles.
We never did figure out what this egret was so intent on, but we all passed by not 8 feet away and he didn’t even flinch.
Another photographer asked what bird this is, and I answered that it was a Yellow-Rumped Warbler. Then she turned around and proved me right.

It was a fun day, but I crashed when I got home and sat down. It wasn’t a nap, I was done for the day. Now to check out some more of the 1334 pictures from yesterday. I was shooting in the fastest burst mode of the new camera, which is great if the bird takes off or something. But when they are still you just have the tiniest little eye blinks or head tilts to decide which is your best shot. But I’m not complaining.

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, attention to detail, attitude adjustments, birds, bugs, bunnies, butterflies, egrets, exploring new places, friends, fun, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, technology

Celery Fields…

A couple of years ago I spent a day being chauffeured around by another photographer, seeing many birding spots that day. Celery Fields was one of our quick stops, since we were in the area. But my over all impression was that it was rather flat and we didn’t take pictures there that day. Maybe we stopped with a different view that day, but I never added it to my mental ‘must see’ locations. Our intention in going this time was to ride the trails and see some birds that a friend had photographed there. But we quickly found that those long slow dirt trails were going to be too much for our trike and scooter, so we rode on the sidewalk and found plenty beautiful subjects to shoot.

I’m always on the lookout for bees and that’s what I hoped this was. I didn’t have the right lens on the camera and it didn’t seem to be focusing as I wanted it to, but I took some shots anyhow. I’m glad I did. The feature photo seemed to have the same problems also, but turned out okay.
This is the view we saw, definitely not flat. Each turn of the trail revealed yet another hill to climb.
Though the people on the hill caught my eye. I think he was being sent to retrieve his brother. I wish I’d rolled the zoom back a little.
If this guy had been lost he was found in the end,
This egret was the reason we did ride on the sidewalk, which revealed a few more photographic subjects.
I thought this was a glossy ibis, but I had to check to be sure and it is, but he’s in his non-breeding plumage.
A little blue was hanging out with the egret and ibis also.
We missed a great opportunity to get pictures of this immature red-shouldered hawk when we first arrived. Lucky for us he flew into the trees nearby and posed a while.
I saw the beautiful color of this fella’s feathers, but when he turned his head I was a bit disappointed to see that it was a turkey vulture. But I suppose they have their place in the big scheme of things.
This little bird was high in a tree so I had to zoom to the max, and then look it up on Merlin. It’s a loggerhead shrike, which I’d heard of but seeing it was a first for me.

It’s a shame that we didn’t look up info on this location before we visited because there is a lot more to be seen here. But we’ll be back…

a second look, attention to detail, backyard visitors, birds, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, technology

Bird Buddies…

Have you seen Bird Buddy popping up on your Facebook feed? I think that’s where I saw it first. I had been wanting to add some bird feeders to the back yard where lots of birds fly through, but don’t ever stop. I’d like to add plants to bring in pollinators and butterflies too, but this is a first step in the right direction.

Bird Buddy is a bird feeder with an added bonus. It also has a built in camera that will automatically take a picture of a bird at the feeder. And more than that, it will send that photo to your phone, along with an ID of the bird, and plenty of info about that breed for your information. I bought the solar roof option that is offered, and it has the unit at over 80% charged after two days, each of which started out gloomy but got sunny in the afternoon.

I didn’t pay too much attention to those extra features of the Bird Buddy, suspecting that they would leave a lot to be desired, at least for someone who sees fabulous bird photos on friends’s internet feeds daily. And I wondered if the birds would even come to the feeder at all.
We didn’t have it up long at all when a Carolina Wren landed on the feeder. I grabbed my camera and shot some photos through the glass of the sliding glass door and the screen to the lanai. The Bird Buddy also sent a picture but the bird was looking down and it wasn’t a very good picture.
So today I was more ready with my 100-400 lens on the r7, but again I had to shoot through the glass and screening. This time he landed on the suet feeder, which gave me a nice background for a couple of shots.
Bird Buddy says these Carolina Wrens are expert songsters, long-haul lovebirds, and loudmouths. All of which are self explanatory I believe.
Then this morning this was the photo that arrived from Bird Buddy. Yes, I tweaked it a bit and cropped, but this is the photo out of the built-in camera. I’m so happy that I went ahead and bought this system. I think I will be entertained for quite a while. But I need to build a bird blind out there so I can take my pictures without the glass and screening in the way.
We headed to Wild Birds Unlimited in Carrollwood the day after the BB arrived. We needed a pole to hang the feeder, and feed to put in the feeder. They have feeders set up outside of the store and I could just go there for photos every day. There were lots of little birds in the trees and at the feeders. A Tufted Titmouse and lots of his friends and relatives, too.
Here is a better look at the set up. I guess the first thing I ought to do is figure out how to get the ‘postcards’ from Bird Buddy to also come to my friend’s phone. I did take over his back yard after all, and originally bought it as a birthday gift for him, but it came about a month late. Which is how I managed to forget that it wasn’t for me.

I didn’t intend to write a commercial for the feeder or the feeder store, I am just so thrilled with both of them. They have brightened up these dreary days. And I always have loved the photo ops that come to you.

a second look, adventure, attention to detail, birds, eagles, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, nature, nesting, Pedaling Along, perseverance, photography, Rise and shine, technology

Eagle sighting…

It’s not so unusual that I would see the eagles today because I had already decided that I would wait them out. I’ve done it before, hung around for two or three hours until they made their presence known. The reason I did it today was because they are currently sitting on eggs, so if you wait long enough the egg-sitter will be relieved by his or her mate. It will happen, but it will try your patience waiting for it sometimes.

I thought I was prepared. Sneakers instead of flip flops. And I wiped myself down with a bug wipe. I rode my trike so that I would have a place to sit, to be ready to stick with it for the duration. But I was beginning to wonder if I should have brought lunch. I answered a few questions about my Liberty Trike while I waited, and gave out some of the cards that came with the trike. I highly recommend it if anyone is in the market for one. I hated to get a trike for what it implies about my elderly status, but I wanted to keep my camera in the front basket and be ready to grab it and get my shot without worry about the trike tipping over. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
After about an hour Mom, or maybe it was Dad, stood up and stretched, and then settled back down. But it gave me hope that it was nearly time for the switch.
It took a while, but shortly after a fellow photographer showed up came the moment I’d been waiting for. It wasn’t as dramatic as I may have hoped. She laughed over the fact that she pulled her car over and had her shot five minutes later.
He/she didn’t go far, just to a branch right above the nest.
Some more poses. I was shooting bursts, so this whole escapade netted me 664 photos to go through.
And then it happened.
I guess it was time, and off she went. I see fringing in this shot, but I can’t do anything about it on the iPad. Or I don’t know how to is probably more correct.
This snag up the way was where he/she landed and stayed a while. Looking toward the water for a bit of lunch maybe? This is zoomed out for the scene, but I had my 100-400 lens on so I could zoom closer, thankfully.
If you are watching a bird and you see it poop, it’s going to fly. Or so our group leader says. So I was ready to see it happen. Flying I mean, not pooping. But a pooping picture isn’t bad either.
I waited and nothing happened, so then I walked up the street to where my new photographer friend was standing to get a closer up shot since he was still posing.
Still more posing. A biker that I had talked with earlier came by and she said I scared her because she saw my trike and my tripod, but I wasn’t there. She thought I got snatched. Then she spotted us and was thrilled to get a shot of this eagle herself.
I figured two hours was enough, and I knew I had a lot of pictures, but I waited some more when I got back to the trike. And this was my reward, he took off, but dropped straight down out of sight, no nice soaring eagle shot.