'scene' along the way, a second look, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, flowers, friends, fun, gardens, Just do it, life goes on, marriage, nature, perseverance, photography, turtles, unintended images

Much ado in the gardens…

We were promised a weekend of perfect weather and that came true, but with spring break in full swing, an AirFest at McDill AFB for the first time in a couple of years, plus a Pride Parade, all happening in downtown Tampa on Saturday, we were worried about traffic. So we wimped out and the Florida Botanical Garden was our destination yesterday. There weren’t so many flowers, but the scenery was pretty.

Gorgeous weather, high 70’s and low humidity.
That must be perfect water lily weather because they looked like they were taking over the world.
It’s free to come here and sit quietly and read a book, which is what I saw people doing.
Okay, there were some flowers. Light Bulb Clerodendrum with a few pinwheel jasmine thrown in.
The bougainvillea are coming back from a cold couple of nights not long ago.
There were full trees of bush allamanda.
Yellow hibiscus. Yellow flowers took the day I think.
I love it when bumble bees land on purple flowers.
The lilies were so pretty that I just had to take their picture along the water, but even as I took the picture I knew they really wouldn’t show up.
A cardinal serenaded us.
Mama alligator, which I might have ignored if people hadn’t been excited to see her babies. I know I’ve been pouting about not seeing babies/chicks lately, but these babies aren’t the ones I’ve been looking for. I suppose their mother thinks they are cute.
People said their were three little ones, I only saw two.
Here she is from an overlook on the other side of the water. A couple were there looking down into the water, so I pointed her out across the way. “Oh”, they said. “That’s where she moved to. She must have had 65 babies right underneath the overlook the other day.” They were disappointed to hear that there were only three of them.
Mirror, mirror on the wall…
You might choose to peek through this pretty opening into the wedding garden. We had seen chairs being put into place earlier. But we arrived just in time to see the ring bearer run back to where he came from, and then get picked up by the man who eventually walked the bride down the aisle and deposited into his seat. I wasn’t ready to capture that moment.
I was ready for this one though. The first flower girl dutifully throwing flower petals, and the little one racing up behind her wailing away.
Then came the bride, who wore a smile almost as big as her dress, which drew oohs and ahhs from our little group of wedding crashers in the doorway. She was followed closely by the photographer who was being paid to take pictures. I think the kids had calmed down by this time.
And she joins her groom. If you are wondering about the pattern on her escort’s jacket you are not alone. I can’t figure it out.

Maybe my title of Much Ados in the Gardens should have read much ‘I dos.’ As things do tend to happen, you just never know exactly what you’ll get when you head out to go shooting. So just keep heading out the door, and be sure to take your camera.

adventure, blessings, brainstorms, exploring new places, fun, nature, perseverance, photography, simple things, turtles

Riverhills Park…

It was not an original idea, going to this park. A few days ago our photo group had a walk to this park, but a prior commitment kept us away. But it was now on our radar screen, and it was fairly close by, so with a couple of hours to fill today we decided to check it out. My immediate reaction to this place was to be stunned by just how peaceful it was. Still water reflecting the beautiful trees, and the clouds in the blue sky. I knew that my phone would capture the scene perfectly, so these pictures have had very little done to them besides cropping. And straightening the horizon when it needed it. I had to chuckle to myself when I found myself thinking about how peaceful it was, because the adjacent elementary school was having recess and there was plenty of happy kid commotion going on. But still it was a perfectly lovely place.

Perfect reflections. Lily pads on the water, with lots of buds but no flowers so far.
There were quite a few trucks with empty boat trailers attached in the parking lot, but we didn’t see boats.
Live oaks are always amazing, but this view was just stunning.
Cypress knees, and cypress trees along the shore.
Wildlife, sort of.

When the weather gets a little warmer I think this might be prime dragonfly photo op territory. I think we should bring lunch and check it out.

a second look, adventure, birds, ducks, facing facts, Florida wildlife, fun, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, pond creatures, road trip, sunset, turtles

Making do…

All day the plan was to go to Dunedin for dinner, plus take in the sunset of course. But as the day went on the clouds got heavier and it started to rain. Much too late to go anywhere we saw that the clouds were breaking up a bit, so we went out in the drizzle and got some shots.

I see the raindrops in this picture when I look at it on my huge computer screen.
This turtle is enormous, we decided that he thought we might have a goodie for him. We didn’t.
This duck was probably thinking the same thing. She also was out of luck.

Later I saw pictures of the sunset from Dunedin and it was very nice. We missed a chance, but maybe it will work out next time.

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, fantasy images, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, gardens, making memories, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, turtles, weather

Third time’s a charm…

There were three potential places to go that day, all close to each other. First was going to be The Narrows, the raptor rehab facility that I’ve been to before. The turtle pond was teaming with turtles, but with no volunteers to walk the various raptors along the paths all that was left was to see them in their enclosures. So we moved on to what was supposed to be the main event of the day, Heritage Village. We had looked it up, but failed to notice that it was closed on Monday and Tuesday. Which left us at the Florida Botanical Garden in the worst of the heat of the day. We followed pretty tiles down a shady path which led us to the children’s garden, a place I hadn’t visited before. A mom was pointing out some banana spiders to a group of children who told me to be careful as I headed over with my camera. The water birds were sounding off which led us to spot the small gator in the pond next door.

If all trees had faces like these I probably wouldn’t have had as many tree-climbing adventures when I was a kid.

We heard the water feature before we saw it. And it sounded very refreshing, like maybe we should take a dip to escape the heat. But we controlled ourselves.

I can never resist a bee, even if I have to crop 95% of the picture away in order for you to see him. Or her.

We will have to be sure to get out earlier as the weather gets hotter this summer. It was nice to be out, and even nicer to stop for lunch in air-conditioned comfort before heading home.

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Left-overs…

To spend a day out shooting pictures and ‘only’ come home with 668 is not particularly a lot.  But it’s a lot to go through and it leaves you with pictures that are left over, that didn’t quite fit the story you were telling, or you simply missed them.  Or maybe they just wanted to stand alone.

All day long we had a running debate over whether or not the bird we were looking at was a tri-color heron or not.  But once we did see one we didn’t have to debate anymore.05-21-2005-21-20tricolor

Green herons seem more rare of a sighting, or maybe they just hide better, but I was happy to see this one.   And this pale colored one was a mystery to me, but Merlin says it’s a black crowned night heron.05-21-20greenheron05-21-20greenheron205-21-20blackcrwned

Soft shelled turtles aren’t particularly cute, but we were amazed to see this one camouflaged in the algae.  And the orange shell of these turtles stood out too.05-21-20sftshellalgae05-21-20orangeshell

An osprey flying over with its catch in its talons is always a goal to see.  But if he stops to eat in a tree it’s the next best thing.05-21-20osprey-fish05-21-20osprey-fish2

I missed the excitement when this hawk stole this snake from an ibis.  I did get to see him make short work of it.05-21-20hawk-snake

A butterfly is always a pretty picture, and this green dragonfly was my favorite dragonfly picture of the day, but I somehow failed to export it so I missed it on my dragonfly post.  But it’s too pretty not to post.05-21-20butterfly05-21-20greenongreen

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, gardens, healing, learning, making memories, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, simple things, The Narrows, turtles

BOGO…

The Narrows came to me in a brainstorm as a place to go with my friend while she was here.  How often do you get to see raptors up close and personal?  Or at all really.  The brainstorm came to me because while we were at the eagles one day we ran into a friend of mine who volunteers there.  I have walked the trails with him while he held a little screech owl on his wrist and interacted with the other visitors on the trail.  It’s such an unusual way to visit with nature.

But this visit was a little disappointing at first.  There were no volunteers out on the deck with hawks, or Sarge the eagle, on their wrists.  They hadn’t changed their policy, they said, but there is a shortage of volunteers to take the birds out.  A group of disabled veterans arrived as we were getting there also, and I thought they were visitors, but in a little while we saw them out with birds on the trail.  One said that the bird he was holding had had a brain injury, and he had a brain injury also.  It’s a heartwarming place to go.  Maybe a 90 minute drive isn’t too far to go to volunteer…02-29-20vet-owl02-29-20vet-owl202-29-20kestrel02-29-20horned02-29-20Egreathorned02-29-20Easternscreech02-29-20barredA volunteer pointed out the dark-eyed owls and light-eyed owls, and said that the dark eyed ones are spectacular night hunters.  Nature has given them incredible night vision, and I have read that owls can see their prey a mile away, so day hunters also have us all beat by a mile.

I had a plan for the next day also.  I was going to take my friend to the Florida Botanical Gardens for a photo walk with my photo group.  For the heck of it I checked to see where it was in comparison to The Narrows, and it was only two miles from where we were at that moment.  So of course we headed there, but on a chilly day in February it was not nearly the amazing place I have visited in the past.  We didn’t stay long at all, but I am glad to know that I can easily visit these two places on the same day from now on.  Kind of a BOGO!02-29-20rose02-29-20hearts