a second look, adventure, birds, eagles, Florida wildlife, fun, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, perseverance, photography, weather

Expecting eaglets…

I’ve been meaning to go see the eagles for a while now, and since I was free I decided that today was the day. They have eaglets now, and my eagle-obsessed friends are expecting to see little heads bobbing up above the nest any day now. Unfortunately for me, today wasn’t that day. But as I arrived I was happy to see the on-duty parent up high on the nest so that I could get a few shots.

I kept changing my position in order to get a better view. This new nest is harder to see, with branches and Spanish moss to try to avoid getting in your photo.
I would have loved it if that branch that’s sticking up was actually a little head, but no such luck.
She looked up from her feeding duties to keep an eye on things. I liked the gleam on her beak in this shot.
I was waiting for the ‘money shot’. You know, a shot of an impressive wing-spread as one landed on the nest. I’d have settled for a shot of one flying out of the nest too. But it seemed that all of the action happened when I looked away or moved to a new position.
So this is my shot of the changing of the guard. It’s not what I had in mind.

I expected a crowd of photographers to be watching and waiting also, but I had this view to myself. The day had started out foggy, maybe that discouraged them. I know it kept me from heading out for the sunrise. But, as you can see, it became a perfect winter-in-Florida day.

a second look, Florida landmarks, flowers, friends, fun, gardens, history, making memories, natural wonders, nature, perseverance, photography, weather

Sunken Gardens…

Yesterday was a gorgeous day, perfect for a trip to the Sunken Gardens in St. Pete. It was warm enough that the cool shady paths were very welcome, even in December. I have seen it referred to as one of the ‘old Florida roadside attractions’, and, at 100 yers old, as Florida’s oldest ‘living museum. It seemed that lots of people had decided that it was a perfect day to visit.

I haven’t visited at Christmas before, so the poinsettia tree was surprise to see.
The paths meander and criss-cross.
Good thing there was a map, though we were lost a lot of the time.
A flock of flamings waded in the fountain.
Azaleas were blooming.
The train garden was chugging along.
Orchids.
More orchids.
Blossoms on a red vein maple.
Small waterfalls were tucked into the foliage..
And larger waterfalls too, with some impressively large koi fish swimming about..

The news last night was full of snowy images and I remember that cold reality. I think I’m right where I belong.

'scene' along the way, black and white, connections, coping, foggy sky, friends, growing old, healing, moments, nature, perseverance, photography, weather

In a fog…

I confess that I took these photos nearly a week ago. We had to be at the surgery center at 6 AM for my friend to have cataract surgery, and we drove through pea soup fog to get there on time. As I sat and waited I looked out the window and was drawn outside to take pictures. There was a golf course across the street, conveniently located for photos, I thought. Truth be told we had to return several more early mornings last week for follow up appointments, and each of those days were nearly as foggy as that day was. Tomorrow the second eye will be done, so lots more appointments and potential for more drives through the fog. Such are the challenges of Florida mornings when the overnight temperatures are cool.

This is the surgery center property with the golf course across the street.
I thought if I crossed the street I would get better pictures, and eliminate the power lines. The street was surprisingly busy for such an early morning.
Once I had my unobstructed view I didn’t like it as much as I liked seeing the fence, etc.

My friend is also a photographer, and it seems to me as if he has been seeing life through a fog all his own. I can’t wait to see his reaction once both eyes have adjusted to a new, clear, reality…

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, weather

Up a lazy river…

Or maybe it was down a lazy river, but whichever way we were going there were lovely reflections, much to the delight of the assembled photographers at Hillsborough River State Park yesterday. It was all about the clear skies, cool temperatures, and light and shadows on the river. And surely all about the fun of gathering together for the first time in a long while. This is an example of a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Gnarly cypress knees were in the spotlight.
These are the rapids. Seriously, they are!
Okay, a wider view.
Such clear water.
There were lovely views up and down the river.
But the reflections especially were stunning.
Fall in Florida.
There was a rare sighting of our fearless leader Jeff, also.
Natural wonders.
This suspension bridge was built in 1934. It sways, but it’s holding it’s own.
We heard about an alligator up ahead, and he was there but facing away from us so I skipped talking a picture.
The last bridge of this modest walk of ours.

A very nice walk was followed by an equally nice lunch. What a fun way to spend a cool Florida morning…

'scene' along the way, adventure, Amazing artwork, attention to detail, bucket list, exploring new places, fantasy images, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, Just do it, learning, making memories, old dogs new tricks, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip, the big picture, weather

Sanding Ovations…

I have always wanted to see the sand sculpture event at the beach, but something always prevented me from heading to Treasure Island. And it was not on my mind at 2 AM on Friday when I walked out the front door to look for the lunar eclipse and got rained on. I hadn’t seen a notice that the sand sculptures were even happening, but, lucky for me, my friend did, and off we went. You can see from the pictures that it was a perfect day, hot in the sun but with a wonderful breeze to cool you off and keep the kites aloft. Traffic was surprisingly light driving there, and I was delighted that I had easy access to the sculptures without people in the way. I neglected to notice all the commotion in the background of my pictures while I was taking them. And with the tools in Lightroom and Photoshop I could have knocked my head against the wall trying to remove them, or I could not worry about it and assure myself that I’m presenting an accurate picture of the event. But I’m sure there are lots more people and distractions going on today and tomorrow as the event reaches full swing.

You can see that this is a work in progress. I have no idea when the judging will take place, but I was blissfully unaware of the unfinished aspects of some of the sculptures while I took pictures. They will be on display through the holidays, barring weather related damage. This one is Neptune’s Organ.
Lest you worry about my hydration during this event you’ll be happy to know that we drank Liquid Death while we walked around. At one point I was holding two cans of this when a gentleman asked me how my drink was, and was disappointed to realize it was water. Not even fizzy water. Many people probably shook their heads over this old two-fisted drinker.
This ” tort-a-potty” was one of the first stops of the day.
I didn’t catch the name of this one, something about a mermaid trapped in the kelp.
The DJ was playing some really fun music as we walked around, and he announced that someone had just told him that since he was located beside a sculpture named ‘whale wash’ then he ought to play Car Wash, and he did!
This one was Pilotfish. Those portholes were actually openings to the other side, with different faces looking out on that side.
The hiney on this one caught my eye so I took this picture. As the day went on there were plenty of bikini clad gals walking around showing almost as much hiney as this.
I made it a point to take another photo of that last sculpture and totally missed seeing that he was kissing that scuba guy kite who hovered over us all day.
This is the pregnant mermaid. I love that the little toy rocking horse is actually a sea horse.
Biting the arm that feeds you.
A mighty battle…
The flip side of the battle sculpture was this fresh fish sign.
When you don’t pay attention to the activity in the background you might wind up with a picture you could title “Off With His Head”.
This castle sculpture was placed at the far end of all the sculptures, and was the biggest and most elaborate. I was happy that I could crop the photo and only have a couple of people in it. For scale, LOL, but not really.
This might have been the more interesting view of that castle sculpture, if not for the tools of the trade all on display. I’m surprised that they didn’t show when I took the picture from the other side.

You can certainly tell which photos were taken with the sun behind the sculptures and which had the sun on their faces. As usual I was happy to be out talking pictures in such a fun environment, it’s only when I look at the pictures later that the details of backgrounds and shadows really hit me over the head. But there was so much going on, rows and rows of vendors and a great selection of really good food to choose to eat, that I just happily clicked away. It might be worth another trip next Friday…

a second look, adventure, attention to detail, birds, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, moments, nature, perseverance, photography, pond creatures, Rise and shine, sky, sunrise, weather

Quiet sunrise…

I missed a very pretty sunset the other night, which may be why I rousted myself out the next morning for a walk at sunrise. The feature photo is the view as I arrived at the park a half hour early for the sunrise. It was still dark, but the lights in the houses looked so pretty, especially the ones directly across the water. The broken clouds in the sky gave me hope that the sunrise colors would show up, but they didn’t. What I did see out there were upside-down birds. Reflections in the water, of birds that I couldn’t see against the shadows of the weeds behind them. But the refections were clear as a bell. So that amused me. I was disappointed not to see chalk drawings on the pavement. If there had been some the rain overnight had washed them away. I’m thinking of getting some sidewalk chalk and leaving messages of my own…

I walked for a half hour and returned to the park. The sky was getting light, and an egret caught my eye.
I stuck around in case the sky lit up, but it never did.
Maybe it was the Halloween season that made me feel like the bird reflections were a bit spooky
.

I’m happy to say that my Lightroom problem was operator error, pointed out to me by my friend. It was fixed with a simple click. It’s good to have friends who know their way around a camera, and/or Lightroom.