Tell me a Story: July 2019

Summer in South Florida is hot, and this year has recorded some of the hottest temperatures.  I, for one, am very grateful for air conditioning.  As I get older the more I am wanting cooler weather.  I feel like we should be watching the issue of climate change more and more.

That said, I had a free Friday and decided to take a long overdue walk in the wetlands.  Between being sick, working like crazy to pull together some major changes, and having traveled a significant amount already this year, I found I really did not have the time or the desire to go to the hot, humid wetlands.  But this Friday I did.  I woke up early and headed out before 8am.  OK, for some that is not early but for me on a Friday on my day off from work it is.  Knowing that I was going to spend the rest of my day off working, I headed out.  Did I say it was hot?? Freaking hot really.  By the time I got back to the car I was dripping wet and dehydrated, despite the bottle of water I carried.

Here are a few of my favorites from the walk.

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Wild fruit

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Four Spotted Pennant

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A water drop on a pond apple

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A wild flower peeking through the railings

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One of my favorite styles of shooting, leaves on the railings

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Ready to re-seed

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Shallow depth of field

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Blue Dasher

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Wild Hibiscus

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Hibiscus Bud

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Scarlet Skimmer

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Fir leaves on the railing

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Halloween Pennant

As you can see, not a lot of bird life.  I think they left the wetlands at 7:45 am to find some shade 🙂  Truthfully, until the weather cools down a bit, I may hold off walking in the wetlands.  We have had rain every day for the past 4 weeks and that just pushes the humidity levels up so much higher.  I am wilting!

Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives.  This is a circle blog.  Take some time to view what the other artists have for you this month. Mindy Sauvageau is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share.

30 Minutes in the Life: August 2019

I have been to Viscaya at least 3 times before.  It is a place I can go visit and never see everything.  Each time I go back I see something different.  This month Daniel was car hunting, and so he and Amy were going down to Miami to look and see what they could find.  Amy asked if I would like to go to Viscaya since they was down there and I was happy to.   Welcome to the home of John Deering, Viscaya.

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Born in 1859, in Maine, James Deering, retired in his mid fifties.  Due to health reasons, James Deering decided to build his home in South Florida.  It was hoped that the warm, sunny climate would improve his health.  And so in 1910 began the plans to build his new home.  James Deering, from everything I have seen was an interesting man and one I think I would have enjoyed having a conversation with.  In 1952, Viscaya was transferred to the county and opened as a historic property well worth visiting.

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As you walk around the opulent house and beautiful grounds one thing that stands out is that there is a number of influences and from what I have read he was fascinated by travel, legends and mythology.  Neptune is seen around the house and very much in the gardens.

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The house is rich with beautiful timeless pieces that illuminate the surroundings and the stunning wall hangings.

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The ceilings match the opulence of the home and the walls reflect the very South Florida look.


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Ornate edgings and beautiful doors are just a part of this beautiful domed walkway.

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Heading up the stairs we came across stunning stained glass doors that have stood through the ages.

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In corners and domed display areas you will find statues of interest ranging from local to international, of people or of mythology.

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There are decadent sitting rooms rich with drapes and ornamental objects on display.

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As we pass by a window we got a view of just a small portion of Viscaya’s beautiful gardens that lead up to a pavilion area.  But beyond these gardens to the left and right are more gardens, and this time I spent time exploring those gardens.

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This is a bed that little girls dream of and in James Deering’s house, many guests stayed in.  Life, from what I have read, was spent in Viscaya over the winter months, very often with family or guests.

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This stair case is a favorite of mine and as much as I try to lean as far over I can never quite get the full spiral.

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Having explored the upstairs we went down and decided to venture out into the hot hot summers day of South Florida.

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There is some beautiful stain glass windows just before you go outside and I love the view you get of the gardens through them.

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We are outside and you are seeing just a portion of the house that faces the Bay of Biscayne.

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To the right, by way of a pathway, and over a bridge stand a beautiful portico.  A favorite spot for photographers taking wedding pictures, or Quinceañera, for the 16 year old Spanish girls birthdays.

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To the left another bridge that appeared to go down to a set of steps where perhaps guest stepped onto a boat.  Since the last time I was down here this area has been badly damage, I can only assume, by one of the hurricanes that has passed over this area.

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My understanding was that the barge was built as a break water structure.  That said history has it that James Deering and his guest would be ferried by boat or gondola to the barge for afternoon tea and at times cocktails.

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A large part of the estate is built with coral and you will see this throughout the gardens.

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Beautiful ponds of water lilies are visible as well.

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Lining the walkways are a series of statues

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And again you see the influence of international travel with the sphinx typically found  in Egypt.

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There is beautiful color in the gardens and whenever, I see Anthurium I am reminded of my mother.  She loved this beautiful waxy looking flower, and while my father grew orchids, below them he grew Anthurium for my mother.

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I have walked these gardens many times but this was the first time I really looked more closely at these statues.  Shown here were mermen holding pots on their shoulders while being overseen by driver.

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Reflections depict that which is above, and this statue with all its glory, has two interestingly strange looking lions at the top.

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We walk up the side steps to a beautiful pavilion, which back in the day was known to James Deering’s guests as the casino.  From the top of the pavilion there are levels of this beautiful terraced waterfall and on either side a series of steps.

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To the left and right are secluded areas not unlike a small atrium.  The inside was built with coral and, in its hey day, this appeared to be a fountain with seating to either side of it.

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On the outside of the area were statues of mermen and mermaids, almost guarding those that entered in.

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Beyond the steps more ponds with water lily and on occasions I have spotted a great big frog.

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This was probably my favorite image of Amy and Daniel.  They took a fun one just before of them on either side of the pillared portico.  I asked them to stand together for this one.  Granted by now we were all beyond hot and sweaty.

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As we are walking back to the house there is a water fountain with frogs and iguana at the edges of it.  This was not the frog that I saw in the pond either but the size does not seem far off it.  Just joking.  I loved how the water drops float across the image.

If you are heading to Miami, and who doesn’t want to go to Miami at some point in the visit to Florida, take some time out in your visit to stop by Viscaya.  In fact, take a few hours to go through the house and the property.  Winter is probably a better time to do it but whichever time you go, know that you are in for a blast into the past, and a treat that will keep you looking and wishing you could have seen everything in one visit.  I know that some day in the future I will visit Viscaya for a 5th time.  I don’t think it will ever grow “old” for me despite the age and time period of this beautiful building.  I hope that you enjoyed taking a walk with us.

Thank you for joining us for another month of 30 Minutes. Just a reminder that this is a circle blog.  We have a number of new ladies join the 30 minutes group, making us now 15 bloggers,  and so I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Crystal  of Crystal Bella Photography, and see what she has for you this month.  I am pretty  excited to learn more about these wonderful ladies from all over the world.  I would certainly encourage you to visit their pages.


Share Six: August 2019: Summer Days

Summer days, and the livin’ is easy….I can just hear the bluesy voice of Ella Fitzgerald.  I think of farms, and apple picking and the breeze blowing through my hair.  This is so not happening for me this month.

Summer days typically for me are on the beach and Richard playing the laid back Jimmy Buffet.  But this month it most definitely was not.  No this month we picked the hottest weekend to visit New York.

Why New York in summer.  Well it goes back to connecting with my brother again.  He was off to Philly but wanted to spend some time in New York. I opted to skip Philly and cross off another item on my bucket list and visit New York, along with a grumbling Richard.  I will give him credit – he always said never again – but he hung in there and went along with the plans.

New York: July 20-24, 2019:

The Castle in Central Park

I am going to use this blog to kick of the New York trip images.  What can I say New York, New York,  I was glad to cross it off my bucket list.  First impressions are that the transportation is fantastic, but at times you feel like a sardine in a tin can.  The people are friendly, so we found on the buses and at restaurants.  The streets are dirty, smelly and busy.  The traffic flows, despite the enormous amount of congestion caused by the taxi’s stopping at random.  The honking drivers certainly lived up to my expectations.  New York City is just that, a bustling city.  Tall buildings, endless construction and a large amount of people.

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A view of the city from Central Park

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Street Vendors outside the Natural History Museum.

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One of the many city streets

That said there was a lot to see in New York, that was incredibly interesting.  Just plan well.  Do yourself a favor, buy a metro ticket.  The subway and the bus system were a great way to get around.  For just $33 we got a pass for 7 days and we really used it.  Just a reminder that if you are flying in to LaGuardia Airport you will need to get your metro card and then a ticket at the bus stop before you get on the bus. Not sure why because you do not pay any extra.  They just use your metro card around the city.  If you are heading out of JFK just remember that the subway going to the airport will not take unlimited metro cards.

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The subway from the Staten Island Ferry to Dumbo

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Just one of the many city reflections

We were in New York from Saturday to Wednesday.  We flew into LaGuardia airport and caught a bus to the cross street below our destination.  Our destination was West Harlem.  Richard, as per usual, said it was just a short walk to our rented Airbnb.  Hats of to Shama for an awesome apartment.  However, we had to get there first, and our short walk was directly uphill, in the stinking hot weather, dragging carry-on luggage and a heavy backpack thanks to camera equipment.  30 minutes later, sweating profusely, gasping for air (that is me not Richard, and I am totally convinced I am now asthmatic), we crest the hill and it dips downwards ever so slightly and I am beginning to think that maybe, just maybe I will be able to breathe again.  That is before I realized that we had to take our tired selves, the carry-on and backpack up three flights of steps to the apartment.  But what a pleasure it was to finally be able to stop and enjoy the beautiful apartment we had rented.

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State of Liberty

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New York City

We took in the city sites.  This blog is just a kick off coverage of around 2000 images taken in the city and there will definitely be more blogs on our adventure.  Instead of going to the Statue of Liberty, at a cost of $21 and getting caught up in long lines, we opted instead to take the free Staten Island Ferry past the Statue of Liberty instead.  The boat ride was about 45 minutes each way, and we got to see a small portion of Staten Island as well.  We were also able to get a view of New York from the ferry as we got further away from the mainland.

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Manhattan Bridge

We caught a subway under the ocean and headed to the town of Dumbo, where we had to stop in at an underpass to have a beer, before we took on the Brooklyn Bridge, with its multitude of people. Rehydrate, rehydrate, rehydrate, not that beer does that but you get where I am going. Dumbo is apparently an up and coming area and I was encouraged to make sure we passed through it.  I loved that I was able to get some “from the ground” up images of the bridges.  When crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, watch out for the bicycles in the cyclists lane because they do not watch out for you.  When you come from Boca, where pedestrians have the right of way, and hit New York, where you are last on the pecking chain, beware of those cyclists 🙂

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Brooklyn Bridge

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge took longer than I thought.  I kept loosing the other 3 because they are not photographers and they have not grasped the concept that you need to stop when something catches your eye and not just take the pretty people pics.  If you are walking the Brooklyn Bridge carry water, especially when it is hot.  You will go through it pretty quickly.  Also wear comfortable clothing and shoes. It is an interesting bridge and if you look closely there is graffiti on the railings.  My favorite image was a sign that said in red writing “this is not a lock bridge” and directly below attached to the mesh was a red lock.  The wiring system on this bridge is incredible.  I could have spent all day looking at the bridge.

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World Trade Center – inside

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911 Memorial

On the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge, we walked onward, and I will confess tiredly stopping briefly to watch some street artists.  My feet were killing me, but we labored on until we reached the World Trade Center.  Wow, what an incredible inside to the building.  I was captivated when I looked at the design outside but inside was even better.  And then on to the 911 Memorial site.  It is sobering to know that buildings once stood at this site and so much devastation and loss occurred here on 9/11/2001.  The same day I was in hospital with Cameron, post op his first surgery of many in the USA.  We had just switched on the TV and watched in disbelief as the events unfolded.  This picture just shows a few of the many that lost their lives that day.

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Street Art – Mother Theresa and Mahatma Gandhi

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The Vessel at Hudson Yards

We took in the Chelsea Market, and ventured up the High Line, strolled along the waterfront, had a super expensive lobster roll, before heading across town to catch the bus back up to northern Central Park.  If you are heading to Chelsea Market, head there early for breakfast or a bit later for lunch.  There are lots of interesting places to stop and grab something to snack.  The High Line is an unique overview of the city, built on old train tracks and leading through the city buildings.  You are able to see some captivating art.  You will also see awesome reflections on the various buildings.  And finally you will arrive at the Vessel, a unique piece of art found in the Hudson Yards.

This was our action packed 5 day {Summer Days} and this is just a small snapshot of our days in New York City.  There were other streets and alleyways that we ventured down.  There was up time and some serious down time at the end of each full day of walking.  Dinner in West Harlem was great, we ate curry the one evening, and stopped by a great Italian restaurant the other night.  The upside of renting an apartment we could eat at “home” if we were too tired.  The area I am told is an up and coming area, very eclectic, interesting people, and fun places to hang out at.  Look out for the blogs of New York coming up soon.

In the meantime, I am dying to know how everyone else has spent their summer days this month.  This is a circle blog and I encourage you to follow the links and see what the others have for you.    My friend and fellow blogger Katherine of Cobert Photography follows me and she is super talented and I know I am heading over to see what she and the other bloggers have shared.

Don’t forget to head over to the Facebook Page and the Instagram Page and leave us a photo showing us what your {Summer Days} look like.  Tag it #sharesix_summerdays.