Tell me a Story: November 2020

Green Heron

If you read my previous post, you will have learned that I bought a new camera lens that I have aptly named “The Beast” simply because it is so heavy. I decided to have a second attempt out with my new friend. I have to be honest I love that I can pull the images up so much closer. I walked in the smaller of the two wetlands not expecting to see much but I was pleasantly surprised.

Red Shouldered Hawk

I don’t often get to see hawk in the wetlands and when I do they are pretty far away, but this guy was up in the trees. Fortunately I looked up and then spent some time watching him and hoping he would turn to face me, but he did not.

Alligator Flag pods
Green Heron
Spiny Orb Weaver
Blue Heron

It was around this time I got caught in the rain. Oops, I did not bring my bigger backpad and a lens this size does not fit easily under my shirt. This was a warning lesson for me. Fortunately, with a bit of a run, I was able to get to a small gazebo to hang out under until the rain was done. It was a little hard to social distance with 6 other people, however, they were all wearing masks.


I saw this Cormorant from a distance and hoped and prayed that the walkers would not frighten it away.


Meanwhile I had to stop and check out the Alligator while I was passing by.

Alligator Flag

So I think this Cormorant must be the park’s mastiff. He did not move, hardly blinked an eye, in fact just continued to pose for me.


Leaving the park and heading to the parking I spotted this tiny little Palm Warbler flitting along the fence and then dropping to the pathway. What a cutie it is.

Palm Warbler
Alligator Flag
Palm Warbler

Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives. This is a small group of bloggers so when one or two are out it seems like it is a quiet month for blogs however, this is a circle blog.  Take some time to view what the other artist has for you this month. My friend Lupji Photography is up next and I can’t wait to read what he has to share.

30 Minutes in the Life: November 2020

Female Grackle

For the longest time I have felt like my 70-300mm is just not enough when I walk in the wetlands. However, when I came to replace my existing zoom lens, I was facing bills for my Sims and his lung issues. I was very reluctant to spend over a $1000-00 on a lens. So I bought the cheaper replacement lens. But it bugged me. I still could not get what I wanted

Palm Warbler
Four Spotted Pennant

I, by chance, was looking at a lens group on Facebook and decided to search the lens I had been looking at. It is always a risk to do that as you never know what you are going to get. However, this person was living in the same town as my son. My son also had a Canon camera, so I asked him set up to meet the photographer and check out the lens. If he thought the lens was in good condition, and worth purchasing then to go ahead and get it. The upside it cost half the price of a brand new one.

Female Grackle
Male Grackle

He liked the lens. In fact he liked it so much he informed me that he may have to keep it. Mmmm … no!

Green Heron

He bought the lens. I had to wait. We were meeting up in Georgia, and I would only be able to get it from him then. He gave me the box and it was like Christmas. I opened up the box, was super excited, and then realized Sigma has different terminology to Canon. That meant I had to do some reading, which I only did when I got back home.

Great Blue Heron

Of course, we did not go straight home. Nope we went to Charleston. You can imagine my patience level. I really wanted to figure this out. Finally we are back home and I can to my reading, do my testing and then I am ready to hit the road this this beaut.

Green Heron

I have named the lens “The Beast”. Why? Because it is pretty darn heavy. It weighs 4.3 pounds. You are dragging this baby around for 2 miles. Not sure if that is what is giving me a sore shoulder but I am going to suck it up and figure out how to make the should area stronger.

Needham’s Skimmer
Green Heron

The first time I walked out, I found a comfortable position to hold the camera. However, what I found is that this lens is heavy and stabilizing the movement was not as easy as I thought. I found myself having to rest my arms on the boardwalk to give some level of stability. It will get better with time I am sure.

Ornate pennant
Little Blue Heron

When I got home I found that my fingers were sore. Obviously I was clutching at the lens.

Black & White Warbler
Four spotted pennant

I can tell you that I am very happy with the lens. I love the images and the ability to get so much closer to the critters just makes me happy.

Four spotted pennant

I am have been out a couple of times since then, lugging the beast. I am excited. I just want to see everything in close up these days. What I will say is this lens will not be doing street photography, or travel photography, unless I am hunting wild horses to photograph. I will take this lens to the wetlands and places that I feel will be suitable for it’s use.

Please continue to stay safe, wherever you are in the world. Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life. I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Ceri of Ceri Herd Photography.   You will definitely love what she shares. I am always inspired with what she has to offer.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Share Six: November 2020: Traditions

Oh wow. What I love about this group is that the challenge is real and this one was tough. {Traditions} 🙂 Christmas, family, decorate. That pretty much sums up my traditions. I had to put my thinking cap on.

I kept asking myself, is this a tradition, and if I look hard enough at it, yes I could call it a tradition, just one that we have not been together to do for a long time. It started when the kids were little. I was big on them doing exercises that stimulated their minds. However it was back when Cameron was 9 that the tradition of boardgames and cards really sunk in. He spent a lot of time in hospital and one of the things I always took along with me was a pack of cards. Something to simply pass the time while we waited for him to go into surgery and then until they let him go home, which was sometimes a few days. We used to play rounds of rummy. That was the simplest card game I could remember playing with my family growing up. It always kept Cameron occupied.

Growing up we used games to help them think strategically, to learn to lose, to play as a team, and to have a whole lot of fun. Whenever we went away, I always packed board games to take away with us. Normally it was rummikub, scrabble, mancala, backgammon, or a pack of cards. Games night was a regular in the house, and I confess that I do miss it. We did try playing via zoom, but that soon stopped as everyone had things to do. These days, my board games have found their way to Cameron’s house. I only have a few sitting in my cupboard.

However, we were heading away to a cabin in the Georgia mountains and so I asked Cameron to bring some board games. So Cameron packed Pictionary, Sequence, Rummikub, Cluedo and Boggle and I took along Jenga (which somehow stayed in my cupboard, and after this trip I may need to watch out that it does not disappear).

This blog is going to be longer than 6 images just a heads up.

We played Cluedo the first night, and it took a while but eventually a few players picked up my strategy and started to do what I was doing. I do not remember who won that evening but it was fun.

I did not play Boggle. I think I was getting dinner ready while the kids were playing but I could hear a lot of arguing about made up words and had to intervene with answers a few times.

We did a lot of driving around over the 3 full days we were there. After a painting afternoon, dinner, time by the fire on the last day, the kids finally decided that they wanted to play one last game. Richard was off to bed. I realized that I had not shot for my blog and this was the perfect opportunity. Out came the Jenga box, and Cameron, Kathryn, Amy, Daniel and I played.

Rules of Jenga – you can only use one hand. It starts out easy. Moving the blocks is not challenging

But some dexterity is needed, especially if the block moves out more easily to the other side of where you are sitting. Dexterity also applied to me as well. The table was a bench like table. I was squished in the corner with a zoom lens on my camera.

Some blocks are just easier than others.

Of course, balancing it on the tops has it challenges, especially when the tower becomes more precarious.

My turn was always interesting because I was the furthest away, I had to put the camera down, disengage from position on the bench and move closer. Cameron said I was going to crash the whole tower. However, this old lady taught them something new – how to shift the block over to make it easier to get the challenging block out. You can see below Cameron is using his fingers to balance the tower while pulling the side block out.

Eventually the tower had some lean to it. Trying to straighten up while holding your breath was fun. We got to a point where Kathryn decided the that one of us was going to knock the tower over and out came the phones ready to capture the crash..

The other rule that we played by was that you cannot remove from the top 3 rows. Eventually you are going to end up with only two blocks per row and no where else to pull from.

At this point there was only one place to pull from aside from where Kathryn was taking out. Next turn was Daniel’s and then mine.

We managed another row. Phew!!

Amy now pulls the middle block out which means that we are now in limbo. Nowhere to go without some gentle moving.

Cameron managed to get the 3rd from bottom block out by shifting the side piece gently over to the center and pulled the piece out.

It was Kathryn’s turn and she attempted the same sort of move but on the opposite side from where she was sitting.

She was doing okay, but sadly she did not get the second block far enough over so when she pulled the side block out…..

….they all came tumbling down.

What a fun end to the evening and the last day of our trip there. The morning saw us all going in different directions. Rich & I to Charleston for 2 nights, Cameron & Kathryn back to Orlando, and Amy & Daniel to Atlanta for 1 night. Look out for some more blogs in the near future. We did some hiking to waterfalls, some time at a wine farm, some fishing and some good old family time.

As I said {Traditions} when I first looked at it was hard for me but I loved that we were able to actually take one of our fun traditions and enjoy it while we were on vacation.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s Share Six blog post.  This is a circle blog.  The sneak peaks that are shared are stunning.  The challenges always stretch us just a little bit further. I blog with an incredibly talented group of ladies.  Please take time to visit my friend and very creative artist Elizabeth from It’s Still Life Photography by Elizabeth Willson who always amazes me with her images to see what she has for you this month. To view her  Facebook page click here and her Instagram page here.

Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on their page as well.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_traditions