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.

Anhinga
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.

Anihinga
Cormorant

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

Alligator

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

Alligator Flag
Cormorant

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.

Cormorant

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
Mockingbird

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.

Iguana
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

Tell me a Story: October 2020

Woo Hoo, I am on 2 weeks vacation. We are going to be doing some hiking during the second week. I started looking at shoes and thinking I made need some new sneakers. Although I am so accident prone I probably need a good pair of boots to stabilize my ankles. I am already thinking that one of the hikes has a lot of tree roots across it and I am going to be watching my feet more than the walk. Added to that my feet have never felt right since I had the foot surgery. This is probably the most extensive walking I will do – 3 days of hiking, 3 days of coming home and putting them into the jacuzzi until I can walk again 😦

So I bought a new pair of sneakers. Now I have to make sure I can walk some distance in them. So Thursday evening I decided to go for a walk in the wetlands. I did the 2 mile walk. Ambitiously, I decided I would go the next day and watch the sunrise in the wetlands. I walked the mile loop and then decided to go back to the previous wetlands and walk that as well. By the end of the 3 miles I was feeling it. So I will be doing a few more walks this week.

Here are a few of images that came out of all that walking :).

Boat Tailed Grackle (Male)
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Alligator Flag
Roseate Spoonbill
Just a simple feather
The season is changing
Tri-colored Heron
Purple Swamphen
More signs of winter
Red-wing Blackbird (female)
Yellow Billed Cuckoo with a tasty snack in it’s beak
Roseate Spoonbill
Common Whitetail Skimmer
Redwing Blackbird (male_

Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives. This 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 Beth of E Beth Williams Photoblog is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share.

30 Minutes in the Life: October 2020

This month I am going to do something just a little different for my 30 minutes. I am going to do 30 minutes of editing because it took me way longer than 30 minutes to capture these little guys.

I love dragonflies. Their mechanics are pure perfection. Have you ever looked closely at their wing formation. The design is fantastic. Along with the back of their heads. I am always amazed at what they look like/ I cropped in an image so that you could get a closer look. Their eyes are so huge and they watch every movement you make. Have you ever watched a dragonfly chew? Oh my, it is so cool. So here are a few dragonfly that I captured over 2 days, plus a few of my favorites. I have tried my best to identify them, but I could be wrong. Don’t hold that against me.

Four Spotted Pennant
Eastern Pondhawk
Isn’t the wing formation fantastic and look at all the tiny hairs at the back of its head. Along with the spiny legs. This little guy kept flying in front of me as though he wanted his photo taken.
Eastern Pondhawk

Needhams Skimmer
Blue Dasher
Scarlet Skimmer
Metallic Pennant (maybe)
Eastern Pondhawk
Four Spotted Pennant
Four Spotted Pennant
Needhams Skimmer
Orange Meadowhawk
Eastern Pondhawk
Scarlet Skimmer
Halloween Pennant
Four Spotted Pennant
Needhams Skimmer sitting on snail eggs

The best thing about dragonflies is that they eat the mosquitos. The sad thing is that in the circle of life, they become food for the birds, and the lizards. Red wing Blackbirds love dragonflies and I have seen them shove an entire dragonfly down a chick’s throat.

Redwing Blackbird
Hungry dragonfly eating lizard (since I do not know what it is called). I think it may be a Brown Anole

It’s either feast of famine for the lizard. He was not having a lot of success while I was watching him.

Please continue to stay safe, wherever you are in the world. Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Flowers in Macro: October 2020

I love flowers….period. One way to make me happy is give me flowers. Each week I go to the local store and try to find something I really love. This week it was these. I was sitting looking at the flower center the other day and wondered what they would look like in macro. So I got to play and enjoy the results.

Thanks for stopping by. If you are interested in seeing more of my photography take a look at my Facebook page or my Flickr Page.

Share Six: October 2020: Books

This month I chose the theme {Books} for our challenge. I wanted something that could be done at home. While things seems to be opening up down my side of town, I am still not convinced we are out of the woods. So I am probably going to keep doing what I have been doing.

The definition of books is as follows “a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers”

Books, however, are so much more to me. Book smell so much better than an iPad. They also don’t hurt when they hit your face. I love to turn the pages of a book. I love to escape to lands unknown, to medieval times, to Scotland in the days of the Bruce, to the bravery of men and women during WW2. Most often at night, you will find me on my couch in my office reading a book instead of watching the television.

I have taken a number of images over the past 4 years of books so here are some of those images.

I was playing around one day and wanted to capture a heart image using a book, so I pulled out the hard cover, “Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, and whalla I got my image.
Our trip to Seattle in 2016 was amazing and one of the highlights was heading off to the Seattle Library. A friend had said if you have time go walk the library, it is only 10 floors. Oh boy, I loved the library.
Columbus, Georgia, and we stopped into a unique little coffee shop that was filled with all sorts of knick knacks. I love the composition of the clock with the books.
Seattle again, in a gift store, and I loved how they had utilized a book to display the jewelry.
My father was a lay preacher, and I have a collection of his Bibles, my mothers and grandmothers, and my own. I find at times I go and look at the notes he made, and I was so surprised the first time I looked and found a sermon he had written. I loved reading his thoughts years after he had passed away.
Seattle Library once more
I think this was the same jewelry store as 2 images up. Again using books to display precious stones.
The cameo and pearls were my grandmothers and I have a lot of good memories of her. The Bible belonged to Richards grandmother and she passed it down to him before she died. Faith is a strong foundation of my life, and am always reminded that this Bible is an inheritance passed down from generation to generation.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrings. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. ~ A very familiar passaged used at weddings and one that I wanted to use to capture the beauty of this day.
When I say I have a lot of books I really mean a lot of book. These books were moved to the bathroom in an effort to paint my “library”. My Sims was checking out the collection.

When I thought about books for this theme, I wanted them to be timeless, so black and white was where I went this time around with the {Books} theme.

The art of using a quill to write is not an art seen much these days. Having bought a quill for this shot, makes me think I should go back and buy some ink and play some more.
I am in a study group with a number of women, and this is not an uncommon sight on my desk
Journaling. I have my moments with journaling. I will start and stop. I love to put thoughts onto paper, but I am not a big fan of putting my heart out there for someone to stumble across.
One of my favorite genre of novels is to read about the amazing men and women who gave selflessly during the devastating period of World War 2. Men and women who worked the underground system, who carried messages, who gave their lives. I had uncles that were prisoner of war and so it is also their stories that I read when I read these kind of books. These are stories I hope the world never forgets, and yet I know that children today wonder if that war ever took place.
The edges of books these days seems to be a rough finish and I love the grittiness that this edge gives.
I love books; I love that moment when you can open one and sink into it. You can escape from the world, into a story that is far more interesting than yours will ever be ~ Elizabet Scott

Books make me smile, they bring me to a happy place. I like to escape into them. I very rarely go to bed without reading. When I thought about what I wanted for this theme, I really wanted to show that books are timeless. Books for me are old friends. Stories of life, pages I can turn. I have some collections, but I have realized that the amount of books I read means I am running out of storage space. So nowdays I am using my Kindle app a lot more. But I do not like to get rid of certain books, my poetry books, my old English books, my Shakespeare, Chaucer, Thomas Hardy books. Classics, I have held onto them. Novels about WW2, favorite authors, they grace my shelves. General novels I will happily pass on.

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 talented artist who always amazes me with her images Katherine of Cobert Photography 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_books

Tell Me A Story: September 2020

Can it be that September is almost over. 3 Months and it will be Christmas again. I feel like I just had Christmas the other day. I have officially been working from home for 6 months now. There are days when I live in 4 walls. The cats were keen to get outside and so I picked up my macro and went out into the garden.

While watching the cats, I walked around and took some flowers, weeds and got down into the long grass knowing that later that day the grass was going to be cut.

Simba 2020
Moonshine 2020

Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives. This 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: September 2020

Simba 2020

This little man means the world to me. He is a rescue cat. He was living on the street and sometimes in Amy’s sun room. She has been feeding him. When Amy went to the Peace Corp she asked me to take him and give him a home. I did not think Richard would buy into it and honestly I worried he may be feral. When I went to bring her and her stuff back home, I took the cat carrier up with us. Since then Simba has transitioned into my heart and I love this boy with just about everything I have.

A routine visit to the vet for dental work has turned into something else. I appears that Simba had fluid and inflammation in his lungs. My local vet asked me to take him to Ft Lauderdale to a specialist vet who looked at the x-rays, concurred with my vet, and treated him for heartworm and gave him an antibiotic. It appeared that we could be dealing with a cat who has asthma, although he is totally asymptomatic. We agreed to wait a few weeks to do another x-ray. The few weeks passed, and I changed out anything that could cause allergies, asthma etc. On my vacation week we did the hour trip back to Ft Lauderdale to the vet. I dropped him off and then found myself at a loose end for a couple of hours. So off I went to the park where the burrowing owls are.

On my way across the heavens opened, and I was not sure what I was going to find when I got there besides wet looking owls or no owls because they may have moved into their holes. I have decided that owls are like cats, when the camera comes out they look away.

I made my way across 3 squishy waterlogged entrances to reach the owls. None of them are really near the edge of the roadway except the first couple of pics. Since I had not planned on rain I was walking in flip flops that quickly became slip flops.

At one point it started to rain a little harder than before and I hung out with my camera under my shirt until I got a little closer. Of course, the next picture is a total fluke. The owl was …shaking to get the water off I guess. You can see the water spray going off of him. It was shaking so hard that it became a little unbalanced

Where ever you find Burrowing Owls there area is cordoned off as they are protected in South Florida. So 4 posts and some rope to stop you going any closer. Quite often you will find them sitting on top of the posts.

The most I managed to see together were two. Sometimes I have seen up to 5 but that is normally in Spring when they are breeding. The owls are less that a standard ruler for the most part. They are the cutest little birds I have seen and they are constantly watching you, watching left and right and up above them for any kind of attack.

Around the time I called it quits, due to the rain, the vet phoned me to say that Sims was ready and I could come and pick him up. The downside was that his lungs were still inflamed. That means we now have to go down the asthma route. I had changed his litter to a wheat litter but I really hate it and so do they, so today we got some 99% dust free litter, that has no fragrances or dyes. In addition he start steriods this past week for 2 weeks, and he is going to be switched to an mask/inhaler combination soon. In a couple of months we will do another x-ray with the hopes that there is some kind of improvement.

Please 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 Janet of Janet Crouch Photography.   Check out her Facebook & Instagram page as well.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

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Share Six: September 2020: Colors

We are in September and today I sent my boss a reminder about Christmas. Seriously folks, this pandemic has put a huge dent in my life. When it first started out I thought this was going to drag, but I have been so busy with work that I am not noticing the time passing – that is other than saying to Richard, it’s Friday, now it’s Monday and look here is Friday again.

This month Janet Douglas chose the theme {Colors/Colours} I used to write Colours until I moved to the USA and now I write Colors. The dictionary gives us the following definition of colors “the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way the object reflects or emits light.

Covid has us stuck in our homes. For me, my office that I work out of is also the office that I edit my images in, watch TV in, and read in. It is also Hoo’s spot when I am not working. A lot of my time is spent in those 4 walls. Right now in summer I really do not mind. The weather is hot. Actually it is brutal. Throw a mask into the mix and it is really unpleasant. That aside, there has not been a lot of places to go walking in. A good few parks were closed and the parks that were open did not offer what I was looking for. The one that I could go to, is a park I would rather go with a friend. It is lonely, and the pathways are more like dirt roads and that means there could easily be aligator’s lying on the sides of the roads. I have done the boardwalk at that park as well and it’s not one of my favorite. However, if I want sunsets that is the park I will go to.

The wetlands were closed for restoration over the winter period. Then we went into Covid period and they just did not open. So no walking in the wetlands. Added to all of that my zoom lens had given up the ghost and I probably should have sent my camera to canon for a good cleaning. I got the new lens, but I still think the cleaning will be a good idea at some point in time.

I started vacation on Friday and that also corresponded with the wetlands opening for responsible walking. I decided that I was going to get up early and go and do some walking in the wetlands. Great start, I set my alarm for pm instead of am. However, Ms Moo woke me up at 7am and I flew out of bed, grabbed my clothes, did a quick brush to my hair, brushed my teeth and went downstairs. Cats were fed, hot chocolate was made and I was off.

I figured I was still early. Much to my surprise, I was not. The parking lot at the wetlands was packed up to the third row and I was not too happy about that. The good news is the walk is about 2 miles long and I stopped every so often to take photo’s. I never really felt like I was in too much contact with folks. The down side of the wetland is that there are speed walkers that walk the boardwalk and they don’t really care if you are trying to get a good shot of a bird that happens to be perched on the railing. They are going to keep on walking come hell or high water. Suffice to say the two bird images that I got on the railing were disturbed by these walkers.

It was nice to get out and enjoy the fresh air. To see the vibrant colors of nature. To enjoy seeing the bird life, the butterflies and the bees, and the turtles. I love the feel of the autumn colors even though it is not really autumn in Florida. I hope you enjoy my {Colors} of nature.

Green Heron
Little Blue Heron
Turtle
Little Blue Heron
White Peacock Butterfly
Little Blue Heron

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 talented artist who always amazes me with her images Ceri of Ceri Herd Photography 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_colors20