Inspired by Life: June 2018

Inspired by Life is very apt when it comes to Dragonflies.  I hate mosquito’s and dragonflies love mosquito.  On the flip side Dragonflies are a tasty little treat for baby birds.  I remember watching the first 8 day life cycle of Redwing Blackbird chicks.  The female would often bring home a dragonfly as food for the chicks.  For each there is a place.

The wetlands have seen few dragonfly over the past couple of years so it was nice to get out and walk around and see them flitting from one plant to another.  Catching them on camera was a totally different story.  Just when you have the lighting right and the focus almost perfect, they up and fly away.  What I have learned though is very often they will come back to the same plant.

For me I am always happy to see an abundance of dragonfly in my garden.  The last few weeks after all the rain we have had they do seem to be in abundance.  I also same some damselfly.  However, they did not sit still long enough for me to capture them.  Next time I think I will go out with my macro and see what I can come up with.

I hope you enjoy the different species of dragonfly that I managed to find.

Green Cay Wetlands: June 3, 2018: 5005

Four Spotted Pennant

Green Cay Wetlands: June 3, 2018: 5011

Four Spotted Pennant

Green Cay Wetlands: June 3, 2018: 5014

Halloween Pennant

Green Cay Wetlands: June 3, 2018: 5016

Four Spotted Pennant

Out on the back canal: June 9, 2018: 5329

Orange Meadowhawk

Green Cay Wetlands: June 3, 2018:

Four Spotted Pennant

Out on the back canal: June 9, 2018: 5243

Orange Meadowhawk

Green Cay Wetlands: June 3, 2018: 5068

Blue Dasher

Out on the back canal: June 9, 2018: 5257

Needhams Skimmer

Green Cay Wetlands: June 3, 2018: 5072

Four Spotted Pennant

Out on the back canal: June 9, 2018: 5260

Needhams Skimmer

Green Cay Wetlands: June 3, 2018: 5082

Scarlet Skimmer

Out on the back canal: June 9, 2018: 5265

Needhams Skimmer

Green Cay Wetlands: June 3, 2018: 5084

Four Spotted Pennant

Out on the back canal: June 9, 2018: 5287

Needhams Skimmer

Green Cay Wetlands: June 3, 2018: 5085

Four Spotted Pennant

Green Cay Wetlands: June 3, 2018: 5134

Four Spotted Pennant

Dragonfly are fun to watch.  They are really busy little critters.  And if you happen to get up close to them you will find that often they are chomping on something.  Their mouths are going all the time.  Their eyes are incredible when you manage to capture them in macro and all over the dragonfly is a pretty cool critter.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s Inspired by Life.    This is a circle blog although we are a little on the light side this month. Please take time to visit my friend Ceri  of Ceri Herd Photography and see what she has for you this month. Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on her pages.

You can also find me on FacebookFlickrInstagramGoogle+ and Viewbug.

10 on 10: June 2018

This past month we had a staff retreat at the home where we traditionally have our Christmas luncheon.  Every year I take my camera with me, except this year.  I decided I was not going to.  There are only so many things you can take in the garden.  Mmm, maybe not my best decision.  Out in the garden was an enormous amount of orchids and all I had was my cellphone

Orchids remind me of my dad.  My father used to grow orchids.  He initially started out with this really small orchid house.  Perhaps 100 orchids, maybe a few more.  One day we came home to visit and my father was in the process of building a bigger and better hot house for his orchids which I might add took up half the garden.

My dad died in 1995 but the memories are still so vivid. Dad loved that hot house.  Each day he would go outside and make sure that the sprinklers were working.  Each orchid had to get it’s nutrients. He would spend hours in the hothouse, pottering around.  He would split up the orchids, trim the roots, make sure the potting mix was the best he could make up.  He tended his plants with love and care.

My son loved to go into Grampa’s flower house as a toddler.  Grampa on the other hand, watched him like a hawk.  Cameron had a habit of beheading flowers.

I spent a lot of time trying to find different orchids for my dad.  I specialized in the unusual.  In his orchid house he had Dendrobium orchids, Cattleya orchids, Dancing ladies orchids, Paphiopedlium “Slipper” orchids, Encyclia Orchids, Oncidium orchids, Phalaenopsis orchids, Vanda orchids and some whose names I do not even remember.

I remember one year an orchid flowered through the bottom of the hanging basket.  It produced these large plastic looking flowers.  The flowers were stunning.  My dad brought the plant into the house to display and we all looked at it with admiration.  And then we went to sleep and the next morning we thought we were going to die.  The whole house stank something awful and the plant was quickly removed outside again.

Cymbidium orchids were the trickiest and the hardest for him to grow.  Living on the coast we had a much warmer climate.  Cymbidium orchids need a cold snap to produce flowers .

I remember the 2nd last week of his life.  He was still able to get up and move around.  I was spending the week with him knowing it was going to be my last week.  Each morning dad and I would make our way through to the orchid house and he would take care of his flowers.  I asked a lot of questions in that week telling him he was going to have to teach me more about his hobby, yet knowing full well, that time was so short.  By the time my dad died the following week, he had managed to accumulate over 4000 orchids.

My mom’s green finger was like mine – we tend to replace rather than grow.  Orchids hold a special place in my heart.  When I see them I see my dad, and I see his brother Robert who was another orchid hobbyist.

I hope you enjoy the beauty of nature’s creations.

IMG_9122[22492]Orchids:  May 8, 2018: 9123Orchids:  May 8, 2018: 9124Orchids:  May 8, 2018: 9125Orchids:  May 8, 2018: 9126Orchids:  May 8, 2018: 9127Orchids:  May 8, 2018: 9128Orchids:  May 8, 2018: 9129Orchids:  May 8, 2018: 5472Orchids:  May 8, 2018: 9132

Thank you for joining me for this month’s 10 on 10.  This is a circle blog.  Please take time to visit my good friend Ceri of Ceri Herd Photography and see what she has for you this month. Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on their pages.

You can also find me on FacebookFlickrInstagramGoogle+ and Viewbug.

Share Six: June 2018: Abstract

How can we be halfway through the year already??  This year is just flying by and I feel like I still have so much to do.

This month for the Share Six theme Ceri of Ceri Herd Photography chose the theme Abstract.  I am in my element here.  I love abstract art.  I haven’t made a lot of it but today I got to play around a little and see what I could come up with.

I encourage you to go and play and make some abstract art – it is kind of addictive.

Abstract: October 20, 2014: 0882

For this image I just chose to do some selective cropping to capture the stalks and the bokeh and hopefully to give it that abstract feel.

Abstract:  November 14, 2014: 4740

I would love to say that this was ICM – Intentional Camera Movement, but it was not.  The bird moved and I did too, but I loved the abstract effect of this image.

ARM Loxahatchee National Park: June 22, 2017: 5128

Believe it of not this was an abstract sunset created with a Lensbaby Sweet 35 as seen below, which is the actual image.  In this image, I used Photoshop to create the effect.  First I opened the image, then created a duplicate layer.  I went to Filters, and chose Pixulate and then Pointilize.  I set the dots at a fairly large size.  Next step was to go to Filters, Blur and chose radial blur.  I then chose zoom and best.  Once I got the spiral result, I then went to my adjustment tools and used the saturation tool to change the color of the image from browns to blues.

ARM Loxahatchee National Park: June 22, 2017: 5128

So this was the origianl image used for the blue version above.  For me this is abstract that I love.  This is create with the Lensbaby Sweet 35 and it is captured by turned the lens to a blur position.

Bokeh:  November 14, 2017: 6756

This was traffic lights, and I captured this image with the Lensbaby Sweet 35.  Once again I turned the lens to a obvious blur position.

Tulips: April 7, 2015 9680

This is a black and white image of a poppy interior.  In this image, I used Photoshop to create the effect.  First I opened the image, then created a duplicate layer.  I went to Filters, and chose Pixulate and then Mezzotint, and I chose the setting medium lines.  Next step was to go to Filters, Blur and chose radial blur.  I then chose zoom and best.  Once I got the spiral result, I then went to my adjustment tools and just played with light and dark.

ARM Loxahatchee National Park: June 22, 2017: 5135

I know I gave you an extra one.  I was not planning to give you the example for the blue abstract image but I changed my mind.  Another one of my abstract favorites.  In this image I used a Lensbaby Double Focus lens, and again took it to the blur position to get these results.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s Share Six.  This is a circle blog.  From the sneak peak images I have seen, you are going to want to follow the circle.  Please take time to visit my friend and very talented artist Ceri of Ceri Herd Photography and see what she has for you this month. 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.

You can also find me on FacebookFlickrInstagramGoogle+ and Viewbug.

Now it is your turn. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook at Share Six and come and share your images on the theme {Abstract} throughout the month of June.  A new theme will come out on July 6.

Remember you can follow us on Instagram at @sharesix  and tag your images #sharesix_abstract.

You can also find the Share Six webpage at http://www.sharesix.wordpress.com

We look forward to seeing your images on the theme {Abstract}

Tell me a Story: May 2018

For this months Tell me a Story, I looked at the images that I had taken on my recent walkabout in the wetlands.  As you know I love the shallow depth of field type images and so I put together a selection from those I took while out walking.

I love that there is more to the wetlands than just birds and critters.  There are some beautiful plants and opportunities to be creative.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: May 4, 2018: 4683

Alligator Flag

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: May 4, 2018:  4797

Pond apple petal

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: March 23, 2018: 2963

Spider Web

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: March 23, 2018: 2758

New Fern

Green Cay Wetlands: March 16, 2018: 2404

Last of the winter leaves

Green Cay Wetlands: March 16, 2018: 2241

Dead Fern

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: May 4, 2018: 4796

Pond Apple Petal

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: May 4, 2018: 4681

Alligator Flag

Green Cay Wetlands: March 16, 2018: 2311

Another winter leaf

Green Cay Wetlands: March 16, 2018: 2242

Spanish Moss

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: May 4, 2018: 4843

Alligator flag

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: March 23, 2018: 2756

Some kind of growth out of the wooden railing

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: May 4, 2018: 4807

Alligator Flag

Although the weather turned cold, the days on the beach were well worth the time it took to get away.  It is always nice to be at the edge of the ocean, hearing the waves go to and fro and enjoying the peace of the moment.

This is a circle blog and I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else has got up to this month.  Follow the link here to see what my fellow blogger Beth at Beth Williams Photoblog has for you this month, Don’t forget to leave a little love on their pages.

You can also find me on FacebookFlickrInstagramGoogle+ and Viewbug.

30 Minutes in the Life: May 2018

For my 30 Minutes in the Life this month I am going to share a trip to the Loxahatchee National Park which is 15 minutes from where I live.  A quick, jump in the car and rush up in time to catch the sunset.  We have had a lot of rain and so it has made it difficult to get any photo’s recently.

This particular night however, there was a heavy band of cloud when I got to the park which made for very dark images.

My first stop is always the pond.  I love to see what images I can capture there.

ARM Loxahatchee National Park: February 4, 2018: 0502

Sunset at the pond.

ARM Loxahatchee National Park: February 4, 2018: 0506

Sunset at the pond

ARM Loxahatchee National Park: February 4, 2018: 0513

Sunset at the pond

The next stop is up at the edge of the Everglades overlooking the vast areas of marshy water.  The Everglades is, I believe, the slowest moving river in South Florida.  The area is subtropical and his home to many species of plants and animals.  Of course, it is home to some pretty large alligators as well.  Kayaking through there can be great and there can also be some breath holding moments.    The thick band of cloud did not allow for much of a sunset but I got what I could.

ARM Loxahatchee National Park: February 4, 2018:

Sunset on a really cloudy night.

ARM Loxahatchee National Park: February 4, 2018: 0520

Sunset over the Everglades.

ARM Loxahatchee National Park: February 4, 2018: 0604

Sunset

The real treat however, is to watch the murmuration of the Boat Tailed Grackles.  The incredible dance in the sky is such a fantastic display of coordination and movement by this large body of birds.  They shape shift in the sky, making coordinated changes in direction.

ARM Loxahatchee National Park: February 4, 2018: 0548

Murmuration of the Boat Tailed Grackle while a White Egret flies by.

ARM Loxahatchee National Park: February 4, 2018: 0578

Watching the Boat Tailed Grackles a White Egret flies by.

ARM Loxahatchee National Park: February 4, 2018: 0597

Murmuration of the Boat Tailed Grackes.

ARM Loxahatchee National Park: February 4, 2018: 0621

Murmuration of the Boat Tailed Grackles

Lastly, I always take my lensbaby along with me to play around with the shapes of the sun during the sunset.  I love getting an abstract look to the sunset.

ARM Loxahatchee National Park: June 22, 2017: 5128

Sunset – Sweet 35

 

Thank you for joining me for this month’s 30 Minutes in Life.  For the rest of the blog group, please take time to visit my friend and fellow blogger Stacey Markel Photography and see what she has for you this month.   Keep following the circle of photographers to see what the other photographers, from the US and around the world,  have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on their pages.

You can also find me on FacebookFlickrInstagramViewbug and Google+

Inspired by Life: May 2018

I recently took a drive down to Fort Lauderdale.  I had heard that there were Burrowing Owl chicks in a local park.  Burrowing Owls have to be the cutest little birds I have ever seen, my baby Redwing Blackbirds aside.  They stand no higher than a standard ruler.

Typically Burrowing owls can be found in grasslands, deserts and agricultural areas.  I found mine in an old garbage dump that has been turned into a park.

Burrowing Owls create their homes by digging in the ground.  The Burrowing Owl is a protected species in Florida.  Wherever there is a roost they are typically cordoned off to stop anyone walking on them or getting too close to them.

They are curious little birds, who do not seem easily intimidated if they see you, however, if you get to close they will scurry to their burrow.  The Owl is constantly watching you, watching the air and watching how far they from their hole.  I visited 6 different burrows,  traipsing across uneven ground to get to the various holes.  Then for the most part I sat myself down on the ground and did not move.  Fortunately I have a 70-300mm zoom lens and with some post cropping you get to see a closer up image.

I did post a couple of images from 2017 – the bird regurgitating it’s food, and the bird stretching it’s wing out.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:  4566

Typical cordoning off of the area

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2017:  3120

A sample of the general size of the Burrowing Owl.  The fire hydrant is a standard size.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:  4529

The Owls typically come out in the day time, and will hover near the post in it’s shade.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:  4536

This little one made a noise as I approached.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:  4542

They are constantly looking in the sky for predators.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:  4545

I love their big eyes.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:

This little Owl popped out once I sat down.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:  4554

It got a little braver and came right out.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:  4557

Then interestingly it lay itself down on the ground.  The ground is great camouflage for the Burrowing Owl.  However, there are other possibilities for doing this.  The bird could be cooling down, or trying to suffocate the mites that are on its body.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:  4572

This little Burrowing Owl was at a different location.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:  4579

I love the look I was getting here.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2017:  3213

It’s room mate was cleaning house.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2017:  3220

This was an interesting capture of the Burrowing Owl regurgitating the leftovers of its meal.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2017:  3189

Doing some yoga and stretching.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:  4596

Off to another locations to find this little Burrowing Owl out on top of the wooden post.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:  4600

I am fascinated that the Owl will turn it’s head almost all the way around as it follows you.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2017:

And in this case it did turn it’s head all the way around.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:  4626

This little one, like my cat, is camera shy.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:  4627

This happened at another location as well.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:  4629

At the last location these little guys scurried to their burrow and I stepped up to the rope to see if I could see them.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:  4647

I sat down to wait and finally they popped back out.

I know there are a lot of photo’s but these little guys are so cute that I feel like it is worth posting them all.  I may well do another trip down there before the end of the month.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s Inspired by Life.    This is a circle blog although we are a little on the light side this month. Please take time to visit my friend Kym of Bubbaliciousphoto  and see what she has for you this month. Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on her pages.

You can also find me on FacebookFlickrInstagramGoogle+ and Viewbug.

10 on 10: May 2018

Within driving distance of where we live are two created wetlands.  It is a natural habitat for nesting birds, and of course spring is nesting time.  For the longest time we had a variety of birds, Great Blue Heron, Anhinga, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Great Egret etc.  Somehow the secret got out to the Woodstork and they have become the major nesting bird.  I always loved the Woodstork, who looks like a prehistoric bird, but lately since they have taken over the wetlands I am liking them less and less.  Added to that when you have the mass of birds that are there now, they are kind of stinky.  However, I still like getting out into the wetlands and enjoying my 1 mile walk in nature.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: May 4, 2018: 4660

Spiny Orb Weaver Spider

The Spiny Orb Weaver Spider is one of the smallest but most interesting spiders I have seen in South Florida.  Aside from the spider being interesting, the web it creates is outstanding.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: May 4, 2018: 4661

Great Blue Heron

This Great Blue Heron is fishing.  Daily they make their way into the water to catch fish.  The Great Blue Heron watches the fish with it’s head facing sideways.  Once caught the fish goes down in one big gulp.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: May 4, 2018:  4667

Leaf on the water

We spotted this leaf on the water and it really looked like something was towing it about.  However, it was just the wind creating a sail and moving it about the water’s surface.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: May 4, 2018: 4677

Juvenile Wood Stork

A juvenile Wood Stork looks soft and downy, but as they mature, the darkness around their face becomes almost leathery looking.  The Wood Stork is very prehistoric looking as an adult.  The wetlands is full of these young birds and they are very noisy.  Right now a good few of them are testing their wings to see if they can fly.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: May 4, 2018: 4683

Alligator Flag

Alligator Flag is a common plant in the wetlands and the Moorhens and Purple Gallinule love to eat the flower.  It is always interesting to watch as the plant stem is very thin and bends easily and the birds are not petite.  However, they do manage to grab what they want.  This method of taking photographs is one of my favorite styles.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: May 4, 2018: 4691

Iguana

This iguana sits on a branch under the Woodstork nests.  Based on the color of his flap I am going to say that right now it is orange.  However, it has been pooped on so much that it is looking gray.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: May 4, 2018: 4701

Bees on a Pickerelweed flower

A sure sign of spring is the busyness of the bees, and the wetlands flowers are definitely a good source of nectar for the bees.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: May 4, 2018: 4727

Alligator

Lying below another set of Wood Stork nests was this big guy.  This is a little island in the middle of the water.  The Alligator is sunning itself at this point however, if the chicks fall out the nest the gator would probably snap it up.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: May 4, 2018: 4763

Blue Dasher Dragonfly

Dragonflies are another of my favorite critters to watch.  I was happy to see this Blue Dasher out and about.  For the last couple of years it has felt like there was so few dragonfly around.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: May 4, 2018:  4797

Pond apple petal

The Pond Apple plant is a tropical fruit plant and it typically grows in wet areas so the wetland is perfect for it.  Apparently alligators like to eat pond apples.

So that was my meander through the wetlands.  It takes me about an hour depending on how long I stop to watch different birds or animals.  It is a great time for me to get out and clear my head and just commune with nature.  And take photographs as well.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s 10 on 10.  This is a circle blog.  Please take time to visit my good friend Ceri of Ceri Herd Photography and see what she has for you this month. Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on their pages.

You can also find me on FacebookFlickrInstagramGoogle+ and Viewbug.