Share Six: December 2021: Autumnal

This month’s theme was chosen by Ceri Herd Photography and the theme is {Autumnal}. South Florida does not really see much in the line of autumn unless I go looking for dead leaves. I heard someone say we are having our third quarter of summer. It sure feels like it most of the time.

However, we headed ever so slightly north to Tampa just before Thanksgiving. I was not expecting to see much change in color, but we have had a few days of cold. It’s about a 5 hour trip for us from east to west and then north, and we detoured to the South African shop, to get some loved snacks to have at our destination.

I always go with a long list of things to do and we always par it down to the time frame we have. But it is good to have options. Tuesdays post, I shared our time at the Salvador Dali museum, a very interesting place to visit if you like interesting architecture, and some incredible artwork. I am a big fan of Dali’s abstract art.

Another item on my list was to head to a wine farm I had found just out of town. It was called Keel & Curley Winery, and from what I understand they made all their wines and beers on the property. So off we went, and 45 minutes later we headed into what may be called “country” living and finally arrived at the farm.

It was a quaint, farmhouse, turned into a tasting room, and beyond that gardens to meander through. Since tasting only started at 12pm, we took a walk through the gardens. Much to my surprise I found some {Autumnal} color, perfect for this months theme.

From the tasting room we headed outside to a large covered patio, nestled against the small dam. Growing on the edges of the dam were these beautiful colored trees. Beyond the dam was a covered outdoor private gazebo, where a wedding was taking place.

Beyond the gazebo, was rows of grape bushes, which leant to the feel of autumn. Keel and Curley Wine Farm make their own wines using blueberries. They produce 3 types of blueberry wines. They have a variety of fusion wines.

We meandered around the farm yard, past the animals, towards the blueberry plants. A slight drizzle had us do a u-turn and head back to the tasting room.

Also produced at the farm are their own beers and ciders, and this is where we landed. Richard and Amy like IPA’s, I like a larger, simply because I do not like fruit in my beer. Daniel picked a different beer. I have to say the beer was excellent and we did go back for seconds. Along with that we also shared a couple of flatbreads. Through all of this Luka was on his best behavior and we did not hear a peep out of him, until his bottle was needed.

We left the farm with a bottle of wine, and I bought a Pina Colada mix, which I hope will par well with some good old rum.

If you are looking for a fun outing in the Tampa area, look up Keel and Curley Winery and take that short drive out of town and enjoy some time there, you will not regret it.

This is a circle blog and as I mentioned, we have some very talented ladies in the group. The sneak peaks are stunning and I cannot wait to see the rest. Take some time to follow the links and see what they have for you this month. My incredibly artistic friend Lynne of Lynne Grant Photography up next is up next. I can’t wait to see what she has to share. You can see more of her work by clicking on her Facebook page or Instagram page. Definitely check out her incredible art.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_autumnal

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Tell me a Story: November 2021

I thought I had one more day to get my blog done, but apparently not, Tell me a Story goes live in the morning. Family vacations are fun, and one of the things I wanted to do while we were in Tampa, South Florida, was to head to the Salvador Dali museum. I honesty did not see it happening, but Amy said she was keen to go, and Kathryn wanted to go as well, so we made a trip of it.

I love Dali’s artwork that goes without saying, but what I had seen from researching the venue was the incredible architecture of the building. I could not wait to get inside and see what there was to see.

Just a heads up if you are visiting, and plan to take photographs. Limit yourself to your camera and 1 lens. They do not allow backpacks in the premises. You have to leave them in your car, or put them in a locker. I understand they are worried about things going missing but to be honest the artwork was not going to fit into my camera bag, and I was not happy that I was expected to leave a $800 camera lens in the car. Fortunately Amy had a diaper bag and I could leave my lens inside there but remember that if you are visiting.

Immediately I am so impressed with the structure of the building, and the lattice type effect of the huge dome window. The internal staircase was amazing. What you are seeing above is the tip of the staircase

Amy and Luka in front of this interesting outlook
The central staircase going from the lower to the upper floor.

The sign next to the cracked effect of the window said the following: “Photographer Lee Miller broke boundaries of convention, technique and decorum to help shape the understanding of our own human possibilities. Our enigma glass is “broken” in her honor. How might you break boundaries?

Salvador Dali was born in Figueres, Spain in 1904, and lived both in Spain and in the USA. I have always know Dali for his abstract work, and love his art, but I did not know that he also was influenced by the Impressionist era as seen above, and at a later stage Catholicism. Below are two of my favorite abstracts.

Daddy Longlegs of the evening – Hope!
Fantasies Diurnes

The above image was titled “Portrait of my dead brother”. What fascinated me is how he created the image using dots and such interesting shapes. From what I read Dali had hope that the mysteries of religion would be revealed through physics and molecular biology. This image is one of the large canvases that he created. To see this in full size is incredible.

Below is a stunning image of a Woman looking out on a sunny day. The title to the artwork says the following ” Gala contemplating the Mediterranean Sea which at Twenty Meters becomes the portrait of Abraham Lincoln – Homage to Rothko (Second Version). When I look at the image in a small version I see Abraham Lincoln perfectly. When I look at this image I see Gala contemplating the Mediterranean Sea.

Below are two more abstract paintings that appealed to me. The first image is titled “Oeufs sur le Plat sans le Plat” (Eggs on the plate without the plate). The second is titled “Enchanted Beach with Three Fluid Graces. That particular painting really appeals to me.

As I mentioned earlier Dali was influenced by Catholicism, and the was apparent in some of his images. Below the image is titled “Galacidalacidesoxiribunucleicacid” (Homage to Crick and Watson).

Below this image is titled “The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.

There are so many more images and I did not do justice to his famous image “The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory. Go look it up – it is a stunning piece in my mind, and often reminds me of the Pink Floyd some “Time”.

Below I spent some time looking at different angles of this incredible structure before we headed outside to view the Garden.

Kathryn and Cody

I loved the different angles and shapes and reflections I could see in each setting. The dome type effect just fascinated me.

Kathryn and Cody at the famous representation of the Dali mustache.

The artwork above was titled “Christ of St. John of the Cross”.

Amy taking a break at the clock bench.
A tiny bird with a Dali mustache.

The we were back inside at the base of the staircase and I managed to get these last two images before we headed out. I love spiraling staircases and the effect that this had was amazing.

Lastly we snapped a shot of Cody in the gardens. Kathryn struggles with serious arthritis, and Cody is her service dog. He does an amazing job of being there for her to help her along the way. A silent disease like arthritis sometimes has people looking at you and asking what is wrong, why do you need a service dog, why do you need a wheelchair? Like many others Kathryn has good days and bad days, and we are grateful that Cody is there to assist her.

If you are heading to the Tampa area in South Florida, I would encourage you to take some time to visit the museum. Just remember no backpacks, or you are going to be as unhappy as I was heading in.

Thank you for joining me this month.  This is a circle blog so take some time to view what the other artist has for you this month. My friend Arthur of Lupji Photography is up next. I look forward to reading what he has to share.

Share Six: November 2021: transform

Can you believe it is November? It has been a long, weary year and I, for one, am glad it is nearly over. I am starting out praying that 2022 is going to be a better a year.

When I arrived home this evening I had an idea how my blog was going to go and yet when I sat down to edit my photo’s, my mind went in a completely different direction.

In my mind I could hear Barbara Streisand’s voice. She has the most dramatic and engaging voice and I have always loved how she carries me along in harmony within a beautiful song.

Tonight as I was editing, I could hear the words “Send in the clowns”

Isn’t it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground
You in mid-air
Send in the clowns

Isn’t it bliss?
Don’t you approve?
One who keeps tearing around
One who can’t move
Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns

~ Frank Sinatra

If you want to hear Barbara Streisand singing this beautiful song, click here.

While the story behind the song really doesn’t have anything to do with my blog, the clowns do.

Clowns {transform} from a normal human being to someone so incredibly engaging when their faces are painted, their garments are draped across their bodies, the big shoes go on, a breath is taken and the curtain is raised.

I love clowns. I loved them as a child and I love them now. At the circus, the clowns were my favorite. I remember Tickey. He was a tiny little clown and you can see a wee bit of him here as he performs in his tiny tartan kilt. Oh we were so young, and the circus was a favorite place to go. Even today clowns transform for me. They change me from sad to happy. I loved to see their smiling faces looking backing me back then, and I still do today.   I still have have about 30 of them. Mainly small and packed in a box. I had one large clown with a ceramic face that I still have out today. He sits on the cabinet in my office and I am happy to have him in my space.

In fact I was looking for photo’s of my son and came across a photo of his room and a child and it was filled with clowns. Probably a nightmare for any child when I think about it, but clearly my obsession. I wanted bright primary colors. But looking at these photos today I was a little overboard. Polystyrene clowns, fabric clowns, porcelain clowns, hanging clowns, bookend clowns. Okay the nightlight clown was a little creepy at night when it’s red nose shone brightly. If I look closely there was even a clown calendar. Seriously, a lot of clowns. Poor kid, I said “no wonder he is such a comedian today”. Below are my 32 year old photo’s of my clown obsession and Cameron’s bedroom. I noticed my bag was packed and ready to head off to the hospital.

I had a mother in law that was an incredibly talented at sewing toys. If it was sewn, it was by her. My kids had so many stuffed toys. If a glue gun or polystyrene cutter was used, it was me. I also sewed the duvet and curtains. My how times have changed. Luka has a very sedate bedroom compared to the riot of color that Cameron had.

Two weekends ago we happened to go and visit Cameron in a little town in the middle of nowhere Florida, called Lake Placid. And yes it does have gators. This little town is another example of transformation. They took this “I just passed through a town” town with some lakes, and made it into a destination place to visit. The catch, for the tourist, is all the murals you will find on the walls around town. I have shared them in the past, but I never got to see the clown museum. I just took photo’s on the outside of the building this time but perhaps next time I will actually go in. The colors on the outside of the building certainly transform the building and this small portion of the town.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica clowns date back to the times of ancient Greece typically as a secondary character. They were also found in Roman times typically wearing a patchwork robe and a pointy hat. In the latter half of the 16th centaury the Harlequin became famous. He was often found in a black domino and in general his behavior featured slapstick comedy. Clowns were found in the English plays by Shakespeare, and in Germay, traveling English actors introduced clowns to the German society.

In the 17th Centaury, the white faced clown, made his appearance. However, the earliest true clown was Joseph Grimaldi, also affectionately known as “Joey”. He as known for slapstick beatings, tumbling and physical tricks.

Why do clowns wear red noses? According to the web it could be traced back to 3 brothers who became a trio in 1909. Each had their own character and designed face. One of the brothers had a white face and represented a elegant but self-important clown, another took the middle of the road between the two brothers, and the last brother took on dark eyebrows and an overstated face with a red nose. Known as the Auguste clown, this clown is typically a joker and who has overstated features and wearing ill fitting clothes.

I did not know that there are actually master clowns and the 4 well known master clowns are Otto Griebling, Bobby Kaye, and Lou Jacobs and Glen Little. Finally a bit of information I was not aware of – I did wonder if clowns could patent their face but apparently it is very hard to stop another clown from copying their faces, but it is not encouraged. To keep track of all the different clown faces, an artist was hired to paint the faces as a record onto eggs.

For me Cirque Du Soleil is a wonderful big tent adventure. While the acrobatics are out of this world, and I have to say I am super impressed, it’s the clowns that garner the laughter with their antics. I have seen the Beatles Cirque, and last year we saw Alegria. Even in that dramatic show, they had clowns. Apparently Corteo is about the life of clowns – I may need to watch out for that one but right now it is in Norway.

Clowns have the most amazing way of engaging young and old, taking a sad face to one of joy and laughter.

“I think I will be a clown when I get grown” said Dill. “Yes sir, a clown…. there ain’t one thing this world that I can do about folks except laugh, so I’m gonna join the circus and laugh my head off”

“You got it backwards, Dill” said Jem. “Clowns are sad, it’s folks that laugh them.”

“Well, I’m gonna be a new kind of clown. I’m gonna stand in the middle of the ring and laugh at the folks”

~ Harper Lee

This is a circle blog and as I mentioned, we have some very talented ladies in the group. The sneak peaks are stunning and I cannot wait to see the rest. Take some time to follow the links and see what they have for you this month. My incredibly artistic friend Elizabeth of It’s Still life Photography by Elizabeth Willson is up next is up next. I can’t wait to see what she has to share. You can see more of her work by clicking on her Facebook page or Instagram page. Definitely check out her incredible art.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_transform

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Tell me a Story: October 2021

Saturday the 9th was a long day and well into the late night. Just around 11pm, we became grandparents, as Luka made his debut into the world. I waited up and Amy and Daniel face timed me shortly after he was born. Can I say I fell in love. I absolutely did.

Monday was a holiday for me and I decided to do a quick walk in the morning and then be ready to go and meet our little boy when he arrived home in the evening.

While walking I was giving thanks for the safe delivery, and just taking deep breaths and communing with nature.

Today as I was editing the images, I was thinking it is less about the critters and more about the backgrounds. Minimally, we are seeing signs of fall and I am enjoying the change of season. I cannot wait for winter to reach Florida.

This little Green Heron was hiding out in the long grasses while it’s partner in crime was wading in the waters.,
I love the blending of the colors in the back ground and the softness of the Anhinga.
I took this image a few weeks ago for 52 Frames, but wasn’t totally happy with it, so I took it again,
I came across another Green Heron just hanging out.
There was an abundance of female grackle out this particular morning. I love the colors in the background of this image.
Dragonfly were hard to find today but again I love the weird background that has shown up here.
Another female grackle just hanging out looking for my dragonfly.
It seems like the 4 spotted pennant was the dragonfly of the day.
Clearly this Female Grackle is a mom with teenagers because she has that mean look in her eyes.
I love the faded grass and the bokeh in the background.
Time is everything and I did not see this pod dropping to the floor.

The highlight however, was not in the park but rather in the parking lot. A few had already spotted it and if they had not seen it I probably would have walked right past the the trees but luckily curiosity got the better of me and I turned around and looked at this Red Shouldered Hawk.

I am in awe of how nature is created. The feather’s color distribution is fantastic and so impressive.

Thanks for joining me today on my walk. If you are a sunseeker like we have been, please consider using sunscreen that provides a significant cover, watch out for odd looking moles, and educate yourself. Australia, Florida, California are listed as the top 3 places for melanoma. I am going to add South Africa to that listed because where we grew up the climate is exactly the same. See a dermatologist and get yourself checked out. Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer and we are dealing with this right now. This was the first thing I did since Richard came home in February after his melanoma Stage 4 diagnosis. I am good, but the peace of mind is so worth it. While the medication has shown some positive signs of working on reducing the melanoma, we have to be aware that melanoma is very unpredictable and you honestly need to take care.

Thank you for joining me this month.  This is a circle blog so take some time to view what the other artist has for you this month. My friend Beth of Beth Williams Photo Blog is up next. I look forward to reading what he has to share.

30 Minutes in the Life: October 2021

One day in the life of a Southern Magnolia flower. I spent a busy week’s vacation helping my daughter with our 12 day old grandson. Included in the week were sleepover’s and some super late night early morning sessions. Typically I took him after his 9pm sleep so that my daughter could catch up some sleep. He however, had other ideas and instead of him going to sleep he was wide awake at midnight. I have told him we need to be awake more in the day and less at night. However, this week has been an absolute blessing and I have loved having that little man sleeping on my chest.

In-between, all of that this year has been dictated to by Richards immunotherapy treatments every three weeks, and we try if we are going to go somewhere to travel about 8 days prior to the next treatment. I think we were spooked by the first adverse reaction and have been cautious on making sure that we have passed the 8-12 day mark before we head out.

This weekend we headed up to see our son and his wife in Lake Placid, Florida. This is a sleepy little hollow with not a lot going on but I was excited to see that he had a bloom on his Southern Magnolia tree. From what he tells me the flower only lasts a day. So I have tried to capture the various stages of the bloom from all the other buds on the tree.

On the tree are a number of buds that look like the photo above.
When we arrived on Saturday the flower was already loosing it’s stamen. The plant has the stigma above on the cone and the stamen below.
By Sunday morning it was already dying
Obviously other flowers have bloomed and died and are starting the drying out process
What fascinated me the most was this post flower cone that was pushing out seeds.
I have never seen this before.

Nature is beautiful and at best is one of the most incredible parts of creation for me. I am always blown away by the incredible stuff I see when I am out walking.

This month it looks like I am the only one blogging and I will be planning a sabbatical for the group through the new year. While I may continue to blog under this name, I am tired, the group members are tired and I feel like a good rest for the balance of the year.

Thank you for joining me today. Have a great week. Look out for another blog on the 31st.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Share Six: October 6 2021: Documentary

I am a days off from becoming a grandmother. 5 to be exact. It’s super exciting and I cannot wait to meet our little guy. If nothing happens between now and the 10th, then on the 11th Luka will make his debut.

Recently my theme for 52 Frames, was “Woman”, and my daughter is my go to woman. Not that she really wants to be. However, she agreed and I headed over with a number of ideas. I liked the idea of really light windows – with a blown out look to the image. I had another idea that involved children’s bubbles. She was not too keen on any of the ideas that I had. She had been trying to get a maternity water image, and so she suggested that I use her GoPro to take some images of her in the water.

Well that was a learning curve. The GoPro kept shifting over to video and she was getting freaked out. Added to that it really is not easy to take maternity shots and all credit goes to her for the poses that she managed to come up with. She came up the one time and said “I used to be able to hold my breath for much longer than that”. In the end we probably took over 200 images. Amy narrowed it down to about 30 images she was happy with and I narrowed it down to one image. However, for my blog today I pulled down a few more images and tried to work with them.

The images were taken in jpeg, which had me experimenting to see what I could come up with in Photoshop. The original quality was a murky turquoise color but I had some fun playing around. I didn’t realize how much you can do with a jpeg in Photoshop.

The theme this month is {Documentary} and I am documenting my daughters last weeks of her pregnancy. Below are some of the images that I have decided to use.

The challenge for me was getting that contrast without going to dark. In the second image I had to because I was loosing her face in the light. In the lighter images I feel like the extremities were disappearing into the light. However, the image that I needed and submitted was the one below. This image was selected for one of the top 52 out of over 2000 images, and it was 4th in the number of views that it got. So I was pretty happy overall. What fascinated me as I was editing, was that I noticed a face in the water directly above her. I was not sure if this was a good thing or something creepy. I have had some interesting comments on it, my mom was watching over her, my dad was watching over her, and this looks like the baby’s face. That said, I am still not sure what to make of it.

I am so excited for both Amy & Daniel. We had breakfast with them last weekend and Amy told me that this was the last time she was leaving her home. She is so uncomfortable and starting to get lower back ache. I feel for her because I remember the lower back ache I had. The days are passing so quickly that before we know it the 11th will be here. I cannot wait to see Luka’s sweet little face.

This is a circle blog and as I mentioned, we have some very talented ladies in the group. The sneak peaks are stunning and I cannot wait to see the rest. Take some time to follow the links and see what they have for you this month. My incredibly artistic friend Katherine of Cobert Photography is up next is up next. I can’t wait to see what she has to share. You can see more of her work by clicking on her Facebook page or Instagram page. Definitely take some time to check her out.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_documentary

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Tell me a Story: September 2021

We have had so much rain that getting out to walk is challenging when you work most of the week. I did get out one Friday in the middle of the day. The wetlands was hot and so humid. However, I was predominantly photographing dragonfly and that takes a lot of patience. Aside from the dragonfly I got to see some interesting critters along the way. I was having some frustrations along the way. My camera needs a service. The dial is not working properly. I hate the thought of having to send it off to Canon, especially now when I am not sure when I will get it back.

The walk is 2 miles long and is all along a boardwalk. The plus of that is you are not at the same level as the gator but you can get relatively up close to them. A zoom lens helps to get it a lot closer without actually being any closer lol.

So dragonfly were on my agenda today. I find them amazing. If you want to see more of the dragonfly I managed to photograph click here.

I always enjoy the Comorant, and both wetlands have at least one that is super friendly. It is not afraid of humans and I was able to get quite close to it.

I am not sure who named this bird but the Green Heron really does not have any green on it. This one popped up on the boardwalk railing as I was taking the Comorant. Of course birds have no shame, and I managed to photograph the poop shoot. Post that he flapped all the water off it’s wings and hung out for a while. I felt like today was angry Green Heron day, and you will see a few more images a bit later.

This is a female Anhinga. They fish for their food, and then once they have finished they will fly to the closest dry spot and they spread their wings and wait for them to dry. The way I understand it, they cannot fly to far with wet wings. I am always in awe of creation and how each wing interlocks with each other to enable a bird to fly. The male of course is far more interesting with white and black wings.

I always love to see an Iguana. This one was hiding out but if you look close at the body you will see signs of orange. To me they are so impressive. To others they are invasive.

A Glossy Ibis is fantastic to see when the sun is reflecting off it’s wings. Todays pic you get a little sense of it but not enough.

Every so often there is a covered walkway and a respite from the heat. If you look up there is a good chance you will find tiny little birds flitting through the trees. They are too fast for this lens. It seems like the lens takes forever to focus on the bird and by the time it does, the bird has flown off.

It’s in the walkways that I love to capture my favorite style of images. There were no leaves along the boardwalk but there were these pine fronds.

The White Ibis is chilling in my favorite tree. It is a great resting place for many birds and in the past I have managed to capture some Roseate Spoonbill in this tree.

I spotted this little Green Heron and took the top pic, then turned away to photograph dragonfly. When I turned back it was stalking across the water with this interesting Mohawk. Look like there is a new barber in town.

Tri-colored Herons are fun, and they normally fly around in pairs, especially the juveniles. There were 3 of them, this one on the railing and 2 in the water. It is almost as if they play tag.

I am sure you are wondering what this is. It’s not a gator. There was an Anhinga fishing in the water. As I took the shot, it dived down again to fish, and this is all I got of the bird.

Last but not least, I spotted this pensive looking Anhinga drying out in a tree as I was getting ready to leave the part. It really spoke to me. It looks like a juvenile based on the color of it’s feathers.

Thanks for joining me today on my walk. If you are a sunseeker like we have been, please consider using sunscreen that provides a significant cover, watch out for odd looking moles, and educate yourself. Australia, Florida, California are listed as the top 3 places for melanoma. I am going to add South Africa to that listed because where we grew up the climate is exactly the same. See a dermatologist and get yourself checked out. Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer and we are dealing with this right now. This was the first thing I did since Richard came home in February after his melanoma Stage 4 diagnosis. I am good, but the peace of mind is so worth it. While the medication has shown some positive signs of working on reducing the melanoma, we have to be aware that melanoma is very unpredictable and you honestly need to take care.

Thank you for joining me this month.  This is a circle blog so take some time to view what the other artist has for you this month. My friend Beth of Beth Williams Photo Blog is up next. I look forward to reading what he has to share.

30 Minutes in the Life: September 2021

“A red dragonfly hovers above a backwater of the stream, it’s wings moving so fast that they eye sees not wings in movement, but a probability distribution of where the wings might be, like electron orbitals; a quantum-mechanical effect that maybe explains why the insect can apparently teleport from one place to another, disappearing from one point and reappearing a couple of meters away, without seeming to pass through the space in-between. There sure is a lot of bright stuff in the jungle. Randy figures that, in the natural world, anything that is colored so brightly my be some kind of serious evolutionary badass ~ Neal Stephenson

Dragonflies fascinate me. They are so incredibly well created. Their body parts interwoven so beautifully right down to the fine hairs on their legs. Their wings are like silk and paper thin. Their eyes bulbous and alert, moving quickly to track what you are doing if you are close enough to them.

But they are a bit of a challenge to photograph. Dragonflies are busy critters, that do not stop for too long. When you are shooting in manual, very often they will fly off before your settings are correct. However, one thing I have learned about dragonfly is that they tend to go back to the same spot they took off from. So with a bit of patience and a willingness to give up 2 hours of my time in the midday sun, I managed to capture some of them on my walk around the wetlands.

Something interesting that I read is that a good percentage of the dragonflies life is that of an aquatic lava. The live in the water as they grow, then eventually pull themselves out of the water onto a branch where they apparently molt to become an adult dragonfly.

In some cases the male and female dragonfly look the same, but the male dragonfly appears brighter than the female dragonfly. In other cases, like the Scarlet Skimmer, the female is a dull brownish color while the male is bright red.

Apparently males dragonfly have 3 appendages with which to grab the female dragonfly, I am presuming in mating season. I can’t say that I have ever seen that. The female appears to be attached by the head to the male. Damselfly are the same.(See the last image) The damselfly on the top is the male and at the anterior of the abdomen you will find the copulatory organs. The male clasps the female on the top of the head and the female bends her abdomen up to the males copulatory organs. By the male bending its abdomen the sperm is forced to the copulatory organs. And there you have it, the creation of new dragonfly larva. Most eggs are laid in mud or water.

Another interesting fact that I read, is that dragonflies are plagued by mites both in larva form and in full dragonfly form. The larva suck the blood of the dragonfly. Gnats are also blood sucking creatures that attach themselves to the wings of the dragonfly.

Dragonflies can travel up to 30 miles per hour. Dragonflies can change directions suddenly, going up, down, forward, backward or left and right.

Lastly, Dragonflies are predators, which is what I really love about them. They eat mosquito’s and flies, and when you live on the edge of the Everglades you have plenty of both. I am very happy when I see dragonfly in my garden.

Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly
Four Spotted Pennant Dragonfly
Blue Dasher Dragonfly
Eastern Amberwing Dragonfly
Four Spotted Pennant Dragonfly
Halloween Pennant Dragonfly
Halloween Pennant Dragonfly
Scarlet Skimmer Dragonfly
Four Spotted Pennant Dragonfly
Scarlet Skimmer Dragonfly
Blue Dasher Dragonfly
Golden Winged Skimmer Dragonfly
Damselfly Mating

“Magic is seeing wonder in nature’s every little thing, seeing how wonderful the fireflies are, and how magical are the dragonflies” ~ Ama HVannairachchy

Thank you for joining me this month. I love to get out and walk in the wetlands, and seeing the dragonfly really make my day.

Thank you for joining me for another 30 Minutes in the Life. This is a circle blog. While this is a culmination of more than 30 minutes, I believe these photo’s were taken in about 30 minutes when I realized I had not taken any. It’s a small circle this month. Please follow the link to see what my very talented friend Kim of This One Ordinary Life has to share this month.

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Share Six: September 2021: Quote

Can you believe it is September? A few more weeks and life is going to change again. I will go from being a parent to a grandparent. It is so exciting and a little stressful as well. Having a baby during covid makes my heart beat a little faster.

With all this going on there has not been a lot of photography done. This year has run me down to be honest. But we did try to get a 2 day away in before the baby comes along and Richard and I traveled up to St Augustine. A place we used to visit regularly but have not been for a few years. We did take a detour last year on the way to Georgia and it was so busy we kind of by passed and went away from the historic district.

It turns out that this month Lynne chose a quote and it work perfectly with our St Augustine trip.

“My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport”

— Steve McCurry

We love to travel. We have been doing the odd get away. Richard has been a little nervous taking his vacation because he doesn’t know whether he will need his vacation. I on the other hand am conscious that I still have 3 weeks vacation to take.

So we hit the road and 4.5 hours later we booked into a quaint little Bed and Breakfast right in the historic district of St Augustine. It was a 5 second walk to the main street and all the restaurants. A 10 minute walk to the cruise. This trip we did something different, something that we have never done in St Augustine. We took in the winery, the distillery and the brewery. And that was all before lunch. Oops, I needed food. Seriously though, they only give you tiny little glasses which are half full. But if you are heading to St Augustine I would recommend you check them out.

Richard loves the sunset cruises and so that was our goal for the first evening. We quickly grabbed dinner at Harry’s and then headed down to the quay to wait on the cruise. The weather was iffy to be honest and I was not optimistic that I would get anything worth while but I did manage capture a few images I was happy with.

When I looked at this picture I thought that Richard looked like he had been out in the sun all day. This is one of the side effects of the immunotherapy. His skin turns really red. The other side effect is that he gets a very itchy rash.

The boat trip was just a intracoastal trip and not out to sea, but I do enjoy seeing the under carriage of different bridges and this was was not too bad.

The company on the cruise was quite fun, and very chatty which made the slow moving boat a lot more interesting, and I managed to get a few sunset images as well.

We were fortunate that we made it back to land dry and we were able to get back to the guest house and to relax.

Day 2 was a marathon of walking. This was our booze walk, if you can call it that. We headed up through Flagler college, which is an incredibly beautiful university in St Augustine. This was the first time I had actually walked through the college.

On the far side of the buildings grounds, there is a fence that looks like it has been made out of old cannon balls. St Augustine’s history is that this is the oldest city in Florida, originally Spanish founded and occupied in 1565. St Augustine has a really interesting fort that you can visit. Richard would try and find a bit of shade while waiting for me. Me on the other hand was just distracted by all there is to photograph.

With it’s history, St Augustine is well known for it cemeteries and we passed one I had not seen before. Just to the side of the bench I see a little squirrel digging deeply for it food.

Our first stop was San Sebastian winery. They gave us a tiny tasting glass and we made our way around tasting wines at various stations. Some I liked and some I didn’t. We each have our own palate. What I did walk away with was a really smooth bottle of sherry. We also decided to buy some cheese and crackers and have our own little cheese and wine evening in the gardens of our Bed and Breakfast.

Next stop was the St Augustine Distillery where we got to taste, gin, rum, vodka and bourbon. I am a rum person and it was pretty good. The distillery has an eating place upstairs but we had one more stop before we planned to eat, so it was back to walking again until we arrived at Dog Rose Brewing Co.

I am also a beer person, but I tend to stick to something like Heineken, whereas Richard likes IPA. So he is at home at these different brewing companies and I find myself really restricted. When we were in Naples I discovered that a larger kind of works for me, and so I asked to taste a larger at Dog Rose Brewing Co, and I was not disappointed. In fact, after all that walking the first beer went down super fast and the second I took my time.

Last stop was a lunch garden before heading back to put our feet up and relax and catch up on the highlights of the Tour de France.

St Augustine is a great place to visit if you are looking for history. There is so many different areas to seek out that we did not visit this time around. It is definitely worth stopping at if you are heading to Florida.

Just a reminder if you are hitting Florida, remember the suntan lotion and a big floppy hat. It is hot here and you want to take care not to get seriously burned. Richard is dealing with the results of plenty of sun and not enough sunscreen. Melanoma is not something to play with.

This is a circle blog and as I mentioned, we have some very talented ladies in the group. The sneak peaks are stunning and I cannot wait to see the rest. Take some time to follow the links and see what they have for you this month. My incredibly artistic friend Lynne of Lynne Grant Photography is up next is up next. I can’t wait to see what she has to share. You can see more of her work by clicking on her Facebook page or Instagram page. Definitely take some time to check her out.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_summersun.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Tell me a story: August 2021

I feel like I am always doing a nature walk for this group, but honestly that is what I did this week. After being quarantined for 2 weeks, and then an additional week while Richard was quarantined to make sure that he had not caught it from me, and then a baby shower following that, I really have not done anything else.

I had the opportunity to meet an old friend for breakfast on Friday morning. I have not been able to see her since her husband passed away earlier this year from Covid. We have tried to schedule a time but it kept getting postponed. By finally that time of blessing happened and I loved just being able to sit and spend time with her.

After breakfast I decided to take a walk through the wetlands. I needed to stretch my legs, and also to walk that food out. So that is what I did.

The wetlands is really quiet now. The wood stork have finished breeding and moved on and while there are still a few nesting birds, the amount is minimal. But I hoped that I may find an iguana and some dragon fly. I was not disappointed. Here are some images from my walk.

This Grackle was the first bird I came across in an area that the Wood Stork had vacated.
A Great Egret flying across my view
A juvenile Wood Stork still hanging out.
Alligator Flag creeping into the boardwalk
This looks like a Blue Dasher dragonfly with a badly damaged wing.
This bird is part of the Gallinule Family. I am going to assume it is a junior but I am not sure which kind.
The grasses have grown really high with all the rain we have had and this tricolored heron was attempting to do some fishing.
This picture brought a smile to my face. Yes, there are signs of fall and hopefully this really excessive heat will start to abate soon.
I don’t often see a Common Gallinule climbing on the branches. This is a common sight for the Purple Gallinule though.
Another sign of fall, falling leaves
My first encounter with an iguana but it was a little ways away.
A squirrel who looks like she is feeding babies.
New fern life
And old fern life
A four spotted pennant dragonfly
A closer encounter with an iguana who is in it’s breeding colors.
The peacefulness of the water lily.
Another sign of fall. Yes, Yes, Yes.
I think this is a Flame Skimmer
And then my fun encounter with an iguana. It was in the pathway. I took some photos and took a couple of steps closer and then next thing it squeezed it’s body between the flooring of the boardwalk and the edge of the wooden fencing. You can see the gap underneath my signature.
A close up of this incredible looking creature.
Phew, I escaped that human.
I love when you catch the Glossy Ibis in the sunlight. You can get a small glimpse here but they are so beautiful when the colors in their feathers really shine.
Nature’s still life – although it was on moving water I just loved the combination of natures falling leaves,

Walking out in the wetlands in the mid day is hot, and I have recently actively decided to wear cover up. Learning Richards story, with his melanoma, makes me realize just how important it is to have significant cover when I am out in the heat.

If you are a sunseeker like we have been, please consider using sunscreen that provides a significant cover, watch out for odd looking moles, and educate yourself. Australia, Florida, California are listed as the top 3 places for melanoma. I am going to add South Africa to that listed because where we grew up the climate is exactly the same. See a dermatologist and get yourself checked out. Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer and we are dealing with this right now. This was the first thing I did since Richard came home in February after his melanoma Stage 4 diagnosis. I am good, but the peace of mind is so worth it. While the medication has shown some positive signs of working on reducing the melanoma, we have to be aware that melanoma is very unpredictable and you honestly need to take care.

Thank you for joining me this month.  This is a circle blog so take some time to view what the other artist has for you this month. My friend Lupji of LUPJi Photography is up next. I look forward to reading what he has to share.