Road Tripping to Gainesville: Day 2

Day 2 was Xeno’s surgery day.  Mom will now have two patients to watch.  Xeno developed a mammary tumor that has kept getting bigger and bigger at a fairly rapid pace.  So Amy decided that it needed to be removed.  While prepping for surgery the vet found two smaller tumors.  I cannot for the life of me begin to visualize surgery on a tiny rat, but clearly it can be done.

Gainesville: Day 2 February 12, 2014 1670

Our day started out pretty cold, somewhere down near 32 F or 0 C for those working in metric.  That is cold for this African and reminded me of the old Pretoria days, where we had gas heaters and electric blankets in winter.  Somehow that seems kind of silly for Florida, the apparent “Sunshine State”.  I guess it is down south, but not in Gainesville.  It is dry and bitterly cold.

Gainesville: February 12, 2014 1672

We discovered that Xeno would be spending the day at the vet.  After surgery she would be monitored.  We could pick her up at 4:30.  So what to do?  Amy seemed to be feeling fine.  Her mouth did not hurt and there was no swelling.  All in all it seemed to be going well.  So, since I had mentioned it, she asked me if I would like to go to the Sante’ Fe Rehabilitation and Teaching Zoo.  Cameron had told me it was a place to visit and so I agreed.  I will however start out by saying that while I will visit a zoo, I am not a big fan of animals in cages, even big cages.  I also discovered from a photographers point of view bars are not what I want in my photo’s.

Sante Fe Rehabilitation and Teaching Zoo: February 12, 2015 1688

The White Headed Capuchin Monkey is a smallish black and white character and are catergorized as new world monkeys.  They are commonly found in Central America.  They are very instrumental in dispersing seeds and pollen in the rainforrest.

Sante Fe Rehabilitation and Teaching Zoo: February 12, 2015 1691

The Guanaco is part of the camel family and can be found in South America, typically in arid areas.  This Guanaco had us chuckling with the sultry looks on her face.  At one stage she looked like she was blowing a kiss.

Sante Fe Rehabilitation and Teaching Zoo: February 12, 2015 1756

Signs of winter are all over and I have really enjoyed seeing them.  Living in South Florida we rarely see the true signs of winter.  We go from a deep shade of green to a yellow shade of green but we never see the autumn colors of reds, yellows, oranges and greens.

Gainesville: February 12, 2014 1718

The White Handed Gibbon is a primate.  There were two in this cage – a dark brown Gibbon and this sandy colored Gibbon.  The natural home to these Gibbons is Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.

Sante Fe Rehabilitation and Teaching Zoo: February 12, 2015 1702

I walked around the corner to find Amy taking a photograph of something.

Sante Fe Rehabilitation and Teaching Zoo: February 12, 2015 1714

Turns out it was this gorgeous Kookaburra.  The bird was incredibly active and it was hard to get a photo of it and then to try and focus on the bird and not on the cage wires.  The Kookaburra is a type of Kingfisher and is native to Australia and New Guinea.

Sante Fe Rehabilitation and Teaching Zoo: February 12, 2015 1709

I am not sure what this was about but it did have something to do with Bees, and their nest building.

Sante Fe Rehabilitation and Teaching Zoo: February 12, 2015 1745

I felt like I was back in my homeland in this section of the zoo.  The Leopard tortoise is found in the savannas of eastern and southern Africa, from Sudan to the southern Cape and is distinctive by its size and markings.

Sante Fe Rehabilitation and Teaching Zoo: February 12, 2015 1743

Added to that we were able to see the national animal of South Africa, the beautiful and gracefull Springbok.  They run extremely fast, at times reaching speeds of 62mph or 100km/h.  They tend to spring as they are running, hence the name.

Gainesville: February 12, 2014 1738

The Ocelot is know as the dwarf leopard.  They are typically found in South and Central America and on the islands of Trinidad and Margarita.  These Ocelot pair were brought in for breeding purposes.

Sante Fe Rehabilitation and Teaching Zoo: February 12, 2015 1688

We meandered on through the trees, enjoying the quiet, restful environment.

Sante Fe Rehabilitation and Teaching Zoo: February 12, 2015 1763

I always like to catch photo’s of Amy whenever I have the chance because she does not live at home, and soon will be living a continent away.  I am trying to spend as much time as I can with her over the next few months.

Sante Fe Rehabilitation and Teaching Zoo: February 12, 2015 1808

We moved on to the reptile area where the only way to view critters was through a glass window.  Not my idea of fun and the photo’s are not what I would like them to be, however I did like these two.  The top image is of the Florida Softshell Turtle, that I see quiet often in the wetlands.  The lower image is of my least favorite creatures but I did try to catch the narrow depth of field with this snake.  I believe that it is a Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake.

Sante Fe Rehabilitation and Teaching Zoo: February 12, 2015 1799

Last but not least were the beautiful and protected bird of prey, the American Bald Eagle.  Both of these had been injured and were being treated at the Zoo.  This was a first for me and I cannot begin to explain how beautiful this bird is. The Bald Eagle feeds mainly on fish and you will typically find them where there is a large body of water.

Sante Fe Rehabilitation and Teaching Zoo: February 12, 2015 1790

 “You become excellent when you fly at a level that creates a wide gap between where you were before and where you are now. Fly like the eagle; the eagle flies as if it never remembered it was once an egg!”

~ Israelmore Ayivor, The Great Hand Book of Quotes.

Our day ended with us picking up Xeno.  Poor little thing.  It is pitiful to see a rat in a collar.  She did not like it but since her little body looked like a tapestry, she had to have it on to protect her stitches. Added to that out of no where the bone graft pain arrived and the swelling quickly happened to Amy.  Poor Amy, Poor Xeno.  Mom got to nurse them both.

photo 2 (1)

Amy quickly crashed as the meds took effect but Xeno was still struggling with her collar. One forgets that rats and other rodent type critters eat with their hands and so we had to remove her collar every time she needed to eat or drink.  That night I kept this tiny rat as quiet as possible while Amy slept through the pain.

photo 2

What mom’s will do for their children.  I have to confess, since coming home, I have missed this little critter, as well as my daughter.  I look forward to spending a brief amount of time with her in March.

 If you are interested Road Tripping to Gainesville day 1 can be found here.

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

Road tripping to Gainesville: Day 1

You are probably asking …”Why Gainesville?”.  Simple – my daughter lives there.  She is a graduate biding time, waiting to leave for the Peace Corps.  In December, Amy had an accident where she fractured the bone in her upper jaw.  Six weeks later, she was now ready to have her bone graft to repair the damage.  For me, if my baby is having surgery, that’s exactly where I want to be.

Wednesday morning we headed off the the surgical rooms.  Amy was so ready for this to happen.  My thought was that during the 2 hours that she was having surgery I would wander around on campus taking photo’s.  Well the surgical police had a different agenda for me.  Here is there chair where you will wait for 2 hours while she has her surgery…..ah no thank you.  But she was very insistent.

So I mumbled something about taking my jacket and coffee cup to the car and I would be back shortly….Yay freedom.

Here is just a few photo’s from the walk to and from my car….my very slow walk.  Winter is in full force in Gainesville.  The colors are beautiful.  They air is dry and dusty.  My sinuses were already killing me….

Gainesville: February 11, 2015 1627

Gainesville: February 11, 2015 1631

Escaping the Surgery Center: February 11, 2015

Escaping the Surgery Center: February 11, 2015 1639

Gainesville: February 11, 2015 1642

Gainesville: February 11, 2015 1644

Gainesville: February 11, 2015 1648

Gainesville: February 11, 2015 1649

Gainesville: February 11, 2015 1653

Escaping the Surgery Center: February 11, 2015 1654

Gainesville: February 11, 2015 1655

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

~ John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Amy’s surgery went well.  In fact she felt fine, probably the meds at work.  But we took it easy for the rest of the day.  Hung out and watched movies.

Tomorrow is another day and Xeno is up for surgery.  Xeno in case you are wondering, is Amy’s pet rat.

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

30 Minutes in the Life: February 2015: Street Art

I have to confess, that I am a little envious of artists who can create beautiful images on a canvas.  I like to doodle.  I think I doodle well.  I know you can make out what I am doodling, but to take a picture in your mind or one that you are looking at it, and create something big out of it, that is a gift.  I did art at school, although I have to say pottery was my favorite part of the art class.

About 8 months ago I saw an image in a photography group and I had to ask where it had been taken.  Lake Worth Street Painting was the answer.  This weekend was the 2015 event, and I decided that we needed to go to it.  Weather permitting of course.  Friday was freezing. Saturday was overcast, but the promise of rain was only 25%.  We decided to head out around the middle of the day as we thought that may be the warmest.  And yes I know all the folk in the north are shaking their heads at me, but this African likes warm weather.

The roads were blocked off and after a short walk we arrived at the hustle and bustle of street artists, ranging from very young children up to the professionals.

Lake Worth Street Painting:  February 21, 2015 2546

It was hard to decide where to start my 30 minutes and where to end it.  There was so much incredible work.  What a riot of color and noise.  This was a fun day, of artists, and music, and restaurants and take outs and beer.

Lake Worth Street Painting:  February 21, 2015 2540

I love graffiti and so I really enjoyed seeing what folk had to offer.  This face caught my attention right off.  It was dark and brooding and intriguing.

Lake Worth Street Painting:  February 21, 2015 2545

Fun, cartoonish and full of color.

Lake Worth Street Painting:  February 21, 2015 2541

Quite often the artist would have the work she was creating on a sheet in front of her, and so where I saw that I tried to capture it as well.

Lake Worth Street Painting:  February 21, 2015 2549

Work in progress was all over the place, and it was easy to see the designs taking shape.  Perhaps we had gone a little bit early but I think we still enjoyed what was being created.

Lake Worth Street Painting:  February 21, 2015 2550

Knee pads graced knees, chalk dust graced butts.

Lake Worth Street Painting:  February 21, 2015 2540

We arrived at the food and drink area.  On a podium in the park was live music.  Take out caravans lined the streets.  Food was in all varieties. Chinese take out, Philly Cheesesteaks, Gyros, cheese stuffed corn cakes, crab cakes.  I could go on.  And of course, there was beer.  This wall resonated with me.  I have seen this done before but never with the words “Before I die… I want to…” Makes you stop and think.  I have a bucket list of things I want to do before I die.

Lake Worth Street Painting:  February 21, 2015 2568

Intensive concentration as they work to create their image.  I am sympathizing – this event goes all weekend.  To be on your knees and crouched in this position is going to be seriously painful by Sunday evening.

Lake Worth Street Painting:  February 21, 2015 2569

Of all the work, this had to have been my favorite.  I am in a real black and white mode these days and this quickly grabbed my attention.

Lake Worth Street Painting:  February 21, 2015 2575

These young guys were creating a piece of artwork in the depiction of Jesus.  They had outlined and were beginning to fill in.  I overheard a conversation a lady was having with them.  She asked them if they would like to be part of the event next year and they eagerly agreed that they would like to be a part of the 2016 event.

Lake Worth Street Painting:  February 21, 2015 2591

Another piece that spoke to my soul was the face with tears.  I loved it.  I loved the simplicity and the vulnerability I found in this image.

Lake Worth Street Painting:  February 21, 2015 2586

I am not sure how this woman can stand and work like that for the length of time she did.  I can only assume she practices that crouching position daily.  There ain’t no way my body would be able to do that. 🙂

Lake Worth Street Painting:  February 21, 2015 2589

Last image of the event.  I am always impressed by the ability to create 3D artwork.  You often see work of artist that will have you falling into a hole.  This photo truly was like that.  What creativity this woman has.

I will confess that I probably went 4 minutes over the 30 minutes.  However, this is only half of the images that I saw today.  It was a fun event, and I for sure will head on back there next year.  It was time to head home, the sky was cloudy and dark and I kept thinking I hope it does not rain on their parade.  To have all this incredible artwork washed away in one down pour would be so disheartening.

Talking rain – it certainly rained on our parade driving home.  I hope that the rain stayed west and did not go east.

Lake Worth Street Painting:  February 21, 2015 2622

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”

~ Vincent van Gogh

Thank you for joining me for this month’s 30 minutes.  This is a circle blog.  Please take time to visit my friend, Olivia Gatti :: Click Click Love and see what she has for you this month.  Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have for you.

If you want to know more about 30 Minutes in the Life head over to their facebook page, or to the blog page.

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

P.S.  I have a busy month ahead.  Look out for the images from Gainesville coming up in this week.  The Renaissance Festival is running and I will be heading their next weekend.  The Theme for the weekend will be the Orient.  I wanted the Warlords and the theme from Mordor, but I am traveling to Georgia that weekend and then to Nashville the following weekend.  I guess I am going to have a lot of blogging coming up.


Project 10: February 2015: Same

This past week, I spent 5 days with my daughter Amy.  She had to have a bone graft and I wanted to be with her when it was done, and be there to nurse her if she needed her mommy, in the days that followed.  We mistakenly believed that this surgery had been easier than the original accident that caused the need for the bone graft.  However, 36 hours after the surgery her face started to swell and the pain kicked in.  However, knowing that I wanted to go and look for wild horses at the Prairie, she bravely went out with me late Friday after taking her pain meds.  We did not walk much, and I did not get to see the wild horses, but I did get quality time with my child.

Beyond that I had asked her if she would model for me so that I could get one photo of a red and black umbrella.  Well Amy got into the swing of things and for a while I started thinking Mary Poppins.  I chose not to take close ups of her face because truthfully it is swollen.  She looks like she has had botox, poor child.  But she was a real sport working with me.

Here is my take on the topic “Same”.  Same umbrella, different poses, different colors, some without color.

Gainesville: February 13, 2015 1963

Gainesville: February 13, 2015 1964

Gainesville: February 12, 2015 1969

Gainesville: February 12, 2015 1973

Gainesville: February 13, 2015 1989

Gainesville: February 13, 2015 2002

Gainesville: February 13, 2015 2010

Gainesville: February 13, 2015 2008

M4H: Happy:  February 13, 2015 2014

As of today we heard the news that Amy will be leaving the USA on Sept 11 (her birthday) and joining up with the Peace Corp to teach in Macedonia.  She is excited and ready for this.  Mom is excited for her, but I am going to miss her a lot.  I am going to have to start saving to visit her.  Life experiences grow us all and she has had a few hard ones since December but she is strong and I have not doubt in my mind that she is going to love exploring new places.

“A bit of magic. It’s easy. You think. You wink. You do a double blink. You close your eyes… And jump”.

~ A quote from the film Mary Poppins.

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

At the Lake

It’s that time of the month again, and I was stumped this month as to what to do.  I have spent most of this month looking out at my back canal or in my office.  My foot is slowly healing but I still have issues with swelling and some days by the end of the day my foot looks twice its size.  So I have limited my walking to the minimum, which means no exploring for me.  Added to that the holidays are over and it is back to the office 4 days a week and a new learning curve.

Richard, however, is itching to get away.  He wants to go on a weekend vacation.  In the meantime, he bought himself a paddle board and is really keen to try it out.  Obviously he wants to go into the surf.  Another challenge, I cannot wear a flip flop at this stage.  So I would be that person on the beach wearing sneakers…not sure I am happy about that.  But I am willing to try.  The weather though is not cooperating, so his next plan is to go to the local park which has a big lake on it.   I agree to that, and so he packs up two chairs, some drinks, the paddle board and off we go.  I have the minumum – my camera and a book.   I hope you enjoy my armchair photography……..

Paddleboarding: January 17, 2015 9597

Richard heads off and I am left to hang out in the beautiful South Florida winter weather.  It was breezy, but when the sun came out from behind the clouds the weather was really warm.  I started to look around at what I could take photos of.  No birds…… so I experimented a bit with black and white, blur and negative space.

At the Lake: January 17, 2014 9603

Beyond the reeds there was not much else to take photos of so I began to eavesdrop on the lives of others.  A little out of my comfort zone to take photo’s of strangers in public, especially when they are so close by.

There was a guy out on the water with his young son on a jet ski and I have to be honest my heart dropped a little at some of the moves they were doing but both seemed to be having a whole lot of fun.

Paddleboarding: January 17, 2015 9608

At the Lake: January 17, 2014 9614

Every time he went past the buoy the Tern took off and had to fly back to it’s post again.  By the way, this was the only interesting bird I saw the entire time I was there.

At the Lake: January 17, 2014 9623

Fishing is an option at the lake.  This same guy went out on a paddle board and at some point in time he sat down on it and stuck his feet in the water.  Here I am thinking, “Nooo that is not a good idea, alligators live in this area!”  Nothing ate him, but I am not sure you would catch me doing that.

At the Lake: January 17, 2014 9639

A number of little kids ventured towards the dock where they would hang over the edge and look for the fish.  In fact, one little boy had to be carried away from there crying because he just did not want to leave.

At the Lake: January 17, 2014 9640

During my meandering, I kept going back to the guy on the jet ski as he made waves around the lake.

Paddleboarding: January 17, 2015 9688

Seems like it is also a great place for girl talk.  Friends walked up a little later and the girl talk was quickly concluded.

At the Lake: January 17, 2014 9645

This guy arrived and sat a short way away from me.  Clearly he decided that today was a good day to head out with a book, a drink and a cigar and enjoy the beautiful weather.

At the Lake: January 17, 2014 9672

I watched the two on the jet ski for a while longer, enjoyed the clouds and the weather and waited for Richard to come back. Sometimes it is just nice to drop your head back and bask in the winter sunlight.  I leaves you feeling warm and rested.  I have to confess that it was nice to be outside and not busy working in the house.

At the Lake: January 17, 2014 9665

Finally the father and son team, gave up and headed back in to have some father and son time on the bank of the lake.  I really enjoyed this sweet scene.

At the Lake: January 17, 2014 9697

Richard arrived back safely after navigating the Lake and the winds.  He thoroughly enjoyed himself and really wants to get out on the ocean now.  So I guess that will be out next stop.

At the Lake: January 17, 2014 9656


 “Looking over the lake, I felt enveloped in the most peaceful, loving utopia”

~ Laurie Kahn

Thank you for joining me this month, remember this is a circle blog, so don’t forget to see what out newest member,  Lupji  has to offer you.  I am excited to see more of his about him and his family and his part of the world.  Make sure you follow the link and see what everyone else has.

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




30 Minutes in the Life: In light of the Mockingjay…

30 Minutes in the Life is now live and I wanted to do something different this month, but what to do was the question.  My son, Cameron, works at an archery business, that sells archery equipment, as well as has practice lanes for clients to come in and gain some experience shooting, and hold various archery competitions.

What I remember about archery is limited to my brother, Barry, and his bow and arrow and the points of the arrows barely missing my feet. My brother had these great games that we should play, somehow I was always the one on the wrong end of a very sharp point.

John, the owner of Palm Beach Archery, has been in the business for a number of years.  John first started with a archery store in Boca Raton, however, the business has grown so rapidly, that within 4 years, John found himself needing new premises, and Cameron was part of the big move.

I am sure that with the advent of the movie, The Hunger Games, archery has become an even more popular sport. Right now I can just hear the music to the Mockingjay whispering in my ears.  “Are you, Are you coming to the tree……”


So I decided to head over to Palm Beach Archery and see for myself what happens at the archery store.  Walking up to the doors I can see people through the Archery sign.  Walking in, there is a buzz of activity. University students hanging out, shooting arrows and just generally having a good time. There are 26 lanes and more than half of them were busy at 2pm on a Friday afternoon.

Palm Beach Archery: January 9, 2015 8863

Bows line the walls and these are far superior to the little bow and arrow that my brother was using to shoot at my toes.  Finally carved and strung to perfection, I was impressed at how advanced they were.  Focus bows offer a low mass weight and custom craftsmanship.  The Polaris bow is crafted from maple and walnut and is ideally suited to a young archer.

Palm Beach Archery:  January 9, 2015 8841

Arrows of different colors, and shapes and sizes are in bins for the clients to purchase.  There are also bins of arrows for clients to use when they practice, if they do not have their own.

Palm Beach Archery:  January 9, 2015 8841

The targets start to look to like pin cushions as the students began to wrap up their time at Palm Beach Archery.  The lanes on either side of the service area all needed their targets changed.

Palm Beach Archery:  January 9, 2015 8851

Katelee arrived to give a student a lesson, and so I asked her if she would be willing to shoot off a few arrows for me.  Katelee was gracious enough to do so.

Palm Beach Archery:  January 9, 2015 8841

Palm Beach Archery:  January 9, 2015 8866

Katelee was very good at this.  Apparently there is much more than just putting a bow in, pulling the arrow back and shooting.  It is far more technical than I could ever imagine.  Each bow has a level to ensure that you are balanced.  There are sights to look through, a wrist sling, and various other things to take note of.  Things my brother’s little bow and arrow certainly did not have.

Palm Beach Archery:  January 9, 2015 8872

She made it looks so easy, yet I know that this all takes practice.  Posture, accuracy, precision can be taught to a new student.

Palm Beach Archery: January 9, 2015 8878

Cameron on the other hand, was easily attracted to the more technical bow called Hoyt Nitrum 30, which is apparently one of the fastest and most accurate shooting bows on the market.  I can vouch for it being fast.  I decided that I would like to try and capture the arrow in flight.  Can you hear me laughing?  The arrow was in the target before I had even managed to put the button down.  The bow has a mass weight of 3.9 lbs.  It has a Zero Torque Cable Guard System, which resembles what looks like a pulley system.  Overall it is pretty impressive.  However, it does not look like your traditional bow.

Palm Beach Archery:  January 9, 2015 8893

Palm Beach Archery: January 9, 2015 8886

This sweet bow,  really look impressive, with all sorts of sensors and levels, however, that comes as an additional cost to the the basic bow.

Palm Beach Archery:  January 9, 2015 8859

Palm Beach Archery:  January 9, 2015 8881

At the end of the visit, I found that I had learned a few new things about bows and arrows.  I was also pleased to see that folk were leaving the building happy and excited, chatting with each other about when they would be back again.

Palm Beach Archery:  January 9, 2015 8841

While I was writing this, I had the background music from the Hunger Games playing.  This has to be one of the most haunting songs I have heard in a long time.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where they strung up a man they say murdered three.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where the dead man called out for his love to flee.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where I told you to run, so we’d both be free.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Wear a necklace of rope, side by side with me.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

~ Written by Suzanne Collins

~ Melody provided by the Lumineers

~ Sung by Jennifer Lawrence

I had written and completed this bog, when I headed off to finally see The Hobbit.  I am not sure who was more impressive with the bow and arrow, Katniss in the Mockingjay, or Legolas in The Hobbit, but both made using a bow and arrow look like a walk in the park.

I hope you enjoyed my time spent at Palm Beach Archery.  Remember this is a circle blog so don’t forget to look and see what my sweet friend Karen of Karen Hunt Photography / Remington VA Photographer has for you.  I have loved getting to know Karen and her family over the past couple of years.

If you want to know more about Palm Beach Archery, check out their facebook page, or head over to their website.

If you want to read more about the 30 Minutes in the life group, check out their facebook page, or their website.

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

Project 10: January 2015: Glitter

Project 10 challenge this month was Glitter.  The first thing that always comes to mind is the sparkly stuff that you find on decorations that normally stick to you and is a pain to get off.  Not being a big fan of that kind of glitter I decided to Google the definition of glitter.
What is:
 1. verb  Shine with a bright, shimmering, reflected light. with the examples “Trees and grass glittered with dew”
2. noun bright, shimmering, reflected light, with the example the “blue glitter of the sea”
3.  “Tiny pieces of sparkling material used for decoration.
Most of you know by now that we are outdoor people, summer people, beach people, and I love to sleep in until 7:30 in the morning.  The only time I wake early is my days I go to work, and the days we are on the beach.  The days on the beach, I will wake up before the sun rises and make some coffee and head down to the beach.    Normally you are just getting the first rays of sun and the photo is fairly dark and grainy.  You will find the Plovers at the edge of the water looking for breakfast.  I enjoy watching the wave crash over as the sun sparkles on the droplets that rise from the pounding of the wave.
Gamble Rogers State Park, Flagler, Florida, September 7, 2014 72
Standing under the dock as the sun breaks the horizon is always a sense of awe for me, as the sun glitters on the water, shimmering brightly.
ST Augustine: Sept 12 2014 8844
ST Augustine: Sept 12 2014 8828
The sand glistens with tiny radiant drops of light, gold in color.
Gamble Rogers State ParkL September 9, 2014 7373
And among those glistening drops of light, a little friend slowly emerges out of his home, to a brand new day and a new adventure.
Gamble Rogers State ParkL September 9, 2014 7918
I am easily drawn back to the beauty of the morning as the sun radiates off the surface of the water turning everything golden in color.
Gamble Rogers State ParkL September 9, 2014 7376
Back to the little crab and up much closer .   He ventures out into the new day.  A day that is bright and warm.  The sun shining on it body, and the promise of a good day ahead.
Gamble Rogers State Park, Flagler, Florida, September 8, 2014 74
Of course he does have to watch out for the plover who is on a food mission at the edge of the water.  Crabs are fast though and if I moved a fraction he was back down his hole.
Gamble Rogers State Park, Flagler, Florida, September 8, 2014 73
It was a fascinating experience to watch him clean house.  Perhaps it was a her, but cleaning house was what it did.  Scooping up balls of shiny wet sand he would bring it from down in its house, up to the surface level of the of the beach sand.
Gamble Rogers State Park, Flagler, Florida, September 8, 2014 74
The day has begun, the sun is glinting on the water,  the surf is up, the waves are ready to challenge, and we are ready to play.
Anastasia State Park; St Augustine; Sept 11, 2014 8353
The downside of this day was that the surfing experience cost Amy her Go Pro.  It was not fastened securely enough to withstand being dumped by a killer wave.  Ok so killer is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the picture, scraping along the bed of the ocean while the Go Pro videos the fishes in the big big ocean.
“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach,in every grain of sand,
there is the story of the the earth”
~ Rachel Carson
I hope that you enjoyed my interpretation of glitter – the shimmering, reflected light.
If you are interested in seeing more of my photography take a look at my Facebook page or my Flickr Page.

Reflections of an English teacher…

The Face That Launch’d A Thousand Ships

Was this the face that launch’d a thousand ships,
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.
Her lips suck forth my soul: see where it flies!
Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.
Here will I dwell, for heaven is in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena.
I will be Paris, and for love of thee,
Instead of Troy, shall Wittenberg be sack’d;
And I will combat with weak Menelaus,
And wear thy colours on my plumed crest;
Yea, I will wound Achilles in the heel,
And then return to Helen for a kiss.
O, thou art fairer than the evening air
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars;
Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter
When he appear’d to hapless Semele;
More lovely than the monarch of the sky
In wanton Arethusa’s azur’d arms;
And none but thou shalt be my paramour!

~ Christopher Marlowe


As I reflect on the movie “Dead Poet’s Society” and how the character played by Robin Williams  played an interesting role in the life of his students, I am reminded of a similar teacher when I was at school.  I was 15 years old, second year in high school, and gaining a whole lot of new teachers.  I already had my thoughts on some of them.  English was one of those subjects that I was okay with but 1977 this teacher changed my whole view of English and how much fun it could be.  I learned to love reading novels. I could not get enough of poetry.  I loved to write (not so much being critiqued).  I loved topical projects although speaking them in class was always a little nerve wrecking.

Over the years, I have had numerous teachers, but there are few that really stand out in my mind.  Most of them fall within the English, History or Photgraphy category.   Donald McKenzie was my final year English teacher and also the photography teacher.  Vera Castleman was a teacher that I worked with on photography, as well as speech and drama.  David Randall was my technical drawing and speech and drama teacher.  William Smith was my history teacher.  Today I learned of the passing of another teacher that stood out in my mind as a teacher who made an impact on my school life.  Patrick Collyer was my English teacher second year in high school.

He was young, he was energetic, he was fun.  Patrick did not just make English another subject you had to complete in school,  He made English enjoyable.  He made you want to read more.  He inspired you want to learn more.  Poetry was not just an English lesson but a History lesson as well.  I fondly remember the week we were to read a poem about Helen of Troy, and Patrick came into class and said this is the poem we are required to complete but before we do that here is a little bit about the poem…..3 days later we finally got to reading the poem.

He was a man before his time in so many ways.  He had yet to be jaded by students who did not care, nor the rigors and boundaries of a school system. Patrick only spent one year as my English teacher, but for me, it was a year that brought about change for me.

Today if you look at my bookshelves, you will find poetry books, novels, set books from years ago, books that I hold onto and value.  I have become a book collector.  I love the feel of books.  I love to meander through the pages of time.

Teachers are very often overlooked in the bigger scheme of things, but it is teachers to whom we entrust our children to take care of them, to educate them, and to instill in them a passion to learn.  Patrick Collyer was a teacher that I could look up to.  He intrigued me with the stories, he drew me in. My school lost a great English teacher when Patrick moved on to teach at a different school.

I will remember him with great fondness, and a gratefulness for the passion he instilled in me.

In the words of Walt Whitman 1865, 

 O Captain! My Captain!  



Encountering Burrowing Owls…

If you have never encountered a Burrowing Owl, then you are missing out on a real treat.  Burrowing Owls are exactly what they called.  They nest in burrows in the ground.  July 2014, I had the privilege and pleasure, of observing these cute little characters. A friend had mentioned that she knew where some were and would take me to see them.   I was pretty excited.  If you have not gathered this by now, I love nature.  I grew up taught to appreciate and respect nature, to keep a reasonable distance so as not to encroach in their natural area, and to only take photo’s.

Burrowing Owls are just over the length of a ruler in height and small in frame.  The Male tends to stand taller than the female, and the female tends to be heavier in build than the male.  That aside they look very similar.  Juveniles lack the spotting on the front of the owl.

Burrowing Owls: Davie: July 25, 2014 3968

Our first encounter was a very shy Burrowing Owl.  It watched us from the inner sanctuary of it’s burrow.   Once we realized it was not going to come out we moved on to the next cordoned off area.

Burrowing Owls: Davie: July 25, 2014 3922

Our first glimpse of this little one was of it deep inside it’s hole.  But the interesting thing about Burrowing Owls is that they are very curious and do not seem to be afraid of coming out when there are people around.  The area has sufficient space between the cordoning and the burrow for it not to feel threatened, but close enough for a zoom lens to pick it out.   Curiosity won the day and slowly but surely this little one emerged.

Burrowing Owls: Davie: July 25, 2014 3922

Burrowing Owls: Davie: July 25, 2014 3954

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Burrowing Owls: Davie: July 25, 2014 3948

This particular Burrowing Owl seemed to be alone, or the mate was still hiding in the burrow, and we were interested in viewing a family of Owls and so we moved on to higher ground and a new spot.  And this is where we came across a pair of Burrowing Owls, and all the fun began.  This is truly where I fell in love with these curios characters.  Enjoy their antics.

Burrowing Owls: Davie: July 25, 2014 3977

Burrowing Owls: Davie: July 25, 2014 4054

Burrowing Owls: Davie: July 25, 2014 4015

Burrowing Owls: Davie: July 25, 2014 4000

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Burrowing Owls: Davie: July 25, 2014 4022

Burrowing Owls: Davie: July 25, 2014 4023

Burrowing Owls: Davie: July 25, 2014 4010

Burrowing Owls: Davie: July 25, 2014 4025

Burrowing Owls: Davie: July 25, 2014 4057

Sadly we did not get to view an entire family and most definitely this would be a trip worth taking again in late April after the chicks have hatched.  If you get a chance to view a family of Burrowing Owls I would encourage you to take the opportunity and go and see them.  They are amazing little characters.

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

Capturing the Year – 52 Weeks Photo Project

Capturing the Year – 52 Week Photo Project is a Facebook group of photographers whose aim is to take one photo a week on a specific topic for a period of 52 weeks.  I joined this group mid 2014 so this is my second year that I am posting with them.

Week 1:  Just for Fun:

Many people hate them but I truly love Raccoon.  Not growing up and seeing them on a day to day basis, I really love it when I do see them.  Yes, I know that they are sneaky, I’ve learned over the years that they will steal your food when you are camping.  But there is something so beautiful about them that just really draws me in.  Today as I walked in the wetlands I found this Raccoon at the top of a dead palm tree.  Clearly it has burrowed into the palm tree to make it’s home.

Green Cay Wetlands:  Delray Beach:  January 3, 2015 8429

Week 2:  Jewelry

The topic jewelry was not hard for me – I immediately knew what I wanted to use.  The setting however, was a different story.  I could not make up my mind which one I preferred, so in the end I submitted them both.

The first setting I used involved a hat, a broach and a string of pearls.  The jewelry and the hat are things I have inherited. The hat is a weird story. When my mom died I flew back home to close up her home, and in the sorting and the packing I came across this 50’s type hat. For some weird reason I put the hat on and walked around in it for hours. My brother thought I was nuts. The pearls and the cameo were gifts from my grandmother and have a lot of sentimental value. I don’t wear either very often but I do love them both.

Capturing the Year 52 weeks:  Topic - Jewelery: January 11. 2015

Because I was feeling indecisive and in a black and white mood, I did a second shot. When thinking on this topic I remembered doing something similar in a wedding shoot and I wanted to see if I could create the same effect. 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.


Capturing the Year 52 weeks:  Topic - Jewelery: January 11. 2015

Week 3:  Winter

The theme was winter, but that is really hard for someone living down in Southern USA.  Winter happens maybe two weeks of the year.  Floridians pull out their boots, and scarves and winter woolies, and pack them away 3 days later.  So while the rest of the northern hemisphere is freezing and has these wonderful snowy images, I have a gorgeous sunset taking from the parking lot of a shopping center.

Sunset: January12, 2014: 9165

Week 4:  Transportation

This was a week full of transportation.  The first image was taken from a traffic light as the cars pulled off.  It was rainy and wet and had some great reflections.  The second and third were taken on a sunny winters day at the lake.  The last was taken from my back garden as this microlight (or something) flew over.  Not sure I am too crazy about that on a Sunday morning.  It disturbs my peace, and chases my critters away.

Out in the rain:  January 15, 2014 Iphone Pic

Week 5:  From Afar

What can be further away than the sun.  I happened to stop by a park to take a different image and decided that the cloud cover and sun combination would probably suit my topic.  That I got the lake in as well was a real bonus.

Capturing the Year 52 Week Project: From Far Away: Jan 25, 2015

Week 6:  Red

I did not know if I would get the image that I was looking for this week so I settled and went with red roses.

Capturing the Year 52 Week Project: Red: Feb 8, 2015

However, while I was up in Gainesville I managed to get the photo that I wanted.  So here it is..

Gainesville: February 12, 2015 1973

Week 7:  Eyes

My Ms Squirrel is such a sweet little mite, and I love the interaction time I have with her.  Today her eyes were only on her food and me since I might have got a little too close.

Outback on the canal:  Feb 17 2015 2120

Week 8:  Around the house

Books are my strength and my weakness. I have way to many books. I have family bibles, books of encouragement, novels, educational books. I have too many books. So much so that I turned my walk in closet into a library. I hate to get rid of books.

Marian's Farewell:  Feb 18, 2015 2145