Posted on December 31, 2019
We were back on the road again in December. This year has been one of travel. I loved every minute of it. In March we were in Orlando, April in San Antonio, May in Bahia Honda, June I was in Rochester NY, July we traveled to New York City, October we headed to Cumberland Island, and in December we traveled to St Petersburg one weekend and Orlando again the next weekend.
St Petersburg, Florida, has been on the bucket list for a while. One of those quick lets head out of town kind of visits. We only went over night but both agreed that a two day trip would have been better. When packing, I packed a few lens, my zoom 70-300mm which I am having a few issues with and may need to replace, my 24-70mm, my new 17-40mm and my lensbaby sweet 35.
St Petersburg is about a 4.5 hour trip for us from the East Coast of Florida to the West Coast. When you cross the Sunshine Skyway, you know that you are heading into St Petersburg. Since this was a first for us so high up the coast line, I wanted to to take in everything.
I had seen some photos taken recently of the Sunshine Skyway, and wanted to to check out a pull off at the little island on the side of the road so that I could look back and see what kind of image I would get later in the day. Below is the beautiful Sunshine Skyway from that point. If you are looking to take a photo, pull off at the North Skyway area and look back.
Some years ago we were camping in the Collier Seminole State Park and met a couple in the site next door to us. They mentioned that the Fort de Soto Municipal park had great camp grounds. So that was our next stop. We wanted to check it out.
For a $5 entry fee, you get to spend the entire day at this beautiful beach park. Added to that you can leave and go back in the same day, which is what we did. There are some concession stores inside the park which will provide you with food, drinks and a few other things you may need. The park is huge. There is a great view of the Skyway from the one end of the park, there are some fishing piers and a ferry dock. We came across this brown Pelican at one of the docks.
Added to that there is actually a fort on the grounds. It almost appeared to look like a bunker fort. There was sand all along the wall and you could actually walk along the top of the fort. However, the canons were below the high wall so my thoughts are that the sand and roof walk were added later. Of all the forts I have been to this was the smallest and probably the least interesting. However, the view from the top of amazing,
We walked through the fort area. There was not a lot to see except empty rooms. Sadly the smells coming out of some of those rooms were not great. Moving back out into fresh air we spotted the canons. Somehow seeing these old pieces of history makes me want to edit in black and white.
Moving on from the fort we headed to the end of the park and out onto the beach where the sand is like powder and white and so soft. The seagulls are big and quite tame and we had no sooner sat down and they had moved closer. Obviously looking for handouts.
Leaving the Fort we headed towards the Beachcomber Hotel where we had booked to stay. However, it was early so I suggested we head to John’s Pass Boardwalk and walk around there for a while and perhaps grab a beer and pass some time. John’s Pass Boardwalk is a series of restaurants, shops and fishing charters that are interesting to meander through.
These pelicans below were being thrown scraps of fish from a table where the catch was being gutted and filleted.
As is with most of these coastal towns of interest, there is a pirate ship for hire.
Sculley’s was a seafood restaurant that certainly had some great smells coming out of it.
I happened to look up and spotted this cormorant flying towards me. Look at the wingspan and the number of feathers that make up the wings of this beautiful bird.
This boat, however, was probably the most interesting ship I have ever seen. The one end is shaped like a shark. We found a place right next door to it to sit down and grab a beer. Mmm, I keep thinking Jaws and hear that crazy music just as the shark was about to attack.
The Beachcomber Hotel was very nice. Nothing overly fancy but we were not paying out big bucks either. I appears that the owners purchased two older hotels adjacent to each other, rebuilt the front facade and created a green space in-between that became the hotel grounds. At the end of the hotel complex were two swimming pools, a restaurant called Johnny B’s and the beach. Really that is all you need if rest and relaxation are what you are looking for. Richard wanted rest and relaxation and I wanted to explore. Oh well, it was only a weekend.
One of the things that I love to do when at the beach is the sunset. We had lunch and then headed back to Fort de Soto municipal park to settle in for the sunset. A number of other folk had chosen to do the same.
For the next 3 images below I played around with my new 17-40mm lens.
Then I switched out to my Lensbaby sweet 35.
Then back to the 24-70mm and the 70-300mm. Richard waded down to the water and while he was there I grabbed some silhouettes of him standing in the water.
Slowly the sun begins to set. I played around with different settings as the sun was setting.
What was nice to see, was all of the seagulls that were lined up along the edge of the beach. They suddenly took off in mass and then fly back in and settle back down again.
Last stop of the night before heading back to the hotel, was to that little pull off point I made Richard stop at when we first came over the bridge. Why did I make him stop? For the night shots of course. I had seen recently that the Sunshine Skyway is now lit up at night. I wanted the night shot. I have to say it looks really neat and added to that the colors change. So if you are looking for a good night shot, this could definitely be one of the places to stop.
Once the nights shots were done, we headed back to the hotel and settled down at Johhny B’s for a light dinner and music. There was a live band playing while we were eating. They stopped before we had finished and started packing up. As they stopped playing the beach bar at the hotel next door started up. Do we go or do we stay, well of course we go. What a good choice!. Blues, Mowtown, Funk and Pop, 3’s Company was a great band to listen to. They definitely had me smiling with their rendition of “Killing me softly with his song” Took me back to my days of hanging out at a local joint in my 20’s. If you are in or visiting St Petersburg, Florida, and like that type of music definitely check out where they are playing and go and hang out a bit. They will have your feet tapping very quickly.
All good things come to an end, and after breakfast we were back on the road and crossing the Sunshine Skyway heading home, via Naples. We both agreed that we would definitely head back to St Petersburg again, this time for a longer stay.
In just one more day we see the close out of a very hectic 2019, and welcome in 2020. I wish you all a very Happy New Year. I hope that this will be a fantastic year for all of you, that you will be surrounded with family and friends, old and new. That you will experiences memorable moments of love, joy, laughter, and good times. That you plan escapes and get out on the road and see a bit more of the world.
This year will see us on the road a lot less I am sure. We are planning a bit trip in August to meet our new son-in-laws family. We will be heading to Macedonia for a “wedding” reception for Daniel’s family. I am excited about meeting his family, although I cannot speak Macedonian. We also plan to travel a bit in Macedonia and the Balkans. I can’t wait.
The only other big trip we have talked about this coming year is to possibly head up to New Orleans. This is definitely on my bucket list and I would love to check it out soon.
Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives. This is a circle blog. Take some time to view what the other artists have for you this month. My friend Kim from Kim Sidwell Photography is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share.
Posted on April 10, 2018
We have had some pretty spectacular sunrises lately what I am seeing on my drive to work. It’s a bummer because I am always on the highway and not able to stop. So on my day off I decided to drag myself out of bed and head to the beach while it was still dark. Deerfield Beach is one of my favorites because of the pier. So I settled in to wait and watch the sun make it’s appearance once again, and to be grateful for a new day.
There was plenty of cloud cover and I was not sure I was going to get too much, but I loved how the sky changed color as the sun got higher.
Here is my morning on the beach watching the sun show it’s face.
Thank you for joining me for this month’s 10 on 10. This is a circle blog. Please take time to visit my fellow blogger Lexie Merrit 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.
Posted on June 6, 2016
It seems like time flies. How did we already get to blogging for June. This is the 4th month of Share Six and it has been so good to get to know my fellow bloggers and also to get to know the photographers sharing through their images and their participation in the group.
Kim chose the theme EARTH this month. Part of her thoughts that resonated with me were “therapeutic, calming, relaxing ….connecting to the natural world in a meaningful way”.
I had my thoughts on the topic but decided to go ahead and look up the definition of earth – “the planet on which we live” and “the diversity of life on earth” Both are pretty broad topics. I am an outdoors person when it comes to vacations. We camp a lot. Typically we head to the beach. Recently we were in Seattle. The earth is vast and made up of cities and open spaces, beaches and mountain, humans and critters, sunrises and sunsets and all sorts of various other criteria.
I love critters. Living on the edge of the Florida Everglades I see a lot of critters. This past weekend I managed to rescue a mouse from the jaws of terror, aka Moonshine the cat. I quickly discovered that cats get lockjaw when they have a mouse in their teeth. I had to push my finger in her mouth and slowly ease it so that she released the mouse. Poor little mouse had eyes as big as a small bead. It took off so fast as it was released that Moonshine did not get a chance to catch it again. Then I heard Simba doing his cat growl. Oh yes, when I looked through the slates of the deck the opossum was back underneath there sleeping. Last year she had babies, which we never got to see because she is nocturnal. All I needed was to look up in the tree and see a raccoon. I have done that before. Between these critters, the squirrel who comes to the fence each day, the birds, the gators, and even a bobcat, I have learned to appreciate what this earth has to offer.
This past weekend I took a bit of time to go and sit outside on the grass and enjoy the late afternoon light. My idea was to snap a few photo’s of dragonflies. This is what my brief time out there looked like before the mosquito’s arrived.
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors
We borrow it from our children
~ Native America Proverb
Thank you for joining me for this month’s Share Six. This is a circle blog. Please take time to visit my my friend and fellow blogger Erica from Woodsy Wonders 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.
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 Earth throughout the month of June on our Facebook page. A new theme will come out on July 6.
Remember you can follow us on Instagram at @sharesix and tag your images #sharesix and #sharesix_earth.
You can also find the Share Six webpage at http://www.sharesix.wordpress.com
We cannot wait to see your images on EARTH.
Posted on December 31, 2014
I love walking in the wetlands. After a busy work week, the wetlands soothes my soul, and puts balance back in my life. 10 days ago I had foot surgery and I have not been able to walk. Last week I started taking baby steps and today I was given clearance by the doctor to put my foot down properly and walk. I also got all the stitches out….ouch!!
Since he said I could walk I decided to attempt limping along to the first rookery at one of my favorite Wetlands – Wakodahatchee Wetlands. I meander. Really slowly. Watching and waiting. Wetland walking is a lesson in patience. You have only a fraction of time to get the shot you want – there is no do over. So patience is a good lesson to learn.
My first encounter was with a Tri-Colored Heron who was wading through the water fishing for it’s food. They generally flap around in the water darting from spot to spot, attempting to catch the small fish swimming in the water.
The Purple Gallinule is part of the “Swamp Hen” family. They are easily identified by their bright yellow legs. They are an amazing mixture of colors. You will often find them dangling on a reed attempting to eat the seeds or flowers at the end of it.
Moving along the broad walk I spot a female Boat Tailed Grackle. She hops up onto the wooden railing right in front of me. I am not necessarily a fan of the Boat Tailed Grackles. They tend to swarm the garden and take over. But she was kind of sweet and I enjoyed seeing her close up.
We are heading into on of my favorite times of the year. The Great Blue Herons are courting and nest building and today the Anhinga were showing their courting colors. They male is typically fluffed up and out. Both bird seem to get real defnition and color around their eyes at this time of the year. There is a lot of posturing done by the male and at times the female will engage with him and other times she will just ignore him. I had to laugh, I overheard a conversation that went something like this. The little boy, seeing the two bird knocking their beaks together, asked his father ” What are the birds doing?” The father answered “It’s like they are sword fighting”. Fortunately the male did not jump on the back of the female or I am sure the father would have told the child that they were wrestling.
Anhinga are interesting birds. They swim in the water to fish for their dinner. However, their wings are not oily so the bird tends to get water logged and has to dry it’s wings out on a branch. So often you will see the Anhinga, and the Cormorant sitting on a bank or on a branch with their wings spread out. The Anhinga in particular, is a stunning sight to see with it’s wings all spread out in black and white.
The Great Blue Herons are the other birds who are doing their courting and nest building. This is a spectacular sight to watch. You will see the female extend her neck out and make a strange barking kind of noise as she calls out for her mate. Next thing he will be flying in with a twig and there is a beautiful dance of wings and beaks as the female accepts the twig from the male. She will push it into the nest and wedge it in the exact position she wants it. The two will hang out together for a while preening each other and then off he goes looking for another twig. Before you know it the dance has begun again. Today this Great Blue Heron seemed to be snoozing.
Reflections are always a nice part of the wetlands and it was not long before I was back to the initial Tri Colored Heron that I had started out with.
Wetland walking is a great way to view up close, or not so close, the natural environment that you area has to offer you. It is a time to meander and enjoy the call of the wild. If you have never done a wetland walk, I would encourage you to take the time to head on out and enjoy what it has to offer you.
“In order to see birds, it is necessary to become part of the silence”
~ Robert Lynd
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