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.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Share Six: May 2021: Light Inspired

Well this month crept up on my by surprise. I had my images but when a blog falls in the middle of the week, I get sidetracked. And seriously where the heck did May come from? April was probably the first month since Richard’s hospital stay that I have felt more comfortable heading out and leaving him home alone. Now I am sure he could have been home alone, but after the first crazy reaction to the infusion, I was honestly nervous and have stayed close to home. So far so good, and I am relaxing a little bit day by day. That aside, he is a little tired of me hovering and so it was good to get out.

So this months theme is {Light Inspired} and it was chosen by Janet Douglas of @wiredtothemoon_ and I am excited to see what everyone comes up with.

For me it was finding light in my walks.

This particular walk is really dark and gloomy for the most part but the pockets of light in there always catch my attention. The contrasting colors of the dead leaves, the green leaves and the Spanish moss appealed to me.
I love finding random bits of greenery or plants or even feathers poking their way through the railings on my walk. They offer one of my favorite types of images.
For me the light and color in the background of this Palm Warbler image reminds me of some of the impressionist type art.
New leaves are awesome and this little bunch of leaves was hidden in a dark area but highlighted by the sun.
The sun in the background of this blue jay really captures my attention.
Early morning walk and this Red Wing Blackbird had a lot to say.
I used to photograph the squirrels in our garden so often, until I got banned because the “rats with a tail” were running on the screening. So I was quite pleased to see this little guy feeding on the grounds of the wetlands. I love the autumn looking light in the background. Ironically this was taken about 2 weeks ago.
The light in the wetlands can be harsh, but this particular day was slightly overcast and breezy and I happened to catch these two dragon fly doing the tango. I will say it is a first time catch for me. They barely sit still long enough for you to get a quick shot of them.
Waterdrops on the leaves in the garden. This plant is a pest and drops a lot of leaves and since I am doing the gardening they are not my favorite. We have about 10 of them. However, when the light is right and the rain has just cleared up I love to go outside and capture their colors.
Back on the dark walk, and as I mentioned in the first image, there are just random pockets of light where I find something that catches my attention.
This particular area of the wetlands has lots of trees and so the light shining through created this beautiful bokeh for me and I really enjoy seeing the Spanish moss.

It has been nice to get out again and walk and just breathe deeply for a while. However, the walks are going to have to happen earlier for me because the weather down south has quickly become oppressive and it gives the feel of a lot hot, potential hurricane filled summer. If it stays hot like this that ocean is going to be warming up significantly. Let’s hope not. In the meantime, I am going to try to do my best to get out and about a bit more.

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 Ceri Herd Photography is up next is up next. I can wait to see what she has to share as I have seen some of her work recently and love it. I would encourage to have a look at what she has to offer. You can see more of her work by clicking on her Facebook page or Instagram page.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_light inspired

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Tell me a Story: April 2021

Dove

Whoops this month crept up on me, and I am so late getting this done. I finally feel like we have some order in our house. Richard had his second infusion with no dramatic results, and I felt more comfortable leaving home and not have to worry about anything happening with him. He is having to deal with a rash on his body as a result of the immunotherapy.

This day I decided to go out and walk in the wetlands again. It’s been a while and it felt so good to get out there again. I took a long walk and 3 hours later when I got to the end I felt so less stressed.

I hope you enjoy the walk around the wetlands.

Anhinga
Cormorant
Grackle (Male)
Dead flowers
Cormorant
Green Heron
Juvenile Night Heron
Yellow Wing Darter
Green Heron
Western Pondhawk
Western Pondhawk
Iguana

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.

30 Minutes in the Life: November 2020

Female Grackle

For the longest time I have felt like my 70-300mm is just not enough when I walk in the wetlands. However, when I came to replace my existing zoom lens, I was facing bills for my Sims and his lung issues. I was very reluctant to spend over a $1000-00 on a lens. So I bought the cheaper replacement lens. But it bugged me. I still could not get what I wanted

Palm Warbler
Four Spotted Pennant

I, by chance, was looking at a lens group on Facebook and decided to search the lens I had been looking at. It is always a risk to do that as you never know what you are going to get. However, this person was living in the same town as my son. My son also had a Canon camera, so I asked him set up to meet the photographer and check out the lens. If he thought the lens was in good condition, and worth purchasing then to go ahead and get it. The upside it cost half the price of a brand new one.

Female Grackle
Male Grackle

He liked the lens. In fact he liked it so much he informed me that he may have to keep it. Mmmm … no!

Green Heron
Mockingbird

He bought the lens. I had to wait. We were meeting up in Georgia, and I would only be able to get it from him then. He gave me the box and it was like Christmas. I opened up the box, was super excited, and then realized Sigma has different terminology to Canon. That meant I had to do some reading, which I only did when I got back home.

Great Blue Heron

Of course, we did not go straight home. Nope we went to Charleston. You can imagine my patience level. I really wanted to figure this out. Finally we are back home and I can to my reading, do my testing and then I am ready to hit the road this this beaut.

Green Heron

I have named the lens “The Beast”. Why? Because it is pretty darn heavy. It weighs 4.3 pounds. You are dragging this baby around for 2 miles. Not sure if that is what is giving me a sore shoulder but I am going to suck it up and figure out how to make the should area stronger.

Needham’s Skimmer
Green Heron

The first time I walked out, I found a comfortable position to hold the camera. However, what I found is that this lens is heavy and stabilizing the movement was not as easy as I thought. I found myself having to rest my arms on the boardwalk to give some level of stability. It will get better with time I am sure.

Ornate pennant
Little Blue Heron

When I got home I found that my fingers were sore. Obviously I was clutching at the lens.

Black & White Warbler
Four spotted pennant

I can tell you that I am very happy with the lens. I love the images and the ability to get so much closer to the critters just makes me happy.

Iguana
Four spotted pennant

I am have been out a couple of times since then, lugging the beast. I am excited. I just want to see everything in close up these days. What I will say is this lens will not be doing street photography, or travel photography, unless I am hunting wild horses to photograph. I will take this lens to the wetlands and places that I feel will be suitable for it’s use.

Please continue to stay safe, wherever you are in the world. Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life. I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Ceri of Ceri Herd Photography.   You will definitely love what she shares. I am always inspired with what she has to offer.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Tell me a Story: October 2020

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

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

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

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

Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives. This is a quiet month for blogs however, this is a circle blog.  Take some time to view what the other artist has for you this month. My friend Beth of E Beth Williams Photoblog is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share.

30 Minutes in the Life: October 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.