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: November 2020

Green Heron

If you read my previous post, you will have learned that I bought a new camera lens that I have aptly named “The Beast” simply because it is so heavy. I decided to have a second attempt out with my new friend. I have to be honest I love that I can pull the images up so much closer. I walked in the smaller of the two wetlands not expecting to see much but I was pleasantly surprised.

Anhinga
Red Shouldered Hawk

I don’t often get to see hawk in the wetlands and when I do they are pretty far away, but this guy was up in the trees. Fortunately I looked up and then spent some time watching him and hoping he would turn to face me, but he did not.

Alligator Flag pods
Green Heron
Spiny Orb Weaver
Blue Heron

It was around this time I got caught in the rain. Oops, I did not bring my bigger backpad and a lens this size does not fit easily under my shirt. This was a warning lesson for me. Fortunately, with a bit of a run, I was able to get to a small gazebo to hang out under until the rain was done. It was a little hard to social distance with 6 other people, however, they were all wearing masks.

Anihinga
Cormorant

I saw this Cormorant from a distance and hoped and prayed that the walkers would not frighten it away.

Alligator

Meanwhile I had to stop and check out the Alligator while I was passing by.

Alligator Flag
Cormorant

So I think this Cormorant must be the park’s mastiff. He did not move, hardly blinked an eye, in fact just continued to pose for me.

Cormorant

Leaving the park and heading to the parking I spotted this tiny little Palm Warbler flitting along the fence and then dropping to the pathway. What a cutie it is.

Palm Warbler
Alligator Flag
Palm Warbler

Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives. This is a small group of bloggers so when one or two are out it seems like it 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 Lupji Photography is up next and I can’t wait to read what he has to share.

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.

Flowers in Macro: October 2020

I love flowers….period. One way to make me happy is give me flowers. Each week I go to the local store and try to find something I really love. This week it was these. I was sitting looking at the flower center the other day and wondered what they would look like in macro. So I got to play and enjoy the results.

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

Tell Me A Story: September 2020

Can it be that September is almost over. 3 Months and it will be Christmas again. I feel like I just had Christmas the other day. I have officially been working from home for 6 months now. There are days when I live in 4 walls. The cats were keen to get outside and so I picked up my macro and went out into the garden.

While watching the cats, I walked around and took some flowers, weeds and got down into the long grass knowing that later that day the grass was going to be cut.

Simba 2020
Moonshine 2020

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 LUPJI Photography is up next and I can’t wait to read what he has to share.

30 Minutes in the Life: September 2020

Simba 2020

This little man means the world to me. He is a rescue cat. He was living on the street and sometimes in Amy’s sun room. She has been feeding him. When Amy went to the Peace Corp she asked me to take him and give him a home. I did not think Richard would buy into it and honestly I worried he may be feral. When I went to bring her and her stuff back home, I took the cat carrier up with us. Since then Simba has transitioned into my heart and I love this boy with just about everything I have.

A routine visit to the vet for dental work has turned into something else. I appears that Simba had fluid and inflammation in his lungs. My local vet asked me to take him to Ft Lauderdale to a specialist vet who looked at the x-rays, concurred with my vet, and treated him for heartworm and gave him an antibiotic. It appeared that we could be dealing with a cat who has asthma, although he is totally asymptomatic. We agreed to wait a few weeks to do another x-ray. The few weeks passed, and I changed out anything that could cause allergies, asthma etc. On my vacation week we did the hour trip back to Ft Lauderdale to the vet. I dropped him off and then found myself at a loose end for a couple of hours. So off I went to the park where the burrowing owls are.

On my way across the heavens opened, and I was not sure what I was going to find when I got there besides wet looking owls or no owls because they may have moved into their holes. I have decided that owls are like cats, when the camera comes out they look away.

I made my way across 3 squishy waterlogged entrances to reach the owls. None of them are really near the edge of the roadway except the first couple of pics. Since I had not planned on rain I was walking in flip flops that quickly became slip flops.

At one point it started to rain a little harder than before and I hung out with my camera under my shirt until I got a little closer. Of course, the next picture is a total fluke. The owl was …shaking to get the water off I guess. You can see the water spray going off of him. It was shaking so hard that it became a little unbalanced

Where ever you find Burrowing Owls there area is cordoned off as they are protected in South Florida. So 4 posts and some rope to stop you going any closer. Quite often you will find them sitting on top of the posts.

The most I managed to see together were two. Sometimes I have seen up to 5 but that is normally in Spring when they are breeding. The owls are less that a standard ruler for the most part. They are the cutest little birds I have seen and they are constantly watching you, watching left and right and up above them for any kind of attack.

Around the time I called it quits, due to the rain, the vet phoned me to say that Sims was ready and I could come and pick him up. The downside was that his lungs were still inflamed. That means we now have to go down the asthma route. I had changed his litter to a wheat litter but I really hate it and so do they, so today we got some 99% dust free litter, that has no fragrances or dyes. In addition he start steriods this past week for 2 weeks, and he is going to be switched to an mask/inhaler combination soon. In a couple of months we will do another x-ray with the hopes that there is some kind of improvement.

Please 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 Janet of Janet Crouch Photography.   Check out her Facebook & Instagram page as well.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

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Share Six: September 2020: Colors

We are in September and today I sent my boss a reminder about Christmas. Seriously folks, this pandemic has put a huge dent in my life. When it first started out I thought this was going to drag, but I have been so busy with work that I am not noticing the time passing – that is other than saying to Richard, it’s Friday, now it’s Monday and look here is Friday again.

This month Janet Douglas chose the theme {Colors/Colours} I used to write Colours until I moved to the USA and now I write Colors. The dictionary gives us the following definition of colors “the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way the object reflects or emits light.

Covid has us stuck in our homes. For me, my office that I work out of is also the office that I edit my images in, watch TV in, and read in. It is also Hoo’s spot when I am not working. A lot of my time is spent in those 4 walls. Right now in summer I really do not mind. The weather is hot. Actually it is brutal. Throw a mask into the mix and it is really unpleasant. That aside, there has not been a lot of places to go walking in. A good few parks were closed and the parks that were open did not offer what I was looking for. The one that I could go to, is a park I would rather go with a friend. It is lonely, and the pathways are more like dirt roads and that means there could easily be aligator’s lying on the sides of the roads. I have done the boardwalk at that park as well and it’s not one of my favorite. However, if I want sunsets that is the park I will go to.

The wetlands were closed for restoration over the winter period. Then we went into Covid period and they just did not open. So no walking in the wetlands. Added to all of that my zoom lens had given up the ghost and I probably should have sent my camera to canon for a good cleaning. I got the new lens, but I still think the cleaning will be a good idea at some point in time.

I started vacation on Friday and that also corresponded with the wetlands opening for responsible walking. I decided that I was going to get up early and go and do some walking in the wetlands. Great start, I set my alarm for pm instead of am. However, Ms Moo woke me up at 7am and I flew out of bed, grabbed my clothes, did a quick brush to my hair, brushed my teeth and went downstairs. Cats were fed, hot chocolate was made and I was off.

I figured I was still early. Much to my surprise, I was not. The parking lot at the wetlands was packed up to the third row and I was not too happy about that. The good news is the walk is about 2 miles long and I stopped every so often to take photo’s. I never really felt like I was in too much contact with folks. The down side of the wetland is that there are speed walkers that walk the boardwalk and they don’t really care if you are trying to get a good shot of a bird that happens to be perched on the railing. They are going to keep on walking come hell or high water. Suffice to say the two bird images that I got on the railing were disturbed by these walkers.

It was nice to get out and enjoy the fresh air. To see the vibrant colors of nature. To enjoy seeing the bird life, the butterflies and the bees, and the turtles. I love the feel of the autumn colors even though it is not really autumn in Florida. I hope you enjoy my {Colors} of nature.

Green Heron
Little Blue Heron
Turtle
Little Blue Heron
White Peacock Butterfly
Little Blue Heron

Thank you for joining me for this month’s Share Six blog post.  This is a circle blog.  The sneak peaks that are shared are stunning.  The challenges always stretch us just a little bit further. I blog with an incredibly talented group of ladies.  Please take time to visit my friend and very talented artist who always amazes me with her images Ceri of Ceri Herd Photography to see what she has for you this month. To view her  Facebook page click here and her Instagram page here.

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.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_colors20

share six: august 2020: refresh

Can you believe it is August already. Seriously this has been a year that has been long but has flown. In a weeks time, I will have been working from home for 5 months. 5 months of really doing very little outside of work .

I want to start out by saying that my heart breaks for the people of Beirut, Lebanon. For families who have lost loved one, for men, women and children who have been seriously injured, for the loss of home, livelihood, and infrastructure. I watched the explosion with horror. My first thought was for my childhood friend, and adopted brother, who lives in Lebanon, just 35km away from Beirut. Thankfully he is safe, but so many are not. My prayer is that the world will step up and lend a helping hand to a struggling country that faces a long and arduous recovery.

This months theme for Share Six is {Refresh}. There are some days that I really need this in my life. I have a couple of ways of refreshing but right now everything is closed. I love to walk in the wetlands, but first they were shut after winter for renovations, and now they are closed for Covid. I am sure those birds have been seriously happy not to have a thousand camera toting spectators visiting the park.

The beaches are open, but I have been too lazy to get up at 6am in the morning to go to the beach to watch the sunrise. Other times Richard will go after the sunrise but before I think it is normal to wake up on a day I can sleep in.

Another {Refresh} thought was to do a 2 day trip to Key West. The down side is that it is hot and there is a mask mandate. I was not overly keen on that. The upside is there is a lot less people down there because of all the restrictions.

Then Richard tested positive for Corona Virus. He had no symptoms. He did a second test 4 days later and tested negative. So now we are not sure whether whether he was positive or negative. Now we are waiting for the results from the antibody test. In the meantime, while neither of us have had any symptoms of the virus, we quarantined as a precaution. For me this is just a good reminder that a lot of people are asymptomatic. We do not know that they are infected. We can take precautions to prevent infection, and if one is infected in your home, the precautions you have to take to prevent the rest of the household being infected are not fun. Wear the mask, wash your hands, disinfect, sanitize. Do you know how many times a person touches a door knob. Seriously, I felt like I was walking behind him cleaning in his wake.

I have another way to {Refresh} and that is to go for a massage. But my massage therapist has been off for surgery and recovery and I am really particular about who my massage therapist is. So that has not happened.

In lieu of a massage there is another way to {Refresh} and that is right at home. An evening in the Jacuzzi tub with the jets on high is definitely a favorite. So here are a few (more than 6) images (past and present) from some refreshing time.

Quiet time at the bar while the Jacuzzi warms up a little bit more, laid back music playing and definitely looking forward to getting into the water.
I love that time in the Jacuzzi starts while the sun is still up and then as it gets darker we are able to change the colors of the water. Unfortunately with the storm going through we are still dealing with wet weather and it was raining while I shot some of the tub images, so no colors.
I love the jets and the bubbles and they are normally on full. It’s a small imitation of a massage.
I enjoy watching the movement of the bubbles.
Little shapes dancing across the surface of the water.
Bubbles in motion, that tickle your nose as you sink lower in the water.
Kind of like a giant bubble bath

When we are lucky we are treated to some of the most spectacular sunsets. Nothing nicer than refreshing in the Jacuzzi tub and watching the sun set. While not every sunset is awesome, here are a few that were for me. The simple pleasures in life that can be found right at your back door.

The best part about this kind of refreshing evening, there’s not too many dishes to clean up in the morning.

I am grateful that we can relax and refresh. These days are not easy. It is frustrating that we don’t have the freedom to just get up and go do the things we want to do. There is so much going on around the world. Heartbreaking situations. But this is life. Life can make or break us. I choose to rather deal with it than to let it break me. I keep trying to look for those moments of joy and positivity. I hope that you can find ways to refresh during these challenging days.

The key to being Happy is knowing you have the power to choose what to accept and what to let go

~ Dodinsky

Thank you for joining me for this month’s Share Six blog post.  This is a circle blog.  The sneak peaks that are shared are stunning.  The challenges always stretch us just a little bit further. I blog with an incredibly talented group of ladies.  Please take time to visit my friend and very talented artist who always amazes me with her images Ceri of Ceri Herd Photography to see what she has for you this month. To view her  Facebook page click here and her Instagram page here.

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.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_refresh

Tell me a story: July 2020

It’s nearly August. Time is passing one day at a time. I can’t decide if it is slowly or whether it is just way too fast. It’s hard to believe that I have now been at home 4.5 months. I am still busy working, but time seems in limbo. I wake up, make a protein shake, feed Sim, Moo & Hoo and then I sit down at my computer. My problem is that I do not move. I am trying to force myself to go down the stairs every hour and go on the elliptical machine for a few minutes just to move the old joints around.

Each day seems the same, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays we stay at home, most of the time, unless I absolutely have to go out, or Richard has decided he has had enough of home and needs to go out and eat.

I have been banned from feeding the ducks, the birds and the squirrels so I don’t have a lot of wildlife activity in my garden any more – which I will add I hate. Every so often I will get up and drive to a local park to watch the sunset but even that feels like too much effort some days. Other days I will watch it from home.

An update to this is we are stuck at home. Richard tested positive and we are in quarantine. Happily trying to avoid each other. Just remember if you are asymptomatic, it does not mean that you could not test positive. If you come in contact with someone or you know you may have been in contract for longer than 15 minutes and within the 6ft social distancing, remember that you could get infected. He does not have a single symptom that would indicate that he is sick. Wear the mask, keep the distance.

Last week Wednesdays was one of those days that I watched from home. I happened to move Hoo (the quaker parakeet) into the spare room as I was going to have a conference call (only to find out it was cancelled) and I looked out of the window and watched the clouds come rolling in. Below is a pic take with my old cell phone.

It was a little intimidating to be honest. I grabbed my camera and headed downstairs but the sky did not have the same effect.

The wind picked up, thunder happened at a distance but not a drop of rain fell. Clearly it happened on the east side of town. In fact there was a rainbow just a little later that I saw. However, I decided I would head out back and see what the sunset was like given the weather or lack of weather earlier in the day.

My first thought was this was not going to be that great, but I persevered and sat outside with Sims and waited.

And it did not disappoint. Maybe not as spectacular as some of the other days but it was still a pretty sky overall.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that it doesn’t matter what is going on in the world, the world is still beautiful and we can sit back in our own small space and truly enjoy this incredible creation that we live in.

Tomorrow is back to work, and another week will go by, but remember, there is beauty all around us, we just have to take the time to look for it.

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 Beth from Beth William’s Photo Blog is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share