Share Six: February 2021: Silver Lining

There are so many {Silver Linings} when I look back over the past year. Sure Covid is the pits. Wearing a mask is not fun. Not being able to hang out with your friends is super disappointing. However, slowing down has been good. Working from home even better. Not having to wake up early and drive an hour to get to work, is probably the best for me. But how do I put those into photographs?

Another {Silver Lining} is being available for the kids. Amy finally sold her condo (that is another whole story of delays and ridiculous events) but in preparation for the sale, they moved in with us, along with Snow and Rory, their two rescue cats. We are now a house of 4 adults, 4 rescue cats who don’t always see eye to eye. and one rescue bird that screeches all day. That said, it is good having them here. Richard has not been well the past 2 months and so it is another two people to talk to him, and help me to remember to not get stressed out and ask to many questions. Cameron was a silver lining when it came to moving Amy’s contents of her apartment to storage. He traveled 2 hours to come and help move furniture and was a tremendous support to us. Richard was just not up to moving heavy furniture

There are so many little things, but I was challenged a little bit on how to capture them all. In Florida, during covid, you are still able to go to the beach. While I am not actively going to the beach in the day time, I have been when there are limited people there. Amy told me that she was going to the beach one evening to do yoga and watch the Wolf Moon come up. I managed to convince Richard to go to a different beach to do the same. Here was my {Silver Lining}. The beach is open for us. In the evening there is not too many people. While the whole of the USA above Florida feels like the artic tundra, we could still go to the beach. The second part of the {Silver Lining} is that my theme for 52 Frames was Horizon, and the credit was for breaking the rule. I was really looking forward to the moon rising over the ocean.

So I talked Richard into going. He tried to talk me into going to watch the sunset. But no, the moon had it’s appeal. So I packed some cheese and crackers and a small container of wine, and headed off to meet him at work. From there we drove down to the beach.

Let’s talk about love. It is freezing cold, the wind is blowing, Richard hates, hates, hates the cold, and here he is sitting on the beach so that I am not there alone at night. Got to love the commitment here. We got there a little early and found a V in the sand dunes and huddled back in there to try and stay out of the wind. Below is my take on {Silver Lining}, a blustery day at the beach.

There were not too many people on the beach. I could probably count them on one hand. I am sure most of them had the same idea as I did. We all wanted to watch the giant moon come up over the ocean. While I was hanging out I took my 52 Frames image below.

Unfortunately, this was our view. The clouds formation just got bigger and bigger, and so we could not see the moon coming up to start with, and just when I got a glimpse of it emerging another cloud came over. I finally sent Richard back to the car, and waited another 10 minutes to no avail before I called it quits.

The plus side in all of this was I did manage to get one image of the sunset, which I will add looked beautiful driving home.

When I finally got home, I hung out in the driveway until the moon cleared and I was able to get an image of the full moon, before the clouds moved back across to cover it up. Just an aside, the moon reminds me of an orange. I have noticed this before when I have taken photos that there is this circle towards the right hand side, and then what appears to be lines of some sort spanning out from that circle. I have to wonder what that really is, besides my imagination.

I will confess that it was good to be home and inside out of the wind. That started a week of cold weather. The last couple of days have been windy and cold. Cold for this African born South Floridian. Today my fingers were like icicles. Not cold relative to what is happening up north though I am sure, and my heart goes out to all that are experiencing the snow and freezing cold weather.

I hope that you enjoy the {Silver Lining} theme. This is a circle blog and as I mentioned, we have some very talented ladies in the group. Take some time to follow the links and see what they have for you this month. My incredibly artistic friend Lynne of Lynne Grant Photography is up next. 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_silverlining

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Tell Me a Story: January 2021

When I first started walking in the wetlands, many years ago, I loved to see the Great Blue Heron’s nesting at Wakadohatchee Wetlands. You got really close up to the nests in spring when the babies were being born. Fast forward some years and the Woodstork started coming in. The Great Blue Heron struggled to maintain their nesting areas against this colony of birds. They came in droves and took over. At first I was impressed with the Woodstork. They are definitely interesting to look at, but over the years I’ve kind of got annoyed with their take over routine. The Great Egrets used to nest in the trees as you first entered the wetlands and now the Woodstork have taken over that area as well. The Great Blue Heron’s have moved to trees at the back of the park which are much further away. The amount of Woodstork that move in means by the end of the season the area is super smelly and I am so over them.

My first sighting beyond these smelly, take over birds, was one of the resident Alligators who is probably looking forward to Spring as well. They tend to lurk below the nesting trees, when they aren’t sunning themselves out of the water.

Holding tight onto their spots in the trees the Woodstork have taken over is the Anhinga. Towards the end of winter the birds fly in and start to build their nests. Mating season is happening and one of the most incredible birds during mating season is the Male Anhinga. The eye color of this bird is stunning and it develops a very fluffy neck. The female however, does not change color. When the chicks are born they are the cutest things. The have these tiny bodies and these long necks. They feed like scavengers and it is incredible to watch them doing they. The chick puts it’s whole head down the mothers throat. The first time I witnessed I had a gag reflex. Yikes the poor mom.

As I continued along the walkway I spotted this Great Blue Heron wading in the water looking for lunch. I love them, To me they are majestic birds. We used to have one come to our back garden. Clearly someone had been feeding him and he was looking for that. I did not want to have him become dependent on me feeding him, but I would throw bread out for the fish in the canal so that he could go fishing. He would come by every day for the the summer and then he just disappeared. I used to call him Big Blue. Hanging out in the same waters sunning itself in the sun, fortunately for the Great Blue Heron, was another of the parks Alligator.

On the opposite side of the walkway there were a few Great Blue Heron, and surprisingly early, were two Great Blue Heron chicks. I am not sure if the first bird was protecting eggs or just trying to cool down. We have had interesting days down south right now that are sometimes warm and sometimes cold. This particular day was warm. The second photo is the chicks. When they are born they looks so cool. All head and beak with a mohawk. I am so disappointed that the Woodstork took over their nesting place.

And then I come to the walkway. I have committed to taking 1 image a week using my different lensbaby optics and so today I had the sweet 35 and I created a portal through the walk way. So come and join me with the second half of my walk.

Hanging out in the walkway trees are typically the tiny birds and this Palm Warbler was so challenging to catch. I probably took about 15 photographs just to get this one. The flit from tree to tree.

The Swamp Hen fascinate me. They are so rich in color and very similar to the Purple Gallinule. What fascinates me with these birds is their feet. They have the longest, possibly ugliest toes that I have seen on birds. They utilize them like fingers holding on to the reeds that they pull out of the ground to eat. Normally you will see a group of them wading around.

The glossy Ibis is another beautiful bird that hangs out in a group as a rule. This one had moved away from the group and started digging for food in a slightly different area. They are named glossy Ibis because of their stunning feathers. In normal light they look brownish but when the sunlight catches them their feathers become glossy and a different array of colors.

In the last stretch of my walk I spotted this Little Green Heron in the reeds also looking for food. This is a small bird of incredible colors and I love to watch them look for food. They are patient and they will wait probably longer than I am willing to watch them to catch their food.

Of course, I could not resist the tiny bit of fall colors in the wetland. When I spotted this leaf lying on the railing, I had to capture it. This is one of my favorite ways of shooting leaves.

Always a favorite for me is the Iguana that we find in South Florida. Not native to this region, they are often unpopular with local inhabitants. However, I think they are pretty cool. They are so unique in their markings and as seen below, quite vibrant in their mating colors. Of course, the are prolific in repopulating the area which leads to them being disliked. These Iguana live in the southern states due to the climate. During cold spells in winter, the Iguana freeze and will often fall from trees. Sadly some of them fall into water and drown or become gator bites. Others, surprisingly enough, seem to thaw and get up and start moving again.

And with that I am back to the smelly Woodstorks again, and heading back out of the park. I always enjoy this mile long walk out in the fresh air. I am going to need to get back out again soon.

Thank you for joining me this month.  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. I look forward to reading what he has to share.

30 Minutes in the Life: January 2021: Sunset

So, January is practically over. It has been a tumultuous start to the year, just when I thought things were going to be better for all of us. Some days I just need to get away from it all. For the most part I am hibernating in my office working fortunately. Aside from the virus, and the political stuff, my daughter and her husband packed up their apartment in preparation for it being sold, and along with their 2 cats, moved into our house. So we are a family of 4 adults, 4 cats and 1 bird. My Ms Moo is not a happy cat right now. She is scared of her shadow and now Amy’s two cats are stalking her. She is in hiding most of the time. Snow has also taking to staring down the bird.

In addition, I joined 52 Frames. So this is my 4th project 52 for the year. I feel like my goal so far is to get out and take the photo’s I need for each week. This weeks theme was water. There is a great pond up at the national park that I love to take photos at. So Thursday evening I packed up 5 lens (17-40 mm, 28-135 mm, 70-300 mm, 150-600 mm & Lensbaby Sweet 135) and I headed up to the park to check out the owl, take photo’s of the pond and watch the sunset. While our property backs up to the edge of the Everglades there is no access into the area from our home. We are also separated by two small canals.

In the end my 52 Frames image was taken at the sunset and I will post it here as it is the only image in black and white.

The owl was high up in the tree so it is really hard to see him that well. The female is in the nest and she seems to sit behind the main part of the tree. This was the best I could get of him.

It always fascinates me how the the setting sun changes so much. I started out at the pond and the light was this golden brown color.

I headed down to the water line at the edge of the Everglades and I really did not think this was going to be a great evening. The cloud was thick and low and I was not going to bet the full sun. It felt dark and sort of dingy for a sunset. I also did not realize that I had moved my FStop to 9. Obviously I must have done it up near the owl. I started out with the Lensbaby Sweet 35. One of my P52’s is to use the Lensbaby Optics that are taking up space in my lens drawer.

Lensbay Sweet 35
Lensbaby Sweet 35

From here on out it was a case of changing lens to get wide angle, a bit closer, much closer and super close. One of my favorite things that typically happen at sunset is the birds flying by. Quite often, although it did not happen this evening, you get to watch the murmuration of the grackles and that is a beautiful dance in the sky. Below is a flock of Ibis flying by.

28-135 mm
Lensbaby Sweet 35

People aside, we often get a number of different species, below is the Great Blue Heron.

150-600 mm

Fly by’s happen fast and you have to keep watching. Below is a larger flock of Ibis, all heading south. I would love to know where that land up each evening. I have no idea what bird is in the second image below, but chances are it was a slow moving Ibis.

70-300 mm
70-300 mm
70-300 mm
28-135 mm
28-135 mm

Grackles will fly into the area in the hundreds. On Thursday there were not that many but I was so glad I had brought up with beast with me to get in super close.

150-600 mm
150-600 mm

What was pretty neat was that the Grackles on the edge of the water were taking a bath at sunset. Hence the first image and the water drops.

150-600 mm

As the sun got lower the sky got more reddish orange and really intense.

70-300 mm

More Ibis below as the sun is setting. From the silhouette, the birds in the second image look like a flock of cattle egret.

70-300 mm
70-300 mm

At this point I kind of figured the sun was done, and the mosquito were going to be out shortly, so I headed back to my car. I could not resist turning around to take a silhouette.

28-135 mm

Halfway done the ramp, I discovered my friend walking up. She told me not to leave, she wanted to talk to me, and she convinced me that the final rays would get better. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. This time it certainly did. The sky lit up and I was so glad that she told me to stay.

28-135 mm
28-135 mm
17-40 mm

Nothing like kayaking at sunset in a alligator infested water. Oh yes, there are often alligators swimming in the water.

17-40 mm

Finally the mosquito’s got to much for us and we headed back to the car. I managed to capture the last silhouette before diving into my car, with a couple of mosquito for company. Nothing like being bitten all the way home.

70-300 mm

The Florida Everglades is a grassy, slow moving river, a natural marshland, which is habitat to hundreds of animals. There are various different different areas to the Everglades. There are the mangroves at the coast, the sawgrass marshlands and the pine flatwoods. You will find endangered species like manatee, American crocodile, and the Florida Panther.

This particular park, that I go to, has walking trails, and it would not be uncommon to have an alligator cross the trail in front of you. I recently saw Turkey Vulture eating a dead animal. There is a lot of birdlife if you get out and walk, and the owls have come in to nest. Two weeks ago there was a pair of mating Sandhill Cranes. There are also Bobcat in the park.

The walking in the area is great. I managed to get out and do a two mile walk but I was constantly watching for Alligator on the edge of the banks. I didn’t see Alligator but I did see a great big iguana. Unlike the wetlands, here we are on the same level as the Alligator.

When the bushes behind out house were cut short we used to be able to see the deer running along the edge of the Everglades past our home.

The park is great for walking, however, my this is by far my favorite spot to go and watch the sunset.

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 Stacy of Threadbarems. You will definitely love what she shares. I am always inspired with what she has to offer.

Share Six: January 2021: Details

Welcome to 2021 and the 5th year of blogging with Share Six. Have I mentioned that I love blogging with these ladies. They are extremely talented and certainly push me to a new level. As we start this new year 3 of our team have gone into lockdown in the UK. It is tough and it may find us restricting our choices again to things we can either do at home or in our gardens. Keep them in your thoughts. Another of our team is a teacher and it has been hard for her to juggle all of the happenings.

{Details} is the theme that Lynne of Lynne Grant Photography has chosen for this months blog. Details for me are all the extra details. I wrote a blog and then at the last hour, I changed my mind and went with what I had photographed on Sunday. I have been going to the local Loxahatchee National Park recently to photograph a Great Horned Owl. The male is sometimes there when I go, the female is sitting in the nest. A friend had also seen Screech Owl. Sunday afternoon I decided to go and see if I could see the screech owls. No such luck. The park has a small boardwalk. It is not the greatest walk. There are no birds, occasionally I see signs of a larger critter but I never see one. I may see dragonfly every so often. Right now everything is brown and there is not a lot going on. I also had the beast which ideally shoots 150-600mm. Not really meant for close up. However since I was there I decided to do the boardwalk. I was going to use my twist but could not seem to get it to stay in the housing. So I pulled the beast back out and captured what I liked.

Shooting leaves in this very shallow depth of field is one of my favorite genre. I love that little sliver of focus and all the little details that show up. I also love the creaminess of the images. The board walk is really mossy and so most of these leaves were sitting on the moss. I loved the texture of the moss.

While it is not a great walk. I did enjoy the opportunity to do one of my favorite style of images.

I hope that you enjoy the details theme. This is a circle blog and as I mentioned, we have some very talented ladies in the group. Take some time to follow the links and see what they have for you this month. My friend Katherine of Cobert Photography is up next. 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_storytelling

Tallulah Gorge: Part 2

The 30 Minutes in the Life blog was just that 30 minutes, but it was also too many images so I decided to split the blog. If you did not see the first part you can click here to read the initial part of the blog post.

A quick summary of the previous post is that we were in Georgia for a short get away with the family and decided to head to Tallulah Gorge for some hiking and visiting the local area. You are picking up at look out point 2.

As I mentioned in the previous post, there are 750 steps from the top to the suspension bridge. There is an addition hike down to the water level. That is another 450 steps. There is a limit as to how many people can access that area and it is under certain conditions.

At this point we decided to move on to lookout point 3. Our ultimate destination was lookout point 5 seen above. This is when the fun started. While it was accessible it was a little more difficult going with the wheelchair and at some points Kathryn had to get out and Cameron had to move it for her over the roots or what ever obstructions there was.

I really enjoyed seeing all the fall leaves on the ground. The smell of dampness, soil, fresh air. All those things are an aroma to my senses. Added to that the weather was gorgeous for walking.

We made it to look out 4, but at this point it had been tough going for Kathryn, and when we spoke to some ladies about lookout 5 they said the wheelchair would not be able to get there, and there were steps on the way. So that was the end of the journey for Cameron and Kathryn. I decided to go on my own to look out 5 to see what the view was like.

The view was very similar, so I journeyed on towards the end of the property where there was an access up to the road

Tallulah Falls,
Tallulah Falls,

From the road you had a great view of the river heading away from the dam wall. And I got to capture Cameron, Kathryn, and Cody at lookout point 4. Having finished up my shots, I turned around to head back to meet up with them when who should come behind me but the stair climbers, looking somewhat fatigued.

If you are visiting Georgia, and you are within driving distance of Tallulah Gorge, then add it to your bucket list. You will not regret it. If you have any form of disability, there is still areas that you can get to and enjoy.

Thanks for joining me for the second part of the blog on Tallulah Gorge.

30 Minutes in the Life: December 2020: Tallulah Gorge Part 1

Yes I know that it looks weird, we are already in January. What with our live falling 2 days after Christmas we opted to postpone it a week to today. My 30 minutes are going to have to be done in two parts, one today and one tomorrow. There are just to many images.

Firstly, let me wish you a very Happy New Year. I know things may look the same as last year and they probably are going to be for a while. What I blogged on yesterday was my thoughts on 2020. As I reflected I acknowledged that there were challenges but I also realized that there were so many things to be grateful for. The trip we made to Georgia was one of the happenings in 2020 that I was grateful for. This year that is what I am going to try and focus on. Looking for the good, things that I can be grateful for.

So today I am going to share 30 minutes of our trip to Tallulah Gorge in Georgia. We were staying in a cabin in the mountains in Cleaveland, really pretty isolated and remote. The property was a single track up the mountain with some cottages coming off it, but aside from asking directions on the first day, we did not see another soul. Actually that was a relief because the single track meant if a car came down someone had to give way and there was not a lot of space to pull off. Amy took her car up, and then never drove down again until the day we left. Daniel and Amy travelled with us, Cameron, Kathryn and Cody traveled in their car. Kathryn has a wheelchair and Cody has special safety requirements

Everyone was in agreement that Tallalah Gorge was a must do on our agenda. I did a lot of homework. I quickly realized that there were going to be some challenges for Kathryn, and probably for me with my feet issues.

One of my goals going to Georgia at this time of the year was to see color, and color we did see, that is for sure. Arriving there I was a little concerned that there were too many people, but honestly it was okay. The park is big and we barely crossed paths with folk and when we did we kept our distance.

Setting out along the pathway the path was pretty level and while rough, so it was pretty easy for the wheelchair to handle. There was a lot of wildflowers along the pathway in vibrant colors. We were heading to the first look out point.

The actual walk down to the fence was uneven and while Kathryn can walk, uneven surfaces are hard for her. With her disease, she struggles to walk for long, but she also struggles to sit for long as well, so she alternates when necessary.

Below we had a great view of the suspension bridge. What I did not tell you is that it is 750 plus steps down to the bridge. Well, that eliminated Kathryn, Cameron & Cody immediately. My logic told me that I would get down the stairs but getting back up the other side may be challenging. This was day 1 and I did not want to find I could not walk for the rest of the week. (Remind me to remind you that unless you absolutely have to have foot surgery, don’t do it. The answer is not necessarily what you expect).

For Daniel, this was a first going away with us as a family, and the first time going on vacation outside of Florida. He was pretty excited and ready to do what ever we wanted.

We made our way to the second look out point. At this point we would separate. Richard, Amy and Daniel were going to go down the 300 steps to the suspension bridge, Cameron, Kathryn and I were going to head along the pathway to the other look out points.

There were enough warnings about health, steps etc to make you think twice if you were planning to do the climb down.

From the top of look out point 2 we had beautiful views of the river below. We did not get as close as Amy, Daniel and Richard but we had a reasonable perspective.

Tallulah Falls, is beautiful and well worth the visit. I reached my 30 minute point and there is still a lot of images to share so I am splitting the visit into two blogs. If you want to follow the rest of the day, check out this link and see what else we got to see.

 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 Crystal of Crystal Bella Photography. You will definitely love what she shares. I am always inspired with what she has to offer.

Sunsets are my favorite time of day: December 2020

Mornings are not my time of day. I will confess that I am a night owl. I read late, and hate to wake up. The whole change in our lives, as a result of Covid, has saved me a 1 hour work drive. That means 1 hour extra of sleep time. Now if I could just get the cats on board with my story I would be over the moon. No they want their food at 6am. Seriously Dudes!!

However on the flip side I love the evenings, especially now in the winter time zone. It gets darker earlier, so I don’t feel like half my evening time is gone by the time I have got my photographs and got back home.

Recently I got a message from a friend saying that she was heading out to Loxahatchee Everglades National Park to watch the sunset, so I decided to join her. It’s always nice when there are a few other people around as it can get quite lonely when it is dark.

I always stop at at pond first to see what is happening, and whether I feel like I will get a decent image across the water, before heading up to the canal that edges the slow moving river that floats through the Florida Everglades

While chatting to my friends, I spotted a local gator hanging out in the water. This guy will come out to play a little later on.

One of my favorite things to watch is the murmurations of the Grackle as they head to the national park in the evening. some evenings there are hundreds of them flying across the sky. It is such a beautiful sight to see and such a musical dance in the sky.

We also get the single fly by’s. You will hear someone say “bird” and all camera’s go up to capture the bird, This night we had a few random birds fly by.

I had taken a couple of different lens with me and this is my wide angle. I just loved the swirls of the clouds.

As I mentioned earlier this alligator would appear again. It was moseying along the water when I spotted it in the sunlight. Suddenly it started swimming a bit faster and changed direction. It was swimming towards the reeds. On the edge of the reeds swimming obliviously along were two Moorhens, squawking like they normally do. Then very next thing we heard was a loud squawk and one Moorhen flew into the bushes and the other walked on water. A little fast for me to capture it as well as I would have liked to.

Walking back to the car I happened to turn around and found the perfect silhouette of the night. Watching the sunset is a great way to spend a bit of time.

Thanks for stopping by. If you don’t do it often, now is the time with the social distancing to just be quiet. To go to places where few others go. To enjoy the beauty of our creation.

Please continue to stay safe, healthy and keeping a low profile. This too shall pass. If I do not blog again before Christmas. Please have a wonderful festive season even if it is just a small group. Fortunately for us we have no family in the US and so celebrating in a small group is not unusual. If you are not celebrating Christmas but rather something else, I hope you have a blessed time.

Look out for another post at the end of the month, if not before.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Share Six: December 2020: Story Telling

Oops, this is not my comfort zone. I don’t have littles, I am not quite sure how to adequately embrace the theme {Story Telling}, chosen by Ceri Herd Photography, this month. My story telling will be words as well as images and will be more than 6 images just a heads up. I don’t want to break up this days trip.

In August, when we realized that we would not be doing our European trip, we decided to rent a cabin in the mountains of Georgia. If you have read my blogs before you will remember that I am a bit of a planner. So I did my home work and discovered there were some wine farms near the cabin. I looked a most of them with the idea of going and doing some wine tasting and eating some lunch. Of course, as a photographer, I look at all the images and I eventually landed on a wine farm a lot further away from the cabin than the local farms.

The day we planned to go to the vineyard we had done a hike to Anna Ruby Falls, and then headed to Brasstown Bald. By the time we we ready to travel to the vineyard it really was too late for lunch. Richard wanted to hike the next day, but most of us were all hiked out. I had booked a trout fishing morning for them thinking that it would be something fun. The ladies stayed in bed and the men & I headed out early on the Wednesday morning, with the idea that we would spend a couple of hours fishing and then drive the hour to the wine farm. The men were fishing and I was along to document this momentous moment. More about the fishing in another blog. The fishing was interesting but the scenery and colors of fall were more enjoyable for me.

Finally we were back home, the smell of fish washed away and we are all ready to head out. One of the criteria of the trip for me, was to try and catch some fall colors and to rest after a few days of hiking.

Interestingly we ended up traveling the same route as the previous day for at least half the trip. We headed towards the Lakes area of Macedonia, Hiawassee, and Young Harris.

After turning a number of corners we finally arrived at our destination vineyard – Crane Creek Vineyard. I can certainly say, if you are in the area, make this place a stop on your drive. The vineyard is picturesque, the fall colors were beautiful. I fell in love. Welcome to this beautiful destination.

Aside from the beauty of this vineyard, I wanted a place where we could sit down outside and eat. Our daughter in law is immune compromised and has a number of food allergies. Once I discovered the vineyard and read more about it, I discovered that they had a beautiful restaurant on site. Being South African, I was drawn to the fact that the chef was from Mauritius. Added to that my husbands grandparents emigrated to South Africa from Mauritius.

Kathryn contacted the owners of the restaurant Paris & Company and asked about the menu and whether they would be able to accommodate her requirements. Nina was so encouraging and just asked us to give her a days notice so that she could plan for Kathryn’s needs. We booked a time for lunch and were excited to get there and enjoy the beautiful menu.

We were seated out on the patio, in the corner away from other quests. Nina personally came out and spoke with Kathryn to see what she could eat. We all ordered something different, along with a bottle of white wine named Enotah. The wine is “100% Chardonel (a Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc hybrid). Aged in oak barrels for 10-12 months. Aromas and flavors of tropical fruit, apples and toasty butter.” I got that directly from their website. Credit to Crane Creek Vineyards. The wine was amazing and paired well with our lunch.

I snapped two cellphone pics of the food as I did not want to pull out the big old camera and annoy the rest of the family. The food, in case you were wondering, was excellent. I chose a lobster and crab salad, as seen above, tossed in a tangy sauce, served on a croissant, along with a potato salad side. Daniel, who was seated next to me, chose the Ultimate Philly Cheesesteak with caramelized onions, green peppers and swiss cheese, with a side of fries. There were six of us and I did not take photos of each persons food but it will definitely give you an idea of the options. I definitely recommend having lunch there.

Leaving the restaurant we meandered across the grass admiring the view. Beautiful homes set in the rows of vines. So picturesque in its beauty.

Bursts of color can be found in this scenic view, leaves coat the grass and the smell of fall is a sweet aroma to my senses.

Due to Covid the wine tasting has been shifted outdoors . Beyond the tree below is a patio are where you can sit and taste your wine or you can walk back to the grass area and find a few chairs and relax and enjoy the view. We did do some wine tasting outside overlooking the lake and the vines.

Tranquility is a word I would use to describe the beauty of this scene. Quiet reigns and you can just sit back and enjoy, sipping on your wine.

I had asked prior to traveling if we were able to walk around the wine farm and the answer was yes. So we walked down the sand road towards the lake. Lining the edge of the wines and the road are beautiful rose bushes. Walking down the road we arrived at the lake on our left and looked over a beautiful wedding perfect scene.

In every direction there is a vibrancy fulfilling my desire to see the colors of fall. Contrasting colors, bright colors, muted colors. I decided I love fall colors.

This vineyard was a balm to my soul, color to my imagination, quiet to the noise of life. Time to stop and gather my senses again. And I will add, to rest my feet after days of hiking.

Today I felt like I made a connection with the beauty of nature. I am grateful for the hard work the owners of this beautiful vineyard have put in to making this a place to visit. I would encourage you, if you haven’t been there and you are in the area, add a visit to your bucket list.

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. I can say that because they all come to me prior to the posts going live. 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 creative artist Lynne from Lynne Grant Photography who always amazes me with her images 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_storytelling

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.