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

tell me a story: August 2020

This does not happen very often but there is the occasional times in the year when both 30 Minutes in the Life and Tell me a Story go live on the same day and at the same time. In the 30 Minutes in the Life I shared Day 1 in Key West. In this blog I will share day 2.

As I said in the other blog we decided to head to Key West for the weekend. At some point you get tired of not seeing anyone, not doing anything other than working at home and not going anywhere. For Rich and I traveling is something we are trying to do more of and so to be stuck at home has been challenging especially for Rich.

We booked into a local hotel overlooking the harbor area and it turned out to have the perfect view. It also had a great swimming pool that we were able t cool down at, given that the summer heat in South Florida is so oppressive. I spent about 2 hours in the pool chatting with the 4 other guests escaping the heat. I love Key West with it’s authentic buildings and quirky well know stories. Key West has so much character and here are a few of them buildings that share it.

Day 2 saw I head into the town area. I was on a mission to find Mango Body Wash. The hotel had it in it’s showers and oh my it was so good. Rich wanted some T-shirts and I was also hoping to find some bath bombs that I had found in the hotel as well. I found the mango bath wash, he got is shirts but I bombed out on the bath bombs.

Roosters, hens and chickens are a common sight wandering around Key West. Six toed cats is another interesting view in Key West. It was sad to see the iconic Sloppy Joe’s closed. However, it did seem that it was temporary.

After doing the necessary shopping, we decided to head to the local Key West First Legal Rum Distillery for a free tour. If you are in Key West check it out. The tour is about 15 minutes and it is just a small warm area that you walk through. It’s awesome that they have ceiling fans to cool you down.

Step 1 tells us that they use Florida sugar cane in crystal form from the juice to create a unique flavor that allows us to drink a clean, clear and flavorful Legal Rum.

Step to the Tanks 1, 2, 3, 4 are where the cooking beings. This is their recipe buried beneath the floor with all the old bottles. The bubbles are the yeast breathing as it eats sugar and turns it into alcohol. The more vibration the more production, so they play music at night to keep the yeast moving.

Step 3 tells us that the brown wash that comes from the fermentation tanks, has the alcohol “stripped ” out of it. It’s like a magic trick, first it’s brown, now it is clear. All alcohol comes out of a still clear

Step 4 tells us that now that they have the stripped alcohol, they will distill it again 6 times. Why? They want the Legal Rum to come out in a lower proof so that it has flavors butterscotch, banana, and hints of vanilla. It says they also don’t want to give us a hangover, so all impurities are taken out.

Step 5 tells us that High Proof Legal Rum goes into the Chefs pot, travels through the copper which is filled with carbon activated charcoal. Rum should be warm in your chest, not burn your tongue.

We had the opportunity to taste raw rum and to do some rum tasting. I tried Coconut Rum and Key Lime Rum and Raw Rum. My favorite even though I typically like Coconut Rum, was the Raw Rum, and we left with a bottle of Raw Rum and some sampler Rums.

If you want something interesting to do on a hot day in Key West definitely check out the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery.

Beyond that we meandered along the wharf taking in the ships and views along with the opportunity to check out a healthy school of tarpon. We stopped for a cooling beer and watch the tiki boats heading out again.

Lastly Key West is always my favorite place for sunsets. Like I said in the other blog that I was disappointed not to be heading out on a boat but at the same time I did not want to be among the crowds. The sunset did not disappoint.

Key West Harbor from the Marker Hotel

Being Key West refreshed me for the next few months. We have at least one more travel trip this year unless Covid puts a stop to that. I have found a cabin in the woods in Georgia. We are hoping that we will get to see the changing colors in the mountains.

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.

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

Tell Me a story: June 2020

I have to confess that being stuck at home makes it hard to come up with new blogs each month. However, this month I happened to read about the Saharan Sand Storm that was moving across the Atlantic ocean towards the USA. Who would believe that a sandstorm would cross 5000 miles of ocean to affect another continent. The storm is predicted to impact Florida and Texas, and then head up even as far as Canada. One of the positives of the sandstorm is apparently sunsets, so I headed out to the Everglades National Park to catch the sunset.

Of course, I was not alone. There were plenty of folk out watching the sunset. This seems to have become the go to place just lately. I have been there on evenings when I am one of 5, and the place is really creepy and lonely, and when it get’s dark it really gets dark.

I guess every photographer had the same idea, lets see what we can get from the Sandstorm. And for each one of us, the evening definitely showed up. There were also just folk around watching the sunset. My struggle is how to social distance in this situation where there are too many people in a small area. I was able to walk away from the crowd to some extent. Added to that Palm Beach County mandated masks in public places and half the crowd had a face covering missing. Given that Florida’s Corona Virus numbers are spiking daily (3 days ago it was approximately 5000, 2 days ago in the upper 8000’s, yesterday was 9585 and today we are at 8530 and it is not even 2 pm), I am all for people wearing a mask. I have a few medical friends who have clearly stated that you do not want to be intubated. It is not fun.

I still don’t have a new zoom lens, so get in close to the sunset is still not happening, but I keep looking. Now that we are not traveling overseas, I may use my savings to get one. Simba needs to get his infected tooth out first (which is happening this week). Taking a cat to have a tooth removed, is like having a crown put on a human. Yikes. Hopefully I will be able to get both done soon.

I loved the layers of cloud, and I hope that some of this was contributed by the sand storm.

So what causes a Saharan dust storm. It does appear that the evaporation of water, along with the earth warming causes a shelf of sand between the dessert in the north and the savannah in the south causes dust to form. Smaller storms cause downdrafts, resulting in dust storms developing. Large amounts of dust are lifted into the atmosphere. The African Easterly Jet, a strong wind, was weak this June, and this allowed for more dust to accumulate on the west coast of Africa. When the wind picks up again, it then transports a very dense mass of dust.

What we are seeing now is the results of the storm across the southern states of the USA. Added to that, there appears to be another one coming through within the week. This one is set to affect south Florida more densely, so the scientists say.

Whether I saw some effects of the Saharan Sand Storm or not, I loved the effects of the clouds.

There are definitely some pro’s to the sand storm. Apparently sand storms love dry air. Hurricanes hate dry air. So while we are seeing sand storms, we are less likely to see hurricanes. I hope that is true because I am anticipating an active hurricane season. Temperatures in South Florida are high, and the air is oppressive. When it does rain, it may cool things down briefly, but then the humidity level escalates, and I am back to feeling miserable again. Richard, who loves the heat, has mentioned a few times that the air conditioning is a welcome relief just lately.

Another positive of these sand storms is that apparently, is that these dust storms bring much needed soil and nutrients to Florida and to the islands around us. The Amazon Rain Forest also receives their nutrients from these dust storms.

Apparently the sand storms also bring nutrients to the ocean in the form of phosphorus, which is a vital nutrient for growth. Who would believe it, but it is said that alga loves dust. The negative is that red tide apparently loves dust as well. We know what red tide does and we do not necessarily want that in Florida. That is a swimmers nightmare. Although that would be one way to keep people away from the beaches in this Covid-19 period.

A big positive for me is the beauty the dust causes to the sunset. Dust particles scatter the sun rays and leave us with an awesome sunrises and sunsets. Milky skies and the colors seen, will be dark oranges and reds..

There are a number of down sides to the dust storm as well. Microorganisms harmful to humans and plant life may get caught up in the dust storms. Fungal spores and bacteria may also be carried in the dust storms, which may cause harm to coral reefs.

Another negative affects people with respiratory issues, allergies, etc. Have you ever been off road riding where you are causing dust as a result of some crazy driving. I have, and my allergies kill me. Sometimes those dust particles in the storm don’t stay in the upper levels, and drop down and affect us. If you are not wearing a mask for Covid-19, you may want to reconsider the mask for the dust storms coming through. You do not want to land up in hospital with breathing issues, especially with Covid-19 spiking in a lot of areas that the dust storm will affect.

Unlike the dust storm, Alligators are native to Florida and a trip to the Everglades would be a bust if you did not see one. Of course it does help is there is someone fishing. The gator is curious and interested in what is being caught, it’s probably interested in the fisherman as well to be honest.

This particular evening was pleasant, even wearing a mask. Right now I have a handful of surgical masks. They are great except that they are supposed to be worn in freezing cold temperatures during surgery. That makes them extremely hot to wear. But if I can protect myself, and protect my family, while protecting you, I am willing to do it. It just makes sense for me.

Of course if you have the opportunity to share the sunset with a loved one, or a friend, this would be the perfect place to visit. The skies this evening were a splendor for the eyes. Ironically when I left home, I was not sure that I was going to get much.

We did the same as these folks a month or so ago. Richard gets antsy and needs to do something. We took our chairs, our mugs of wine, and we headed out to go and watch the beauty of God’s creation.

The night is done, I have packed up and am walking back to my car, when I take one last look. Yes there are still some photographers, hanging on, waiting to get the last shot, or just catching up with one another. This is the beauty of meeting other photographers at places like the Everglades National Park. We all love creation and the magnificence of 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’s Photoblog is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share

30 Minutes in the Life: May 2020

The stay at home is kind of lifting in Florida, we’re in Phase 1. I confess to being a little skeptical about numbers in Florida. That said I have been at home for the past 2 months with a partner who hates to sit still. Me I love it. I love working from home, although I need to learn when to stop. That is probably my biggest problem. You don’t pack up and drive an hour home, so you carry on working. I am getting better, but even as I write this over the long weekend, I know there are things I need to do.

For the past few weeks I have noticed some friends heading out to the local section of the Florida Everglades, Loxahatchee National Park. I mentioned to Richard that it was open and that if he wanted to go out we could go there and hopefully not encounter to many people. This is typically my sunset spot and on any given night it is kind of lonely and there may be at most 10 of us.

Right now, I have not been going to the park because my zoom lens died and I have yet to get another one. I am challenged with what I want. Of course, I want the 150-600mm lens so that I can get up to the eyeball of the creature that I am photographing but the thought of carrying that lens around has me reconsidering. I also want a lens I can travel with.

So we headed out with our chairs, our tumblers of wine, and I took along my 17-40 mm lens, and my 24-135 mm lens. So no close up of the sun heading down, but that was okay because it turned out there was no visual of the sun and the evening was very cloudy.

When we got to the park half of the county was visiting as well. So we tried to practice social distancing and set up our chairs away from folk and then sipped wine as we waited for the sun to set.

In these images I played around with my 17-40 mm lens and I really loved the super wide angle the this lens offers. I cannot wait to use it in different settings.

In these images I switched to my 28 – 135 mm lens. This was the closest I was going to be able to zoom into the horizon.

I had bought the 18 -40 mm lens after using my daughters fish eye in Rochester. We were also supposed to be on the road in August, or rather on a plane 😦 , and I wanted the 18-40mm lens because I had visions of super wide open images. However, I am not sure that I see this happening. I am going to be pretty disappointed if it doesn’t. We had plans to visit my son in law’s family in Macedonia, and the kids were going to have a wedding reception for his family.

We were heading from there down to the Lake at Ohrid in Macedonia and then on to Skopje. From Macedonia we were off to Croatia, starting out Dubrovnik, then heading up to Split. then further north to Zagreb. From there I had plans to head to Berlin. I have traveled through places in Germany, but never to Berlin.

So with all that potentially on hold, I kind of suggested that maybe by the end of the year Australia may be an option. This is a trip we really need to do. So we have to weigh up where this virus is going to take us in a few months and what international travel is going to look like. Do we really want to be on a plane again? And landing in a foreign country may mean having to go into quarantine for 2 weeks. That’s like your vacation time. May as well just stay at home.

Looks like the virus is going to rain on our parade. As did the clouds in the distance. Fortunately for us, it never made it to where we were sitting.

We were happy to be honest, just to be outdoors and for me taking the sunset again. I tried to use people where I could to create silhouettes.

Silhouettes are a favorite of mine and there is that part where you don’t have to pose someone and the look is kind of natural and they are not aware that you are taking their pic.

Luckily the sun was starting to set and I was hoping that I could get something out of this cloudy sunset.

Evenings like this on the Everglades is always fun. You become the food source for all sorts of bugs, my favorite being the mosquito and the yellow fly. The yellow fly is actually worse for me as I react to it as I would to a bee sting. Nice sweet swelling that is as itchy as can be and normally results in me swallowing anti-histamine before I get any real relief.

I have learned to make sure, that even in summer, that I have a long sleeve sweater with me. That way I can try and stay away from being part of the food chain.

There were a few local fishermen hanging out, along with a couple of gator on the far side of the water. The Everglades is a natural habitat for gator. We have kayaked inside the waterways and come across all sizes of gators. It is kind of creepy, especially when the water is low or when the gator goes down under water. I keep wondering where it may come up and pray that it is not right alongside the kayak.

As the last of the sun was setting, I switched back to the 18 – 40 mm lens to try to get a few more wide angle images. The clouds created dynamic dark images with that tiny flare of light.

I was not the only person with a camera out there. Actually it is a popular spot for photographers and you never really know what kind of sunset you are going to get. Our day is done and all that is left to do is pack up and head home.

Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life, and for chilling out with the sunset.  

I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Janet of Janet Crouch Photography and see what she has for you this month.  Check out her Facebook and Instagram pages as well. 

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Tell me a Story: February 7, 2020: Burrowing Owls

Burrowing Owls are the cutest little feathery critters that I have had a close up encounter with.  Every so often I will take a drive down to the reclaimed garbage dump that was turned into a park.  Fortunately it does not smell anymore.  This park seems to be the home for the largest community of Burrowing Owls that I have found in the south.

While it may look like I am up close and personal with the owls and maybe even in their space, I am truly not.  Each owl burrow has fencing around it, preventing you from encroaching on the owls space.  My trusty zoom lens (which is not so trusty anymore) is the best way to get close to these tiny owls.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: May 17, 2019: 5065

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: May 17, 2019: 5069

The owls are on constant look out for predators, so while they are watching me they are also watching the sky.  They typically do not go to far from their burrow.

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Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: May 17, 2019: 5133

This little one above popped out of it’s burrow to see what I was doing.  Often they will shoot into their burrow as you approach and then curiosity gets the better of them and they will pop back out again.  I typically lie down flat on the grass and just try to keep as still as possible.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: May 17, 2019: 5137

The burrows can house quite a few owls.  The most I have counted has been six.  Today this lot had 3.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: May 17, 2019: 5138

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This burrow actually had 5 owls.  At least one of them is keeping an eye on you at all times.

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Often you will find an owl having a sand bath.  It helps to keep the mites down.  It amazes me how the owl blends with the surrounding area.  It’s really helpful when it comes to hiding from predator birds.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: April 27, 2018:  4557

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: May 17, 2019: 5175

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: May 17, 2019: 5179

This little owlet was just a ball of fluff out in the sand.  They are cuteness personified and I love taking the time to go down and visit with them.  It does help that the South African shop is down there and I can stop by and stock up on the goodies I miss from home.

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 Mindy is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share.

Love:  October 18, 2015 2172

Share Six: January 2020: Macro

Welcome to 2020.  I hope you all had an awesome Christmas and New Year and you are now ready to tackle this new year head on.  I just started back at the office today so that gets my year on the go.

Share Six chose the theme {Macro} this month and I know that this year Share Six is going to stretch us a bit more.  We are going to try and come up with themes that challenge a little bit.

So I love Macro.  I always wanted a lens and one day I saw that a photographer in a group that I was in was going to sell her lens.  I took a deep breath and decided to go for it.  It was not cheap even second hand, but I ended up having the Canon Macro 100mm in my hands not long after that.  It not a lens I use every day but every so often I will go out and play with it.  The macro lens is ideal for ring photography.  In this case both were beach engagement ring shots.

Share Six: Macro Jan 2020: 5375

Share Six: Macro Jan 2020: 9026

 

Macro lens are also fun to experiment with.  Today I went out into the garden and lay down in the grass.  Sadly Richard has been trying to kill the weeds.  He tells me that feeding the ducks is causing weeds.  I, however, am not happy about the ducks going without their food. I am in my happy place feeding the birds, the squirrel and any other critter that may stop by.

Back to Weeds – That is what I am looking for. There were not a lot in our garden that were still living but I did find a few tenacious strugglers (I think I just made up a word) that were not giving up without a fight.  One thing I have discovered over the years is that there is a whole world down in the grass.

Share Six: Macro Jan 2020: 9363

Share Six: Macro Jan 2020: 9369

Share Six: Macro Jan 2020: 9366

Share Six: Macro Jan 2020: 4815

 

I also realized that I have used my macro lens a lot more than I thought. Below are a few older images that I have taken with the macro lens.  In the image below I had gone out to the park just after it rained and the drops were still sitting on the top of the plant.

Share Six: Macro Jan 2020: 12-52

Another two rain image, this time taken in our back garden.  We have these variegated leaves of pink and green that creates a really nice effect when they are covered with water drops.  Sometimes I am lucky to get a reflection in the water drop.

Share Six: Macro Jan 2020:

Out on the back canal: June 4, 2017: 4388

The image below is definitely a favorite of my and it graces the screens of my work computers.  I loved that I was able to capture the ladybird in this image.

Share Six: Macro Jan 2020:

This is another out in the garden macro image of a tiny little bud.  I so enjoy seeing the details come to life within the image.

Share Six: Macro Jan 2020:

 

For the longest time I did not have a macro lens but I had a real desire to do macro photography.  I happened to come across a group in Flickr that talked about using a lens reversal ring to do macro. So what is lens reversal all about.  Think free lensing (which I am useless at) but the lens is actually attached to the camera via the reversal lens ring.  Just a little tip here.  Do not put the ring in to tight.  You will have a panic attack when it does not want to come out.  Your camera is not seeing that there is a lens attached, so you are focusing manually and what you are seeing in your camera, but I did love what I managed to capture with that method.  If you cannot afford a macro lens, but really want to do macro photography you can get the lens reversal ring for canon for $7.95 at B&H.  Google about it and then play if you can.  I know I did.  Below are a few shots taken using the lens reversal ring.  If you want to learn more about the ring check out this YouTube video.

Share Six: Macro Jan 2020: 3315

Share Six: Macro Jan 2020: 3553

Share Six: Macro Jan 2020: 4604

Macro is a fun topic and one that I have really enjoyed over the years.  This has been a great way to start off the year 2020.  I hope that you will all enjoy contributing as well.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s Share Six blog post.  This is a circle blog.  I love sneak peaks – they are always amazing.  This is an incredibly talented group of ladies.  Please take time to visit my friend and very talented artist Elizabeth of It’s Still Life Photography by Elizabeth Willson and see what she has for you this month. To check out 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_macro

 

Happy New Year: 2020 is here!

Epcot 2019:  March 8, 2019: 3337

Happy New Year.  I find it hard to believe it is 2020.  I feel like I just started out with 2019 and now it is gone.

I could sum up the year in just a few words, family, travel, work, and photography.

Epcot 2019:  March 8, 2019: 2921

Epcot 2019:  March 8, 2019: 3011

Epcot 2019:  March 8, 2019: 3207

We spent an enormous amount of the year traveling. In March my brother came over to a conference and the whole family headed up to Orlando to spend the weekend with him. We visited Epcot and managed to last the whole day, finally seeing the fire works at the end of the evening.

Bok Gardens & Orlando: December 4, 2018: 0106

Bok Gardens & Orlando: December 4, 2018:

Bok Gardens & Orlando: December 4, 2018: 0090

My boss, a work colleague and I also headed up to Lakeland Florida for an overnight scouting trip to view a new system.

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 3913

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4593

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4614

In April my brother was back again, and we headed to San Antonio to meet him. We got to do the famous Riverwalk, explore the city, view the Alamo, however my favorite part of the trip was the missions. Each one that we visited had such incredible history, and the beauty of each mission was amazing. I love that they have kept them restored and that some of them even function as an active mission.

Bahia Honda:  May 20-23, 2019: 5324

Bahia Honda:  May 20-23, 2019: 5337

Bahia Honda:  May 20-23, 2019: 5357

In May we took our new son in law on his first camping trip to Bahia Honda. It was hot and there was not enough shade. We were camped at the edge of rocks and that made cooling down an interesting exercise in rock climbing. He says he enjoyed it.  Kudos to him for sticking it out.

Niagara Falls and Rochester:  June 4-7, 2019: 6029

Niagara Falls and Rochester:  June 4-7, 2019: 6000

Niagara Falls and Rochester:  June 4-7, 2019: 6046

In June I headed to Rochester New York with 2 of my work colleagues for training. I convinced them to fly early (even early for me) and I agreed to drive the 2 hours to Niagara Falls. What a spectacular sight it was and well worth the hours behind the wheel. I am so glad I had the opportunity to see these incredible falls.  The view from the Canadian side is apparently better but from the boat it is just as nice seeing it from the US side.

New York: July 20-24, 2019: 9080

New York: July 20-24, 2019: 9097

New York: July 20-24, 2019:

New York: July 20-24, 2019: 8972

We were into the second half of the year and my brother was back again. He was going to be in Philadelphia. However, he also wanted to go to New York. So, we skipped Philly and rented an apartment in Brooklyn and spent 4 days exploring New York. We did a lot of walking, my feet were tired, but it was great to see for the first time. There is a lot to see and do in New York.  We did not touch the surface of it and I have yet to finish editing the images I took, but I will make the time to do that.

Cumberland Island trip Georgia:  October 11, 2019: 2288

Cumberland Island trip Georgia:  October 11, 2019: 2428

Fort Clinch:  October 11, 2019: 2073

October Rich & I squeezed a short 3-day trip to Cumberland Island in Georgia. I had heard that there were wild horses on the island and research showed me there were some ruins as well. The horses were not so wild, and the ruin were awesome, and we walked that island. The beach was gorgeous.  We also stopped off at Fort Clinch and walked through what was once an active fort.  It appears that they have re-enactments on the weekends.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8717

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8787

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8908

In December we impulsively did an overnight trip to St Petersburg in Florida. We stopped at the John’s Pass boardwalk, Fort de Soto Municipal Park and the Sunshine Skyway for a night shot.  We both agreed we would like to go back, but for a little longer next time.

Orlando: December 22, 2019: 8989

Orlando: December 22, 2019: 8994

Orlando: December 22, 2019: 9020

The last trip of the year was back to Orlando to where my son and his wife had moved to. The weather was iffy and so we headed to Disney Springs Outdoor Mall and meandered around and had some dinner.  The next day the weather turned nasty and we headed home earlier than I had anticipated.

Viscaya Miami:  August 17, 2019: 0316

Viscaya Miami:  August 17, 2019: 0393

Viscaya Miami:  August 17, 2019: 0373

We also did a day trip down to Viscaya, Miami, to the beautiful home of John Deering. If you are stopping in Miami, this is one home you may want to visit.  Every corner you turn has something unique and different.  You will love it.

From July, through December I worked on a huge project at the office customizing an EMR system.  It was a real learning curve.  I enjoyed the project management aspect of it.  It kept me busy and it took a lot of personal time to meet the deadlines. Suffice to say we did enough to have the staff actively working in the program in December.  There is still work to do but a lot of the pressure is off.   

Sunrise: South Beach, BR: August 11, 2019: 9954

Part of me wants a slower less stressful 2020 but the other part wants to travel just as much.

IMG_1425[35014]

New York: July 20-24, 2019: 9292

Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts:  September 2018: 9536

Seattle, Orca Islands, Leavensworth, March 04-13, 2016 6925

So what does 2020 look like. Chances are we will have a quiet first half of the year. Perhaps some long weekends out of town. Our big plans come at the end of August when we are joining Amy and Daniel on a trip to Macedonia.  Whether we travel by plane, train, automobile or boat – that is still to be decided.  They are finally heading over there to have a reception for his family and friends. While his friends and family were able to watch and celebrate their wedding it was via the internet and not the same. So that is our goal. We are going to spend time meeting all of his family, exploring Macedonia and possibly head to Croatia or some other country around there.

I wish you all the very best for 2020. Take time to remind those you love that you love them. Time is too short to waste it. I become more conscious each year how time is rapidly slipping away. I hope your year is good. That it is filled with family and friends, old and new. I wish you love in a very challenging world. I wish you laughter and joy to counter the sorrow. I wish you adventure and the opportunities to see and do new things. I wish you those moments of quiet reflection and time to rejuvenate. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May his face shine upon you.

New Year 2020

From our house to yours, Happy New Year.

10 on 10: July 2018

July 4th was a busy day for us.  We were up at 5:30 am to head to the beach to watch the sunrise.  I was going to photograph the sunrise and Richard was going to take his paddle board out on a very flat east side ocean.  Kind of made me think of the gulf.

After that Amy and Richard decided to go kayak.  I went along on the understanding that I was going to be able to walk some nature trails.  That did not happen. They went kayaking and I walked around a very short walk around a park,  took a few photographs watched a group of older men playing baseball, and then found myself on a blanket in the shade reading my book until the eventually came back.

The afternoon brought rain and of course, when the rain stops I head out with my camera to capture water drops.

Last shoot of the day 4th of July and nobody wanted to go.  Richard had been saying all day that he was not interested in going to the fireworks.  Amy decided she was tired and did not really want to go.  I was undecided whether I would go on my own to the park and just stop off somewhere and take my photographs or alternatively just go outside and take photographs.  The rain ultimately helped me make my decision.  I was going to go out back.

So I set up my camera settings, pulled out and attached my tripod and I went outside to do my best to get some fireworks shots.  I live on the edge of the Everglades.  It is the slowest moving river aka a swamp lol.  Obviously in summer we have a mosquito problem.  Our mosquito’s remind me of the ancient of birds a “pterodactyl”.  These mosquito’s are huge and they are mean.  I think I spent more time swatting mosquito’s than I did taking photo’s.  I lasted all of 10-15 minutes and came inside, along with a colony of mosquito’s, before the fireworks finale.

I was not sure what I would get but since this is only the second time I have tried to take fireworks, I was quite happy with what I got.

Out on the back canal: July 4, 2018:

Out on the back canal: July 4, 2018: 7129

Out on the back canal: July 4, 2018: 7135

Out on the back canal: July 4, 2018: 7145

Out on the back canal: July 4, 2018: 7149

Out on the back canal: July 4, 2018: 7152

Out on the back canal: July 4, 2018: 7155

Out on the back canal: July 4, 2018: 7161

Out on the back canal: July 4, 2018: 7168

Out on the back canal: July 4, 2018: 7169

Out on the back canal: July 4, 2018: 7174

Out on the back canal: July 4, 2018: 7183

Out on the back canal: July 4, 2018: 7191

Out on the back canal: July 4, 2018: 7192

I hope that you all had a good and safe 4th of July.  This is the 17th year we have had the opportunity to celebrate Independence Day, and we are thankful that we have been able to.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s 10 on 10.  This is a circle blog.  Please take time to visit my good friend Ceri of Ceri Herd 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 pages.

You can also find me on FacebookFlickrInstagramGoogle+ and Viewbug.