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.

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: May 17, 2019: 5076

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: May 17, 2019: 5123

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

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: May 17, 2019: 5155

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: May 17, 2019: 5163

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

Burrowing Owls: Fort Lauderdale: May 17, 2019: 5173

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: February 2020: Out of Focus

Did I say Share Six was going to take us out of our comfort zone this year.  Well so far it has.  I chose the theme this month and yesterday realized that I had not got all six images, so some quick work had to be done.  This month’s them is {out of focus}.

I lean towards abstract images as being some of my favorites.  There are ladies in this group that excel at these images, and leave me green with envy.  I wanted to attempt this myself.

Lensbaby is a great way for me to get an out of focus image.  Sunsets are a favorite time of day  So what a great time to get images.  I headed out to the wetlands to play and see what I could come up with.

A.R.M Loxahatchee National Park: February 239, 2017: 8396

This was another lensbaby image.  Partial blur.  I love black and white images and played around until I got the finish I was looking for.

Share Six: Green 9215

In camera motion or my attempt at taking a photo from a moving vehicle.  I am definitely going to try this again.  We were out at St Petersburg, had just watched the sunset from the beach and were now heading towards the Sunshine Skyway.  I decided to pull at the camera and slow the settings and see what I could come up with.  Not perfect but I am okay with it for a first attempt.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8891

Another Lensbaby and post edit combination. While the container was out of focus the straws were more defined.  I played around in Photoshop until I got the result I was looking for.

Share Six: Green 9259

This photo was also taken heading towards the Sunshine Skyway just outside of St Pete’s. This time I was passing some bushes.  It’s kind of creepy but I love the wave effect of the water.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8892

Last but not least, I had a friend visiting and we took her grandson to the park to wear off some of his energy.  The park was amazing for that.  Next to the climbing area was a carousel.  I knew that this was going to be one of my out of focus images.  The color images was great but the black and white created the mix of definition which I loved.

BFF Beach and Park:  January 25, 2020: 9754

I am by no means an expert in {out of focus}, but practice and more practice will be what helps to make it better.  I hope that you enjoy the topic and feel like you are stretched a little bit further 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 Liz 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

 

 

30 Minutes in the Life: February 3 2020: San Antonio Riverwalk

We traveled so much last year that I did not have time to edit all the images that I took.  So I decided to go back and do some editing today and share the photos I had not shared when we visited last year.

San Antonio Riverwalk was definitely something I had read about, and something I wanted to see.  This is definitely more than thirty minutes but I wanted to keep all the riverwalk images together in my blog. I have shared a few images on the Riverwalk last year, however, there are more photo’s that I did not share.

The hotel that we stayed at opened directly out onto the Riverwalk and so we walked out of the building and onto the buzzing walkway of restaurants and people.  Lots of people. Clearly the easy was to see the Riverwalk would be to do a ferry right, but we don’t do easy.  We walked.  To be honest it was not a lot of walking.  We ventured out for breakfast and then we were out again for dinner. Most of the restaurants were to the right of our hotel.  Some of these are the restaurant walkway and some are of the road less traveled 🙂

Meander with me as we head along the Riverwalk…..

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 3832

The restaurant area is busy.  Lots of people, lots of restaurants, a hive of activity.  There are so many places to eat at.  We had bangers and mash at Mad Dogs, Seafood at Joe’s Crab Shack, Breakfast at the Original Mexican Restaurant and we stopped for beers at Durty Nellies Irish Pub.  Oh and add a few sausage rolls to that order.

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 3835

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 3837

On of the things that I really loved about the San Antonio Riverwalk was the mix of old and new.  These arched bridges give the sense of a timeless period long ago.  Similar stone was just at the Alamo and at the Missions.

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 3840

 

 

 

Always a favorite of mine is natural wildlife and the riverbanks and the river itself had these beautiful ducks out and about.

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 3866

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 3871

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 3880

This walkway headed up to another shopping center and restaurants, and was also the pathway to the Alamo.  Starbucks was around the corner and we stopped there on the way to the Alamo We also stopped by Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville for dinner one evening,

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 3917

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 3921

The stairway took us up to the restaurants and a busy area givent

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 3925

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 3927

Walking back from the shopping area we meandered down this pathway, past the waterfall and back to the busy canal.  I love the colorful umbrella’s and the pathways of green.

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4074

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4077

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 3913

 

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4079

All this walking definitely creates a thirst and this was a great spot to hang out and drink a local beer.  The ducks were swimming up to the edge looking for handouts.

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4089

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4090

Heading left from our hotel, the area is quieter, more peaceful and relaxing.  The walk was more meditative.  There were no general restaurants in this area and the few that we did see were the dining areas for a specific hotel.

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4099

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4102

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4105

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4108

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4117

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4131

Outside the Briscoe Western Art Museum was this incredible set of statues of a cowboy herding cattle.  The stairway below leads to the art village La Villita Art Village.  We meandered through there one of the afternoons.  The last image is of Rosita’s Bridge leading over to the River Art Group.

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4134

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019:

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4143

You have the best of both worlds on the Riverwalk.  You have the hustle and bustle of patrons heading in and out of hotels, looking for places to eat, listening to music, and then on the other side you have this quiet, relaxing, peaceful walk.

This was definitely worth the visit and I was glad I could cross it off my bucket list.

Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life, and for traveling with me through this incredible journey in time.  I so enjoyed the mix of the old and new world.
Just a reminder that this is a circle blog.  We have a number of new ladies join the 30 minutes group, and I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Crystal from Crystal Bella Photography and see what she has for you this month.  Check out her Facebook page  as well.   I am pretty  excited to learn more about these wonderful ladies from all over the world.  I would certainly encourage you to visit their pages.  

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.

Tell me a Story: December 2019: St Petersburg

We were back on the road again in December.  This year has been one of travel.  I loved every minute of it.  In March we were in Orlando, April in San Antonio, May in Bahia Honda, June I was in Rochester NY, July we traveled to New York City, October we headed to Cumberland Island, and in December we traveled to St Petersburg one weekend and Orlando again the next weekend.

St Petersburg, Florida, has been on the bucket list for a while.  One of those quick lets head out of town kind of visits.  We only went over night but both agreed that a two day trip would have been better.  When packing, I packed a few lens, my zoom 70-300mm which I am having a few issues with and may need to replace, my 24-70mm, my new 17-40mm and my lensbaby sweet 35.

St Petersburg is about a 4.5 hour trip for us from the East Coast of Florida to the West Coast.  When you cross the Sunshine Skyway, you know that you are heading into St Petersburg.  Since this was a first for us so high up the coast line, I wanted to to take in everything.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8535

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8540

I had seen some photos taken recently of the Sunshine Skyway, and wanted to to check out a pull off at the little island on the side of the road so that I could look back and see what kind of image I would get later in the day.   Below is the beautiful Sunshine Skyway from that point.  If you are looking to take a photo, pull off at the North Skyway area and look back.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8543

Some years ago we were camping in the Collier Seminole State Park and met a couple in the site next door to us.  They mentioned that the Fort de Soto Municipal park had great camp grounds.  So that was our next stop.  We wanted to check it out.

For a $5 entry fee, you get to spend the entire day at this beautiful beach park.  Added to that you can leave and go back in the same day, which is what we did.  There are some concession stores inside the park which will provide you with food, drinks and a few other things you may need.   The park is huge.  There is a great view of the Skyway from the one end of the park, there are some fishing piers and a ferry dock.  We came across this brown Pelican at one of the docks.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8579

Added to that there is actually a fort on the grounds.  It almost appeared to look like a bunker fort.  There was sand all along the wall and you could actually walk along the top of the fort.  However, the canons were below the high wall so my thoughts are that the sand and roof walk were added later.  Of all the forts I have been to this was the smallest and probably the least interesting.  However, the view from the top of amazing,

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8580

We walked through the fort area.  There was not a lot to see except empty rooms.  Sadly the smells coming out of some of those rooms were not great.  Moving back out into fresh air we spotted the canons.  Somehow seeing these old pieces of history makes me want to edit in black and white.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8601

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8606

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8612

Moving on from the fort we headed to the end of the park and out onto the beach where the sand is like powder and white and so soft.  The seagulls are big and quite tame and we had no sooner sat down and they had moved closer.  Obviously looking for handouts.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8632

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8642

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8655

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8676

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8687

Leaving the Fort we headed towards the Beachcomber Hotel where we had booked to stay.  However, it was early so I suggested we head to John’s Pass Boardwalk and walk around there for a while and perhaps grab a beer and pass some time.  John’s Pass Boardwalk is a series of restaurants, shops and fishing charters that are interesting to meander through.

These pelicans below were being thrown scraps of fish from a table where the catch was being gutted and filleted.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8694

As is with most of these coastal towns of interest, there is a pirate ship for hire.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8700

Sculley’s was a seafood restaurant that certainly had some great smells coming out of it.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8701

I happened to look up and spotted this cormorant flying towards me.  Look at the wingspan and the number of feathers that make up the wings of this beautiful bird.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8715

This boat, however, was probably the most interesting ship I have ever seen.  The one end is shaped like a shark.  We found a place right next door to it to sit down and grab a beer.  Mmm, I keep thinking Jaws and hear that crazy music just as the shark was about to attack.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8717

The Beachcomber Hotel was very nice.  Nothing overly fancy but we were not paying out big bucks either.  I appears that the owners purchased two older hotels adjacent to each other, rebuilt the front facade and created a green space in-between that became the hotel grounds. At the end of the hotel complex were two swimming pools, a restaurant called Johnny B’s and the beach.  Really that is all you need if rest and relaxation are what you are looking for.  Richard wanted rest and relaxation and I wanted to explore.  Oh well, it was only a weekend.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019:

One of the things that I love to do when at the beach is the sunset.  We had lunch and then headed back to Fort de Soto municipal park to settle in for the sunset.  A number of other folk had chosen to do the same.

For the next 3 images below I played around with my new 17-40mm lens.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8753

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8759

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8764

Then I switched out to my Lensbaby sweet 35.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8769

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8771

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8776

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8777

Then back to the 24-70mm and the 70-300mm.  Richard waded down to the water and while he was there I grabbed some silhouettes of him standing in the water.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8756

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8786

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8787

Slowly the sun begins to set.  I played around with different settings as the sun was setting.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8812

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8808

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8806

What was nice to see, was all of the seagulls that were lined up along the edge of the beach.  They suddenly took off in mass and then fly back in and settle back down again.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8822

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8856

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8859

Last stop of the night before heading back to the hotel, was to that little pull off point I made Richard stop at when we first came over the bridge.  Why did I make him stop?  For the night shots of course.  I had seen recently that the Sunshine Skyway is now lit up at night.  I wanted the night shot.  I have to say it looks really neat and added to that the colors change.  So if you are looking for a good night shot, this could definitely be one of the places to stop.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8908

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8908

Once the nights shots were done, we headed back to the hotel and settled down at Johhny B’s for a light dinner and music.  There was a live band playing while we were eating.  They stopped before we had finished and started packing up.  As they stopped playing the beach bar at the hotel next door started up.  Do we go or do we stay, well of course we go.  What a good choice!.  Blues, Mowtown, Funk and Pop, 3’s Company was a great band to listen to.  They definitely had me smiling with their rendition of “Killing me softly with his song”  Took me back to my days of hanging out at a local joint in my 20’s.  If you are in or visiting St Petersburg, Florida, and like that type of music definitely check out where they are playing and go and hang out a bit.  They will have your feet tapping very quickly.

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8921

All good things come to an end, and after breakfast we were back on the road and crossing the Sunshine Skyway heading home, via Naples.  We both agreed that we would definitely head back to St Petersburg again, this time for a longer stay.

 

 

St Petersburg: Dec 15, 2019: 8926

In just one more day we see the close out of a very hectic 2019, and welcome in 2020. I wish you all a very Happy New Year.   I hope that this will be a fantastic year for all of you, that you will be surrounded with family and friends, old and new.  That you will experiences memorable moments of love, joy, laughter, and good times. That you plan escapes and get out on the road and see a bit more of the world.

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This year will see us on the road a lot less I am sure.  We are planning a bit trip in August to meet our new son-in-laws family.  We will be heading to Macedonia for a “wedding” reception for Daniel’s family.  I am excited about meeting his family, although I cannot speak Macedonian.  We also plan to travel a bit in Macedonia and the Balkans.  I can’t wait.

The only other big trip we have talked about this coming year is to possibly head up to New Orleans.  This is definitely on my bucket list and I would love to check it out soon.

Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives.  This is a circle blog.  Take some time to view what the other artists have for you this month. My friend Kim from Kim Sidwell Photography is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share.

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30 Minutes in the Life: December 2019: Festive Five

Ever since I have been a part of 30 minutes in the life, we have done a Festive Five theme at Christmas.  We are very conscious of the fact that this is a busy time of the year and each and every one of us has something going on.

Mine is a couple more than 5 and one I did not take but have added in to finish off the photo blog.

Christmas is always my favorite time of the year.  I love having the family gather in one place for a meal.  Over the years growing up I remember my fathers family all gathering together.  As a married adult, I gathered family at my home each Christmas.  Not only my immediate family and my brother’s wife’s family, but Richard’s family and their families in-laws as well, along with my adopted brother and his family.  So often we all want to spend Christmas day together and if it all works out that we can be together I love to do that.

Christmas is about love.  My love for my Lord, who in Himself was Love Incarnate. My love for my family.  My love for my jolly little fella’s who I lovingly unwrap each year and hang on the tree.  My love for decorating and making the home look festive and my love for sitting at a Christmas table and looking at the faces of those I love, admire and respect.

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I only bake once a year.  It is at Christmas time.  This is when I remember my mother and how she would bake up a storm.  I pull out her shortbread recipe and I bake more than enough for the season.  This year got a little more technical.  I had to bake normal shortbread, gluten free shortbread, and vegan shortbread.  I take time to be grateful that I have the opportunity to be able to bake this variety because it means that I have my children in my life.

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I climb up in the attic after Thanksgiving and pull all my buddies down that I have collected over the years.  My penguin is about 25 years old.  My mother in law made it for me one year.  I love that I still have him and that I can remember how talented she was when it came to sewing.  Another thing that I am not very good at. My Santa was given to me by a friend about 10 years ago and I love to see him out and on display.  My snowman was given to me more recently.

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My Christmas tree is decorated in jolly little fella’s.  It feels like I am finally seeing my little friends again.  This year I added 5 new Santa’s to my collection.  They come in all shapes and sizes and I try to always look for something different.  This year this guy was one of the newbies.  I also found a bottle top Santa that was pretty cool.  Each one is hung in a specific place, with my favorites being front and center.

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In addition, I wanted to remember the family members who have been in our lives for so many years.  However, we do not necessary have typical names.  Mine is Sharleen, my mother was Daphne, my mother in law Yolande.  I cannot find Christmas ornaments with those names.  I am still looking.  I may eventually have to buy some that I can write the names on.  However, I did find one that had my nickname, Charlie, so that is hanging on the tree in place of my name for now.

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The other memory I wanted to include is our pets.  So this year I looked all over for different types of pets.  I found a few.  My Noddy was a sausage dog (Dachshund) when I was growing up.  We had Labradors as well, Duke and Monty.  Richard and I had Flash a beautiful German Shepherd with a pedigree longer than ours.  We also had Bella, a Rottweiler.  Mika was our white German Shepherd.  Over the years we have had Oliver, a tuxedo cat, who has an ornament with angel wings.  He was the best.  Then we had Moonshine, a little all black cat.  We got Simba, our street rescue, who is a tabby kind of cat and he holds my heart.  Finally our last addition has been Mirrabel or Ms Moo as I call her.  She came to stay when we took someone in for a period of time.  Her owner left and she stayed.  That was 2 years ago.  She is mine now.  She is our scaredy cat who runs at the sounds of unknown voices.  However, she is also rapidly becoming my cat.  She has found her place on my stomach at night and loves to cuddle.  The ornament above represents Mirrabel, our little gray and white cat.

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Lastly I love to set the Christmas table and make it look pretty.  I really don’t do snowmen but I did love these two when I was out shopping.  Added to that everything has snowmen on them,  I got snowman plates and napkins.  I tied their napkin together with a letter ornament. I gathered a few other snowman ornaments.  Initially I wanted snowmen snow globes but I wasn’t finding exactly what I wanted.  I had a runner in tartan that I forgot to put out but maybe I will use it next year 🙂 Oh and white beads in all sizes make great snowballs.

Below is an image of each place setting which my daughter-in-law took, because I was in the kitchen getting everything ready and forgot to do it.  Thanks to Kathryn I have another place setting to remember.  Every so often I go back and look at the different designs I have had over the years and remember the folks that have sat at the table and smile and know that I have been blessed to be able to share that little bit of time together with others.

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I do hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  As this year rapidly draws to a close, I would like to wish you a very Happy New Year.  I hope that this coming year is filled with family and friends, new and old, laughter and joy, good memory making moments.

In my mothers tradition, I will once again put outside the front door, a cookie, a drink, and a piece of coal.  May there always be food in the house, something to drink and may you never go cold.

Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life, and for traveling with me through this incredible journey in time. Remembering is what I do and I love to do it.  Just a reminder that this is a circle blog, and I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Jess of the Art of Adventure and see what she has for you this month.  I am pretty  excited to learn more about these wonderful ladies from all over the world.  I would certainly encourage you to visit their pages.  
30 minutes contributor

 

Tell me a story: November 2018

Life is hectic, Thanksgiving has come and gone and the blog goes live tomorrow.  Work is gearing up to d-day in 10 days and so my time has become somewhat limited.  Christmas decorations need to go up this weekend and the blog needs to be done.

In all of this busyness, Richard, knowing that I needed some down time suggested we head to the beach to watch the sunrise and then go for breakfast, knowing that once I got home I had work to do.  He even chose to go to my favorite beach.

As most of you know early morning is really not my thing, but the moon was pretty cool this particular morning and as it has been for the rest of the week.  Last night I was able to identify Venus and Saturn floating around the moon.  I love this pier and the early morning sky was pretty spectacular as the sun was coming up.  This particular morning the reflections on the edge of the waves was pretty neat.

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I really wanted to finish up the Boston blog but that was not happening for me this week.  So the morning on the beach is what I have to offer.  I have to be honest Richard was right, I needed that time to decompress.

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

 

Tell Me a Story: June 2018

It’s time to blog and I am sitting without a computer so I have pulled up some photo’s from last year that I had edited but not posted.  Last year we did an impromptu trip to Maine.  I happened to be chatting to my work colleague about how I needed to use up some vacation time but really hated wasting vacation time on a staycation.  She told me she had a cottage in Maine that we were welcome to use.  Having never been to Maine we jumped at the opportunity.  We headed up late September.  The weather overall, except for our whale watching trip, was fantastic.  Not hot not too cold.  The whale watching trip was bitterly cold out on the ocean, and it was foggy.  We did not see whales, in fact we saw practically nothing.

If you read my blogs, you will know that when I travel I am a bit of a planner.  I see very little point in going somewhere blind.  Yes I know there is spontaneity in doing thing impulsively and I am game for that, but I also want to have some idea of what I want to see and have some kind of plan.  If we don’t get to see it, all fine well, if we do and it is on my list, I am super happy.  There is nothing worse for me arriving in a unknown place, as a co-pilot and trying to find where to go.  Don’t ever asking me to do Amazing Race.  GPS is my best friend.

On of the places on Richard’s list was to go up to Bar Harbor, and Arcadia National Park.

Here are a few of the images I have already edit.  When I get to the rest I will have to come back and share them.

As we meandered up the coast we pulled into little towns that appeared to have places of interest or we just thought we would mosey on through.

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Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse was one of those places we decided to visit.  It turned out to be an interesting stop.  As we started to walk down to the lighthouse there was a group of volunteers handing out garbage bags.  They were asking visitors to do some cleaning up along their walk.   We did not walk all the way out to the light house.  I was still healing from foot surgery and long walks were still a bit of a struggle, but I did enjoy seeing the beautiful bay and watch the dogs playing in the waves.

 

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We stopped in another small town along the way and I loved seeing this older couple walking together along the edge of the water.  I hope someday that I will be able to do that as well.

 

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Arcadia National Park was stunning and I do not do it justice with this images.  They were edited for a particular purpose.  Hoever, I loved seeing the fall colors for the first time in my 18 years of living in the USA.  We hiked down through the trees to get to lower areas, and up through the trees to get to higher areas.

 

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From the top of the hill in the Arcadia National Park we looked down over Frenchman’s Bay.  On the edge of the photo is one of the very big cruise liners that we spotted in the bay.  While this spot look tranquil and maybe a bit lonely, it was honestly bustling with too many people.  I love those places were I can go out and enjoy the quiet and this was not one of those spots.

 

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I made a new friend, or rather my lunch made a new friend, lol.  I am facinated by how big those birds grow up north.  Our gulls down south seem a lot smaller.  These guys parade around like they are in charge of the show.

 

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The parking was up the top, and we hiked down to a very beautiful rocky bay.   The walk was so pretty with it beautiful colored leaves all around you, and there was a coolness to the air that made the walk rather pleasant.

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This is just one of the many bay images taken. At one point I was standing at the edge of the rocks looking down to try and capture the water rushing up into the gulley area.  The ebb and flo of the water had me thinking I may just go over the edge.  Quick step back

 

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One of the images I had seen while researching was a sunset at Jordans Pond.  Sadly we were not there at sunset, however, the area was beautful and I loved getting low down to get this image.  Just above this quiet spot, is a bustling restaurant, where you can sit outside and enjoy bar type food and beer.  We did take a bit of time to enjoy a cold one.

 

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Bar Harbor was a quaint and bustling little town. We walked all over and I have to be honest, food wise this was probably my favorite meal – lobster tails and calamari.  Portsmouth came second with their lobster roll.  We only stayed one night, so early the next morning we rose before sunrise and headed down to the harbor area.  Watching the sun say hello to the day was special.  If you look in the background of the pic you will see the fog that we seemed to see a lot of on this partiular trip.

 

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We had two options on how to plan our day.  Explore more in the Arcadia National Park and then head home or explore the adjacent island and then home.  Given how touristy Arcadia was I suggested that we head to the next island and see what there was to see.  If I have to be honest, not too much.  This, however, turned out to be one of my favorite images, and one that placed relatively well in a competition I had entered it into.

 

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Southwest Harbor was nothing really to rush out to and beyond that it was mainly housing.  So that probably was not the best decision that I had made but you make choices and you live with it.  So we were back on the road and headed to Wells Beach.

 

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Our last stopping point was at Orchard Beach.  When researching I found what looked like a very interesting pier.  Of course, finding parking was no fun, and my co-pilot was all ready to give up but we eventually foound a place to stop.  This was indeed an interesting pier, and while I was going for the silhouette look here when I edited, the pier is actually bright and colorful.  We walked through the pier to the very end where we took a break, rested our weary feet and cooled our throats.  Of course, we watched the locals swimming in the ocean and thinking that they were crazy, the water was freezing for these Floridians.

Hopefully by my next blog I will have a working computer, but who knows.  I pushed the button, hit send after a 3 hours self debate of was I ordering the right piece of equipment.  That said it is now ordered and along with that a 34 inch monitor, so I cannot wait to play.  I am just hoping that the tech guys will manage to transfer the data and images off my laptop, since I just realized that my San Antonio images were on there and I don’t think I have a disc with them on.  Bummer if they are all gone.

Thank you for joining me on this very quick and impromptu trip along the Maine coastline.  This is a circle blog so I would encourage you to visit my friend Mindy and see what she has for you this month.

30 Minutes in the Life: June 2018

Growing up with an English grandmother living in our home, the ritual of tea drinking was a common place occurrence.  We did not drink coffee very often.  Moving to the USA, I quickly changed to drinking coffee but over the past few years I have reverted back to drinking tea.

Recently my immediate supervisor at work retired, and the ladies in her leadership team decided to take her to the Serenity Tea House for her farewell.  Nestled in among the old houses of West Palm Beach, Serenity Tea House is an interestingly charming place to visit.  Each room is made up of typically English style decor, with knick knacks and tea sets laid out among many rooms.

While everyone was chatting and waiting on the pre-ordered menu of high tea, I took the opportunity to go for a quick walk around the house.  Obviously there were other guests besides our group so I tried to not get people in the images or to disturb their experience at this beautiful tea house.

The high tea started out with a tomato bisque soup and then the tower of food.  We had two different pots of tea and I was able to order one of my favorites vanilla tea.  That reminded me of my dear friend Gavin who has now passed away.  I would go to visit and he would only share his vanilla tea with me.  Said I was one of the few who really appreciated.  I sure did.

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If you have not visited a traditional English tea house I would certainly encourage you to do so.  Pricier than a coffee shop, the experience is always worth the little extra you may pay.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s 30 Minutes in Life.  For the rest of the blog group, please take time to visit my friend and fellow blogger Sarah  of Sarah Keene Photography .and see what she has for you this month.   Keep following the circle of photographers to see what the other photographers, from the US and around the world,  have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on their pages.

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