April 23, 2017

Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl
This adorable little guy is a burrowing owl. I've heard that Cape Coral (near Ft. Myers -- about 80 minutes south of Sarasota) is home to the largest burrowing owl population in the world.  The SDP team conducted some research, then the Junior Editor and I set out in search of these pint-sized birds of prey last weekend.  It was the middle of the afternoon (when most owls are hiding), so I didn't have high hopes. But, as soon as we arrived at the first location, I spotted one immediately. Very exciting! They actually live underground and like to roost on manmade posts nearby or stand outside their burrow, like this fellow.  Quite fascinating! We even spotted a fuzzy little baby poking its head out of a burrow.  (Could be a future SDP post...possibly.)  They're so small and low to the ground, they really blend in with their surroundings.  It was unusually windy the day the SDP team was out, and since I was shooting at a distance with a long lens, the conditions were quite challenging even with a tripod. Looking forward to returning and seeing them again soon!

April 22, 2017

Lido Beach Sunset

Lido Sunset
Nothing quite like a Lido Beach sunset! 

Lido SunsetXX
It's important to arrive early and have just the right set up. The SDP Editor-in-Chief stepped up last night and took this assignment herself.


And, this is a quick peek at Lido Beach and the Gulf of Mexico at dusk. (The SDP staff has been experimenting with time lapse videography using a GoPro Hero 4 procured during last year's budget cycle.)  Gorgeous evening -- and a great reminder why I live here.  Hope everyone is having a good weekend so far!

April 9, 2017

Peek-a-Boo Moon

Peek-a-Boo Moon Peek-a-boo!
Spotted last night in Sarasota.

April 8, 2017

Spring Training

Orioles-Pirates
The regular Major League Baseball season just got underway, so I guess I should share these Spring Training pics before they get too dated! Living in Sarasota, I'm within close proximity to many Spring Training facilities. And, it's always fun to spend a spring day at the ballpark. This year, I made it to two games just up the road in Bradenton, which is the spring home for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In this photo, the Pirates were playing the Orioles and the Pirates baserunner slid safely under a tag at first base.  SAFE!

Spring Training
I don't think this Orioles player made the cut to join the Big Leagues. I looked up #17 on the current Orioles roster, but couldn't find him. Some fans sitting in front of me along the right field line temporarily moved out of the way, so I was able to get this shot showing the player hustling to first base.

Austin Meadows
Following the games, some of the players will pause to talk with fans and sign autographs. This young man made quite an impression on me the way he spent so much time interacting with fans and genuinely engaging with them.  His name is Austin Meadows and he's a top prospect for the Pirates. I understand he's starting the season playing AAA ball in Bradenton, since he's so young and the Pirates don't have an open slot for him yet. Seems like he has a winning attitude and hopefully he'll have a long, successful career. 

Travis Harrison
Home run swing! And, this was taken during the first game I attended this year: Twins vs Pirates. That's Twins outfielder Travis Harrison taking it deep. I noticed this year the games weren't sold out -- not even on St. Patrick's Day, which traditionally is a very popular day to go to the park. Not sure why, except maybe the tickets are getting a bit too expensive for some families. Hope everyone has a terrific Saturday!

April 2, 2017

Splash of Color

Cardinal
How about a splash of color via Mother Nature on this Sunday? I was at a neighborhood park in Sarasota earlier this week poised with my camera patiently waiting for an owl to return when this handsome fellow showed up. He certainly seemed ready for his close up. Who was I to turn him down?!

April 1, 2017

Theme Day: Wet

Rain Delay
Typically, when I attend the Miami Open, I'm very prepared for any kind of weather. Hat, sunscreen, sweater, change of shoes and raincoat -- all are with me! Except this year.  For some inexplicable reason I was confident it wouldn't rain and didn't bother bringing a jacket.  (In my defense, we haven't experienced a rain delay for years.) Sure enough, late in the afternoon, a squall blew in from the Atlantic Ocean and soaked us. Blue skies reappeared fairly quickly and maintenance crews were dispatched to dry the court, which was drenched to the point that puddles were casting reflections of the clouds.  Naturally, right when it looked like they were close to resuming play, the skies opened up again. It was a challenging time for a rain delay because this was a late day match overlapping into the evening. So, day fans were on the grounds scurrying for cover while people were arriving for the night matches. It was quite chaotic with people running and yelping (as though raindrops would seriously hurt them) and packing into any and all covered areas. With a steady rain coming down at that late hour, the SDP Junior Editor and I decided to call it a day. Turns out the match resumed hours later and finished well into the night. To see other interpretations of the City Daily Photo Theme Day: Wet click here.  Happy Saturday!

March 31, 2017

On The Road: Miami Open

Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Immediately following a victorious match, players at the Miami Open usually spend some time signing autographs and mingling with fans. When Bethanie Mattek-Sands emerged from the grandstand court she was a completely different person than the one who had just been playing!  Her face lit up when she saw spectators waiting to greet her. She was quick with a big smile, laugh, and happy to take selfies and interact with fans. Quite gregarious!

Bethanie Mattek-Sands
I particularly liked this interaction with a fan in a wheelchair. Bethanie squeezed her hand and chatted for a bit before moving along.

John Isner
And this is Big John Isner signing autographs in the same area, just outside the grandstand court.  Look at that smile!  So nice.  I'm not sure if you'll see this kind of close fan interaction with any other professional sport nowadays.  I love this aspect of tennis -- hope it doesn't change.