June 25, 2016

God is Good

SDP 6-25-16
For years (yes, years), I've wanted to photograph this cross. It's located in rural Sarasota at the corner of Verna and Fruitville (where Fruitville Road dead ends east of I-75). It's always intrigued me…wondering who put it there…and, what prompted it.  The right circumstances have never been present to shoot it --- until last night. A light rain had just ended...and as I turned the corner and glanced at the sky near the cross I thought, "Tonight's the night!".  At first, there was a hint of pink, which shifted to grey, followed by a dark peach glow.  The cloud formations, opening to reveal bright blue sky, were incredible.  In this serene setting I kept thinking, "God is good."  Happy Saturday!

June 18, 2016

Whistling Ducks

Black-Bellied Whistling Duck
It's been one thing after another for the past several weeks.  After enduring a very long, emotional week in connection with the horrific terrorist attack in Orlando, I wanted nothing more than to seek solitude last night.  And…I found it!  The week before the mass shooting, Tropical Storm Colin breezed by and dumped 10+ inches of rain in some parts of Sarasota.  Portions of Myakka River State Park are still flooded, and as a result, I pretty much had the place to myself.  The resident animals are seeking dry territory and their behavior seems a little out of sorts.  I spotted these two black-bellied whistling ducks sitting on a wood fence near the flooded river. They kept inching along the fence and looking down, as if they were disgusted by the smelly flood water -- and that was the last place they wanted to stick their little webbed feet. Hope everyone in the blogosphere has been doing well!

May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

Sarasota National Cemeteray

((Insert 1,000 words here))


Sarasota National Cemeteray

I stopped by Sarasota National Cemetery yesterday and, as you can imagine, I was struck by this remarkable and poignant sight. Today is Memorial Day in the U.S.  Previously known as Remembrance Day, it's a day set aside to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation.  While honoring these heroes' courage and sacrifice, let's also thank those military personnel who currently are on active duty or once served our country.  Always remember:  freedom isn't free.  God bless them all.

May 28, 2016

Changing Light


Myakka Sunset
With the mercury starting to rise, the sunsets are starting to change.  Gone are the eye popping, orange, red and lavender sunsets streaking across the sky.  Now, sunsets tends to be more of a yellowish hue and the light somehow isn't as soft.  (A bit blinding, I'd dare say, for that great blue heron on the hunt for dinner.)

Myakka Sunset

Even with the changing light, this ended up being a lovely (albeit quick) golden sunset last night at Myakka River State Park.   While the sunlight is changing, the behavioral patterns of nearby wildlife is too.  Driving to the park last night, I spotted something very unusual:  a large alligator walked out of the brush next to a busy country road -- and lumbered into a ditch filled with a few inches of water. The gator was so big and so out of place, I circled back to get another look (safe from my car) --- and saw the gator return (quickly) into the scrub.  I never, ever would expect to see an alligator in a dry area like that.  Later, I asked a park ranger about the gator's behavior and the ranger speculated it was a female protecting a nest of eggs.  She also said gators are on the move right now walking from lake to lake.   ((gulp)) Seeing that firsthand definitely will make me pause and think twice (or three or four times) before I wander into the palmetto scrub!  Hope everyone in the blogosphere is having a nice weekend!

May 23, 2016

Pink Party Crasher

SDP 5-23-16

Overheard: "So typical of the roseate spoonbill  -- arrives late to the party wearing a stunning shade of pink.  And, I'm stuck in this pedestrian tuxedo!" 

May 22, 2016

Soaring

Kiteboarding When you're approaching the Sunshine Skyway from either direction on a nice day with a bit of a breeze, you're bound to see kiteboarders having fun on Tampa Bay. The colorful kites always grab my attention.  And, it's so easy to pull off the road, it's almost like it's meant to be for me to shoot them. So, yesterday, when I saw the kites I stopped for a few minutes.

Kiteboarding

It was late in the afternoon and the sun couldn't have been in a worse position. After taking a few shots that ended up being silhouettes, I thought maybe I could use the sun to my advantage and do something funky with the sun bursting over the kiteboarder and water.  I like how the symmetry in this shot worked out.

Kiteboarding

And, this is Anthony, the soaring kiteboarder from the previous photo. He told me he took up this water sport 7 years ago -- and insisted it isn't difficult. (We didn't get into upper body strength etc.) With his ability to do some cool aerobatics, he was fun to shoot. Looking forward to shooting some more out there -- with my long lens and better light.

May 18, 2016

The One That Got Away….Almost

Gotcha!

As I strolled to the end of the bird walk at Myakka River State Park last Friday night, I caught a glimpse of a great blue heron with a sizable catfish in its beak.  I set up my camera and for ten minutes, I watched this bird play with its pending dinner. It picked up the fish, dunked it in the water, proudly displayed it in its bill, then dropped it back in the muddy water. This happened over and over again. One would think the fish was long dead after enduring so much. Well, not so fast!  

Roll the video….!


video

You can also watch the video on YouTube.

Too bad it was so windy….making it difficult to hear my commentary.  After regaining control of the situation, 20 minutes passed…. and that heron still hadn't eaten the fish!  Not sure what it was waiting for…but, unfortunately, I lost all daylight.  So, I don't actually know if the bird ever enjoyed its sushi dinner.  I can only hope so (and hope that fish was put out of its misery).