March 25, 2016

Lone Trees

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As I mentioned in a previous post, several dead-looking trees line the beach at Lovers Key State Park near Ft. Myers Beach.  The evening I took this photo, the sky and Gulf of Mexico were quite colorful, but I couldn't resist converting this image to black and white.  Moody! The entire SDP staff will be taking a brief respite  from the blogosphere -- off to Key Biscayne (Miami) for the annual tennis tournament and then, if the weather holds out, to Everglades National Park.  Looking forward to it.  So many photo opportunities await!  

March 21, 2016


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I'm not sure if the trees along the beach at Lovers Key State Park are dead, but I always enjoy photographing them.  I tried to glean some information about the trees and learned this from the park website:  This side of Lovers Key was so thick with mangroves, bushes, and pine trees it essentially was inaccessible -- until Hurricane Charley hit in 2004. The damage to the area was so severe beach restoration was necessary.   Trees were removed and the area cleared, creating a 2 mile stretch of open beach.  Although the original environment is gone, I think this new area is pretty special (even more so, now that I know the history with Hurricane Charley).  By the way, I snapped this photo just before the fiery orange ball I posted yesterday.

March 20, 2016

Sunset Cruise

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After a few days of fog photos, we're back to sunsets (as promised).  This was a stunning one at Lovers Key State Park a few weeks ago.  Several miles up the road, the beaches are packed with students and families enjoying Spring Break.  But here?  It's just enough of a hike to scare people away … and, after a short (and beautiful) walk, I was rewarded with a deserted beach.  As I watched the sun expand into a glowing orange ball and sink into the Gulf of Mexico…that silhouetted boat puttered by, almost on cue.   I posted this photo of what the sky looked like that evening when I was hoofing back to the park entrance.  Slowly but surely, the SDP staff is circling back to an array of sunset photos and, yes, more Sunshine Skyway pics are still on tap.  So much to share!  Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.

March 19, 2016

Roll Fog Roll

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Yesterday's photo of the foggy fishermen was taken from the Tony Saprito Fishing Pier in downtown a few nights ago.  After snapping that pic, I puttered around the bend to Bayfront Park to encounter this scene at the mooring field.  You can see the fog behind the sailboats, but it was much thicker when I approached.  Unfortunately, during the quick few minutes it took to take out my camera gear out, the fog started to roll out.  **darn**  While I was taking pictures, a woman walked by and exclaimed, "I'm so glad you have a camera and someone is capturing this!  It's just beautiful!" Perhaps more beautiful -- and moody -- in black and white?  I should have given her a SDP business card.  **double darn**  The Editor-in-Chief will be dismayed.

March 18, 2016

Pea Soup

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These three guys are braver than I am!   I don't think I'd be heading into this pea soup on Sarasota Bay.

March 17, 2016

Into the Mist

SDP 3-17-16Sea fog rolling across Sarasota Bay last night and blanketing the Ringling Bridge.  Although it was spritzing a bit and the temperature was dropping, this pelican seemed to be patiently waiting out Mother Nature to resume flights.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

March 13, 2016

The Model

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In yesterday's post, I mentioned this handsome cormorant was a poser wanting to make sure I got his good side.  How do I know this?  I offer the following:

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"How does my neck look?  Are you sure that lens isn't making it look too long?"

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"My left side looks good!  Don't you think?!

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"But, check out my right side!  The sunlight at this hour brings out a hint of blue in my eye." 

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And, he played the role of diva supermodel well, being a smidge temperamental, craning his head to see behind the camera:  "Hey! What are you looking at?! Nothing to see here. Move along!  And…could someone powder my beak, puh-leeze!"

By the way, I was asked the difference between a cormorant and an anhinga.  The simple distinction (to me) is in the beak:  an anhinga has a straight knife-like beak and the cormorant has a hooked one.  Happy Sunday!

March 12, 2016


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This is the end of the fishing pier at Ft. DeSoto park in Tierra Verde -- and a great spot to take photos of Tampa Bay and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.  This cormorant, basking in the late afternoon sun, didn't want to be upstaged by the beautiful bay and the bridge, though.  He was such a handsome poser, he temporarily stole the show -- all while keeping an eye on the Skyway and me (no doubt making sure I was getting his good side).

March 11, 2016

City Life

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The SDP Editor-in-Chief made an executive decision to interrupt the Sunshine Skyway photos (which were interrupting the sunset photos) to bring you twilight in Sarasota last night.  This is a lovely spot right in the city limits along Sarasota Bay.   According to Google maps, it's 12 minutes from my house. Amazingly, though, I managed to slide into position within a cool 9 minutes (in high tourist season whilst adhering to the speed limit).  There wasn't much of a sunset, but twilight made up for it!  As if on cue, a bright sliver of moon appeared over the bay.  And, fish started jumping….which many times means they're trying to flee a predator.  Sure enough…about 25 yards away, a dolphin was slowly swimming around the cove looking for dinner.  It was so quiet on the water I could hear water blasting through the dolphin's blowhole as it surfaced.  Great evening….very peaceful and relaxing.  

March 10, 2016

2 Ospreys & 1 Bridge

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This is what the great egret in yesterday's photo was looking at: two ospreys roosting on a channel marker in Tampa Bay. Oh…and maybe that bridge back there too.  That incredible span is the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which connects Pinellas and Manatee counties.  It was a beautiful day to shoot the bridge when I was there, so I'll have a few more pics to share in the near future. (And, perhaps by that time I will have looked up some interesting factoids about the Skyway.)

March 9, 2016

Great Egret

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We're taking a brief break from the sunset photos. I encountered this great egret recently in TierraVerde
 on the way to Ft. DeSoto.  He was standing on a bridge having a good stare. 

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And, with a view like this…who wouldn't want to enjoy a good stare?!  (I know I did.)  The egret is looking at Tampa Bay. Behind him (on the left side of the photo) is the Gulf of Mexico.  Beautiful area.  More pics to come from this photo shoot!  (By the way, this is the vicinity where the new SDP banner pic was taken.)

March 6, 2016


SDP 3-6-16 Was the crew aboard this sailboat so distracted by the breathtaking beauty of Sarasota Bay at sunset  that they ran ashore?  Um…no.  This boat apparently came loose from its mooring during the deadly storms that rolled through Sarasota in January.  It looks like someone has cast some lines and tied it down, to prevent Mother Nature from pushing it elsewhere or sinking it and causing potential environmental issues and navigational problems for other boaters.  I took this shot last night at the base of the Ringling Bridge heading toward St. Armands Circle -- beautiful evening with an unexpected (and pleasant) cold front.  Believe it or not, I pretty much had the place to myself.  Have I mentioned how much I love to shoot the winter sky in Sarasota?  The steady diet of sunset pics shall continue!  

March 5, 2016

Peek-a-Boo Sunset

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It was dusk at Myakka River State Park last night and I was all packed up, leaving the birdwalk after enjoying a pretty tangerine and cotton candy pink sunset.  Pausing at my car, I noticed the sky had suddenly transformed and now was a swath of deep orange glowing across the horizon.  I knew there was an oak tree nearby with a low hanging branch.  So, off I hoofed into the darkness (yes -- darkness!) and safely set up my tripod next to a park bench. I steeled my nerves by reminding myself (1) it's too cold for snakes to be slithering around; and (2) surely, park rangers wouldn't place a bench where gators like to roam. It took me a few minutes to figure out the proper f-stop and ISO. And then…voila! Spectacular evening.  Happy Saturday, everyone!

March 2, 2016

Overheard: Sandpiper Trio

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Spotted along a deserted stretch of the Gulf of Mexico at Lovers Key State Park:

Sandpiper #1:   "We're lost."

Sandpiper #2:   "We're not lost, Mildred."

Sandpiper #1:   "Of course we're lost, Clarence.   Look around!  Where are the snowbirds?!"

Sandpiper #3 (teenager): "I'm so embarrassed!"

March 1, 2016

Theme Day: Where I Belong

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When I contemplated today's theme day -- Where I Belong -- several possibilities popped to mind.  But, this is a significant place where I belong:  the outdoors.  Since I can remember, I've always loved to be outside exploring and having an adventure.  Not much has changed over the years.  I don't require palm trees, the beach or even warm weather.  But, I do (strongly) prefer blue skies -- which makes it perfect living in the Sunshine State.  Yep…this is where I belong.  To see other entries from the City Daily Photo community for today's Theme Day click here.