Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Salvatore Dali Museum

The Salvatore Dali Museum, St Petersburg, FL

The Salvador Dalí Museum is an art museum in St. Petersburg, Florida dedicated to the work of Salvador Dalí. It houses the largest collection of Dalí's works outside Europe.

It is located on the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront by 5th Avenue Southeast, Bay Shore Drive, and Dan Wheldon Way. On April 18, 2012, the AIA's Florida Chapter placed the building on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Domestic Swan Goose

Domestic Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides) with Ducklings/Gooselings?

I'm very curious about what's going on here. I know ducks, geese, and swans sometimes interbreed, but do they do it within the same species, or do they interbreed with any other close species? This photo, taken at Crescent Lake Park in St Petersburg, FL, has me very confused. This goose appears to be swimming with ducks, as you can see, some are white, some look like immature mallards. Are they hers? Do they just hang around together?

This lake supports so many species. There are Domestic Graylag Geese, these Domestic Swan Geese, Mallards, Moorhens, Grebes, American Coots, just to name some of the waterfowl. There are probably more than I spotted on my two trips there as well. I'm just curious about how some of these breeds got there and if they all interbreed. If you live in the area, check it out.

Here is a little info gleaned from the internet about the Domestic Swan Goose:
Domestic Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides)

Another species of goose that has been domesticated is the Swan Goose, native to eastern Eurasia and sometimes called a Chinese goose. A domestic swan goose usually has a large knob at the base of the bill (the wild form lacks this). It also can show a white patch behind the bill.  It varies from wild type coloring (mostly gray with a dark line down the back of the otherwise white neck) to pure white.


Swan GooseThe Swan Geese (Anser cygnoides) -- also known as Chinese Geese - are rare, migratory geese that breed in inland Mongolia, northernmost China, and southeastern Russia; and most migrate to central and eastern China for the winter.

Vagrants travel to Japan and Korea for the winter and, on rare occasions, may winter in Kazakhstan, Laos, coastal Siberia, Taiwan, Thailand and Uzbekistan.

Outside the breeding season, they form small flocks. They rarely swim and often forage far from the water.

The large Swan Geese have also been introduced to countries outside their natural range, where feral populations of escaped or released domesticated birds have established themselves.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auitus) grow to about 33 inches. Immature Cormorants, unlike the all black adults are brownish, with whitish plumage from the throat to the breast. 

Cormorants swim with their bills angled upward. Flocks often fly in a V formation. They can often be seen resting with their wings open drying. They nest in colonies in Cypress trees and Mangroves.

They live on the coasts and near large bodies of inland water. Florida has a resident breeding population and there are numerous migrants from northern U.S. from November through April.

This image was taken at Crescent Lake Park in St Petersburg, FL.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Willet

Willet
A Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus) perched on the rocks at the North rest stop of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in St Petersburg, FL gazes out over the water probably searching for his next meal.

Willets are commonly seen along the coast of Florida near beaches and mud flats. Willets look similar to Greater Yellowlegs, but can be distinguished easily by their flashy black and white color pattern seen in flight or when their wings are spread out. They are frequently seen foraging with Godwits on migration.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wood Stork

Wood Stork
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), Searching for his favorite foods of fish, reptiles or amphibians at the Thompson Sports Complex in Gulfport, FL.

Wood Storks or as they are sometimes called Wood Ibis, are the only storks in America. They can be found in Florida in swamps, marshes and ponds.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

St Pete Skyline

St Petersburg, FL Skyline

I just happened to glance out my window and saw this the day before yesterday. These amazing clouds were due to a cold front coming in. The light on the buildings in the distance is what I noticed first, then the clouds. I just had to shoot this--it was calling.

There is no HDR or blending in this image. As a matter of fact, other than straightening, and noise removal, I didn't do a thing to this. This is how it came out of the camera.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Wood Stork

Wood Stork
This Wood Stork was probing for dinner in the pond at the Thompson Sports Complex Park, in Gulfport, FL. The Wood Stork is the only real stork we have in the United States.

Wood Storks stand between 40-44" tall. Their heads are bare. They fly with their necks extended. Wood Storks can be found on or near the coast, cypress swamps and mangroves. They nest in colonies. Wood Storks are resident in Florida and Georgia and rarely along the coast from S Carolina to Texas.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

I went to my friend's house in Bradenton, FL yesterday looking for White Pelicans. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any, but I did manage to shoot this Brown Pelican. This guy was very cooperative. It actually was pretty easy because I was on a pier where a fisherman was cleaning his fish. This one was just waiting around for a handout, so I was only a few feet from him.

Brown Pelicans have brown heads in the Summer and are all white in the Winter. They feed on fish, alone or in groups. They make spectacular dives, flipping from their backs just as they hit the water, then going in bill first. They swallow huge fish and you can see it wiggling while they're trying to swallow it while it's still in its pouch.

Brown Pelicans nest in colonies in trees or on mangrove islands. They are resident in Florida and are very common near the ocean, bays, estuaries, and a few wander inland.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tricolor Heron

Tricolor Heron

This was shot 3 days ago at Sawgrass Lake Park in St Petersburg, FL. He was just wading around looking for dinner in the shallow water.

I'm always excited when I spot Tricolors. There are plenty Great White Egrets and Great Blue Herons around because they've lost their fear of humans, but I don't see as many of these guys. I'm not saying they're rare, they seem to be more secretive and shy than the others. Green Herons and Reddish Egrets are also pretty elusive.

This one didn't pay much attention to me. He was too intent on hunting. I was lucky to be able to get this shot.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Boat-tailed Grackle

Boat-tailed Grackles are very common in St Petersburg, FL. We have 2 species here, this one and the Common Grackle. The Boat-tailed Grackle  is much larger, up to 16 inches, while the common Grackle is about 12 inches. They hang in marshes and along the coast. They can also be found on farmlands.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Giraffe

This Giraffe was shot at the Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, FL while my daughter and son-in-law were on a mini-vacation last week. He was kind enough to pose for me like this.

Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) can be found in the dry savannahs and in open woodlands south of the Sahara Desert. They are the tallest land mammals with a height up to 20 ft. The also have a long, prehensile tongue that can extend its reach by 15 inches. Their tongue is a bluish purple in color and their primary food is Arcacia leaves. There are nine subspecies distinguished by their coat patterns.

Giraffes give birth standing up, which means the baby's first sensation is a 6 ft. drop. Imagine coming into the world like this! The newborns must learn to run almost immediately by its mother's side, because Giraffes are preyed on by lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, and wild dogs.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

White Ibis

White Ibis

This curious White Ibis came within a ft of me at Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, FL. These birds can be found all over Florida usually in flocks on people's lawns probing for insects. According to a landscaper friend of mine, the probing is actually good for your grass; they are aerating it and keeping the insects down. They can also be found near the shore or on the banks of fresh water looking for small fish, crustaceans, with crayfish being one of their favorite foods.

Males and females look similar, but the male has a longer beak and is slightly larger than the female. Juveniles are brown and white and during breeding, the adult's beak and lores are deep red. Their wing tips are black, which can be seen in flight, but normally when they're on the ground the black tips are tucked under the white plumage. Ibis are both beautiful and friendly.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Greater Kudu

Greater Kudu

This magnificent animal was photographed at the Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, FL. My daughter and son-in-law decided to take a mini-vacation in South Florida and lucky for me, I was able to join them for a couple days.

We had gone to Busch Gardens in Tampa last Saturday and was very disappointed. Most of the animals were gone, or the exhibits were closed due to the holiday celebration and the crowd with school out was outrageous! There was nothing but long lines everywhere. It took 45 minutes just to get through the line to get our lunch. I expected that, but with most of the animal exhibits gone or closed and the ones that were open behind glass, is a factor for me to cancel my long-running annual pass. I've had it since 1988, and have always enjoyed the park because of the animal exhibits. I think I'll be going one more time just to see if all the exhibits remain closed, then I'm going to cancel my membership. If not, I'll hang on to it for another year or so.

Anyway, back to the Lion Country Safari. This place was only $30/per person to get in, and a great place to go. Families in particular will enjoy it, and it's only 3 hrs. (but well worth the trip) to Loxahatchee from St Petersburg. It starts with a car safari where the animals roam free, and the humans are locked in their cars. They give everyone a CD to play as you drive through at 8mph explaining what each animal is and a little bit about them. After the safari, you park your car and go into an amusement park where you can feed several animals, a petting zoo, and fish feeding. From there, you can walk over to the water park. It's small, but one can easily spend several hours there. The amusement park and water park are designed for kids, but we adults enjoyed it as well.

The photo is of one of the animals from the safari. It is a Greater Kudu. They are from Southern and Eastern Africa and the second largest Antelope. They weigh up to 690 lbs. Box sexes have the spinal crests, but only the males have a beard. Their horns curl around 2 1/2 times and average 4 ft long. The are herbaceous eating many kinds of leaves, herbs, fallen fruits, vines, tubers, succulents, flowers, and sometimes varied with a little new grass.

This one came quite close to the car allowing me to get a great shot of him.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Pier

The Pier, St Petersburg, FL


The Pier, located 1/4 mile out on the waterfront in St Petersburg, FL is an iconic symbol of our beautiful city. This beautiful building is 40 years old and is unfortunately falling apart. It once housed 3 restaurants, several shops and a food court on the first floor, an aquarium on the second floor, offices on the 4th floor and an observation deck with restaurant and live music on the 5th floor.

There were fishing docks on the back, mini golf, boats, ski doos, bicycles and paddleboats rentals on the left side, with a bait house where the Pelicans could be fed for $1 a fish. Free trollies brought people who didn't want to or were unable to walk the quarter mile walk to the end of the pier to visit this building. Tourists flocked here. It was a great place to spend an afternoon or evening. While all good things must come to an end, The Pier is now closed and has been closed since May 31, 2013.

Originally, the city was going to demolish it and replace it with another building. There were 3 designs presented and a design called The Lens was chosen. The people of St Petersburg were outraged and wanted nothing to do with The Lens. They didn't like the design and the proposed usage. A referendum was held and the City stopped its plans while the citizens gathered the required number of signatures to squash the plan. Once again, the city is looking at new plans for our beloved Pier. This time, there are 8 designs to choose from. We'll have to see what wins out.

This was not the only pier for the City of St Petersburg. The first pier was constructed in 1889 and  was called The Railroad Pier. It was a sight-seeing and recreational resort for locals and tourists. It was built around the Orange Belt Railway, and was railway accessible. In 1906, it was replaced by The Electric Pier and extended 3,000 ft into Tampa Bay. This pier was replaced by the Municipal Pier in 1914. The Municipal Pier was destroyed by a hurricane in 1921. The city then paid $1,000,000 for a new pier. The new one, called the Million Dollar Pier and dedicated in 1926. It was demolished in 1967 and the site remained vacant until 1973 when the current pier was built.

So, now we wait for a new pier to be built. I feel now is a good time to photograph and document our pier before it is gone.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Dali

The Dali Museum

The building was designed by architect, Yann Weymouth. The free-form geometrical glass bubble is made up of 1062 pieces of glass and is 75ft tall at its highest point. This image shows only a small part of it. The bubble is named, enigma.The galleries house a collection of works by Salvidor Dali, dating from 1904 until 1989.

You can see another shot of the enigma in a previous post. I will be posting more photos of this innovative building as time goes by.

This building was shot in the late afternoon, using my Canon 6D, with my Tamron 28-300mm lens. Settings used were f3.5 at 1/2500th in Aperture Priority mode and +1/3 eV, ISO 320, at 35mm. I used the pattern metering mode to ensure a good exposure since I was shooting from dark shadows into the light.
free-form geodesic glass bubble known as the “enigma”. The “enigma”, which is made up of 1,062 triangular pieces of glass, stands 75 feet at its tallest point, - See more at: http://thedali.org/about-the-museum/the-building/#sthash.Dw8vutEw.dpuf
Yann Weymouth of HOK
Yann Weymouth of HOK

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

White Ibis

White Ibis

I have to admit, I've been a bit lazy the last few days. I haven't been out shooting for whatever reason; tired, lazy, unmotivated, call it whatever you will. I just haven't been out!

This image of the White Ibis was shot last month at Sawgrass Lake Park. I don't know why I never noticed how much I liked his reflection in the water. I'm still not sure I like that feather and its reflection between them in the background, but at the last minute decided to leave it in.

I captured this image with my Canon 6D, 28-300mm Tamron lens (my favorite walk-around lens), handheld at f13 and 1/40th, racked all the way out to 300mm, ISO 1250 in Aperture Priority mode at -1EV, and Center-weighted average metering, in the late afternoon. I can't believe the VC (vibration compensation) on this lens allowed me to shoot this hand-held at 1/40th and 300mm. This lens is just amazing. It's light, easy to carry around my neck on my 6D all day. I just love this combo.

Tell me what you all think of that feather. Is it too distracting?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Comfort Station One

Comfort Station One

Comfort Station One, or Little St Mary's Comfort Station was built in 1929. The architect, Henry S Taylor, built many of St Petersburg's buildings around that time including St Mary's Catholic Church. The octogon building is Romanesque Revival Style and is built with multi-colored bricks. It was designated in 1985 on the National Register of Historic Places, which is unusual for a comfort station.

A story that has been floating around for many years is that this comfort station is an exact replica of St Mary's Church, which is about a mile away because the church didn't pay the architect all the money owed to him. However, the architect denied the story. He said although the church paid him off late due to tight money in those days, they did pay him all the money owed to him.

It is also rumored that this comfort station is haunted by a female ghost, named Agnes. There have been many people who have claimed to have seen her and speak with her. There have also been reports of a cold chill even on the hottest days and misty figures on the mirrors.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Goldenrod

Goldenrod
The Goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa) is in the Aster family. There are about 120 species of Goldenrod. They grow to about 40 inches or nearly 4ft tall. Some species branch out, others are like this one growing up singular. Goldenrod is also blamed for causing allergies in humans, similar to ragweed. However, the pollen is heavy and does not blow into the air. It has to be pollinated by bees or butterflies. So, in order for humans to get an allergic reaction, they must touch them in some way, maybe brush against them with their clothes.

In North America, Goldenrod is seen as a weed, but it is prized as a garden plant in Europe.
 
Goldenrod blooms from June through November and can be found in Florida in dry pinelands, flatwoods, ditches and roadsides.

Monday, December 15, 2014

White Peacock Butterfly

White Peacock Butterfly

One of my favorite butterflies, and the first butterfly photo I took after moving to Florida, is the White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae) Butterfly. I love the iridescent color of his wings. They remind me of my favorite stone and my birthstone, the opal.

Their food plants are Water Hyssop and Ruellia and inhabit moist or swampy areas. They can be found throughout South Florida and South Texas as well as the American tropics. They have been known to stray North to Kansas and Massachusetts, but that is a rarity, because they are not really strong fliers and not very hardy.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Low Tide

Low Tide

This is one of those images I couldn't make up my mind if I liked the colored version or the black and white. The black and white won out because I think I like the drama created from the monotone and high contrast. I wanted to emphasize the light and shadows caused from the early morning light.

This image was captured last January at the South Rest Stop under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The people out in the distance were crabbing, I think. Florida doesn't really have many rocks. The "rocks" in the foreground are recycled from torn up highways, etc.

One thing I liked about the color version is it showed the green algae on the rocks, however, since it was very cloudy, with the sunlight only peeking through, the color was pretty muted. I may or may not post the color version at a later date.