Wednesday, November 26, 2008

White Ibis Fighting in the Air

I went to Lowry Zoo today with my friends, Kathy, Gary and Frank. I was lucky enough to spot these two Ibis fighting in the air.

I just held the shutter button down and hoped I caught them. What a surprise when I saw this image!

The squabble didn't last very long, but it was exciting to watch them. Nothing became of it. They just landed and each went their own way.

It's really something; I have flocks of White Ibis in my yard all day, and I go to the zoo to photograph them. :) Actually, we went to the zoo today because it was the first day the baby White Tiger cubs were outside. They're about 2 months old. The mother had a female and male. This shot is of one of them.

You can see the mother here: Aren't they just adorable?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


This is a very old fountain found on the wall of the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City, Tampa, FL. If you click on the photo, you can see the amazing detail and all the work that went into creating this fountain.

Throughout Ybor City, one can find some amazing Cuban relics and ornate decor from beautiful mosaic tiles along with sculptured stonework and fountains like this one.

We had a meetup on Monday to do an Ybor City walk-around. For Florida, the weather was quite chilly (60 deg. F)--especially for this time of year. Yet, 23 members showed up for the walk. We split into groups of 5 or 6 and wandered around the city looking to photograph anything we spotted that might be interesting. For me, the most interesting thing I noticed is that the streets were virtually empty. Ybor is one of the busiest places I can think of in the area. The night life is usally blazing with crowds out having a good time.

Most of you from the North would think that 60 deg. is fairly warm, but with us surrounded by water, it really is very chilly. I can remember my daughter visiting one April from upstate NY and it was about 64 deg. F. She was so cold, she went out and bought some sweats to wear. She couldn't believe how cold 64 could feel when we're so close to water.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Turk's Cap

This was taken in my back yard. The red and green remind me of Christmas.

Turk's Caps are strange flowers. They look like Hibiscus that haven't opened yet. The stamen look the same and the petals have the same texture as Hibiscus, yet they never open. These are fully in bloom.

The shrub is getting a bit out of hand and for some reason, the limbs are weak. We're going to have to prune it back quite a bit and I wanted to get some photos before we do it. I wish I knew what was causing this. I've never seen another shrub have this problem; and these are all over Florida. They're native and grow wild.

Turk's Caps have no fragrance and are not bothered by Deer. Hummingbirds love them, however.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cockle Shell

Do you remember the little nursery rhyme about what little girls and boys are made of? Have you ever wondered what Cockle shells are. Well, wonder no more. This is a genuine, Florida Cockle shell.

If you've been following my blog, you know I've been spending a lot of time on the beaches of Ft. Desoto lately trying to capture the elusive sun rising between the spans of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

After the sunrise is over, I leave East Beach for one of my favorite spots for capturing birds at North Beach. Ft Desoto is one of the best places to create awesome bird shots, and this time of year is perfect. It's not too hot, there are few people on the beach this early in the morning; mostly other photographers with the same idea and a few people just walking the beach for exercise.

North Beach was voted the #1 beach by Dr. Beach in 2005. This beach is pristine with its fine (as talc) white sand, beautiful sand dunes dot all around the beach and a gorgeous lagoon situated between the main beach and a little island or key. The key has a sand bar leading up to it that during low tide, one can walk right onto it to explore its beauty. Part of the key is a protected nesting site for both native and migrating birds, so we need to be careful not to go too far towards the end of key; however, the conservation area is well marked. We also need to carefully watch the tide coming in. It's not bad though, since it's a short distance if the tide covers the sand bar. The lagoon is only about 4 ft. deep at the deepest spot and Florida water rarely dips below 71 deg. F. Worse comes to worse, one can walk or swim back to the mainland.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Redding Egret

This was taken while it was still pretty foggy out the morning we tried to catch the sunrise.

Of all the Egrets and Herons in Florida, these are probably the least commonly seen. You'd never guess that if you were on North Beach in Ft Desoto lately. There are so many of them.

This one seemed like he was too lazy to hunt for food. I think he figures if he stands there long enough the waves might bring in a snack or two.

I never knew that birds didn't come out in the fog--or so it seems that way. I don't know if it's true, but there were only a few birds on the beach until the fog finally lifted. Then, all the birds started flying in. It was a little too late for us, though, because by the time the birds flew in the lighting was too harsh to photograph them.

I imagine that's life. We can't predict the weather no matter how good the weathermen try to be.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I went to Busch Gardens again; this time in pursuit of a Chimpanzee photo that one of my stock agencies was looking for. Unfortunately for me, the Chimp never struck the pose the art director was looking for (head and shoulders profile with hand on chin, like he was thinking).

I did get some great shots anyway--especially of this magnificent Gorilla. I was standing next to 3 other female photographers and this Gorilla posed for us for a good 15 minutes or so. As you can see, he was looking right at the camera and kept changing positions as if he was modeling. I swear any minute, his keeper was going to ask us for a modeling fee.

Once he got tired of showing off, he moved to the side of his habitat where he's separated from the people by some thick glass. I'm sooooo glad that glass was thick! Someone in the crowd ticked him off--big time. Just as we were trying to inch our way up front for more shots of this amazingly powerful Gorilla, he spotted something in the crowd he didn't like. He walked back a few steps, then charged at the glass. I was so glad that glass held him because he wasn't a very happy camper. Get a look at those forearms!

Monday, November 10, 2008

North Beach, Ft Desoto

This beach is so beautiful and Sunday morning we had the prettiest clouds! It was cool, breezy and very dry. One of the best days we've had since the hot summer.

The sand dunes are planted for conservation. They help keep the sand from eroding. Keeping our beaches in shape like this is a lot of work and very expensive.

This is North Beach at Ft Desoto in Tierra Verde, FL. In 2005 it was rated #1 beach by Dr. Beach. You can see why in this image.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Herring Gull

This Herring Gull had just landed on the beach at North Beach in Ft. Desoto, in Tierra Verde, FL. My friend and I headed to North Beach right after watching the sunrise on East Beach.

I went to Ft Desoto this morning chasing the sunrise again. It was another incredible sunrise. It rose right between the spans after we moved to catch it there. It's still coming up a bit left, so with a little luck we'll still be able to photograph it between the spans for another week.

Friday's my day off, so I'll be giving it one more shot (not pun intended).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

African Crowned Crested Crane

This is one of my favorite zoo birds--even if I can't say its name 3 times fast. I took this shot at Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL, but I've also seen them at Lowry Zoo in Tampa as well.

I just love that crest and those pink cheeks. You can't see it in this photo, but his pupil is lined with a pretty aqua color.

Here is a full-size photo of him showing off his beautiful plumage. In this image, you can see why I think they're so beautiful. They don't have much of a fear of humans, though. Although, I've never been to Africa, so I can't say how much they're really afraid of humans. Most zoo animals are pretty much used to us from seeing us on a daily basis.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Sunday, I went to Busch Gardens with a couple of friends and had a great time. It's been taking a while to go through all the photos I took--especially since I've been playing around with Lightroom 2 and trying to make up my mind if I want to stick with Lightroom and give up ACDSee Pro 2 for organizing and quick editing of my photos.

It's a tough decision, since I've been using ACDSee Pro for years so I'm comfortable with it, and I'm new to Lightroom, so it's a bit more difficult to use for me, and I'm not sure of the organizing, so it's really slowing me down.

Enough about my problems with my software. This Chimpanzee looked so sad sitting against that tree. I can't help wondering what was making him look that way. They're so cute. I think he's a little older than most of the ones we usually see.