Saturday, February 28, 2009

Footbridge Lake Seminole Park

It is rare that I get a decent landscape worth posting; but more than one in the same place is unheard of for me. Landscapes are not my strong point. I really have to work at them.

I posted one yesterday and this one today. Both were taken the same day in Lake Seminole Park. It must be the beautiful sky and the combination of good light and of course, it was the scenery that made the image possible at all.

This footbridge spans over a stream that feeds two sections of Lake Seminole. The brook is loaded--and I mean loaded--with blue crab. At any given day, one can always spot the birds fishing for crab in the shallow waters of this stream. On this day, an elderly lady tied a half of chicken on the end of a string and flung it into the water. She pulled out crab after crab until an American Alligator chased her away. She said she got plenty for supper, so she didn't mind getting chased away. I guess the 'gator wasn't in the mood for sharing.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Winding Brook

Shooting landscapes isn't really my strong point, but every now and them I come up with one I like.

This one was taken the other day while I was out shooting with my friends at Lake Seminole Park in Seminole, FL.

Florida (at least this part) doesn't have its own rock, so we either have to truck it in or make it. These "rocks" appear to be man made; but I like the way their placed on the edges of this brook.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Herons are another bird that I love to photograph. I like the way they stand so tall and straight with almost an arrogant attitude.

It's strange that their called Great BLUE Herons when their color looks like more gray to me. I've seen them in all shades of gray--well, I guess it's sort of a slate blue. What do you think?

These birds are pretty skittish unless you happen to have a fishing pole in your hands. Then they're all over the place ready to steal your fish while you're reeling it in. They can always be seen anywhere on the docks and piers waiting to steal someone else's catch. I've also seen them steal fish from other birds. They'd rather steal a catch than catch their own.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Double-crested Cormorant

My friends and I were on our way to Boca Ciega Millennium Park today when we spotted Lake Seminole Park on the way. We decided to stop there first and check it out and found it's a great place to shoot.

This is one of many shots I took today. I always have trouble with the exposure with these black birds, but I like the way this one turned out. I rarely can catch those beautiful green eyes, but this time it came out perfect. A little something got lost in the jpg conversion, but the full shot is one of my best (if I must admit it).

These Cormorants are usually pretty skittish, but this guy let us get fairly close--to my surprise.

I plan on going back to that park often--it's a super place for wild life, birds and beautiful scenery. It just doesn't get any better than that.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Readying the Big Guns

Sunday my photo group had another meetup to attend the reenactment of the Battle of Ballast Point at Ft Desoto in Tierra Verde, FL.

While I shot the entire series in color, I was thinking that they didn't have color film during the Civil War, so it would probably be best to reproduce the series in sepia tone. I am posting both the color version and the sepia version for comparison.

That's the beauty of shooting in RAW mode and using Lightroom for post-processing. I have the ability to change things on the fly while keeping the original untouched.

Here is the color version; which do you prefer?

The Battle of Ballast Point was not one of the "popular" battles to study, so here is a little background information on the battle.

"The Battle of Ballast Point took place in Tampa, Florida on October 18, 1863. A Union raiding party, landed at the current intersection of Gandy Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard, under the protracted diversionary bombardment of the city of Tampa and Fort Brooke by two ships, one the Tahoma" and the other, to be named. The Union divisions marched up the Hillsborough River to what is now Lowry Park and burned two notorious blockade running ships, the Scottish Chieftain, and the Kate Dale, owned by the future mayor of Tampa, James McKay. Escaping capture by mere minutes, with members of his crew in tow, James McKay sped to the city of Tampa and warned all of the landing party and the fate of his ships.

After burning the ships, the Confederate forces were alerted to the raiding party's location, and commenced pursuit. A confederate cavalry unit (Oklawaha Rangers) caught up with the Union raiders, finally and a full engagement ensued. The union soldiers came under direct fire as they boarded their dinghies, in a tactical retreat.

Lives were lost. Prisoners captured on both sides."

- from Wikepedia

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Gulf Fritillary

Besides all the Swallowtails, these are one of my favorites to photograph. I love their color and by growing Lantana, which is their favorite food, it's easy to see many of them.

We are so lucky to be living in Florida where we can see butterflies year 'round.

It took me years of practice to be able to get a decent shot of a butterfly. I've noticed one thing from all the shots I've taken along the way, is that butterflies and birds are elusive at first try, but after a long time of missing them all together you finally get the shot. After that first shot it's easy to repeat it again and again. I guess it takes a while to get the timing right to be able to capture these guys.

Two of my favorite things to shoot are butterflies and birds. Fortunately for me there are plenty of opportunities where I live to practice. I don't even have to leave the house.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Little Green Heron

Every once in a while I capture an image that really wows me. Of all the photographs I create I can honestly say only about 1 a month is one I'm really proud of. This is one of those images.

This Little Green Heron was perched on the edge of a fence looking out over the water. I was able to get into a position where I could eliminate the fence and make use of the water for a backdrop.

These little birds are very shy and usually hide pretty well. They're hard to spot since they're rarely out in the open. I got lucky with this one.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

White Tiger with Cubs

Today my friends and I went to Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, FL. We've been watching these little cubs grow up ever since they were born. They are male and female twins.

The mother tiger is extremely gentle with her young and a great mom. If they start to get out of hand, she's not afraid to give them a little, loving whack now and then.

We watched them frolic around for about 40 minutes this morning. They have so much fun together. Mom is always very close by to keep an eye on them.

It's really fun to watch them practicing they're skills for survival. We watched as they stalked their mother, then pounced on her, then they would stalk each other. What adorable little creatures.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Seminole Indian"

Yesterday yet another Meetup took me to Ft Foster in Thonotosassa, FL for a reenactment of a skirmish between the Seminole Indians and the Army, of which was mostly volunteers during that time.

This man was dressed as a Seminole Indian and I really liked his profile.

If anything could go wrong yesterday for getting to the reenactment, it did. I had to work in the morning, and the skirmish started at 1:00 pm, but for some reason, there were a lot of new babies born for me to photograph. Usually, I can leave by 10:30 or 11:00 on Saturdays, but that wasn't about to happen. Finally, I left at 12:50 pm and with a 1 hour drive, I thought at least I'd get there for the second half of the skirmish. As luck would have it, there was something going on in Ybor City and the traffic was backed up from downtown Tampa all the way to Ybor.

I finally got through that, and arrived in Thonotosassa at 2:30 with only a 1/2 hour to shoot the reenactment. As I was entering Ft Foster, I was told by a volunteer that I had to wait at the end of the road for the ambulance and the Fire Department vehicles to pass. After waiting for about 10 minutes, I decided to park the car there and walk in, not knowing how long the walk would take. I got there just after the skirmish ended. It was a long walk with my equipment on my back.

I settled for taking a few photos of the reenactors and the encampment site and left about 45 minutes later. I was lucky to get the photos I got.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ferris Wheel

This is another of my favorite images from the Florida State Fair in Tampa, FL.

The light was fading pretty fast and my tripod was in the car, so I put my trusty Tamron F2.8 35-105mm lens on and hoped for the best. Lucky for me, there was enough ambient light to hand hold my lens to make this shot of this Ferris Wheel.

I have to admit that I was surprised that I was able to handhold this lens and still get a sharp image. This was only one of many I took that night that came out this well. I was able to keep many of the shots.

One thing that also helped is that I always shoot in bursts of 3 shots when I'm hand holding my lens. I figure the 1st shot, there's apt to be some camera shake while I'm pressing the shutter button, while my second shot is made while the shutter button is already being held down. The final shot is made when I'm releasing the shutter so the potential for camera shake exists. Most of the time, the second shot is the sharpest and shows the least movement if any. This shot proves my theory.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Meet "Rocky" one of my friend's Great Dane. Rocky is very camera shy, even though his "daddy" is a photographer. He just doesn't like the camera at all.

This photo was a sneak shot. I love his different colored eyes--blue and brown, and felt the need to capture them in this image.

Monday evening, he was sporting his brand new bandana. He was really proud of it so I thought I'd let everyone see it. :)P

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Last night was our monthly meetup at the Safety Harbor Marina. I think since April our group has photographed every blade of grass in that city. It's so much of a challenge to come up with different photo everytime we go there.

When I got to the marina, I couldn't help but notice these reflections. Other than this one spot, the water was a calm and quiet as glass. The only thing I could see was these reflections.

I can only hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed capturing them.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Florida State Fair

We went to the Florida State Fair last night for another Meetup with my Photography Group.

It was pretty warm when I got there, so I left my tripod and jacket in my car that was parked really far away from the entrance thinking I'd go back for it later. During the day it was too crowded to get many photos of the rides, so we waited until after sunset.

It began to get cold, and dark and I didn't feel like walking way back to the car, so I told my friend Dave that I'd just make a couple of shots of the rides and leave. Well, a couple turned into a lot!

This shot is one of my favorites, since I shot it handheld and without a tripod. Most of the shots I took weren't bad at all. I was surprised to see how well I as able to do with my fast F2.8 Tamron 35-105mm lens.

I'll be posting more once they're edited.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

TAG Kayakers Explore Weedon Island Preserve

We had a small meetup today. Weedon Island Preserve was having a birding identification session to prepare for next weekend's Great American Bird Count. This will be my 4th year participating in this event.

We saw a few birds, but most were not close enough to photograph--even with our long lenses.

The day wasn't a total waste though; the TAG (Tampa Adventure Group) had their meetup at the same place. About 50 kayakers and canoeists took place in their event. This is one of the photos from their day.

There are a lot of people in both meetup groups, so I'm sure they'll appreciate some of the photos we took of them while they paddled along in the bay during low tide.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Worthy Building, Springfield, MA

During my vacation, my son and I spent 1 afternoon in Springfield, MA, about 20 minutes from Hartford, CT.

We photographed downtown architecture from the top floor of a garage (we later got stuck in; but that's another story).

This building is the Worthy Building, 1571 Main St, Springfield, MA. It was originally the Worthy Hotel built in 1905 in the Renaissance architectural style. It was designed by Gardner, Pyne & Garner. On 2/24/1983, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is now used for various businesses and low income housing.

Here is a more detailed view. For a 100+ year old building, this one is in beautiful shape.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Oswego, NY Snow Storm

During my trip up north I also stopped to visit my grandchildren. It snowed every day I was there. You can see by this photo how much snow they have. They won't see the ground until May!

I enjoyed the visit, but didn't go outside to play with the grandkids because it was not only snowing, it was very cold. The highest the temperature got while I was there was 11 deg. F. Not great weather for a Floridian to go out and play in.

During the next week, I'll be posting more photos from my vacation, so check back often.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Well I just got back from a 3,000 mile road trip up north to see my kids and grandkids and SNOW.

I got my wish on the snow, that's for sure. This image was taken in S. Windsor, CT from my son and daughter-in-law's home. As you can see, there's plenty of snow.

Since I hadn't taken any photos of snow in many, many years, I had to play to get the exposures correct. It's just like riding a bike, though. Once I took a few shots everything came back to me, including how cold it is.

I wondered what possessed me to go up north this time of year. Oh yeah, I know; I missed my kids and grandchildren. In addition, I got to see my brothers who, we figured it had been 16 years since we saw one another. My visit was wonderful and I really enjoyed seeing everyone and the snow.

I'll be posting more images from up north very soon, so check often.