Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers and followers. Without you taking the time to comment and encourage me throughout the year, I would probably lose interest in blogging and forget how much I enjoy it. So, this image is for you.

A Monarch butterfly sipping the nectar of Butterfly Weed at the Veterans' Memorial Garden at the Safety Harbor Marina in Safety Harbor, Florida.

The Monarch is probably the best known butterfly. They are migratory, but it is interesting to note that no one butterfly makes the entire trip from coast to coast. In the Spring, the adult butterflies head back North, breeding along the way. Their offspring finish the trip.

The above information is one of the reasons I have the passion to continue photographing nature. Everytime I capture an image, I research a little tidbit of information to pass along to my readers. It's amazing how much one can learn in small chunks without trying. Photography teaches all of us so much about the world we live in.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dawn Sunshine Skyway Bridge

I'm always trying to find a different perspective when I'm photographing a familiar site. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Ft Desoto, Tierra Verde, Florida is one of my favorite scenes to photo. Not only because it's the Skyway, but because I love to photograph bridges. I'm always on the lookout for a new one to photograph.

It's strange, I've photographed this bridge, especially at dawn and sunrise, hundreds of times and most of them from the same location on East Beach, and never thought to turn the camera on its side. I was pleasantly pleased with this shot.

Whenever I'm out with my photography students, I tell them to not be a "walk-up-shooter". Spend some time exploring the view; look up, look down, walk all the way around the subject if possible, take shots from near, from far, well you get the idea. I tell them this because it's one of my faults that I'm trying hard to overcome. I'll have to practice what I preach more often.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron

This immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron was taking advantage of the low tide to hunt for his evening meal in Tampa Bay in Safety Harbor, Florida.

As their name implies, they normally hunt at night, but this guy must've been really hungry or wanted to nest early.

Unlike the Black-crowned Night Heron, the Yellow-crowned Night Heron feeds mainly on crabs and crayfish. They can be seen foraging around near dusk when other Herons are well on their way to roost.

Night Herons differ from other Herons because they do not roost in colonies. They prefer to find their own private corner.

Because they're nocturnal, these birds are more skittish than most; but I find that when they're looking around for food they don't really care about anyone. They only concentrate on one thing, and that's finding their next meal. It is during that time that I find I can get pretty close to them, if I stay low and move slowly.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Study in Lines

I don't know why, but whenever I come across a scene like this I have to photograph it. Maybe it's because as a child my favorite toy was a Kaleidoscope. Whatever the reason, I love converging lines.

I like the pattern, the square at the end, the depth, the shadows, and the way the lens captures it.

This walkway is at HCC (Hillsborough Community College) in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida. The shadows is what first attracted me to it. Then I looked at the detail in the bricks the arches and the lines in the ceiling tiles. They all converge to form a perfect rectangle at the end. It looks to me like a long tunnel for whatever reason.

On this day, the lighting was perfect. I was out with a group of friends when I spotted this and stopped to make this shot. Everyone also shot it with their own unique vision and our photos were so different, it was hard to believe we were all at the same place at the same time.

It has been said that if 100 photographers and/or artists were told to make a picture of what they saw, no two pictures would be the same. At least 6 of us photographed this scene and no one's were even similar. Some of them didn't look like the same place.

I guess it would be safe to say that this was made with my eyes and my vision.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Endangered and Nearly Extinct

Isn't it amazing how far we've come with technology in the last 10-15 years? Pay phones could be found in front of every convenience store, and on nearly every corner in any city in the United States no matter how far you travel. Now, the only place they can be found is on the highways at rest stops.

Only the very well off could afford cell phones or car phones 15 years ago. Now, everyone has a cell phone; even children.

What is the need to be in touch every place we go? No matter where we are, what we're doing, we have these things growing out of our ears. We can't even have a day off. Because we have our cell phones, anyone from our offices or jobs can reach us anytime, and no one thinks any thing wrong with butting in on our own time.

We take them everywhere. It doesn't matter if we're on vacation, shopping, visiting with friends, we have this need to have our cells glued to our ears.

Now cell phones aren't just phones. They're portable computers. First came our planners; remember the Franklin Planner? I remember when my company paid us to take courses to learn how to use our planners to plan out our day. It was a requirement. Next, they gave us Palm Pilots, then portable PCs and finally laptops. Do we need to be always available every minute of our day for our jobs? Is it really a convenience or a pain in the butt? You decide.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunrise Over the Skyway

I have been doing this shoot every year since my friend, Linda Weekley, told me about it in 2006.

Once a year, the sun rises between the spans of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tierra Verde. I get this shot from East Beach in Ft Desoto. It happens only for 2 days a year, and it's never the same time.

That means that starting in October, I have to check where the sun rises so I can estimate when it'll be right there between the spans. I go probably 2 or 3 times in October, then once a week, down to every couple days to catch it just right. I got lucky this year; my friend, Jim, was there yesterday and let me know today would be the day. Jim is a member of my photography group, and they're all involved with this as well. As a matter of fact, it's become a tradition with the group. We all go out there for sunrise, then go to work from there if it's on a weekday.

I just made it on time today. I usually go at dawn, but today was the day the time changed (from Daylight Savings Time) and I got confused. I got there just before it rose. These are the photos I got from when I got there until it was just right.

If you go back in my blogs, you can compare this year's with each previous year. It's pretty cool.

It's still as exciting to see it today and it was back in 2006 when I caught it for the first time.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn

This shot was made during a walking tour off the beaten path in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida.

The Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn was built in 1895 by the founder of Ybor City, Vicente Martinez-Ybor, as his office for a land development company.

At the turn of the century, it became a clinic treating Ybor City residents. After the clinic closed, it sat empty for 18 years suffering vandalism, fire, neglect and vagrants.

In 1998, Jack Shiver, saw the potential for the old building and began refurbishing it painstakingly restoring it to its original splendor. Two years and two million dollars later the doors were reopened as the Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn. It is located at 1915 Republic de Cuba (Corner of 9th St and 14th Ave) in Tampa, FL. USA.