Saturday, December 31, 2011

Merry Christmas Penguins

Happy New Year!

You'll probably be happy to know that this is the last of the Christmas lights series. It's been a lot of fun for me and I hope you've all enjoyed my seasonal photos as much as I enjoyed making them.

I've been thinking about my New Year's Resolutions this week and have decided what I'm planning to do. Hopefully, I can commit to at least one of them and do it throughout the year.

There are a couple of photography projects I've been planning on doing for quite some time and never got around to doing them. So this year, I'm going to try my best to do them. I teach photography and one of things I'm always preaching to my students is the best way to improve your photography is to take at least one photo every day. Maybe I should practice what I preach. One of my resolutions will be to start the 365 project.

Most photographers out there know what this is, and for those of you who don't my resolution/project is to take one photo a day no matter what the weather or how I feel for the entire year. I'm going to start this project tomorrow on January 1, 2012. I'm counting on all of you to keep me on track. When I fail to post a photo of the Day, email me and remind me that you're waiting for your photo. That should keep me on track. I'll try to do my part if you all will do your part. Let's see how long I can keep this project going.

So, what's your resolution. Let me know in the comments section and ask for reminders and help if you need it.

Friday, December 30, 2011


I thought you'd all like a little change in pace by now with all the Christmas lights. Actually, this is still a photo of Christmas lights--just in abstract form.

I made it by either zooming out or zooming in on a Christmas tree made of lights. With a little imagination, you can still see the tree. The lights coming in on the top and the right are lights on another tree.

The problem with these kind of images is they can't be duplicated no matter how much you try. It's also a plus for the same reason. I like the colors in this one and the form it took on. It even provided it's own framing.

It's a lot of fun playing around with long exposures and a zoom lens. It's something anyone can do with nearly every camera on the market today. Even some phone cameras will zoom. You just have to have the ability to be able to set the shutter speed for a slow enough exposure. I think this one was 1.6 seconds, which isn't that slow, but slow enough to allow me to zoom the length of the lens.

For all my photographer friends and followers out there, I used a 38-105 Tamron F2.8 lens on my Canon 40D, with ISO set at 400, shutter speed 1.6 seconds at F25. The camera was set on Manual with partial metering and no flash.

Don't forget to click on it to see it larger.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Alien Christmas

With the holidays winding down, you're probably happy to not be seeing any more Christmas themed photos from me for a while.

This one was taken at the same house I've been showing for the last few posts. It was part of an entire collection of Aliens in one of the scenes. I liked the way the lights behind this one makes it appear to be stars in the night. Actually, they're on lit trees.

I also like the way this one seems to glow. It appears to be on the rooftop, but it's really in front of the house in one of their scenes.

I hope you've been enjoying my series of how Floridians make it seem more like Christmas without snow and cold.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Santa in His Sleigh

This is one of the scenes from the same house as the last two posts. There were so many really beautiful little scenes at this house that it made it difficult to pick just a few.

This one is for the child in all of us. It's too bad that we had to grow up. Think of all the memories we had as children. Is it really bad to tell our children these stories?

The latest trend is telling us that we lie to our children when we tell them about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. Don't you think they're missing out on one the greatest things about being a child? I don't understand these trends. Yes, it's dishonest, but don't we like to remember the good times we had as children. How many of us distrust our parents because they told us these stories. Why rob them of that.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Another Christmas Shot From Indian Trails

This shot is showing the other half of the front of the same house I posted last night. This one being beyond the driveway to the left.

On the left side of this image you can see some vertical lights that are hanging down like a waterfall. These lights were hung from about 65 feet up in the tree. I can only imagine that the guy who put up this lighting must've rented a cherry picker. I doubt he climbed this tree to get the lights up this high.

Anyone have any better ideas how these lights were hung? Let me know as a comment below this post.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my loyal followers and friends.

This was taken during a Christmas light shoot in Indian Trails in Palm Harbor, Florida.

This house was a corner lot and it was decorated in different scenes all the way across the front and the side as far as his property extended. It is one of the most beautiful displays I've ever seen. It was amazing! I just had to share with you all.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Snowflake Bridge

If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you know how much I like bridges. This one is no exception.

I've been dedicating my blog the last few weeks to Christmas lights, so I had to include these but still add the bridge in. The Christmas tree you see at the end of the walkway is in the Wedding Garden.

There are Christmas trees all over the place. They're at every station within each scene. This is the first time I've been to the Florida Botanical Gardens at Christmas time, and I can surely say I've been missing a lot! These are amazing lights.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Tree at Florida Botanical Gardens

During our trip to the Florida Botanical Gardens, we saw many Christmas trees. This is one of the ones I liked best.

It is located on one of the rest areas on the bridge overlooking the water. I liked the way it is framed by the bridge and the overhang. The all blue lights with the white frame is what I think makes this one especially pretty.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mosaic Benches

Although these mosaic benches aren't adorned with Christmas lights, they benefit from the Christmas lighting around them.

There are many benches like these around the park, and many areas with this beautiful mosaic tile work. There used to be shallow pools in the Wedding Gardens, but they were difficult to keep up and the Koi kept dying from the algae, so they've closed down and now have more of this same mosaic tile work covering them. I'm still trying to decide which I like better; but of course, I don't have to maintain them.

The Florida Botanical Gardens is one of St Petersburg/Largo's treasures. I you're ever visiting the area, check them out. The best part is there is no fee to get into this beautiful park. It's full of flowers year 'round with lots of water and even some wildlife. It's Florida at its best!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Zooming Around

Just thought you'd all like a little change in pace from the last few posts. This is still Christmas lights, though. :)

Last night, a couple friends and I went to the Christmas light display at the Florida Botanical Gardens. Their display is the second best Christmas light displays I've ever seen in my life. My first favorite was in Forest Park in Springfield, MA with my son and daughter-in-law.

There were so many lights. I think they said over 4 million. Can you just imagine! They had different stations with different themes all along the park. It's a little strange though, especially when you're from New England to see people walking around in shorts and T-shirts with flowers all in bloom among the Christmas lights.

This photo was made by pointing my camera at a lot of various colored lights, setting a long exposure and zooming my lens during the exposure. My friends and I were all experimenting with this technique. We each did several shots like this and this is my favorite of them all.

Don't forget to leave a comment if you like it--even if you don't like it, I'd still like to hear from you. Also, it is best seen by clicking on the picture and viewing the larger version.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Season's Greetings

This is one shot you'll have to click on to make it bigger so you can see the beautiful Bougainvilla blossoms behind and above the arbor. It's hard to make a scene seem wintery with Palm trees and flowers in December. The lights have to do it all alone.

The tower behind this arbor in the park is the Renaissance Vinoy Hotel. This is one of the most beautiful 5 star hotels in our area. Some rooms go for $2500 per night; but most rooms cost $395 per night.

The Vinoy was built in 1925 and was where the rich and famous spent their winters. In 1973, it closed in very poor condition. In 1990, work began to re-open the hotel. The work would cost $90,000,000 before it was re-opened in 1992.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Window Display

St Petersburg has been running a window display contest from the 400 to the 800 block of Central Ave. I was so surprised when I found very few windows dressed for the holiday. Maybe the prize wasn't very good, but so many merchants didn't bother.

This is part of one of the nicer ones. I found this one at Shokolad Chocolatiers at 401 Central. I love how the "presents" were lit from the inside.

I have more from this photowalk with my friends and will add more as the holiday nears.

I had planned to go to one of our most beautiful boat parades tonight; but as luck would have it, I had to work late. The full moon always brings more babies. Since I've been working at the hospital, I've realized that this is no myth. This morning when I got into work, there were 16 babies waiting to be photographed. I got all but 7, so I didn't do too bad seeing as it takes between 40 minutes to an hour in each room--if the babies are sleeping. In all reality, it takes about 1 to 1 1/4 hrs. to do a good job. There will be more boat parades in different towns in the county, I'm going to try to attend one of them before the season is over.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Reindeer Corral

In keeping with my Christmas theme about how Floridians celebrate Christmas, this is another section in Straub Park in downtown St Petersburg.

I call this the Reindeer Corral. As you can see, there is an archway of lights for viewing the "Reindeer" lined on the outside with candy cane lights. It's too bad this isn't video because the long streaked lights on the trees looked as if they were dripping off the trees. I've never seen these before and would love to have some for my tree.

Straub Park spans about 6 blocks along the waterfront, with a North and South part. Both parts are decorated with different sections representing a Christmas wonderland. At any time of the day or night one can see people walking around the park. The stores and hotels on the other side of Beach Drive are also decorated for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

St Pete Christmas Tree

In Florida we have no snow, so we have to make it seem like Christmas with lots of lights.

Straub Park is on the waterfront in downtown St Petersburg. The entire park is decorated with lights and lighted scenes. This is the city Christmas Tree. If you look closely near the bottom, you'll see where we still have flowers in bloom.

Part of the celebration includes trucked in snow and ice. The kids will be able to play in the snow and skate on the ice. It's kind of strange to see them playing in the snow wearing shorts, T-shirts and flip flops. But at the same time, it's good to see the kids enjoying the snow--something they've never seen except in photos and on calendars. This all takes place December 10th.

In the evening, it'll all be topped off with the decorated boat parade. It's a fun time for all to enjoy.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Stairway to ?

While strolling along 8th Ave in St Pete Beach, I found this interesting stairway. It didn't appear to be leading anywhere and it made me curious. If I hadn't been alone, I'd have ventured up the stairs, but I didn't feel very safe; actually, I was beginning to feel uneasy.

Still, I was really curious. I was with a group of photographers, but they were up the street doing their thing. I ventured down to the end of the street looking for something different to photograph; that made me feel a little skittish once I realized everyone wasn't right there with me. I was all alone, after dark, with way too much photo equipment. Talk about feeling vulnerable!

If there were stars or the moon visible in the sky, I'd really be wondering where that stairway was heading to. But you can see all I could see; nothing but a black sky.

I'm still curious, and now since my fellow photographers have seen this image, they're curious, too. Hmmm.... Should I go back there with someone?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Snell Arcade Building at Blue Hour

The very ornate Snell Arcade Building is on the National Register of Historic Places and it's downtown St Petersburg, Florida.

It was built during the Gilded Age in 1926 by C. Perry Snell. The passage way, or the arcade as it was called is still there, but doesn't look at all like it did "back in the day". It still has some of the mosaics in place, but the 7 statues of Venus are all gone. Mr. Snell removed them when he sold the building, but the very impressive mosaic tile imported from Europe that depicted a Baroque Venetian church is still there. The name of the mosaic is Baldassare Longhena’s Santa Maria della Salute. It was uncovered during the 1983 renovation and couldn't be moved. The arcade was and still is a passage way between Central Ave and 1st St North where the old Open Air Post Office (which is still being used) stands.

If you'd like to know more about this beautiful building, a Google or Bing search on "Snell Arcade Building" will bring up all kinds of information.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Gate on 8th Ave, St Pete Beach

During our stroll on St Pete Beach (Passe-A-Grille) last week, I came across this rather ornate gate. It reminded me of the gates I used to see everywhere as a child.

I wonder why all that fancy grillwork in wrought iron is no longer done. It seems everything, although beautiful, looses the craft work of yesterday. No one does this anymore. It's a shame to see this work disappear.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Stars

Last night we had another photowalk down Central Ave in St Petersburg, FL.

I had heard there was a contest going on for the best decorated store front display from the 400-800 blocks on Central. The prize mustn't have been that good because very few stores participated. It was kind of sad.

Three of us showed up for the shoot and to say the least it was a challenge. With all types of different lighting to no lighting and the glare and reflections in the windows made it difficult. It didn't bother us, though. We came away with several very nice photos.

This is one of my favorites. It was part of a larger display.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tampa Skyline - Blue Hour

A couple nights ago, members of my photo group went to Ballast Point Park in Tampa to make photos of the Tampa skyline from a different vantage point.

We took many photos, but after going through all of them, I liked this one the best. Tampa is a beautiful city.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Passe-A-Grille Sunset

Three friends and I went to Passe-A-Grille Tuesday evening to shoot Corey Ave and the downtown district. We started out on the beach just after sunset and had so much fun there, we didn't leave enough time to photograph the town before it got too late. This is one of the after sunset photos I made.

The following article about the History of Passe-A-Grille was taken directly from the Passe-A-Grille website. You can find the website here:

For 10,000 years, Indians hunted the praires and fished the waters of what later became Pass-A-Grille. The last group of Native Americans to settle in the Pinellas County area were the Tocobagas around 1,000 - 1,700 AD. This area was first visited by Europeans in 1528 when the Spanish Explorer, Panfilo de Narvaez anchored off Pass-A-Grille pass. Afterwards, the island was used as a camp ground for fisherman to obtain fresh water and to grill their catch. According to legend, it is thought that Pass-A-Grille derives it's name from the French Passe aux Grilleurs. In 1857, John Gomez self styled 'last of the pirates', began bringing excursionists here from Tampa which gave this area the distinction of perhaps being the oldest resort on Central Florida's West Coast. Zephaniah Phillips, the first homesteader settled here in 1886 and by the turn of the Century Pass-A-Grille had it's first hotel and a ferry boat service from what is now Gulfport. The town of Pass-A-Grille Beach was incorporated into the city of St. Petersburg Beach in 1957 and in 1989 a section of Pass-A-Grille was declared a National Historic District. "

Monday, October 31, 2011

No Pretty Picture Today--Just a Great Idea


Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high
gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods --
Merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This
year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine
concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift
giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes
there is!

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in
a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates
from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some
health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned
detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a
book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down
the Benjamin’s on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift
receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or
driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift
certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about
a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this
isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town
Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or
motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a
local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is
struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin
their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery
and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave
your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at
your hometown theatre.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese
lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about
fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to
burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that
China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about
US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow
their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our
communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.
THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.
Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion
groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in
your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations,
and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other,
and isn't that what Christmas is about?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Putnum's Wolf Den

More from my son's and my post card project.

This is the site of Israel Putnum's Wolf Den in Pomfret, CT. It was here that Putnum killed the last wolf in CT in 1742.

As you can see from my photo, it hasn't changed that much over the years. The site was added to the Historic Register in 1895 and has been maintained by the State of CT as a state park ever since.

If you'd like to know more about this story, you can find the information here:

For a closer look, just click on the photos.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Pier

Last Saturday, I attended a workshop with Manny Pontoriero, "Get the Picture" blog, and a follower of this blog.

This particular workshop was a test demo for a pilot he's planning for a TV show.

We were given assignments to shoot whatever we wanted at each location, then Manny would critique the image we created. We would then try the shot after his critique. It was a very interesting workshop and a lot of fun. Manny picked the locations. Lucky for me, they were right near my home, so I didn't have to travel very far.

The top photo is one of the ones I shot, the bottom shows Manny's change after his critique. His feeling was that I really wasn't showing my subject in my shot. He couldn't figure out what I was photographing, so he suggested I use framing to show just the pier eliminating the boat in the foreground. That way, the "subject" was clearly defined.

For a closer look, just click on the photo and it'll bring you to a larger version.

Let me know if you all agree or disagree. I'd be most interested to know what you all think.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

American Alligator

This 'gator was in the process of turning around when I spotted him. Lucky for me, I was able to pan with him to capture him sharply.

Many people who know nothing about these magnificent reptiles think they're pretty scary and panic at the sight of them. Actually, Alligators are pretty docile and won't attack humans unless they feel that they're in danger. This happens when they're surprised while basking in the sun, or when they're nesting. Floridians know enough to leave them alone during 'gator nesting season. Other than that, we can get fairly close to them for a good shot.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Black Skimmer

Black Skimmers have a unique way of fishing. They fly really fast skimming calm water with their lower beak, then circle back and pick up the fish. They are amazing to watch. This one has a snack in his mouth. For a better look, just click on the photo.

I've been to Sawgrass Lake Park in St Petersburg more times than I can count. Until last Monday, I had never seen Skimmers there. They are usually around Ft Desoto in Tierra Verde. There is a whole colony there that nest on North Beach.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Most people in Florida don't like these birds because of their ear-piercing wales all night long. They can be heard all over the neighborhood.

For some reason, I really like them. I don't mind their calls at night. I've learned to ignore them. My ex-roommate, on the other hand, couldn't stand them and would always come out and chase them away. A couple of them chose our trees for a roosting place.

Limpkins feed nearly exclusively on Apple Snails and prefer fresh water. When their nesting, their nesting places are easy to find because of their habit of storing Apple Snails. They pile them up in a pyramid to feed their young and themselves.

Limpkins are fairly large birds. They stand a little more than 2 feet tall and have long legs for wading.

To see more detail, just click on the photo for a larger version.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Post Office, Plainfield, CT

These are one of the photos from the post card project my son and I did the other day.

It's funny that we were able to find these, since neither of us know this area very well. This particular one was hard to find and just as we gave up, I noticed it.

We were sitting at a red light and I said, "maybe we should concentrate on the house next door. Look at that bay window. There can't be many bay windows on the side of the house, they're usually in the front of the house". Just as I said that, I looked up and said, "that's it! Right in front of us". Sure enough, that was the old post office. The owners added a second floor, but the posts for the fence are still there. We were so excited to be able to cross another one off our list. Check out the post card below.

The picture on the post card was made in 1898. Not too much difference other than the second floor and the tree on the right.

To get a better view with more detail, just click on the photos.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

C&M Corporation Pano

This photo is a must see at full size. While I couldn't post it full size, I posted it pretty large. You can see it by clicking on the photo.

Yesterday, my son came over with a photo project. Since it was one of the 2 days that hasn't rained since I've been here, and my son-in-law was home to take care of my daughter, we went out to start on his project. We had a blast together.

He proposed an interesting project. He scanned some old postcards from the late 1800's and early 1900's of this area. He thought it would be fun to go out and try to find the same places depicted in the post cards and try to duplicate the photos from the same angle. We got all of them except 7 that we couldn't find or had been torn down.

This is one of them. This factory started out as a small building around the turn-of-the-century. it's been added on and added on until it's the size it is today. It also is in a horse shoe from the back and as long as the front behind it. (Does that make sense?)

I didn't have a tripod, so I tried to line up all my shots as best I could by using the windows as a guide and took 17 photos swinging my body at the hips. I told him it probably wouldn't come out; but lo and behold, it worked like a charm!

I only did an auto tone in Lightroom on them, then brought them into PhotoShop CS-5 to create the panoramic view. It took nearly an hour to process in PhotoShop, but it worked the first time. I used the Auto mode to create it.

I was really surprised it turned out so well.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

More From Creamery Brook Bison Farm

Lucky for me that I thought to bring my trusty long lens. I haven't used that lens in ages because it doesn't have IS (image stabilization). All I can say is, "Good thing I thought to bring it".

The first image is cropped and I wish I could've got more of his nose and mouth in the picture, but he was too far away and in the dark shade. I had to open up my lens by a stop and a half to get this shot.

The next Bison was way out in the field, but this shot is not cropped. I wanted to show the distance and the landscape of the farm.

The horse was in the enclosure next to the first Bison. Since I don't know much about horses (I'm a city girl), I won't even try to make a guess as to what his breed is. I think the markings on his face are really interesting, though.

I took a few more photos of the Bison, but most were the same--far away and most didn't show their faces. They were grazing.

If you want to see more detail in these photos, just click on them to make them bigger in another window.

I hope you've enjoyed my trip to the Bison Farm through my pictures.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Creamery Brook Bison Farm

My granddaughter took me to Creamery Brook Bison Farm here in Brooklyn, CT yesterday. We couldn't stay too long because I didn't want my daughter to be alone.

The farm is right down the street from my daughter's house and they have about 100 head of Bison, horses, cattle, and birds. These are a couple photos I took there. I'll post more a bit later, so be sure to check back.

As always, to see more detail, just click on the photos and they'll open up in another window larger.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Oxeye Daisy Close-up

Sometimes showing less is more. This Oxeye Daisy (to me) lends itself to a close-up study of the center button. I like the detail and the pattern formed by the rays.

To me, it looks like the sun and rays against a sunseting sky. I've done this with several types of flowers, but these Daisies and Sunflowers seem to look their best when photographed like this. I've also tried photographing them from the back. The details are so intricate and sometimes we just pass them and don't give it a thought. Next time you're out with your camera, try checking out all the parts of a flower. You might be surprised.

To see a this image in more detail, click on the picture.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pale Beauty Moth

The Pale Beauty Moth, a.k.a Fringed Looper, (Campaea perlata) can be found in almost all of North America including Western Artic, except in Texas and its bordering states. One can find them in coniferous, mixed, and deciduous forests and shrubby areas; adults are nocturnal and come to light, but in the arctic where summer nights are short or absent, adults fly during the day.

I spotted this one in the early morning on the side of my daughter's house. He appeared white at first, but after I saw the photo, I saw the pale, emerald green color. The same afternoon, I found him resting in the grass. The funny thing is that he appeared dead, but when I went to pick him up, he hung on tightly and I spotted him moving his antennae. I've never been able to touch a moth before when they are resting (although I admit I've never tried). I find this fact pretty interesting.

For a closer look, click on the photo.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


It's surprising what you can come up with when you're out walking around on your own property, or any place for that matter. All you have to do is look.

I came across this bud on a weed along the driveway at my daughter's house. I have no idea what it is; I don't even know if it's going to be a flower.

The pattern it formed is what caught my eye. Lucky for me, I had my trusty Tamron 90mm lens on my camera at the time.

For a closer look, just click on the photo. Does anyone have any idea what this is? Please let me know in your comments.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fancy Iris

My daughter has planted some fancy Irises in one of her gardens. We've been waiting for more than 2 weeks for these to finally bloom. Unfortunately, with more than 260 varieties, I'm not able to identify the name of this one. If anyone out there knows what variety this one is, I'd sure appreciate it if you could put it in the comments.

I photographed this particular bloom because I like the way it looks with the boulder in the background. It looks like I used a Photoshop technique called Selective Color. However, I didn't have to use any Photoshop on this shot.

For a better look at this shot, just click on it and a larger version will come up.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Venusta Orchard Spider

I know not many people like to look at spiders and insects, but what amazes me are the beautiful colors. When we look at them with our eyes, all we see is a black tiny creepy crawler. As you can see by looking closely with a macro lens the colors are amazing.

I am especially proud of this shot. I've been trying to capture one of these spiders for over ten years. The Florida sun is too strong and these cunning little spiders (less than 1/4 inch) seem to always build their webs in the sunlight. I had to come to CT to find one that was not in the bright sun. I still want to capture one in Florida because I can't stand it if I can't do something, but I'm happy with this one for now.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Rain Drops

I'm still in CT taking care of my daughter, so I'm limited--or should I say I have the opportunity to photograph only what I can find in her yard, since I can't really leave the house.

While watching the tornado warnings on TV on the 30th, I was waiting to see if we were going to get hit. Both tornadoes were heading this way, but I took the opportunity to get in some shooting anyway. It was pretty scary, but as long as the thunder wasn't getting too near, I continued to photograph what I could find to keep my mind off the imminent danger.

We got very lucky here at the house, but my son-in-law was driving home in the thick of it. He started out on I-91, only to find cars and trucks getting flipped, so he re-routed to I-90 and the tornadic activity was even worse there. He jumped onto I-84 and managed to stay right behind the devastation, all the while hearing the ping, ping sounds of hail hitting my daughter's brand new car. Luckily, he made it home safe and sound. Thank God!!

So, during all that, I took my mind off it by photographing rain drops in between the showers. These drops were on one of her many fir trees, this one pretty young in the front of her house in one of her gardens.

Click on the photo to enlarge it, and study the drops. You'll see secondary images in many of them. Photo made with my Tamron 90mm Macro lens.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Blue Flag Iris

My daughter and I have been waiting patiently for her Irises to bloom. Everyone else's in town are in full bloom and this is the only one that's bloomed so far--and this one is wild!

I picked this shot today because I love the bokeh and the way it compliments the colors of the Iris.

This flower only lasted 2 days and we're still patiently waiting for her others to bloom. I checked them this morning, and the purple is just peeking out so we won't have much longer to wait to see and photograph them.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth

The Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth is in the Lasiocampidae family and it's Scientific name is: Malacosoma americanum.

This moth was on the window that leads to the deck at my daughter's house in Brooklyn, CT. It was great because I was able to photograph him from the back, then the front, and then a macro of his face. How lucky is that? You just don't get this lucky when photographing nature--especially bugs and butterflies.

I love photographing bugs, butterflies, and moths. Their faces are so interesting. Just check out the closeup here. He reminds me of ZZ Top with the dark eyes that look like he's wearing sunglasses and the long beard. What do you all think?

Friday, April 22, 2011


When I first moved to Florida in 1988, this was one of the first aquatic flowers that I photographed. When I saw this one in John Chestnut Park in Palm Harbor, it reminded me of the time many years ago when I first saw these pretty flowers.

I was standing by the edge of a pond photographing it, when movement at my feet caught my eye. Just as I took the camera away from my face, I saw an Alligator come up slowly right between my legs. It scared the daylights out of me. It was the first Alligator I'd ever seen in the wild. I didn't know it then, but it was a pretty young one, because it was so small. I doubt it was more than a year old.

When I look back on it that incident now, it gives me a chuckle. When I saw him, I wasn't sure what to do so I slowly walked backward and got out of that park as soon as I could. I think I'd still do the same thing today.

Since the subject of this blog is Pickerelweed, I should probably get back to that instead of reminiscing about the past. Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata) is an aquatic plant that grows in shallow, still water. It gets its name from the Pickerel fish that shares the same habitat. Pickerelweed blooms from June through November in freshwater marshes, lakes, streams and at the edge of ponds.

I like to finish my blog with a little nature lesson for those who would like to learn as much as I've learned about nature ever since I started taking photos of nature. It has taught me so much.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Doing What a Bee Does Best

While on a meetup at a new place one of the members of my group has discovered, the first thing I saw was this huge Prickly-Pear Cactus at the edge of the parking lot.

These blooms are a Honey Bee magnet. I've never seen these blossoms with no bees busily pollinating these beautiful flowers.

Prickly-Pear Cactus blossoms (Opuntia humifusa) bloom from April through August, and they can be found in sandy pinelands, open dry woods,dunes and pastures. The fruit is edible.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The "Gremlin" of Eagle Lake

About a week ago, someone told my friend and fellow nature photographer that he had seen a "Gremlin" at Eagle Lake Park in Largo, FL.

That was all Jim had to hear to entice him to investigate. The very next morning he saw the "Gremlin" and photographed it with his camera phone.

He asked me to set up a Meetup for our photo club members to go out and find the "Gremlin". Meanwhile, Jim spent some time on Google investigating exactly what he found.

The "Gremlin" turned out to be an Eastern Fox Squirrel. On Monday evening, 4 of us photographers set out to capture this guy on our "real" cameras. This is one of many photos I took of him. He's playing possum in this tree. As you can see, it was nearly impossible to see him until he moved to change position.

The Eastern Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger), is the largest squirrel in the U.S. They are about 17 1/2 inches long with a 13 inch tail. They weigh a little over 2 pounds. Their color varies greatly, and this particular one is one of the prettiest color varieties I've seen. The color ranges from rust to black with white noses and sometimes masked. They spend more time on the ground than any other squirrel.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Getting Cozy

Earlier this month, I went on a meetup at Honeymoon Island to shoot the sunset.

There weren't enough clouds in the sky to make an interesting sunset and I didn't want to come away with nothing, so the challenge was to find and create decent shots.

As you can tell by the way these two are covered up with their blanket, the weather wasn't too warm. It doesn't seem to be bothering them at all, though. Maybe it's just what they needed to get nice and cozy together.

It's really good to be coming out of my shell and getting out shooting again. Now if I can only get back into the swing of things and get caught up on my editing...

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Sorry I've left you all wondering whatever happened to me. I must apologize for leaving you all in the lurch.

It all started at Thanksgiving time, when I got Pneumonia. It took 3 rounds of antibiotics to get rid of the Pneumonia, but it left me depressed and tired. I went on vacation to NY to see the grandkids and then to CT to see my kids, but it still wasn't enough to shake the depression. While I brought my camera gear with me, I never took it out of the case. The only photos I shot during the whole time was about 10 photos with my camera phone of my grand and great grandchildren. I just didn't feel like taking photos or anything else for that matter.

When I got home from my vacation I found out that I had to move by 2/11. That didn't give me very much time to raise money for the move and to find a place I could afford. I've always been a deadline person, so I got busy and finally found a great place with a wonderful view in downtown St Petersburg. I'm just loving it here.

Finally, I'm over the depression and fully recovered from the Pneumonia and have started to shoot a bit again (I think it was the move that got me out of it).

This one today is of an Inchworm that was inching his way across the mud catcher in front of the doorway of the building I moved to. I didn't have my camera on me, but I had my trusty old camera phone, so I got down on all fours and made a shot of him. Imagine finding something like this in the middle of the city!

The inchworm is the larvae or caterpillar of the Geometrid Moth. There are so many varieties in their coloring and markings that it was hard to identify it correctly. I'm still not 100% sure. Hopefully, one of you will be able to confirm my guess or correct it.