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:
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


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.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014



This shot was made nearly a year ago with my Canon 40D and Canon 75-300mm lens. One advantage of using an APS-C camera is the extra reach obtained by the 1.6X crop factor. So, at 300mm, this lens was reaching out at a whopping 480mm! Plenty long enough to get a great shot of this kiteboarder without having to go out waist deep in the cold water.

I also like the fact that this guy was either unaware of my camera, or didn't care. Most of the guys would ham it up when they spotted the camera onshore.

When I first started out in photography, I covered sports for the college newspaper. Later on, I continued to shoot sports for a few years until I turned my attention on bands, both local and some professional bands, then models/fashion and finally nature. I've been shooting nature since about 2005. I think I've finally found my niche, at least I hope so.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Lake Maggiore Island II

Lake Maggiore Island

When I'm out on a photo-hike, I like to make different versions of the same scene. I posted the other scene a few days ago. The first one was shot on the way in to the path, and this one was shot on the way out. Neither was made very far from one another.

It was maybe an hour and a half later, and the sun was lower in the sky. This version is somewhat warmer than the other as well due to the location of the sun. I also used a different focal length bringing the city of St Petersburg closer to show more detail in the city.

In addition, I had planned on going black and white with this one, but the tones were too similar, and even with adding more contrast after trying different colored filters, I decided to stick with color.

What a difference focal length and the time of day makes.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Raccoon Modeling Debut


Just before I started walking down the boardwalk, I spotted a family of raccoons, but I was unable to get a shot because I wasn't quick enough when I spotted them. Shame on me!

A few minutes later, I got a feeling there was something or someone behind me and sure enough, I spotted this guy following me. He was staying about 20 feet from me.  I snapped a quick shot, because I didn't want to alarm him and kept walking. The funny thing, when I quickened my step, he did too. I slowed and he slowed and when I stopped, he stopped. I had encountered a stalker!

This went on for a few minutes and I was getting a bit nervous since I was all alone and had no idea what he was up to. Finally, the urge to take a shot just got too much for me to handle. I turned around, crouched as much as I dared so I could get up quickly if I had to and took this shot. Once I did that, he gave me one last look, turned, and jumped off the boardwalk and went off into the woods. What a relief! He only wanted to pose for a picture.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Lake Maggiore Island Trail

Lake Maggiore Island Trail, Boyd Hill Nature Center

This shot was taken yesterday on the Lake Maggiore Island Trail at the Boyd Hill Nature Center in St. Petersburg, FL. In the distance, you can see the City of St Petersburg. You'll have to click on the photo to make it bigger if you want to make out the details. In the early 2000's I painted this very scene, and there were only a few buildings that could be seen from this spot. I can't believe how many new buildings there are. Pretty soon, St. Petersburg will look like every other city along the coast. The reason I was attracted to this city in the first place is because it didn't look like a city. It wasn't all built up. I guess I'm just not very good with change and progress.

When I composed this photo, I put the city in several places in the frame looking for a pleasing composition. Normally, in most photos, the rule of thirds applies. The rule of thirds says to divide the frame into thirds, similar to a tic-tac-toe form. Where all the lines intersect is the most pleasing place to put what is most important. Sometimes rules are made to be broken, providing you know the rules in the first place.

In this case, the city was not the subject, but rather the view in the late afternoon golden light. I purposely shot at a wide angle, which minimized the city, emphasizing the water, clouds and greenery. What do you all think of my decision? Your comments on this are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

My favorite nature park used to be Boyd Hill Nature Park in St Petersburg, FL. I haven't been there in 14 years. I had moved further away, and I guess I just forgot about it. Now that I've moved closer again to the park, I decided to give it another visit late this afternoon.

This is one of my favorite shots from today's shoot. This guy is a Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus). They are plentiful in this area, but not nearly as plentiful as Ospreys. Ospreys are everywhere. Red-shouldered Hawks are medium sized hawks. They are called Red-shouldered because of that reddish patch on their shoulders.

These hawks eat mice, frogs and snakes, so can be seen in woods with tall timbers and water. They hunt both from the air and from high perches. They can be found in the Southeast year round.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

White Ibis and the Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret and White Ibis

It is well known that birds use all sorts of methods to hide their reflections from the fish or crustaceans they're hunting, but this one is a new one on me. I suppose if I were a fish or crustacean, I would be confused by this reflection.

I'm not quite sure what is going on, but White Ibis normally probe for insects. Are there underwater insects? Maybe he's just company for the Snowy Egret? Snowy Egrets spear fish and small aquatic animals for their food. Maybe they're chumming around together to help one another find food?

It seems I have a lot of questions when I look at this photo. What do you all think?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Great Blue Heron Up Close

Great Blue Heron
The other day during my trek to Spa Beach, I spotted this Great Blue Heron perching on a wall near a fisherman, just waiting to grab his fish.

These guys are the best at stealing a catch. The poor fishermen do all the work, while the Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets and Pelicans hang around just waiting for them to reel in their catch. As soon as the fish is above water, the bird swoops down and steals it.

Herons, Egrets and Pelicans in this area are so used to people they have lost all their fear of humans. It is not unusual to see 4 or 5 birds within 2 feet of fishermen. The fishermen try to chase them away, but all they do is move another 2 feet or to the other side of them and it all starts over again.

It's pretty comical to watch; that is, if you're not a fisherman. They don't enjoy these birds at all.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Friendly Fisherman Lighthouse

One of the forums I belong to is called, DPS (Digital School of Photography). They have weekly assignments and this week's assignment was, "Bird's Eye View". Last week, you may remember was "Worm's Eye View".

Again, I didn't want to do the obvious by shooting down from my high-rise building, nor did I want to shoot down a flight of stairs. I've seen too many of those and they're posted all over the internet. I'm trying to see things from a different angle.

This particular lighthouse is fake. It sits atop the Friendly Fisherman Restaurant at John's Pass in Madeira Beach, FL. John's Pass is a natural pass caused by a hurricane that separated  Madeira Beach from Treasure Island.

It has since become a popular attraction that both tourists and locals visit often. There are many restaurants and shops on the boardwalk, and I took advantage of that by going up to the top of the parking garage to get above the "lighthouse" to see a "Bird's Eye View" of this beautiful place.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Sunshine Skyway Bridge
This was shot about 2 weeks ago from the North Rest Stop on the approach to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, here in St Petersburg, FL.

When you look at the other view I posted showing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, you can't tell just how high it is. The funny thing, now with newer and newer cruise ships, it seems it's still too low. They're trying to figure out if they have to raise it, or to build another port so cruise ships don't have to cross under the bridge.

The bridge is 431 ft high with a vertical clearance of 175 ft. It is roughly 4 miles long.

The Travel Channel has named this bridge #3 of the Top 10 bridges in the world. It is Florida's flag bridge

This bridge also has a dark side, however. It is also known as a popular suicide place. It got so bad, that a radio station even had a jumper pool. As of 2009, 207 people have successfully committed suicide by jumping off the bridge, and 34 others tried it and survived. One man, who had been kidnapped, tortured and beaten was forced to jump at gunpoint; while another man hung himself from the bridge. There are many more suspected with people missing, but no bodies were found. This year in 2014, there have been 7 suicides, 23 possible (no bodies found), 1 survivor, and 2 saves. This bridge is known the #4 suicide bridge in the country and #1 east of California. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Another day without going out to shoot. This Snowy Egret was shot perched above Spa Beach looking out over the water on the approach to The Pier. I doubt he even noticed me shooting up at him. He was too intent on finding his supper. Actually, there was two of them perched up there, but I'm saving that for another day. I liked this one.

The wind was blowing at a pretty good clip as evidenced by the ruffled plumage on his back.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican in Flight

Another rainy day today and more scheduled for tomorrow. So much for shooting for my bird's eye view self-assignment.

This was shot yesterday over Spa Beach on the roadway to The Pier in St Petersburg, FL. He was just about to dive for a fish. I love the graceful way Pelican's fly, especially when they hover over the water looking for fish. Unfortunately, this guy wasn't doing that. He was using his own bird's eye view from the air.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron
Today, my self-assignment was bird's eye view. Unfortunately, we had a lot of sea fog, and a high up level was shrouded in fog. So, instead I went out just looking for something to shoot.

I went to a park I haven't been to in years only to find out it was closed on Mondays. Then I went to another park and found nothing interesting there, so I went to The Pier. Although the building is closed, the roadway on the way to The Pier is still open.

I spotted this Great Blue Heron on the top of a roof on the walkway in one of the decorative shelters (it's the only thing I can think of to call this thing). He was just standing there looking out over the water. It was difficult shooting up in the air, but out of several I took, I like this one. I like the blue sky for a background and I like his stance.

It's still the same old stuff I've been posting for so long, but this time, I took my time and looked for a good background, taking care not to have any other distractions in the photo so I wouldn't have to crop anything out.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Worm's Eye View

Worm's Eye View

If you've been following my blog, or following me on Facebook, you know I've been working on photographing something out of my comfort zone. I've been bored with the "same old, same old" straight shots. So I've been experimenting with various self-assignments.

I'm a member on DPS (, and last week's assignment was "Worm's Eye View". I had one day to complete the assignment, and it was raining outside. So much for laying on the ground to photograph something. I kept walking around the house, wondering what to do and  was determined to do something different.

Finally, I thought of this umbrella, probably because it was raining, and opened it, set it on the floor and was wondering what I could do with it. I laid down, got under it, and saw this graphic star.

I'm still not sure about this image; if it works, if it doesn't. I'd like to know what everyone else thinks. Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

North Rest Stop
I chose this file from Tuesday's batch because I like the simplicity. It's a little different from what I usually post, but for some reason, when I look at it, it makes me feel peaceful. It has very little color and with the still water and the shore birds foraging for the night it just gives me that feeling of tranquility.

What do you all think?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

White Ibis

This White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) was just probing for food in Tampa Bay at the North Rest Stop under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. There were many other species there as well. It must have been feeding time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

South Rest Stop Sunshine Skyway Bridge

South Rest Stop Sunshine Skyway Bridge

I'm off work only 1 day a week, so I don't have a lot of time to go out shooting. I also can't pick the weather. Today, was an overcast, trying to storm all day, type of day. I originally took this in color, but the color was kind of dull.

It spans 3 counties, Pinellas, Hillsborough and Manatee, over the waters of Tampa Bay, which is usually pretty calm, but there were warnings of high surf, so that is why I decided to come here to shoot today.

In this shot, this bridge doesn't look very scarey, but I can tell you, there were high wind warnings, and you don't want to be driving an SUV over it, like I did today. It's definitely a white knuckle drive. This bridge is 4.1 miles long, has a clearance of 175 ft below the bridge and it's vertical clearance is 193 ft. The sides, which is what makes it so scarey are only Jersey Barriers. It has 2 lanes in each direction, so there's no safety in the middle lane. The Sunshine Skyway was named #3 of the top 10 bridges in the world by The Travel Channel. The tubes forming the sails are painted yellow.

I cross this bridge every day going to work. Most times it doesn't bother me, but it took some getting used to. The only time I'm scared at all is in the blinding rain, fog, and during high winds.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Box Fiddle Player

Box Fiddle Player
This image was taken several years ago during a reenactment. I chose it today, because it is part of a 5-Day Split Tone Challenge and it is my Day 5 Post. I thought it would make a great beige and yellow split tone. This image was originally made in color.

Back to the image itself, this guy actually made this fiddle from a box. Most people in the days that this image represents had to make their own instruments. He played it very well, too!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Wood Storks (Mycteria americana)

A pair of Wood Storks (Mycteria americana)
I found these two Wood Storks sitting to the right of a large group of other birds, Ibis, Roseate Spoonbills, Little Blue Heron, etc. Since it was just before sunset, I think they were probably getting ready to nest for the night. This pair seemed to be standing guard over the others.

Wood Storks can be found in Southeastern United States and are the only storks breeding in the US. They have a late breeding season which is timed to Florida's dry season when their fish prey is plentiful in the shrinking pools.

Right now, Sawgrass Lake Park is being dredged and the water is very low. Normally, Roseate Spoonbills and Wood Storks aren't seen in this park, but the low water is attracting them to this area.

Friday, November 14, 2014

White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

This White Ibis is only one of a flock of maybe 25 who decided to visit me on the edge of the little pond at Thompson Sports Complex Park in Gulfport, FL.

They can be found in the deep south and are very common in the Tampa Bay area. They are friendly birds and will rarely fly off if a human comes around. In this case, it was exactly the opposite. The moment I appeared, these guys decided to join me. It was difficult to get one alone. This guy was only a few feet from me, making it very easy to get this capture.

They eat insects and continuously probe the grass and the water looking for food. They are fairly large birds at 22-26 inches tall. They weigh about 2 1/2 lbs. These birds are social and nest in trees at night.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Please Help With ID

ID Wanted

I've posted photos of this duck and his/her mate about a year ago. I'm still trying to find out what kind of duck this is. With all the nature photographers out there, I can't believe no one knows what it is called. I've only found one other photo of ducks that look like this through Google and I think it was the same pair. Whoever posted it didn't include the name, so it was no help.

They are so pretty. They hang on a little pond in Gulfport, FL along with some Mottled Ducks, White Ibis, a pure white duck, a few Mallards and a couple of Moorhens. There is only 1 pair of them. They are much larger and longer-backed than Mallards as you can see in this photo.

Your help is greatly appreciated. Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Red Passionflower

Red Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

I feel after 5 days of black and white photos it is time for some color; and color is what this image is all about.

It was nearly dark when I was leaving Abercrombie Park in St Petersburg, when I spotted this bright red flower in the middle of these ferns under a tree. I've never seen one before and was quite surprised to find it here in the shade. There were only 2 that I could see and this one was the most accessible.

After much research on the internet and in my nature books, I finally found out the name of the flower. It is a Red Passionflower. I've seen the lavender-colored Passionflower all over Florida, but this one was quite a surprise. It grows on a vine just like its sister Passionflowers. I think the ferns were hiding the others.

If I could have a garden here, this would certainly be something I'd plant in it. One of the sites I saw said they can be grown in pots; but I already have 2 birds to take care of and I'm afraid the plant would soon be neglected.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Daddy Needs a Shave

Daddy and Kaiden

Judging by the look on 5-day old, Kaiden's face, he's telling me that Daddy needs a shave. Actually, this is my newest great-grandson, and he was hungry. I like the tenderness and the love between Daddy and his new son, which is why I chose to show this image today.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Post 5 of 5 Day Black and White Challenge: South Rest Stop

South Rest Stop Under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge

This is Day 5 of my 5 Day Black and White Challenge that I accepted from my friend, and fellow photographer, Rosemary Morrison, of Rosemary Kaye Photo, who's work I admire. I am supposed to post 1 b&w image for five days, as well as challenge a fellow photographer each day that inspires me.

I saved my last challenge, for my dear friend, Brenda Knolls Budd who's work I have always admired. Brenda has a unique way of seeing things. It has happened time and time again, when a group of us (photographers) go out shooting and Brenda finds stuff no one sees. I'd like to see what she can come up with. I hope she accepts this challenge.What about it, Brenda, will you accept?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Day 4 of 5 Day Black and White Challenge: Oleanders


This is Day 4 of my 5 Day Black and White Challenge that I accepted from my friend, and fellow photographer, Rosemary Morrison, of Rosemary Kaye Photo, who's work I admire. I am supposed to post 1 b&w image for five days, as well as challenge a fellow photographer each day that inspires me.

I am challenging Chuck Vosburgh, who's work I feel is outstanding. I hope he accepts this challenge. Chuck is an amazing photographer and all around great person. Chuck's website can be seen here: Check it out.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Day 3 of Black and White Challenge: Redberry Elder

Redberry Elder
This is Day 3 of my 5 Day Black and White Challenge that I accepted from my friend, and fellow photographer, Rosemary Morrison, of Rosemary Kaye Photo, who's work I admire. I am supposed to post 1 b&w image for five days, as well as challenge a fellow photographer each day that inspires me.

I am challenging my grandson, Michael Gineo, Jr,  who is in the U.S. Army, stationed in South Korea, who's work I feel is outstanding. He has grown (photographically) so much in the last 2 years. I would like to see what he can come up with.

This shot was taken today at Abercrombie Park in St Petersburg, FL. I'm not positive of the name of the red berries. We have so many different types of red berries in the wild here that are so similar. I have a hard time identifying them. If anyone reading this post knows what they are for sure, I'd like an ID, if you can.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Day 2 of 5 Day Black and White Challenge: Dali Museum

Dali Museum
This is Day 2 of a 5 Day Black & White Challenge that I accepted from my friend, and fellow photographer, who's work I admire. I am supposed to post 1 b&w image for five days, as well as challenge a fellow photographer each day that inspires you.

I am challenging Beth McNabb of St Petersburg, FL, who's work I feel is outstanding.

This photo was taken of the Dali Museum building in downtown St Petersburg. I can see it from my window. I've been inside once, and with ticket prices being $22/adult and $5 parking, I decided I wouldn't go back in today. Maybe some other time when they're having a special; especially since I've already been there once.

Black and White Challenge Day #1

Snowy Egret

My friend, Rosemary, challenged me to post 1 black and white photo per day for 5 days. I'm also supposed to challenge another photographer that inspires me each day to do likewise. This is my 1st day post.

I shot this today on the way home from work under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in St Pete at the South Rest Stop. You can go through this entire blog and I doubt you'll find any black and white shots. I guess after college, when I had to do black and white, I wanted so badly to shoot color. I've never stopped. This is going to be challenging.

I challenged my Facebook and Flickr friend, Nicholas Light Bandit Ong from Singapore today. I'm anxious to see if he takes the challenge.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sawgrass Lake Park Waterway (Canal)

Canal, Sawgrass Lake Park

Sawgrass Park is one of my favorite places to go for some great images in St. Petersburg, FL. When walking through the park, one can see many photographers out and about both during the week and on weekends.

Sawgrass is a 400 acre park, with nature trails, a lake (Sawgrass Lake), and this canal running through the park. This particular area is along the pathway coming back from the beautiful Oak Hammock Trail. Sawgrass has one of the largest Maple swamps on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The boardwalk is a mile long and there is an additional 1/2 mile dirt trail.

There is also an overlook tower that looks onto the lake. On the lower level of the overlook tower, I have never failed to see and American Alligator or two and huge Soft-shelled turtles in the water. Gators can also be seen along the banks of this canal and other little ponds throughout the park. I have seen Armadillos, many species of birds, including Herons, Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills, Wood Storks, Ibis, Eagles and Owls. There are also two butterfly gardens where I have photographed too many species to mention. Of course, I can't fail to mention there are many squirrels, rabbits and racoons as well. Just looking through my past blogs, you'll find many of the things I've photographed at this park.

The park is also along the Great Florida Birding Trail, and this area is right on the migratory line, so it attracts many birders throughout the year. Sawgrass even has an education center. They have many educational activities for local school children.

The greatest thing about this magnificent park is the admission charge: FREE! There are not too many free things to do these days, so if you are ever in the area, check it out!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Rockport, MA Inner Harbor

Rockport Inner Harbor

Walking along the Bearskin Neck area, if you look between any of the stores or houses, you'll be able to see Rockport Inner Harbor. That red barn in the distance of this image, is known as Motif #1 and it is the most photographed building in the US. It is called Lobsterman's Barn.

I have posted several images of this place by shooting at different angles through the alleyways between the houses. This is one of my favorite.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunrise, St Petersburg, FL

St Pete Sunrise

I'm very fortunate to live in downtown St Petersburg. This is what I wake up to in the morning. There's no better way to say, "Good morning", than getting greeted by nature every morning. It's a wonderful way to start the day happy.

St Petersburg could live up to the nickname of Sun City, however there is already a Sun City not far from us. It is boasted that there are only 6 days a year on an average that the sun doesn't come out. No wonder it was a retirement city a long time ago. Now, the median age is 39, so it no longer fits that description.

St Pete, or The Burg, as it is affectionately known to its residents has a thriving young community. It has also a large art community. This shot is only 2 blocks from Central Ave., our "Main St.". Taking a walk down Central, you will find many art galleries, quaint boutiques, and restaurants from ethnic and any type of food you can imagine. Food prices range from fast food pricing to elegant pricing. There is something for everyone, including hot dog carts on many corners. St Pete also has an active night scene as well. It is also minutes to the beaches, since it's a peninsula. It sits between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It doesn't get any better than that.

If you are ever in the area, check it out!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Indian Blanket Flowers

Indian Blanket Flowers

These Indian Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia pulchella) are wild all over Florida. You can see them growing alongside sidewalks and all along the highways. These were growing in a side garden amongst the rocks in Rockport, MA. I love the colors.

They grow about 3" in diameter and they produce many color variations and combinations in the red/pink/yellow range. Another common name for them is Showy Gaillardia.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Backlit Sunflower

Sunflower, Rockport, MA

The back lighting and its huge size is what attracted me to this Sunflower found in a side garden in the Bearskin Neck region of Rockport, MA. I love the way the sun was shining through the yellow petals making them almost translucent.

Sunflowers have long been my favorite flower. They remind me of the sun, which reminds me of summer and happiness. They have no fragrance, therefore, no allergies for me! Sunflowers also attract birds, which is my other favorite thing to photograph.

When I was living in New York, I placed several feeders in the front yard so the kids could watch the birds eat. I think the triplets were around 3 by the time they noticed them. They would spend hours looking out the picture window just behind the couch watching the birds. The birds rewarded us by "planting" Sunflowers all around the feeders. They disguised the feeders and beautified the yard. What a nice thank you for feeding them.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Purple Cosmos with Bee

Purple Cosmos with Bee

This Purple Cosmos is another flower found in a side garden in Rockport, MA. The bee was an added surprise when I saw it though my lens.

Cosmos are in the Aster family and are native to Mexico. They are popular garden flowers here in the states. They are  herbaceous perennial plants with many different species and colors. There are also many hybrids and cultivars. I particularly like this species and the color.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014



I thought I'd step away from the architecture stuff and post something different. This sunflower was so tall, it was above my head. You can see how I had to shoot up at it. It was also about the size of my face. I love the brown in the petals closer to the center.

It was photographed in Rockport, MA in one of the side gardens while we walked around the Bearskin Neck area. I think there's some kind of ordinance that everyone must have and maintain a side garden, because there were these gardens on every single house we came upon. Not that I'm complaining.

 It was also unusual to see so many flowers in bloom in late September. That's unheard of for the area. As a matter of fact, there were very few flowers still in bloom except for fall flowers in CT, which is south of Rockport.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Vin's Oysters and Shellfish

Vin's Oysters and Shellfish
This restaurant looks more like a boutique. Since we didn't go in, we had no way of knowing that judging by its looks.

This is Vin's Oysters and Shellfish in Rockport, MA. While it is a quaint little restaurant, I didn't check the ratings, so I have no idea. I do have to say, though, that I had to wait about 10 minutes before getting this shot without someone coming or going. That tells me it must be a popular place, or everyone else thought it was a tourist trap like I did.

What do you think?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Red Staircase

Red Staircase
This photo was taken in Rockport, MA in the Bearneck Skin area. I like the red staircase and the dappled light against the rough cedar shake shingles.

In the background, you can see part of the Rockport Inner Harbor.

Click on the photo to get a better look.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Granite Stone Gazebo

Granite Stone Gazebo

This gazebo was shown at a distance in a previous post. At that time, I promised a better look at this Gazebo.

This stone gazebo is a popular landmark in Rockport, MA. Unfortunately it is inaccessible to the public, but it is easy to get fairly closed to it. It is part of a private residence which overlooks the harbor and the Bearskin Neck shopping district in downtown Rockport. It sits out into Sandy Bay and the Breakwater, which I've also posted previously.

The gazebo is also a point of reference for artists and photographers (myself included).

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sunset in Bolton

Sunset Over a Sheep Farm

This shot was taken in Bolton, CT. Until I looked at it at 100% to check for noise or over-sharpening, I thought this was a pig farm; so, that's what I named the file. Once I saw it at 100%, I realized there were no pigs on that farm; they were sheep. I think I need to change the name of this shot or my eye glasses.

This beautiful sunset was a wonderful way to end our ride.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Flowers From a Side Garden

Flowers from a side garden

I love these flowers that I found in a side garden at one of the houses in Rockport, MA in the Bearskin Neck region. I can recognize the Poppies, but those curly looking flowers have me puzzled. Do any of you readers/followers have any idea what they are?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

American Alligator

American Alligator

This Alligator was photographed at Largo Nature Park in Largo, Florida. I was there with some friends from our Meetup Group. You can find a different Gator in a previous post from the same nature park.

People who live in places like Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, basically from Texas east to South Carolina, see these creatures every day. We are used to living with them and know their behaviors. To a Northerner, this is one of the scariest creatures alive. Yet, Alligators are really very docile.

There are two kinds of Crocodilians in the United States; American Alligators, who are typically docile except when there are young around (as with any animal), Crocodiles are more aggressive. The strange thing about this statement is that of the two, the Alligator is the largest. Strange, isn't it?

Alligators prefer fresh water and swamps; it has a broader snout with overlapping teeth and darker coloring than Crocodiles. Crocodiles can tolerate salt water better than Alligators because they have salt glands in their mouth that excrete excess salt. Crocodiles can be found in coastal areas throughout the Caribbean and in Southern Florida.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tobacco Barn

Tobacco Barn

One of Connecticut's chief industries used to be shade grown tobacco. It seemed as soon as you left the city, you could see miles and miles of tobacco fields.

Most kids started to work on tobacco as soon as they turned 14. It was the only time 14 year-olds could were legally allowed to work. Nearly all CT high school kids worked in the tobacco industry at one time or another. In the summer, they picked tobacco. Today, there is not enough demand to be profitable for farmers to continue to grow tobacco. These sheds are now few and far between.

I told my son that I thought it was tobacco drying season, which is why we went out to look for a tobacco farm. We finally found this one in Bolton near the horse farm pictured in a previous post. You can see the tobacco hanging inside the barn door.

It's strange, I grew up in tobacco growing country, now I live near Tampa where they roll cigars. It seems I can't get away from tobacco.

Monday, October 20, 2014



This was taken at my son and daughter-in-law's house in their back garden. They have many different gardens on their property, each with its own theme. Visiting them and walking around the yard is like walking around botanical gardens. This one was one of my favorites.

There are 42 species of Dahlias, along with many hybrids. This particular species is called, Dahlia (Dahlia rosea) because of its red color. Some are round, some flat, they come in different sizes, shapes and colors. They are native to Mexico and have been used as a source of food. Their hollow stems were used to make water pipes, and they've been used as medicine, specifically to treat Epilepsy.

I especially like this particular variety because of its pom-pom shape.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sandy Bay, Rockport, MA

Rockport, MA Sandy Bay

Another image from my trip to Rockport; this one is looking across Sandy Bay. The Granite Stone Gazebo on the jetty is used for weddings and event photos. You can see some of the houses and lodgings in the background. I have a larger photo of the gazebo that I will post at a later time.