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.