April 2020: Shutter Speed of 1/2000

Today was a lucky day for a very young SandHill Crane colt.  While walking across a bunker with his parents, a gator climbed out of the pond, making a beeline for the colt.  Fortunately, Mom/Dad (I can’t tell them apart) began jumping up and down on the gator, driving it back into the water.

We arrived in the golf cart just as the action was unfolding.  By the time I turned the camera to “on”, the show was over.

The first photo is immediately after….the sandhill family continuing their walk across the bunker with the gator gliding parallel.  The second photo is about 50′ later….the colt being fed by a parent.

Technicals:  Photos taken April 19, 2020. Nikon D3200, Tamron Lens 70-200mm @ 200mm. F3.5, ISO400, 1/2000 SS.  Both photos cropped and edited in PS.  I sharpened the focus of the colt/parent in Topaz.

Gator & SHC Color LoResGrubbing with Dad Color LoRes-sharpen

April 2020: Shoes

Taos Cemetary 1 Oct 2019 Color LoRes copyHubs and I arrived Taos, NM the second week of October 2019.  By the time we pulled into town, we’d been on the road for 5+ weeks.  Hubs needed a haircut and I was desperate for a mani/pedi.  We also gave SandWaves, our home-away-from-home, a major wash/clean out job. 

We toured the Taos Pueblo, Kit Carson Museum, the historic area, and the Vietnam Memorial in Angel Fire and, of course, sampled the culinary delights.

While exploring the historic area, we walked through the Historic Kit Carson Cemetery.  True confession:  I have long put cemeteries on my ‘must see’ list….they are just so interesting….this being one of the most interesting. We came upon a few graves that were different from anything I’d ever seen.  The grave in this photo included highly decorative baby shoes–note the laces are tied, a plastic male doll, a shell, a flower, a marble and coins.  When I was editing the photo, I noticed three faces in the stones.  I assume a male child is buried here.  But maybe the male doll represents the child of a parent who died. There are two similar graves–one on either side of this one.  One had a couple pieces of gum–still in wrappers and a hat.  Reading the history of the cemetery, the last burial was in 1957. To add to the mystery all three graves are unmarked.

I wasn’t able to easily locate burial customs for, what seems to be, Spanish people.  But I was so struck by those who keep memories alive. Who do the stone faces represent?  Who made the shoes and did they belong to the child/person who died? What’s the significance of the the plastic doll?  Who brings the memories?  Why are the graves unmarked? Do they leave gifts year-round or only in the summer? I left pondering so many unexplained questions. If readers know, please share your knowledge!

Technicals: Photo taken October 9, 2019, Nikon D3200, Nikkor Lens 16-80mm @ 40mm, ISO200, F4, 1/1250 SS. Edited & cropped in PS. The sun was high overhead making for harsh shadows, so lightened up a little.


April 2020: A is for Airstream Ranch

Who remembers the quirky I-4 art made from planted Airstream RV’s standing at about 15 degrees off center? They were located on the south side of I-4 near the Seffner exit and were erected by the property owner, who also owned the adjacent RV dealership.

This photo was taken March 2016.  Took a little navigation to figure out how to get on the backside of the property.  This particular shot shows one of the zillion buses headed for the Mouse.  The Airstream Ranch was taken down in 2017 to allow the RV dealership to expand. Read more here: http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/airstream-ranch

Technicals:  Nikon D3200, Nikkor Lens 18-55mm @ 55mm, F36, ISO100, 1/3 sec SS. Tripod.  I likely used a neutral density filter–just can’t remember!  Cropped, edited and converted to BW in PS.Airstream Stonehenge22 I-4 March 2016 BW HiRes

April 2020: Splashes

Lately I’ve been helping out with my fave little boy–5 yo Jax.  His parents are still working full time–Mom from home.  We’re all onJax Splash the homeschool learning curve!

So, what do we do for PE?  Thank God they have a pool and he is a fish!

Technicals:  Photo taken April 9, 2020. Nikon D3200, Nikkor Lens 16-80mm @ 22mm. F3.2, ISO400, 1/4000SS. Hand Held. No flash. Cropped and edited in PS.

April 2020: Something Purple

I’m unfamiliar with this purple flower……but the bees love it.  It has variegated leaves, is growing in a front yard, around the base of a tree…..bush-like and low.  If you know, please leave the name in comments.  Thank you!

Technicals:  Photo taken April 9, 2020. Nikon D3200, Nikkor Lens 16-80mm @ 80mm. F4, ISO200, 1/1250 SS.  No flash. Hand-held.  Cropping and editing in PS.Purple Flower Bee 1

March 2020: Spider Web II

Arrived at the Celery Fields early today, hoping to catch some interesting birds in flight.  Don’t know if the dense fog put a damper on bird activity, but there wasn’t much to see.

Except spider webs.  So, adding a 2nd entry!  🙂

Technicals:  Photo taken March 27, 2020. Nikon D3200, Tamron Lens 70-200mm @ 70mm. 1/2000 SS, ISO 400, F3.2. Cropped and edited in PS.  Many of you are using Topaz so I downloaded a demo.  Not sure I’m using it correctly as I don’t see much of a difference, except the Stablize option brought out the web’s crystals.  (Totally forgot I carry a space blanket in my photo bag and plopped down on the dirty walkway to take this shot.  Had to ride home sitting on a towel!!)Spider Web 1 Color LoRes-sharpen-stabilize copy

March 2020: M is for March Madness

If you’ve watched the Wizard of Oz a million times, as I have, then you’ll remember when Dorothy arrives in the Emerald City and learns about a horse of a different color.  Well, my friends, this is March Madness of a completely different color…..

Just when I think I’ve seen it all……..Oil embargo (early 70s), 21% interest/Stagflation (late 70s/early 80s), HIV/AID epidemic (early 80s), housing recession (mid-80s), DotCom bust (late 80s), 9/11 (2001), Great Recession/housing & financial meltdown (2007-08) and lastly, but not least….Tom Brady becomes a Buc (2020).

So here we are in a Pandemic. Hubs and I are minding our social distancing and self- isolating.

Off the books is every national sporting event—basketball, golf, spring training.  Just today the IOC announced that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics would likely be rescheduled to 2021. Colleges and universities sent students home.

Nearly everything local is cancelled/closed….fundraisers, social events, state parks, schools, beaches, photo club, libraries, fitness centers, pools.  My Mah Jongg games are on pause too. Close friends who own restaurants are really struggling to stay afloat with curbside/delivery service.  

You already know all of this and it’s not fair to dump more…..I’ll balance by reminding us all what good things we still have—the list is long:  sunrise, sunset, trees, pollen!, flowers–everthing is blooming!, moon, stars, clouds, birds, gators, bobcats, turtles, pets, family, friends, electricity, running water, food (except paper products!), seasonal fruit—oranges & strawberries, gasoline, books, love, humor, laughing, TV, rainbows and rainstorms, internet connections and compassion. 

Local foundations are ramping up to provide emergency funds via the Season of Sharing program for folks who’ve lost their jobs or are having financial hardships in Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte counties.  Sharing as an FYI…maybe you’re looking for a way to help: https://www.cfsarasota.org/story-of-impact/COVID-19-Response

There is much to be grateful for.

We can FaceTime with family and friends—and in fact I chatted with my long time high school friend today—it was so good to hear her voice. 

I want to remember what March 2020 was like and there’s no better way than to create a memory page. 

What good things are you grateful for?March Madness.001

March 2020: Door

Truit 10.5x16 LXAM 10.5x16 edit lSt._Joseph_Plantation_26_Oct_2019_BW_HiRes (resized)


Given the situation at hand*, I don’t feel quite so guilty about breaking the rules, again…..by using a photo taken 5 months ago.

The last ‘must do’ on our epic road trip last fall was to visit 4 (out of 9) plantations on the southern Mississippi located between Baton Rouge & New Orleans.

St. Joseph’s Plantation (https://www.stjosephplantation.com/) wasn’t the most spectacular or oppulant, but it is the only one, of those we visited, still in original family ownership.  We were lucky to visit on a day when one of the decendents, Diane, gave the tour and she shared how she and a few other family members were able to round up about 80 relatives and began renovation of the house.

All of the other plantations have rebuilt slave quarters.  St. Joseph’s are the originals and I found myself profoundly moved as I could see and feel what life must have been like. I did not move the door or ‘curtains’…..I felt it was an invitation to ‘come in and hear my story’.

Technicals:  Photo taken October 22, 2019. Nikon D3200, Nikkor Lens 16-80mm @ 16mm. 1/640 SS, ISO 200, F3.5, Hand Held, Camera Raw. Edited & cropped in PS to bring out details.  As readers know, I love B&W and think it makes this photo more dramatic.

*I know others are feeling the lifestyle pinch right now.  We are following the CDC guidelines and are self-isolating.  Fortunately, we live in a community that has a large amount of open space and walking/biking trails.  Sending lots of positive vibes your way in the hopes that you are making the best of it.  Be well.


March 2020: Something Mauve

I laughed when I saw ‘mauve’ on this months list.  Haven’t seen that color for ages….and it has such a strong association with the 80s! So, I dug a little deeper to find out what makes a color ‘mauve’…..it’s a combination of purple & pink.  And then it struck me….sunset.

Technicals:  Photo taken March 19, 2020, Nikon D3200, Nikkor Lens 16-80mm @ 16mm. F 1/20, ISO 800, Manual. Hand held but leaning against hubs to reduce shake. Cropped & edited in PS. Beauty and the first star of the night provided by the Cosmic Universe.  You’re welcome.Palm at Dusk 3-19-20 Color LoRes

March 2020: Spider Web I

Formally, this spider is the Gasteracantha cancriformis. The common name is Spiny orb weaver spiders and most Florida folks just call it the crab spider.  They are ubiquitous.  Tiny in size, it bites, but it’s not poisonous. But check out those big, round eyes that are impossible to see with out the benefit of zoom!

This little one has been outside my porch window for more than a week and I’m totally impressed that it’s surviving the daily wind plus the snow storm from oak tree leaves and squiggles–which are EVERYWHERE right now!  Want to learn more? Read on! http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/beneficial/g_cancriformis.htm

Technicals:  Photo taken March 16, 2020. Nikon D3200, Nikkor Lens 16-80mm @ 80mm, F6.3, ISO 200, 1/100 SS.  Camera Raw. Hand held. Cropped, zoomed and edited in PS. The photo is more spider than web but faint weblines are visible.

SpiderWeb1 Color LoRes