Tag Archives: 2019

A Lucky Shot

Ginger Blossom and Hummingbird

During our visit to Puerto Quepos, Costa Rica, we took an aerial tram tour and nature walk through a tropical rain forest.  I had been taking photos of this ginger blossom when I noticed a hummingbird flying nearby.  Just as I fired off a series of shots of the ginger the hummer flew into my frame!  I got off a burst of just a few shots before he flew away.  While this is the best one, it certainly isn’t “perfect” enough to win any nature photo contests but it works for me.

Cruising The Panama Canal

Transit through the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal during our Panama Canal cruise aboard Pacific Princess

Kathy & I recently returned from a 15-night cruise through the Panama Canal on the Pacific Princess.  It was a terrific cruise, and at only 600 +/- passengers this ship was a welcome relief from the 6000+ passenger behemoth we sailed on in February.  But like bottles of wine we’ve never had a bad cruise, so there are always great things to experience regardless!

Morning approach to the entrance of the Panama Canal during our Panama Canal cruise aboard Pacific Princess
Transit through the Pedro Miguel Locks of the Panama Canal during our Panama Canal cruise aboard Pacific Princess
Transit through the Pedro Miguel Locks of the Panama Canal during our Panama Canal cruise aboard Pacific Princess
Transit of the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal during our Panama Canal cruise aboard Pacific Princess

The highlight of our cruise, which took us from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Los Angeles, CA, was of course a full transit of the Panama Canal.  These photos are just a sample of the ones I took during this event.  I will add more photos and commentary as I get through the 3000+ photos I took!  But we’re leaving soon for another quick trip and I’m planning to leave the computer at home, so they will need to wait until we get back.

Transit through the Pedro Miguel Locks of the Panama Canal during our Panama Canal cruise aboard Pacific Princess
Transit through the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal during our Panama Canal cruise aboard Pacific Princess
Transit through the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal during our Panama Canal cruise aboard Pacific Princess

Hot Stuff!

Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana

Tabasco sauce is one of those condiments that I think everyone has heard of, and that many people always keep on hand.  I’m not particularly a big fan, instead preferring sauces with more flavor and less heat such as Cholula (Mexico) and Pickapeppa (Jamaica, mon).  But when it comes to pepper sauce, I’ve got a bottle and suspect a lot of readers do too.

Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana
Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana
Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana
Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana

When I realized that the Tabasco plant and museum, located in Avery Island, was just a few miles from where we stayed in Lafayette, Louisiana, going there was a no-brainer.  Adjacent to the grounds of the Tabasco plant is Jungle Gardens, a 170-acre botanical garden and bird sanctuary created by the father of Tabasco, Edward Avery “Ned” McIlhenny.  Jungle Gardens is a separate story and a separate post.

Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana
Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana

I learned a few things about Tabasco during our visit.  I hadn’t fully realized the time, effort and craft that goes into making hot sauce.  And I didn’t realize that there were so many varieties!  We got to try a number of them in the store after our tour, although I stopped myself before my taste buds got damaged!

Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana

All in all, the Tabasco story is an important part of Louisiana heritage, and I’m glad we had a chance to pay a visit!

Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana
Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana

Cyprus Impressions

Cyprus trees at the Tupelo-Bald Cyprus Swamp on the Natchez Trace Parkway

While visiting the cyprus swamp on the Natchez Trace Parkway, I did a few impressionistic photos of the trees using camera movement to blur the trunks.  These are two of my favorites from that session.  I love how the motion simplifies the composition by making it all about the lines of the trees and removing the distracting details.

Cyprus trees at the Tupelo-Bald Cyprus Swamp on the Natchez Trace Parkway

No Foolin’

Interstate 10 bridge at the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area Welcome Center near Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

I’m a little late to the April Fool’s party so I don’t have anything funny.  But wanted to post that we are safely at home now and enjoying the spoils of our own house – quiet music, comfortable chairs and our own place!  We loved the travel but are happy to be back to home base.  It won’t last long, but we’ll enjoy it while we can!

A Thing For Cyprus Trees

Cyprus trees at the Tupelo-Bald Cyprus Swamp on the Natchez Trace Parkway

I have a thing for Cyprus trees.  The shapes are interesting, and I love how they live against all odds of nature.  We found these in a swamp along the Natchez Trace Parkway today.  I know there’s a rule about taking landscape photos in harsh sunlight, but I keep forgetting…. 🙂

Cyprus trees at the Tupelo-Bald Cyprus Swamp on the Natchez Trace Parkway
Cyprus trees at the Tupelo-Bald Cyprus Swamp on the Natchez Trace Parkway
Cyprus trees at the Tupelo-Bald Cyprus Swamp on the Natchez Trace Parkway

Postcard from Huntsville, Alabama

Control Room at the Payload Operations Integration Center at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama

This past Friday, Kathy & I visited the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.  While there we toured various NASA facilities including the Control Room at the Payload Operations Integration Center at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.  This is where all of the communication with the International Space Station regarding the payload and experiments takes place.  It was very interesting to see.

Picture of the TV screen showing live video from the International Space Station of astronauts returning to the ISS from a space walk

While we were there, the astronauts aboard the space station were returning from a space walk.  We were able to see live video of them returning to the ISS through the airlock and beginning the process of removing their suits.  Quite an unexpected treat!

Ready, Set, Go!

Costa Maya, Mexico

One of the things Kathy & I are really loving about this retirement thing is the ability to pretty much come and go as we please. No, we didn’t win the lottery jackpot so we are kind of limited to what we do and how long we go, but it is no longer dictated by an arbitrary vacation allowance.

Arrival in Cozumel, Mexico aboard Symphony of the Seas

We were driving near the airport shortly after we returned from our cruise, when I asked Kathy if she wanted to just go get on a plane to “somewhere.” We didn’t have our passports with us, otherwise we might have done it, but that didn’t stop her from saying “why not?”

Departing Miami for our second week aboard Symphony of the Seas
Departing Miami for our second week aboard Symphony of the Seas

I suppose we’ll eventually get tired of the coming and going, but so far all we seem to have is itchy feet! And for us the cure for that is to pack up a suitcase and go somewhere.

Marigot, St Martin
Arrival in Costa Maya, Mexico aboard Symphony of the Seas

I’ve had in my mind for a while that I wanted to check out the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi and Tennessee. So in a few days we’re going to head out on a little road trip. We’ll be hitting a few highlights only – this won’t be an in-depth trip of any kind – through Alabama to Louisiana before heading back up to Natchez and up the Parkway to Nashville. No ‘Nawlins’ or ‘Opryland’ for us this time – that will need to wait for a more focused trip. In the mean time I think we’ll have plenty to see and we are looking forward to seeing it!

Costa Maya, Mexico
Breakfast at Johnny Rocket’s aboard Symphony of the Seas

Mangrove Reflections

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida

I’ve been finishing up some of the photos from our first trip this year, the one to Captiva and Sanibel Islands, Florida.  These are a few more from the mangrove swamp at Ding Darling NWR.  Not all of these are of mangroves per se, but you get the idea.

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida

I felt like these needed to be in black & white.  Partly because of the weird color of the water due to the brackishness (is that a word?) of the marshland water but also because of the patterns themselves.

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida