I finally finished up processing photos from our recent Florida trip. I didn’t have an interesting story to go with them but they are pretty interesting on their own.
I didn’t see the person who this belonged to, but this guy appears to be ready for anything, including a quick getaway. There’s even a mousetrap hanging off the back, I suppose for…well, I don’t want to think about it.
We’ve passed by Lake Okeechobee on a number of occasions as we’ve transited central Florida, but have never taken the time to stop until this last time. The reason we hadn’t seen the lake before is that it is almost completely surrounded by a 30 foot earthen dike, preventing views of the lake from the roadway, but keeping the water where it belongs.
The only way to actually see the lake is at one of the access points to the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail. Even in the few towns around the lake there is no actual ‘lakefront.’ There is a large roadside park at the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam on the east side of the lake about 30 miles south of the town of Okeechobee. We stopped there on our way to Okeechobee, where we spent the night before heading out to St. Augustine.
We only spent about an hour at this stop, but it looks like a place with a lot of photographic opportunities depending on weather conditions. If you don’t mind man-made objects like dams and pilings in your photos they might really add some interest to a nice morning or evening sky. We had a few clouds around for our time there, but it was a little early in the evening for really nice light. It had already been a long enough day, so we went on to our day’s destination. We’ll see about returning for longer on a future trip!
While we didn’t specifically look for wildlife during our time in Florida, we did come across some examples of the local fauna. Here are a few of my non-wildlife-photographer results. I don’t think I ever saw an armadillo in the wild before. If I did I don’t remember it. I have seen plenty of the others, however.
I did a postcard from Lake Placid a few weeks ago but wanted to share a few more of the photos. I know 25 seems like more than a few, but there are a lot of murals!
Small towns these days have to work hard to attract tourism, and these murals are a testament to the pride of the community and the hard work required to see the project to completion on such a grand scale. It was an enjoyable day, we had a good lunch and enjoyed a few hours walking around this pleasant town. Thanks to our friends Bill & Cathy for sharing it with us! 🙂
I have a number of “non-mural” photos too, and will save them to illustrate some future post.
One of the spots we visited on our recent visit to Florida was the Florida Air Museum, located at the Lakeland-Linder International Airport in Lakeland. Airplane buffs will recognize ‘LAL’ as the home of the annual Sun-N-Fun Aerospace Expo.
I was a little disappointed in the museum given the status of Sun-N-Fun in the aviation world, but to be fair they are in the process of a major facilities upgrade which should provide a lot more exhibit space and room for more aircraft. Plus, we have visited some awesome aviation museums over the last few years, in particular the Evergreen Aviation Museum in Oregon. How can you compare seeing photographs of Howard Hughes to actually standing inside the Spruce Goose? 😉
It was a nice day and a good place to spend a little time. And there are definitely a few one-of-a-kind aircraft housed here, including the Lockheed XVF-1 which was designed to be a vertical takeoff and landing vehicle long before Space-X figured out how to re-land rockets. I can only imagine trying to set that thing down on its tail!
I spotted this old relic during our walk a few days ago. It might make for an interesting photo study, except for the fact that it sits at the very end of the 1.5-mile trail!
I keep thinking that this would make a decent black & white image, but I haven’t come up with a version I’m happy with. When I take the color out the tones are all the same and the image looks like a flat, jumbled mess. I’ll keep working with it to see what I can do, but in the meantime I like the color version just fine!
I recently posted a few reflection photos to Instagram, and it got me thinking about how much time I spend looking for reflections. My conclusion? Not nearly enough!
Photos of boats in a marina with still water are pretty low-hanging fruit. I need to remind myself that while I am looking for lines, pattern and shadows, to keep my eyes peeled for good candidates for reflections.
I had to wait until this morning to have my first sunrise opportunity of the year. The weather the last few days has basically been crap, but the forecast for this morning held promise. Rather than set an alarm I told myself that if I woke up in time I would head out to see what I might find. Usually when I try that approach I either wake up too early or too late, but this morning I woke up at 5:50 which was just about perfect.
I arrived at the boat launch area right at 6:30 and was treated to some amber city-lit clouds low to the horizon and a clear sky with clouds above. Pretty sweet! No fog this time, but that was good for better reflections. I got a few shots of that then aimed my camera at the causeway to catch some light trails. There is a lot more traffic on a Monday morning than there was on the Sunday morning when I last visited!
The parking lot was completely deserted when I arrived, but the first boater showed about about 6:45. He was well organized and put in quickly, but it was too dark to get anything usable. The second boater arrived about 7:15, took his time futzing around with this gear and finally left the dock just as the sun was coming up. That made for some good light on the boat as it putted through the No Wake zone.
The bonus though was that, all of a sudden, I heard birds, lots of them. Then overhead came a huge cloud of some kind of small black birds, probably starlings, grackles or similar black birds – hundreds of them! And that cloud was followed by another, then another. I have no idea how many of them there were, but there were a bunch. Fortunately I had my camera set up for a wide angle shot of the water and sky, so I was able to catch a few frames with the birds, even though they were a bit blurry. They were moving fast!
So in addition to a pretty sunrise I got an impromptu air show! All in all it was a worthwhile visit and I got a few shots to start off the new year. The weather looks like might deteriorate again the next few days but I’ll keep a lookout for another opportunity!
Kathy & I gave up covering our house with lights years ago, but still enjoy driving around nearby neighborhoods to check out other peoples’ efforts. Some people really get carried away!
Most neighborhoods we go through have few places to park or walk safely, but this particular spot in Huntersville has two houses next to each other, spectacularly decorated and with reasonable parking, at least when we visited. We were able to get out and walk on the sidewalks without worrying too much about distracted light peepers.
The forecast is calling for some interesting weather here for tonight and Christmas Day, but I don’t think we’ll see any snow. It sounds like a good day to stay snuggled up with coffee and a warm fire. Later in the day we’ll open the bourbon and wine!
We hope everyone has a good holiday this year despite all the mayhem. We are looking forward to lots of positive direction in 2021.