Pictures from Tampa and Clearwater (4/20/19 – 4/28/19)

I took fewer photos than I have on earlier trips to see my son in Florida, but that was fine because I actually got more time to spend with him, and I just wanted to enjoy our time together.

Here are the pictures I did take during my week there.  We both had a fantastic time.

Tampa River Walk, Tampa.   I took these on April 20, the first night I was there, after the 12 hour long car ride.   These were taken just before, during, and just after sunset. I was sore from the car ride but still managed to walk quite a bit.  It was definitely worth it!

tampariverwalk1

tampariverwalk2

tampariverwalk3

tampariverwalk4

I’m the one in the gray sneakers. 

tampariverwalk5

tampariverwalk6,jpg

tampariverwalk7

Clearwater Beach

iamatthebeach

Sign greeting me in my hotel room.  The beachy decor was adorable.

clearwater2019a

The surf was rough on this day (4/24) due to storms in the area, so there were few people swimming,  and there was a rip current warning.  The waves were very high for the Gulf.

I will never get enough of those Clearwater sunsets:

clearwater2019b

clearwater2019c

clearwatersunset2019a

clearwatersunset2019b

clearwatersunset2019c

Anclote Key sandbar (via boat ride from Tarpon Springs):

anclotekey2019

The photo doesn’t do this justice.  Anclote Key is a state park and camping area, accessible only by boat, about 4 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.  It is very remote.  The sand is as white as snow, and is almost blinding in the sun.  The many tidal pools are filled with shells and hermit crabs.

anclotekey2019a

anclotekeybirds1

My son took these two photos of the seabirds at Anclote.  This post wouldn’t be complete without them.

anclotekeybirds2

Dessert at Hellenas Greek Bakery, Tarpon Springs.

nomnoms

 

Advertisements

A beautiful day in the Blue Ridge mountains.

I took a nice long drive today to one of my very favorite spots, in Sunburst, NC.   There is a campground there, an actual swimming hole (which I posted about last summer), and the most beautiful scenery you could ever ask for.

sunburst1

sunburst2sunburst3

sunburst4

Closeup of the running water and moss

 

Further reading:

Day Trip to Sunburst, NC  (if you’re a butterfly fan, you will want to take a look)

 

Birds and scenery at Anclote Key, FL

I had a wonderful time with my son in Florida. It’s amazing what a week away can do for your soul. I stayed away from the news, and therefore had no idea what was going on in Trumpland, and didn’t really care either (I was able to put my concern on hold while I was away).

I will post a selection of photos I took later, but my son, who is a professional videographer now, took these amazing photos of some sea birds when we went out to Anclote Key (a national park consisting of a group of small uninhabited islands and sandbars about 4 miles into the Gulf of Mexico from Tarpon Springs). This is a wonderfully remote place, accessible only by boat.   The many tidal pools are a shellers’ paradise.   There are two ferries that go there  several times a day.

I had a great time, and got to spend more time with my son this time than last year, since he took a few days off work, but it’s still good to be back.  (Well, sort of).

anclotekeybirds1

anclotekeybirds2

Spring in the mountains.

These three gorgeous pictures capture the Blue Ridge in April.   These photos were taken from about 3,000 feet.

I wasn’t lucky enough to get the flowering dogwoods or many other flowering trees (most have turned green by now).

springtrees1

springtrees2

springtrees3

Early spring drive.

springdrive2

I needed a day to unwind and de-stress, so I decided to take my new car out for a spin, because it was such a gorgeous spring day, and this is my favorite time of year.

Has anyone noticed the colors on the some of the trees in spring are the exact same colors you see in the fall?   The reason for that is the chlorophyll, the substance which turns the leaves green so they can make their own food from sunlight, hasn’t kicked in yet.  In the fall, the leaves stop making chlorophyll when they no longer need to make their own food.   The photo above and immediately below show the fall-like colors.

springdrive1

Is it early spring or late fall? It’s hard to tell here.

I drove all the way to Sunburst, a beautiful spot near Lake Logan which has a campground, a swimming hole, and a fast moving stream.    In the summer, this is a great place to cool off (the water in the swimming hole is crystal clear with a slight greenish tint, surprisingly deep, and cold)  but right now, it’s fishing season.   I didn’t fish, but I sat on one of the big boulders and just took in the sights and sounds, and let the stress leave my body and mind.

springdrive4.jpg

springdrive5

Fishing in Sunburst, NC

springdrive3

Sunburst Swimming Hole

Ruins.

urban_lot_southbronx

I’ve always been drawn to ruins.  Something about the dark, destroyed, hopeless and desolate fascinates as much as it frightens me.

I remember the burned out apartment buildings in the South Bronx in the 1970s and 1980s.  Blocks upon blocks of scorched skeletons of tall project buildings, emptied of humanity, glaring down on huge vacant lots filled with the corpses of old rusted cars, broken glass, and mountains of trash.  Sometimes these lots were cordoned off behind chain link fencing, which was usually breached in some way, twisted or collapsed in places.  What was the point of cordoning off so much nothing?

As tempting as it was, I never dared take the subway up to the Bronx to get a closer view, but whenever I passed through the South Bronx as a passenger in someone else’s car, I’d crane my neck as far as it would go to take in as much of the view as I could, simultaneously praying the car didn’t break down.

To get a good idea of what this landscape looked like, there’s a 1981 horror movie called Wolfen, which takes place in the South Bronx of the early 1980s.  There is a certain bleak beauty in all the depressing desolation, and Wolfen captured it as perfectly as anyone ever could.   Upper Manhattan and the South Bronx in the 1970s and 1980s was a howling badland: a wilderness every bit as isolated and full of danger as an desert or jungle where no human being has ever set foot.

Here are two stills from Wolfen.

wolfenpic

wolfen-slum2

Compare to a photo of an abandoned housing project in he real life Bronx.   (This photo is from the 1970s or 1980s).

southbronx

I got a kick out of the “Broken Promises” sign on the right.   I’m not sure if this was added to the photo later or not, but it’s still a powerful picture with or without it.

Here’s a video someone made.  The editing isn’t the greatest, but I found it pretty intriguing.

 

The South Bronx no longer looks like this.  It’s not the greatest New York City neighborhood, and probably never will be.   But it’s certainly not the burned out slum it was back in the 1970s and 1980s.   (It’s also surprisingly expensive.  I couldn’t afford it.)

Ruins are everywhere.  Today, Detroit is probably the American city best known for its ruins.   Now I live next to ruins.  Last Sunday there was a terrible fire in a small apartment building next door.  Two of the apartments were completely destroyed.  The other two apartments are in fair condition, and their tenants have moved back in (I’m not sure for how long, since the building will eventually have to be torn down).

I finally got a chance to go around the back of the building and get a good view of the destruction.   You can actually see all the way through the building to the front.   Before I took the two pictures below, I just stood there and stared at the destruction for awhile. As with all ruins,  I was both horrified and fascinated.

fireaftermath1

fireaftermath2

Sometimes I wonder if my fascination with ruins has something to do with my rather dark inner landscape.    I’ve found it to be the case that people who like ruins and scenes of urban blight or bleak landscapes tend toward pessimism and depression.   It’s like we can relate to such scenes.   They seem familiar to us.

*****

Further reading:

Urban Lots and Blighted Souls 

Frida Kahlo in 1946.

fridakahlo

Frida Kahlo was an artist born in Mexico in 1907.  She died at age 47, in 1954.

Kahlo was a woman who was way ahead of her time.   This photograph, taken by photographer Nikolas Murray in 1946 in New York City (where Kahlo resided) shows a woman who was definitely her own person, though living in a time when women didn’t have many choices and were expected to behave and look a certain way.

You just didn’t see this type of eccentric, bohemian individuality in those days…or perhaps it existed in big cities like New York, but was still so very rarely seen.

I think she looks gorgeous and badass all at once.  Vulnerable and fierce.  This wonderful photo has a timeless quality.  There’s no way you can look at it and tell when it was taken.  It could just as easily have been taken today.

Outside my door.

snow1209a

snow1209b

Late November GLOOM

Spring can’t come fast enough, but that’s still a long time to wait.

Yeah, it’s cold too.

novembergloom

October sunset.

Image

octobersunset