Taking nature pictures soothes me.

The world, in spite of climate change, burning rainforests, and widespread hatred and violence, is still a beautiful place, with so many beautiful and fascinating things in it.

I find taking pictures like these soothing to my soul.

The first photo is of an enormous praying mantis on the screen of my front porch (I believe this guy was close to four inches long!).  The second is of an oak tree in my neighborhood, that by the size of its massive trunk looks to be even older than I am, and perhaps even a hundred or more years old.   It sure looks healthy though, like it could live for another hundred, and it just might!

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Pool therapy.

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I really needed this today.  I’ve been soooo stressed lately due to family and financial issues, and haven’t had much opportunity to get to the pool or do much of anything recreational this summer.

I arrived at the local public pool early, while it was still almost empty, and just floated on my back in the deep end for a long time (just like an otter!)

The feeling of weightlessness combined with the hot sun beating down on my body seemed to take all my built up stress away.  I could have stayed like that all day, even maybe falling asleep, but soon the pool was crowded with kids and rain clouds began to roll in, so I spend the remainder of my time taking these pictures, which are intended to be artistic but probably aren’t really.

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The above photo:  looking down into 12 feet of water. The dark part on the right is the shadow cast by the side of the pool.  This is my favorite picture because of its slight creepiness.

The iridescence of flight.

I came across these two stunning photographs of a Black Jacobin Hummingbird today (the photos were taken by photographer Christian Spencer).

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The iridescence is caused by sunlight shining through the wings, forming rainbow colored prisms.

The effect is simply magical.

Spooky trees.

SPOOKYTREES

 

This was taken looking up at a wooded area that had been partially clearcut to make room for an apartment complex (I took the picture from the parking lot, looking up a steep hill toward the forest).   New plants and shrubs hadn’t had a chance to take root in front of the trees, so you found yourself looking deep into the forest.  Behind the pale trunks the dark green depths appeared almost black.  Adding to the creepiness was the fact a thunderstorm was about to start.

ETA:  I iked this enough I decided to make it the new blog cover photo.   It was time for a change.

Cher and cat.

One more blast from the past.

This is a wonderful picture of Cher and a black and white cutie in 1974 (I want that cat!).  The photograph was taken by Richard Avedon, who died in 2004.

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And good Lord, that cat looks like my Sheldon!

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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!

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I’m the one in the gray sneakers. 

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Clearwater Beach

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

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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:

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

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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.

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

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Dessert at Hellenas Greek Bakery, Tarpon Springs.

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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.

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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).

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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).

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Early spring drive.

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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.

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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.

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Fishing in Sunburst, NC

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Sunburst Swimming Hole