Indoor faces in the middle of August

It was too hot to be outside in the middle of August so I headed indoors to the Florida Aquarium. It was nice to walk around and take pictures in air conditioning. I cheated and took all of these in Auto program mode (with no flash) since the Aquarium was going to be way to crowded to be using a tripod. Even 10 minutes after the doors opened, kids were running into me. It was still a fun morning and I walked around for about 2 hours.

You can barely make out my reflection in the above. Even without using flash, there’s a slight light that shines for a second while focusing. Trying to use regular flash against this thick glass is crazy. You’re only going to get a big white light across your pictures. You also have to watch for shadows and reflections on the glass which is apparent in the above. I was able to keep other people’s reflections out of most of the pictures.

Linking to http://myworldthrumycameralens.blogspot.com/

A sad day at my favorite beach

Walking out on the beach this past Saturday morning seemed like any other Saturday morning. There wasn’t a smell (since the wind was coming from the east or other side of the park). At first glance the beach seemed clean but weirdly void of any people. As I got closer to the water, that’s when I saw the signs of red tide. Red tide is a naturally occurring thing that happens in the gulf when the algae blooms and releases toxins that kill the sea life.  The last big red tide event happened here in 2005. It was devastating to the sea life that year. Beaches south of us in Sarasota and Fort Myers have had red tide issues since early this year. It just reached my beach in the last few weeks. I had heard mixed reviews on how bad the dead fish were at the beach so I headed out to see what was going on. The day before, the park rangers had cleaned up 6 miles of beaches full of dead fish but fish keep coming flowing back on the beach with the waves.

Here is some scientific information on red tide.

This was the first time I had seen so many different crabs on the beach along the water. These camouflage crabs will eventually make their way back into the water. The ranger told me that crabs in general are not as affected by the red tide but it was weird to see them on the beach.

Lots of different ones on the beach including this crab that had a barnacle living on it.

While our beach has had a mild case of red tide so far, many of the beaches south of us had record numbers of dead dolphins and manatees turning up this summer.

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Critters in the rain

I left work while it was still raining in early August hoping Chesnut Park would be empty of people due to the weather. That’s when the baby deer come out from hiding in the woods. Early on Saturday mornings when I’m usually there, the park is filled with joggers, walkers and dogs so the deer stay deep in the woods. It was still drizzling when I first got there. I quickly saw 2 hawks that were soaked.

I spotted a fawn staying close to the family.

Not sure if this was Dad or a big brother. It’s rare to see older males at the park. They usually stay farther north and come down to the park during mating season.

This little one had a sibling. Even though the rain had stopped, I stayed in the car to take these. I didn’t want to spook them. They continued to graze and I eventually headed home.

A quiet walk on the trail.

Plants along the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve in mid May.

Not as up close as it looks. They were swimming out in the lake.

It’s rare now to have quiet time on the trail here. Even early in the morning there are usually a lot of people out. I was there in mid May on a rare Friday off and it had been raining off and on. I got sprinkled on a few times but at least it wasn’t hot.

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The dolphin show at Fort Desoto.

A baby dolphin was swimming close to Mom above.

The dolphins were swimming right under the fishing pier at Fort Desoto in early June. The water was clear and the sun was hitting the water just perfect so you could see them before they came up for air.

Someone caught a tiny shark.

A beautiful day to be out in a boat.

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The dolphin show at Fort Desoto

After running around in the woods at Fort Desoto Park taking pictures of small birds migrating through the area in late April, I stopped at the fishing pier before heading home. The dolphins were feeding on the bait fish, swimming back and forth in front of the pier. The water was clear that morning so it was easy to see them as they rose to the surface. It was fun watching them splashing around.

Pelicans were also floating close to the pier.

Not too many people on the beach yet near the pier. The crowds were just starting to form north of the pier where the beach is a little wider and nicer.

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