When I saw this large Florida Cormorant swimming by the dock we were standing on near Tampa, with a relatively large catfish firmly grasped between its hooked beak, all I could think of was “gotcha”. Evil looking bird, eh? Shortly after he swam past, he flipped the fish up and swallowed it whole, but not without some difficulty. Ought to be his main meal for that day, at least! (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 300mm, f5.6, 1/80 sec. Developed in Lightroom 3, Beta 2)

One (only one) Colorful Sunset

When we left for our week–long visit to the Tampa/St Petersburg, Florida a week ago, I was sure I’d be able to photograph some spectacular sunsets. Surely to be excellent candidates for placement on some Florida tourist brochure; or at the minimum, nice photos to print and hang prominently somewhere in our already photo–cluttered house. (Most of my best selections are displayed on our kitchen refrigerator—with magnets like we do with kids’ “look what I made” stuff.) As each day evolved, I looked for clouds to develop as the afternoons wore on. Nada. Not to be. Zero. When clouds were present, they were 100% coverage variety, and lots of water poured down as a result. Nothing that made be want to go “click” with my camera. Then, on the last night we were there, I was rewarded with what you see here. Nothing spectacular, but in the line of what I was looking for. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 120mm, f5.6 w/-2ev, 1/640 sec. Developed in Lightroom 3 Beta 2.)

Tarpon Springs

If you like (a) Greek food or (b) fishing boats or (c) SPONGE fishing boats, then Tarpon Springs, Florida will suit you just fine—as it did for me last Tuesday. On the other hand, if you don’t like bumping into people, or finding a place to park close by, then maybe you won’t enjoy it. But then, you can’t have it all when you’re on vacation. The colors of the docked fishing boats is what I liked the best—as in this photo. A close second favorite were the incredible smells on the warm breezes wafting out the open doors of all the greek cafes and restaurants along the dock area. Greek music ain’t bad either. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 24mm, f11, 1/400sec. Developed in Lightroom 3 Beta 2)

Surfer Part 2

Another Florida surfer with no fear. However, this guy tended to crash and burn more than not. After several tries, he became a bit more timid and stood alongside me to watch the others. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 130mm, f5.6, 1/1250 sec. Developed in Lightroom 3 Beta 2)

No Fear

Last Tuesday evening I sat on the beach and watched three Florida surfers “do their thing”. This guy was clearly the best, and as I took shot after shot at nine frames per second, I captured some interesting dare devil stunts. They were not on the traditional surf board, but were instead using what I refer to as “skimmers”, where they wildly run into the waves about to crash ashore, and then ride them along as best they can—and in this case see how high they can jump while at the wave’s peak. No way I’d ever try these types stunts, because I have LOTS of fear when it comes to putting my aged body in peril.  (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 130mm, f5.6, 1/1250 sec)

Spring Butterfly

These guys have yet to arrive here in SW Virginia, but they were abundant in Southern Florida while we were there earlier this week. Frankly, the temperatures in Florida last week were cooler than they were in parts of Virginia (65 vs 70) but it seemed way warmer, especially when seeing scenes like this one. I developed this in Lightroom 3 Beta 2, which is definitely a lot better than Beta 1, and exceptionally better than the full version 2.6. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 300mm, f5.6, 1/320 sec)

Shore Bird Walker

I’m no bird species expert by a long shot, but I “think” this is a Shortbilled Dowitcher. I followed this little guy along the surf  at Anna Maria Island on the Gulf Coast. I really liked the contrast of the bird with the bright clear, almost sparkling water. The white sand only added to the vibrant scene. I’ve been more successful this past week photographing birds that I thought I might be. That was my main objective, so I’m pretty happy. We leave for home today, so we’ll soon be back to our normal routine. Part of that will include developing the best of my photos taken in South Florida—some to be posted here. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 200mm, f11, 1/400s sec. Developed in Adobe Lightroom 2.6)

Here today, gone tomorrow

This serene beach scene at St Pete Beach Florida, taken at sunrise, was totally different 24 hours later after the passage of a severe band of thunderstorms, with onshore winds and resulting rough surf. In short, much of what you see here in the background was lost due to erosion. The reason for such severe loss of beach sand was due to the use of  hardened structures (sand bag groins) to supposedly reduce erosion. What I saw happen here is a perfect example in support of those (like me) who oppose such measures. But, what do I know. Only what I see. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 48mm, f 5.6, 1/400 sec. Developed in Lightroom 2.6)

More Florida Birds

Looking at my prior post, this one was the shot I took just prior. The gull was at eye level, taking off, and I got this as one of several fast frames taken, with wings extended fully vertically. Also, note that the gull’s feet are still partially on the sand, in mid takeoff stride. More later. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 200mm, f5.6, 1/640 sec. Developed in Lightroom 2.6)