Week 5 – Joy

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Anna Maria, Florida Sunset

The Holidays are upon us and with all the hurry and flurry of the season, I find it an important time to pause and take in moments of joy.  For me, that would be sunsets on the quiet beaches of Anna Maria.  It’s the best gift I can give myself!

Joy exists in the ordinary.

Captured with an iPhone 11 Pro Max with minor edits in Luminar 4.

Week 4 – Motion

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Net casting, Anna Maria, Florida.

We are celebrating this Thanksgiving week on Anna Maria with family. Kids and grandkids from Utah, Alaska and New Jersey made it, but we miss our other family members from Iowa, Ohio and Maine. Even though time and distance keep us apart, we always have a great time when we all come together. Everyone in motion …. kayaking, biking, swimming, sand castle building, story telling and sharing glimpses into the lives we lead while away from each other. It’s a time to catch up, a time to share, a time to be thankful for being able to come together another year.

Week 3 – Feathers

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Brown Pelican, Anna Maria Pier.

One of my favorite birds is the Pelican with their spectacular dives, bill first, into the water.  Or when they are gliding just above the water with the occasional wingbeat that may briefly touch the sea.  Awkward in their take offs and landings, they provide me great entertainment in the water, in or out, such as this fellow as he cleans and straightens up his feathers preparing to rest.

November – Something Orange #1

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White Ibis, Anna Maria Beach, Florida.

Since I had such a good time over the past year participating in our local photo club’s 52-week challenge, I’m looking forward to joining in again with our new challenges.  The best part of participating is that it forces me to try new things as well as getting out and capturing scenes around me.  For this week, I chose the theme of ‘something orange’.  This group of white ibises were strolling along Anna Maria beach.  They are quite common in Florida and not unusual to see them in my backyard along the water’s edge or strolling through yards digging for food.

Thanks for checking in and hope you follow along with me again this year!

Week 28 … #23 Balance … Waiting for a Bite

_NIK7472-4Snowy Egret, Anna Maria, FL

This fellow had a challenge on a breezy day balancing on a pier piling hoping to snatch some discards from a fish being cleaned on Rod and Reel Pier in Anna Maria.  He was never lucky, though, as the fisherman tossed the remains to the pelicans below.  For this week’s theme of “Balance” where the left and right halves of an image draw the eye equally, I used this image as an example of an ‘imbalanced’ image where the visual weight of the egret is on the left where your eyes are drawn primarily, with nothing on the right to counter the ‘imbalance’ of the photo.  Had there been a fish in the egret’s mouth or another egret’s head popping up from the right lower corner would have helped put this image into a more balanced pose, making the difference of a great shot versus an average one as is this one.

Week 12 … #13 Starburst, Diving into the Holidays

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Brown Pelican diving at Anna Maria Island.

One of my favorite places to capture my favorite bird, the Pelican, is on Anna Maria Island.  Oftentimes there are many parents and juveniles, hunting and diving for food off one of the piers, as they were in the above image.  The juveniles are similar to the adults, but have a brown neck and head with a grayish bill.  I love watching their take offs and awkward landings.  Sadly, I noticed one juvenile had some fishing line flowing off his foot when in the air.  Not good.

I thought for the ‘Starburst’ challenge, I would cheat!  To shoot successful sun flares and starbursts, one needs to use a narrow aperture such as f/22 and for best effects, something physically blocking part of the sun, like the horizon or buildings or trees.  I have practiced a bit in the past but with the holidays upon me, I’ve had little time to get out and capture a starburst.  So …. as I said, I cheated.  I used a great iPhone app called LensLight which has a wide selection of interactive lights such as bokeh, lens flares, light leaks and sunbursts.  I don’t use it often, but on the few occasions, it can really pop an image.  I hope you think so too.

Happy Holidays, friends.

Week 11 … #8 Wildcard, Taking Flight

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Sunset at Anna Maria Island.

One of our favorite places for sunsets is on the north end of Anna Maria Island.  The sunsets are spectacular and the sugar white sands are an important habitat for an incredible array of wildlife.  On many many occasions, we have shared evening sunsets with herons, sandpipers, ospreys, cranes, seagulls, skimmers, egrets and my favorite, pelicans.  During various times of the day and year, you’ll see different species of shorebirds, sometimes hundreds, congregating at dusk for an evening feed.

What I always find fascinating, that at some point, as darkness nears, the congregation rise collectively and fly off to their evening roost, wherever that may be.  I love that moment of unison against the setting sun.

(This was shot with an iPhone and edited in Snapseed.  The sunburst was added with the LensLight app.)