Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blogger v/s Picasa

Well, I'd made plans to throw up some more pictures tonight, another band from Rockabilly Ruckus, some shots from the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival this past weekend, maybe some new shots of the hawk at work, and even some really far away shots of today's launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, but Picasa won't talk to Blogger to upload pictures.  I hate when that happens.  Maybe it's just something wrong with my computer, but I've tried all sorts of stuff from rebooting to clearing the cache, and nothing seems to change the behavior.  Maybe things will be better tomorrow.  Until then, I apologize for the lack of new stuff.  I had such a great week going, too.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rockabilly Ruckus-Act Three

The third act of the night was actually a repeat of the first act, the one I skipped over earlier. It was a group of five pre-pubescent girls who dressed up and sang some songs to a pre-recorded tape. No idea how they got added to a bill of hardcore rockabilly acts, but they were cute. Closest they came to actually singing a rockabilly song was Jailhouse Rock. Other than that it was pop songs from Rockin' Robin to We Got The Beat. The audience sang along and everybody got a big kick out of it. They even snuck in a few costume changes. I imagine there were some proud parents in the audience.

Mossy Sunset

Here's a quick view of sunset through a moss covered oak tree, shot the same day as most of the bird pictures I showed you today. This was over a month ago, but I'm just now getting around to sharing the pictures. I think I take way too many pictures, since it takes me months sometimes to find time to sift through them. Hope you enjoy the sights, though.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I don't think I've ever seen this many turkeys together. Right alongside the trail on afternoon at Circle B Bar Preserve, there they were. I couldn't even get them all into one shot. There are more of them to the left of this frame.

This was as close as I could get to them, and that was with a 400mm lens. I tried to give them a wide berth and get in front of them, but they wouldn't have anything to do with me.

Before I could get around them, they took off running, and just a second or two after I took this shot, they were airborne and gone.

When A Body Meets A Body

I wish I'd gotten a better picture of this encounter, but I'll take what I can get. While walking down a path at Circle B Bar Preserve in Lakeland, I spotted a raccoon up ahead. He crossed the path and disappeared. Couple minutes later I hear the unmistakable shuffle of an armadillo in the weeds, and soon I spot him. But I wasn't the only one who spotted him. The raccoon popped his head out of wherever he was hiding and started watching the armadillo as well. I'd hoped the encounter would last a little longer, or that the two would get closer and perhaps there would be some sort of altercation, but it wasn't meant to be. Having satisfied his curiosity, the raccoon disappeared again and the armadillo went on his merry and somewhat oblivious way, probably never having noticed either myself or the raccoon.


I may as well throw in a red-winged blackbird for you while I'm posting bird pictures. Nice light on this one, you can see the black feathers quite nicely. Sometimes they just show up as black blobs with a red and gold spot, but this one came out nice. Again, from the Circle B Bar Preserve in Lakeland.

Snow Bird

Yes, we have lots of pelicans in Florida, but not like this, or at least not all of the time. Most of the year, Florida is populated by brown pelicans, but during the cold months, we get large flocks of these white pelicans down from up north. They seem to prefer the fresh water, but you will occasionally find them in salt water. Brown pelicans are the opposite, they like the salt, but sometimes you'll see some inland where the water is fresh. They're just all mixed up somehow. As you can see, the white ones aren't entirely white, they've got some black accents under the wings that gives them a distinctive look when they're flying. And that bump on the beak is some sort of sex thing. The males get it during breeding season, and then it goes away. Perhaps the females find it attractive.


It's really hard to get a good picture of a crow. They're all black and the exposure rarely comes out correct. I think this one is pretty good. The iridescence in the feathers is a nice touch. But what can I say, it's still just a common crow. Or is it? I think a crow has a stubbier, darker beak. What does that make this? I'm thinking it's a grackle, a boat-tailed grackle to be specific, a male boat-tailed grackle to be even more specific. So many birds, so little difference.

Little Bit o' Tern

Hailing again from the Circle Bar B Preserve in Lakeland, this is a bittern. You don't see these guys very often, yet in just a few feet of trail, I spotted three of them, getting decent shots of two. Hard to tell from the pictures, but these guys are frozen in place, hoping that you won't notice them in the weeds. Well, I say frozen. They will actually sway back and forth a little, trying to mimic the motion of the weeds in the wind. It sort of reminds me of a house cat that thinks it's hidden, but selective breeding has caused it not to be very well camouflaged. Anyhow, just another bird in what must seem like an endless parade of them around here. And yes, there are more to come.

M R Ducks

Trolling though all the photos I took last month but never shared, I'm into the ones from Circle B Bar Preserve in Lakeland, Florida. More birds up there than you can shake a stick at, but I gave it the old college try. These ducks were standing in formation on a dead tree for some reason. You never can really tell what's going through a ducks mind. But I thought it made a neat picture.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Here. Don't say I never gave you a picture of a hooded merganser. At least I think that's what this was. I spotted a couple of them in the retention pond of a movie theater near my condo, so I whipped out the camera and took a couple of shots. The light was fading fast, and the puffy-headed ducks were paddling fast to get away from me and my camera. I got off a few shots and this was the best one. There are so many different types of ducks out there, I can't even pretend to be able to identify them all. If anyone out there can tell me if I'm correct in my identification, I'd appreciate it.

Flutter And Hold

At the same time I shot those oystercatchers, I also was keeping an eye on this tern as he hunted for some fish in the shallow water near the sandbar I was on. He'd hover in the air for a couple of seconds, something that few birds can do as effectively, and if he saw something, he'd dive in for it. I didn't catch him with anything in his beak, but I do recall he finally got something after he'd moved beyond the reach of my telephoto lens.

It was pretty amazing how he could change the pitch of his wings to hold himself in one spot as he hunted. Maybe not quite a graceful as a humming bird, but better than a lot of other species.

You could tell when he spotted something, his attention was suddenly locked on to something that was about to get eaten.

In this shot, you can get a small sense of where I was at, although the telephoto lens distorts the distance a great deal. That's the Sunshine Skyway bridge in the background, with the city of St. Petersburg rising out of the water behind it. I think it's maybe 9 miles to the bridge from where I was at, and twenty or more town. But the long lens makes it look as if you can reach out and grab it. The white dots in the water are birds gathered on another sandbar out in the bay.

Dig That Crazy Beak

I am not even sure what kind of birds these are, but with a long orange beak like that, they shouldn't be too hard to look up. I ran into these guys in Tampa Bay, just off shore from Robinson Preserve, but on a different day from many of the other bird pictures I've shown you this evening. It was low tide, and I'd wandered out onto a sandbar that had formed around an inlet that feeds some of the salt marshes in the preserve. I happened to see these guys fly up, shot a few pictures, then they flew away as quickly as they arrived.

So a quick search of the internets tells me that this is an oystercatcher. Now we know. I don't know that I've seen one of these in the wild before, yet here were three of them. Actually, you can't see all three of them in any of these pictures, but there were three. Perhaps they were just migrating through, and I got lucky in catching them. Perhaps they're really common, and I've just missed them.

It's Easy Bein' Green

Before I get tired of posting tonight, here's a green heron I've been meaning to share for a while. I think this shot really captured the color of this little guy, maybe better than I've ever gotten one before. Sometimes you can't even tell why they're called green herons. Even the dark red around the neck and face really came out in this shot. Now if he just had a big fish in his beak. This shot also came from Robinson Preserve last month. It's a great spot for shooting birds, so if that's up your alley, go visit.


I don't know what this little blue heron was straining so hard to look at. Was it me? Seems it would just be easier for him to turn his body around rather than sticking his neck out in what looks like a very uncomfortable way. And then to do it to both sides...


From the mighty osprey, we move on to the mighty ugly wood stork. I took these shots not too long after I shot those two ospreys one day last month at Robinson Preserve. I haven't been motivated to post them until now, and I'm not sure what's motivating me to post them tonight, but I'm gonna run with it for as long as it lasts. The shot above is one bird, and the three shots below are the same bird as I tracked him along for a few seconds.

I called these guys ugly up above, and they are pretty unattractive in the face and when they are on the ground, but they are very graceful fliers, and quite attractive with the black-on-white color scheme. I think these are some of the best aerial shots I've ever gotten of one of these guys. You can even see some green iridescence in the wings in some of these. I guess it's all in what you're shooting and where the birds are. If they don't fly nearby, you're never going to get a decent shot.

I think my monitor is about to give up the ghost. The blue sky in some of these shots shows up as a pixelated yellow color for some reason. Sigh, just some more money I have to spend to feed my hobby. I suppose I should replace this four or five year old computer while I'm at it, too. It's only money. Who needs to retire eventually? It'll wait.

Fish Eagle

While I'm posting some old pictures that have been laying around for a while, here are a couple of ospreys I shot last month out at Robinson Preserve. I wish I could get this close to a few eagles and get some shots. No offense to these guys, they're beautiful and all, but I'd love to get close-up shots like these of some eagles on the wing.

Old Glory

I shot these close ups of a flag about a month ago when I stumbled across the funeral of the Fire Chief of Bradenton, Florida, who had passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack. They had suspended this huge American flag over a road, supported from the expended booms of two large fire trucks. Before I knew about the funeral procession, I'd turned down the road that the flag was hung over, and got to drive right under it. Once I figured out what was going on, I parked the car and started taking some pictures, some of which I shared with you earlier, but I'd forgotten to put up these flag pictures before now. For several weeks, I've had a detail from one of these as my desktop wallpaper, spread out over two widescreen monitors at work. It's quite the impressive display.


A second kid picture in less than a week? That's a little out of character. Anyhow, this is a young fan enjoying the rockabilly stylings of the band I just showed you, Midnight Bowlers League. There were plenty of kids at the show, and I think some of them actually had parents in the bands performing. You'd see people who had just been up on stage in the audience, playing with their kids and introducing them to the music that they love.

Rockabilly Ruckus-Act Two

Let's see, who was up next at Rockabilly Ruckus 2011? I believe this is Midnight Bowlers League. I don't know anything about these guys, but I think I saw them at a previous Rockabilly Ruckus.

I love those big upright basses. I think every band that performed that night had an upright bass. One of them switched to a regular guitar-shaped bass for a song or two, but then it was back to the big mama-jama.

I think I need to work harder at getting shots of the drummers. I've noticed that I always seem to forget about them back there in the back, slaving away at the beat, but never getting the recognition that the guys up front are getting.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rockabilly Ruckus-Act One

As I think I mentioned, I went to a concert this past weekend at Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa. It was called Rockabilly Ruckus and it featured a handful of bands all loosely associated with rockabilly. The act you're seeing here was actually the second of the evening, but the act that preceded them played twice, so we'll catch them later on. This is 6 Volt Rodeo, a fine musical quartet. The guy getting shot to bits above while introducing the band is actually one of the DJs from WMNF, sponsor of the evenings festivities. This was the beginning of eight full hours of musical mayhem that left me drained, yet wanting more.

Pay close attention to that bass player, Mike Daley, you'll see him in at least one of the other bands on the bill. That seemed to be a recurring theme, people showing up to play in a second band later in the evening. My memory for faces is terrible, yet even I noticed the same people showing up again.

Twice during their set, they brought out this lovely lady to sing some sultry lead vocals. There were lots of ladies in the audience wearing their best swinger chick 60's outfits. If was a more forward photographer, I'd have gotten more pictures of them, but I'm too shy, and their boyfriends are too big... Actually, most of the ladies were taller than their beaus due to the popularity of some extremely high heels.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Littlest Pirate

I spent most of today at the annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival near Bradenton, FL. It's the sort of festival that pops up all over Florida this time of year, as it becomes warmer and warmer, but not too hot. One of the attractions is a large pirate ship on wheels, that's also used as a parade float, but here is just used as an attention getter for a local group. I spotted this young guy on the deck of the ship, all dressed up, but perhaps not entirely sure he wanted to play the part of a blodthirsty pirate. I don't usually shoot people, much less people I don't know, but I thought he was worth making an exception.

Shoes On A Wire

I don't know what the deal with shoes thrown over a powerline is. I see them all over the place. These three were on a wire behind Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa. When I've worn out a pair of shoes, I just throw them away, not up in the air. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong.