December 14, 2017
December 29, 2016
Pinecraft Park is about three miles from downtown Sarasota. Maybe half of its 22 acres are in things like a parking lot, shuffle boards, and a basketball court. That doesn’t leave much for nature, but I’m always surprised to see how much nature is there. I must have seen the sun shoot through palmetto leaves like this a hundred times or more, yet every year I can’t resist just one more photograph of them. And then one more and one more and one more. Here’s the first one of the year.
March 5, 2014
I’ve been receiving requests to post photographs taken in Florida. So here is the first photo I took during the first outing Janet and I took this season, on December 1, 2013, at Sleeping Turtles Preserve. The scene is only a few yards from the parking lot. This is a large photograph; click on the smaller image below to see it bigger.
August 26, 2013
Englewood is a town not all that far from Sarasota, maybe an hour’s drive. Janet and I went there April 28 to see if we could find good crummy places in the downtown area to photograph. Unfortunately for us, all was pretty spiffy. But we found a little chapel down a side street that had photogenic elements, including this window. The building is the first church in Englewood, built in 1928. If you see moire pattern on the window, look at it larger by clicking on the image and the moire pattern should disappear. I found some interesting things in the alley in back of the church. Those of you who have been with me very long know how I love mops and hoses but rarely find them next to each other. (Look here and here and here.)
December 26, 2011
Janet and I went to nearby Quick Point Nature Preserve a few Sundays ago (December 4, to be exact, though I hate to admit it was that long ago). Here’s what I observed: Some spiders make really spacey webs; some dead palm trees look like Dalmations; some weeds dry up in very strange ways; and all sea-grape (Coccoloba uvifera) leaves—including dead ones—are interesting. . . . As we were leaving, I noticed something bright orange along the path. It was a fruit about two inches long growing on a vine. Then I noticed a whole sea-grape shrub covered in the stems and leaves of this vine, and saw that many other nearby plants and trees were totally engulfed by it. Ohhh, noooo, I thought. Maybe this is the dreaded kudzu. It wasn’t, as I found out by Googling, but it is a plant that is considered quite a pest, especially in orange groves. It’s a bitter melon and is also called balsam apple and wild cucumber (Momordica charantia).
May 22, 2011
The last Florida outing I took this season was with Janet to Jean’s river May 5. We walked downriver rather than up, as Jean and I had the previous time. Downriver is not as overhung with foliage, making for fewer reflections on the water. The water itself is just as magnificently colored, though.
May 2, 2011
It was back to the Myakka River State Park for Janet and me yesterday. There we walked a path along Clay Gully, a tributary of the Myakka River, which Jean had pointed out to me Thursday when she and I were in the park. Here’s a confession about the first photograph: I added more blue water on the left. I have said that I don’t manipulate the images I post online or mail out. I’ll amend my statement to “almost never.” I had tried different crops of the image and just couldn’t get the composition to sit right. I really wanted to include this image to show one of these little colonies that often build up around a jutting log in rivers—natural still life. What I did was to copy a portion along the left edge of the original image and paste it to the left of the left edge. I was lucky that the just-visible underground log cooperatively extended itself in a reasonable line as well. The second photo is saw palmetto leaves along the path. Clay Gully, like the Myakka, is very tannic, and the water over a dark river bed makes for vivid reflections, which you see in the third through sixth photographs. The orange spots in the third photo are where the sun poked through leaves and tannic water to light up white sand at the edge of the river. The yellow flower with the green bee is a coreopsis, the Florida state wildflower. About a dozen varieties of coreopsis are native here, and some are also called tickseed. I don’t know if this one is. The last photo shows a section of our path; the river is behind the foliage on the left.
April 10, 2011
This morning we took another trip south to Venice to try another new (to us) park: Curry Creek Preserve. We hadn’t gotten too far into the park when a man taking a walk there stopped to talk with Janet. He said he came to Curry Creek Preserve a lot but that a much better view of the water was across the street at the Pinebrook Fitness Park. So we backtracked and went there. Well, yes, the views of the creek were better, but all-in-all we didn’t much favor the location and wondered if we should have stuck with the preserve. Ah, well. To try to recoup, we then drove to an old train parked on a siderail in town that a printmaking classmate had told me about. It was festooned in graffiti and in a lovely state of disrepair.
April 3, 2011
Another new place today: Jelks Preserve, south of Sarasota near Venice. Almost as soon as we walked through the gate Janet noticed a small path to the left. It bordered a small stream on its way to the Myakka River. The foliage was jungle lush, as you can see in the first photograph. I felt like I was in a museum diorama of early plant life. . . . Much later we came to a spot where the wild irises were just finishing blooming. . . . I never can resist an interesting saw palmetto leaf . . . or reflections in water . . . or Leptothrix discophora films.
April 2, 2011
This past Sunday Janet and I attended a fundraiser at the Myakka River State Park for the Friends of Myakka River. We didn’t spend much time taking photos, and I didn’t think I’d gotten anything worth sharing. I didn’t even download until days later. But today I took a good look at them and found some you might enjoy. Or not. This should be my last alligator photo. Should be but probably won’t be. They really are fascinating. It’s partly that they are so big, and—probably—partly that they are so dangerous. For the last year or so Janet has been making a lot of black and white photographs. I used to shoot black and white in the ’70s but haven’t made black and white photos lately. I just seem to see in color. Seeing so many of Janet’s great black and white photos, I finally I had to try some. The first of them here is an anhinga drying out its wings. Unless it’s a cormorant drying out its wings. The anhingas have a sharper bill and silver on their wings, but I can’t tell from this far away. The second is a crow, probably a fish crow. Fish crows look very much like regular crows, but their voices sound like they have put a mute over their mouths. I just read today, in Kevin Kelly’s What Technology Wants, that crows’ forebrains “are as relatively large as those of nonhuman apes, and the ratio of the brain weight to body weight is in the same line as apes.” He calls them, along with parrots and ravens, the “‘primates’ of birds.”