Just a short post this week to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.
Santa passing through Ponce Inlet
I’m not planning to publish next weekend, so I’ll go ahead and wish you a prosperous and healthy new year now too!
Thank you so much for following my blog again this year. Please be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you’re lucky enough to be be with family – enjoy your precious time together! See you soon in 2022!
‘Twas the night after Christmas and I sat at my desk,
trying to decide which photos were best.
To the refuge I’d been three times in December.
I was writing a blog post to help me remember.
All of these pictures I selected with care.
In hopes that they’d make you feel like you’re there.
This light on the Fish Camp made me pause for a bit.
When the pandemic’s over, we’ll stop in and sit.
Early morning at the Fish Camp Bar & Grill. On SR 46 at the St. Johns River.
Going into the refuge the river’s reflection,
painted this scene approaching perfection.
Clouds on the Indian River. Just south of Veterans Memorial Park.
Kingfishers on Black Point are loud and brash.
But I managed to catch one, heading off in a flash.
Male Belted Kingfisher in flight
A Common Yellowthroat posed in the brush.
Then he flew away in a very big rush.
Male Common Yellowthroat
Storks in formation soared by above,
A wonderful subject to make photos of.
Three Wood Storks in flight
And what to my wondering eyes should appear?
A pretty pink spoonbill, preening quite near.
Preening Roseate Spoonbill
Other birds to the refuge, they also came.
It’s wonderful to see them and call them by name.
Now Ospreys, Shovelers, Pelicans and all,
Northern Shoveler drake
Now egrets and herons, with all of your calls,
Now woodpeckers, cardinals, eagles, owls and more,
So many birds along the shore!
Red-bellied Woodpecker. “I know I saw a bug in there…”
Male Cardinal in the Mangroves
Nesting Great Horned Owl
Large birds, small birds, short birds and tall,
stay for a while, don’t dash away all!
Ibises and Spoonbills
Ibises and Egrets
And I exclaimed as I turned out the light:
“HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL,
AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!”
Calm Harbor – Titusville Marina
Note: I ended up visiting Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge three times this month and I had so many unused images from these trips that I decided to re-do a post from December 2019 with updated words to fit the new photos. MINWR is a truly wonderful place – especially at this time of year. I’m very grateful that I live close by!
Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope this holiday season brings each and every one of you and your loved ones peace and joy. I know the pandemic has been extra challenging and not being with family is especially hard at Christmas time. Stay safe and take care of each other so we can all enjoy the better times that are on the way for 2021!
This is my last post of 2020, but I’ll be back next Sunday with another one. Until then, have a happy and safe New Year!
Twas the morning after Christmas, as I left the house – I tried to be quiet and not wake my spouse.
I drove to the refuge through the long winter’s night. To get there and catch the first morning light.
On the pier by the causeway, it was all blue and gold. Lovely start to the day with colors so bold.
Dawn by the causeway and the pier
To Black Point next – a wonderful place. Drive slow or you’ll miss things with too fast a pace.
Dawn on Black Point Wildlife Drive
Kingfishers dodged my camera with ease, not stopping for long even when I said please!
Male Belted Kingfisher
A lady Merganser was flapping her wings. Shaking off water and other things.
Female Hooded Merganser wing flap
An unblinking gator watched me draw nigh. I almost saw myself in his eye.
Eye of the gator
And what to my wondering eyes should appear? A pretty pink spoonbill wading quite near.
Other birds to the refuge, they also came. It’s wonderful to see them and call them by name.
Now Ospreys, Shovelers, Pelicans and all,
White Pelican Pod
Now egrets and herons, with all of your calls.
Great Egret in flight
Great Blue Heron portrait
Now Terns, teals, willets, eagles and more, so many birds along the shore.
Large birds, small birds, short birds and tall – stay for a while, don’t fly away all!
As I left the refuge and it left my sight, I thought “HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!”
Merritt Island morning
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. I hope each and every one of you are having a wonderful holiday season. Cherish your time with friends and family and don’t forget to make some photos with them!
I hope you had a chance to attend the annual Cracker Christmas at Fort Christmas Historical Park a couple weeks ago. It’s a fun activity with a lot to see and a lot of vendors selling unique items. If you couldn’t make it this year, keep it in mind for 2020. And don’t forget that you can visit Fort Christmas throughout the year.
Christmas Post Office
This park in east Orange County includes a reproduction of the 1837 Fort built near this spot. It also has 7 restored historical homes that preserve the ‘Cracker’ architecture of the area. The park gives us a glimpse into Florida pioneer life. It’s a little like traveling back in time and photo ops abound.
NO Chickens Allowed
Volunteers often dress up in period costumes and demonstrate what life was like back then.
During the festival, there are even more folks showing us aspects of other times.
Civil War Re-enactors
Here’s a photo hint that helped me when I was there: Scan your frame to check the composition for distracting or out of place items that might spoil your image. In this photo of the two soldiers, I noticed Airstream trailers behind their tent so I shifted my viewpoint so they weren’t visible in the final image.
In the kitchen
And in this photo of the kitchen, there was initially a modern Yeti cup on the stove. I was glad I was able to re-make my photo when it was removed. Much easier than removing it in Photoshop!
Many of the homes are decorated for the season and you can photograph things in December that don’t exist the rest of the year. A fabulous time to go!
Merry Christmas to all!
Anyway, a fun short photowalk. You can read more of my Fort Christmas posts here. And you can see more photos from there in this album on Flickr.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Merry Christmas to everyone and enjoy spending time with family and friends. And don’t forget to make some photos with them!
While on our cruise a couple of weeks ago, we spotted Santa testing out some alternate transportation. I really like the color scheme, but I’m worried he’ll get tired pedaling this all around the world. Hopefully the elves can talk him into using his sleigh and reindeer.
I hope all of you have a joyous and happy holiday season and a wonderful new year! I really appreciate you following my blog again this year.
Thanks for stopping by. Now – go enjoy spending time with family and friends. And make some photos!
It’s getting chilly outside, presents are starting to show up, and we’re hearing carols on the radio. Family and friends are arriving soon and before we know it, It’s a Wonderful Life will be on TV around the clock. Whether you celebrate Christmas or another winter holiday, family gatherings are the greatest photo-op of the year!
Mom, me, Dad – Christmas, 1955
Gather folks up and make photos and maybe even some video. Include everyone and make sure you get yourself into a few. Don’t put it off and don’t take no for an answer. Technical perfection isn’t even required. You and people you love will cherish the photos anyway.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some family photos! And share them – someone will be very glad you did!
Mike, Sara, and Mary joined Lynn and I for Christmas this year. When we’re together we often visit a theme park, but since we liked our last cruise so much, we decided to take a holiday cruise instead. We booked on Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas and departed from Port Canaveral for Nassau and Coco Cay on Friday, Dec. 21st.
Port Canaveral is about an hour east of Orlando on the 528 Beachline. We found parking right at the pier and the embarkation wasn’t too bad, although there was a line getting through security.
Overall the Monarch of the Seas was very enjoyable. The food was good (the Strawberry Pavlova dessert was a BIG hit!), and so was the service. Our staterooms were in different parts of the ship this time, which made coordination a little more difficult – but we worked it out. Once nice thing about sailing at this time of year is that the ship was fully decked out for the holidays – Christmas trees, gingerbread houses, and other seasonal touches.
Ship’s decorations in the main atrium
We departed Port Canaveral late in the afternoon. The weather was nice for the whole cruise and although Friday’s sunset wasn’t that great Saturday’s sunrise made up for it:
Pre-dawn clouds in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida
We arrived in Nassau Saturday afternoon and spent time shopping. Then Mike and Sara found us a great place to sample the local food (the Bahamian Cookin’ Restaurant) where we enjoyed their Conch Fritters. After that, we all boarded a catamaran for a sunset tour of the harbor. The low light combined with a moving boat made for a challenging photo-op, but I did get a few nice images. One of the highlights was seeing Oprah Winfrey’s pair of side by side mansions (with a huge matching yacht). I guess she uses the second mansion for guests – quite impressive.
Nassau harbor at night from the sunset cruise catamaran. I thought the red and green running lights were an unexpected seasonal bonus!
From Nassau, we sailed to the Berry Islands where Royal Caribbean has exclusive use of Coco Cay (also known as Little Stirrup Cay). They’ve set the place up for cruise passengers to enjoy beach time, snorkeling, shopping at a straw market, parasailing, wave runners, an aqua park, kayaking, hammocks, and of course – food. We had kayak reservations for first thing in the morning. The wind was really blowing and even though we were a bit worried about it we went anyway. It was a workout, but worth it in the end. We paddled about a mile to a sand bar off of Big Stirrup Cay, where I made this photo:
A starfish in the ocean near a sand bar at Big Stirrup Cay. We haven’t been able to ID this one – our guide told us it isn’t common.
Later, back on Coco Cay we relaxed, shopped, and yes, ate too much. Mike and Sara also went snorkeling and saw fish, Sting Rays, Spotted Eagle Rays, and coral.
Sara and Mike enjoy the view from our Coco Cay cabana
It was a wonderful way to spend time with our family. Except for the wind, the weather was great and not at all typical of the season in most of the country. Poor Mike and Sara had to return home to winter storms and snow. I imagine it was a bit of a change!
You can click any of the photos above to see larger versions on Flickr and I’ve posted several more from our cruise in this set.
This is my last post of 2012. I’ll be back next year and I hope you will too. May you, your family, and your friends all have a happy and prosperous new year. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now, get cruising and make some photos!