Tag Archives: beach

Peaceful Morning

Ingredients for a perfect breakfast:  A cup of java, a slice of orange, a book, served on the deck while listening to the gulls and the surf.   I could do this every morning.

Peaceful morning:  All's right with the world

Peaceful morning: All’s right with the world

But, if I didn’t have the beach, or the sun —  or even the fresh fruit — it would still be near perfect with a cup of coffee and a book.

A cuppa

A cuppa

These are my entries for Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday, Cuppa Love edition.

“Recipes” for images:

Beach Coffee:  Canon EF-S 55-250 lens, f/22, 1/200, ISO 400.  Applied Kim Klassen textures Return & Sunkissed.  Applied Elements 8 filter Rough Pastels, Copied layer with Blending of Multiply to burn out edges for vignette effect.  Applied Kim Klassen texture 1301, Added Photo filter “Underwater”, Darkened skies slightly using smart brush tool.

Cuppa:  Lensbaby Composer Pro, Soft Focus optic, F/8, 1/250, ISO 400;  Applied Kim Klassen textures:  1301, Sunkissed & Cherish

Sunday Quote – 2013, Week 2: Einstein

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  ~ Albert Einstein

Sea Fan on Beach

Sea Fan on Beach


Sunset Stroll


Sunday Quote, 2013, Week 1 – Jacques Cousteau

The sea, once it casts  its spell, holds one in its nets of wonder forever.
~ Jacques Cousteau

Gulls, Sunset, Sand, Sea:  Wonder- full

Gulls, Sunset, Sand, Sea: Wonder-full

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise!

Taking pictures of nature always makes me more aware of the world around me and typically makes me wonder about the beauties and intricacies of the natural world.  Here is a photo of some sort of sea critter that I found on a Southwest Florida beach last January.  It was in the surf at low tide on the morning of a full moon.   I was surprised by how beautiful this creature was.  I have no idea what it is, despite trying to identify it.  If you know, please let me know.   That will be a surprise too!


This is part of the Weekly Photo Challenge.  This week’s theme:  Surprise!

Want to join the fun?  Post a photo that means “surprise” to you.  Be sure to leave a link at The Daily Post.  Here are a few posts that other bloggers have done:

  1. Weekly Photo Challenge – Surprise | Just Snaps
  2. Changing Seasons: More Snow | Empire of Lights
  3. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise « A Western Buddhist’s Travels
  4. Surprise!..he passes through walls!! « Detours by Deepali
  5. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise! | Randa’s Fans
  6. Weekly Photo Challenge – Country Surprise | Canoe Communications
  7. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise. « 3rdculturechildren
  8. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise – Joy and Woe
  9. Surprises around the world | Thirdeyemom
  10. WordPress Photo Challenge: Surprise (December Day 21) « A year in the Life
  11. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise encounters with Renato Oliveira, an incredible Portuguese musician | Julie Dawn Fox in Portugal
  12. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise | Figments of a DuTchess
  13. Weekly photo challenge: Surprise. « Fotografía Incidental
  14. weekly photo challenge: surprise! « a nomad in the land of nizwa
  15. Weekly photo challenge: Surprise. « Fotografía Incident

Travel Theme: Hot

Ailsa’s right:  Brrrrr!   Even if it reached the low 60’s today, which is really quite delightful for December 1st in the Midwest, the cold season is upon us.   Brrrrr!

Ailsa’s theme this week is HOT.   It gets very hot — and humid! — in my part of the world. It isn’t very pleasant during the summer months and air conditioning barely makes it tolerable.   But, when it is cold and windy with steel-grey skies, suddenly I don’t mind the heat at all and I dream about going to where I want my clothes to suit the weather.  No hat; no gloves; no socks or snow boots; no sweaters, except perhaps late at night after the sun is down.

And where is that?   If you lived where I do, that place would be within a day or two drive.   I’ll go over the river (two or three actually) and through the woods.  Around a smallish mountain pass and through dormant red-clay fields.  And then, just I begin to weary of the long trek, the trees will begin to change.   If it is early morning, there may be fog near the swamps.

Then, in a few more miles, the sign will boast:  Welcome to the Sunshine State!   Soon the air begins to change as I head down the peninsula and travel west towards the Gulf.  I may imagine it, but I think I can begin to smell the saltwater air about 100 miles away.   As I head south out of Tampa, I’ll catch my first glimpse of the blue waters of the Gulf.   Within a few hours, as soon as I pick up the keys and place my bags in the cottage, I’ll open the curtains, take off my shoes, and, stepping off the porch, wiggle my toes in the cool, white sand.

The weather in southwest Florida in January and February can be iffy.   I’ve stood on the beach before in my winter coat and watched snow flurries.  (That was the year when there was snow in all 50 states at the same time!) But, more often than not, it is warm and sunny.  Last January, there were several days in the 80’s — and I loved it!

HOT weather, to me, means sitting on a near-deserted beach, with white powder sands stretching to my left and my right, and, in front of me,  the beautiful blue water reaching endlessly towards the sky.  Such a place is my home-away-from-home for a few weeks each year.

It’s December now.  It won’t be long until I’m there again.   I love being a snowbird.  And I can’t wait to take more photographs of some of my favorite things:  beaches, birds, butterflies, flowers, sunsets, century-old cypress trees.   I look forward to visiting my favorite greasy-spoon diner that serves the best corned-beef hash and hash browns for breakfast; lunching at the Greek restaurant on the beach where the crows try to steal grape jelly packets from the tables (they don’t like the strawberry!); wandering the beach and marveling at the intricacies of seashells; sitting on the beach and reading more books than I’ll probably read in the following six months.   And, last but not least:  enjoying the warmth and heat of the sun!

White Sands, Blue Waters, Sunny Skies

White Sands, Blue Waters, Sunny Skies

Anyone can play along.   Post something that says “HOT” to you and link to it in the comments on Ailsa’s blog, Where’s My Backpack.  Here are just a few examples of how others have interpreted this week’s theme — and not all of them have to do with warm weather!

Travel Theme: Soft

Fort Myers Beach, Florida:   Just before sunset

Ailsa’s travel theme this week is SOFT — soft and cuddly clothing, soft colors, soft textures, soft and furry animals, whatever soft means to you.   I chose this photograph because I like the soft light.  This was taken during that magical time of day at any westward facing beach:  just before the sun starts its rapid descent towards the water, when it hangs low in the sky, casting a pale golden, pink and peach colorcasts over everything, yet the sky is still blue.  I particularly like the barely noticable golden light on the empty beach chairs.

You can check out what others have done by going to Where’s My Backpack.  A few participants are listed below:


Travel Theme: White

Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week is WHITE in honor of the UN’s International Day of Peace. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon wrote in his message for today: “On the International Day of Peace, I call on combatants around the world to find peaceful solutions to their conflicts. Let us all work together for a safe, just and prosperous future for all.”

There are many opportunities to find peace in this world and I believe it is only sustainable if it starts with individuals committed to resolving conflicts, in not seeing the world and its issues in simply black and white, right or wrong, either/or terms.

As a commemoration of International Peace Day, Ailsa has proposed white themed photos. Here is a Baker’s Dozen of white or predominately white photographs I’ve taken over the last few years:

White near the shore:

Dosinia Clams

Wood Stork


Royal Tern

White in the woods and the garden:


Viburnum blossom in rain puddle


Spring Bloom on Fruit Tree

Rose Garden, Musée Rodin, Paris

Seed pod

White in Winter:

Southern Indiana Creek, February

Winter afternoon snow

Robert Indiana’s LOVE, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Snowy December Afternoon

Travel Theme: Texture

Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week is Texture. One of the things that I love about nature photography and close-up photography of any subject is the surprising details one can see. Sometimes, a part, close-up,  is bigger than the whole!

Often times, grains of sand are nuisances on your skin, the bottom of your shoe, the floor of your car.  But viewed up close, they are amazing shapes, as is this translucent fish that was washed ashore briefly by the tide, swimming back out again on the next wave. Against the jagged edges of the sand grains, he looks even more jelly-like.

Glass Minnow in sand

Tree trunks are always amazing sources of texture.  The knot in this portion of the trunk of a fallen tree on the beach caught my attention, but the salt-weathered wood surrounding the knot has a freshly sawn look and is equally interesting.

Portion of Trunk, Fallen Tree on Beach

This is another close-up of the same tree trunk.  The trunk was bumpy and pitted, and a bit fuzzy where the algae had started to grow.  In places, the curves of the bumps had captured small grains of sand.  Underneath the bumps is smoother wood.

Close-up:  Algae, Sand, Tree Trunk

There were few limbs remaining on the tree trunk and even parts of the trunk had been worn away or apart from the tree, forming miniature swirls and cavern-like pits.

Pits, pockets, grains of sand

While various parts of the trunk held interesting textures and colors, the entire tree, set off against the horizon adds texture to a photograph of the shoreline, making the stark white sand look softer and seemingly holding the incoming clouds closer to the water.

Fall Tree, Framing Shoreline


Ailsa @ Where’s my Backpack has another travel photo challenge. This week, in commemoration of World Oceans Day, the theme is Oceans

I’ve been fortunate enough to see two oceans and a few seas. I’ve been on the Pacific coast of North America, both in the Los Angeles area, and in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I’ve experienced the Atlantic from both sides of the ocean. In the Americas, from NYC and Myrtle Beach, on the Jersey Shore, in eastern Florida and from Rio de Janeiro which is situated along the beautiful Guanabara Bay — one of the most beautiful bays I’ve ever seen. From the opposite side, I’ve seen the Atlantic Ocean from the western shores of Ireland and from Wales. I’ve cruised in the Caribbean, endured a sleepless night of rough seas aboard a ferry boat on the North Sea, and woke at 5am on a chilly May morning to go swim in the Mediterranean with a friend before we caught a 7am bus from Nice to Paris. I’ve crossed the Straits of Gibraltar to get to Morocco and saw another part of the Mediterranean while sunning on the Costa del Sol.

But the body of water that I’m most familiar with, the one that I swear I can smell its saltiness as soon as the plane wheels touch the ground, is the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t care about visiting most of Florida. You can have the craziness of the BeeLine and the theme parks in Orlando. After a short time, endless miles of orange groves don’t seem very different from endless fields of corn and soy beans. I’m a bit too old for the party life of South Beach. And, I’ve never stayed in Key West long enough to see the sunset from Mallory Square. But the Gulf Coast, from about Port Charlotte south to the start of Alligator Alley, is the area where my soul feels at home. Perhaps I was a Calusa Indian — one of the shell people — in another life.

I have spent numerous hours walking beaches in this part of the world, exploring the marine life that lives on and near the shore. I did this for years before I owned a camera. Since I started photographing, I’ve been even more aware of the life that lives between the waves and the mainland. As you start noticing the lives of the creatures you realize which ones can be found in the morning, which ones show themselves in the evenings. You notice how all are connected. In the years following the hurricanes of the early to mid 2000’s, I’ve seen different cycles of marine life, an abundance of some species in some seasons, a dearth of others. A healthy beach is sometimes measured by growing populations of creatures. When I started visiting this area of Florida 15 years ago, I rarely saw a Florida Fighting Conch and I wouldn’t have known an olive snail if there had been any to see. But, as I learned several months ago while taking a guided beach walk, both of these species, which used to be plentiful but grew scarce beginning in the 70’s, are making a comeback. I didn’t need the conservation guide to tell me that there were new populations — they seemed to be everywhere I looked.

World Oceans Day is celebrated annually, recognizing the interdependency of the oceans with the rest of life on earth. Think about what your life would be like if we didn’t have our oceans. Think how much better our lives could be if we learned more about our oceans and the life forms that inhabit them. Think about how we can deal with pollution, with areas of the oceans that are made up of miles of junk, like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Think about how can we fish the oceans sustainably.

Below are some of my favorite photographs from my favorite body of salt water: the Gulf of Mexico.

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