Florida Exposure - Miami's Little Havana

The Hubs and I did something spontaneous last week - we took an impromptu trip to Southern Florida.


I will qualify the use of "Impromptu" though - back in November, Scott outlined four winter trip options which included the Florida itinerary. We had decided this would be the trip, but did not set a specific date for travel. On Monday January 4, we decided to go the following week - pretty spontaneous for us! We booked the flights and hotels quickly and flew out early on January 11.


First stop - Miami and Little Havana:

After arriving and checking into our hotel, we decided to explore Little Havana by driving to the main strip - 8th street - aka Calle Ocho. The neighborhood, with its Latin roots serves as a cultural center for the arts - visual, music, culinary. While live music remains on hold, the colorful murals adorning side streets remind visitors the pause is just that - a short pause.



Little Havana Mural


The quintessential Calle Ocho Roosters dot the streetscape in Little Havana - I learned they were installed as an artists' installation starting in 2002. Appropriate since chickens and roosters often run around the neighborhood.  





I found this cool vintage vehicle behind one of the shops and it reminded me of what you might see in actual Havana.

That Color #downsouth #littlehavana #vintage


We walked around and took in the little cafes and cigar shops before deciding upon an early dinner at Restaurant El Cristo. I had crispy pork chunks with roasted garlic - with so many colorful veggies. The official name of the dish is Masitas De Cerdo or Sauteed Cuban Pork - so delicious!

More Colors #littlehavana #foodie #eattherainbow #delish


While no visit to Little Havana is complete without Cuban Coffee, I don't normally drink caffeine in the afternoon. But I snapped this photo of a sad, un-used espresso maker in one of the stores. I suspect it was not operating due to Covid regulations.

Afternoon Buzz #butfirstcoffee #cubancoffee #littlehavana


It was a fun afternoon exploring Little Havana. Hopefully the live performance and music scene returns soon.


MIchelle S, Class of 2021 - Fall and Winter Looks

We thought the Class of 2020 bore the brunt of the global COVID pandemic. Certainly after months of remote work and learning, mask wearing and other precautions, life would resume "back to normal". We, however, failed to recognize how long the virus would continue its impact and who knows what "normal" will look like going forward.

Michelle, Class of 2021, is making the best of the situation. An avid runner, she ran cross country on her team's modified fall season and was named to the All-Area Team. Michelle displays a casual and sporty calm in her demeanor and she is most comfortable when down to earth scenarios. Her family hails from a farm in Indiana so the rural, prairie setting was perfect for our fall session. Photos taken at Allerton Park in Monticello


MIchelle S

MIchelle S

MIchelle S

MIchelle S


I'm good friends with Michelle's mom, and she mentioned how much fun it would be to have photos taken during a fresh snowfall. We received a decent amount of snow last weekend, so we headed to a friend's backyard and held photo shoot number two.


Michelle in the Snow


It wasn't actively snowing, but with some help from friends, we made it lightly snow. 


Michelle in the Snow

Michelle in the Snow


Behind the scenes, trying to make it snow - another friend with a long cleaning brush, knocking down snow from the tree tops. Michelle's mom took this photo.


Behind the Scenes 

Good luck to Michelle on the remaining school year - perhaps with the availability of the Covid vaccine they will be able re-start the regular High school events in the spring.


January 2021 Free Calendar Download - Snowy Pine Cones

It's a New Year, so I'm back with January's photo calendar. Hopefully I will keep these posts coming for 2021. We start 2021's calendar with snowy pine cones.


To download January's calendar, click on this link from Box.com
Link --> January 2021 Pine Cones


September 2020 Free Calendar Download

Where did summer go? I spent most of my summer in Kentucky for work, helping commission a new facility - hence the quick passing of perceived time on my end. Not that extensive travel feels like a good idea during "Covid Summer" - at least my summer experience took me away from the usual activity at the home site. We are all ready for a change in the weather, hopefully keeping the virus at bay.

Personally, my family and I continue to experience good health, keeping ourselves around the house.
With the transition in the season, this month's calendar shows fall's full glory.

To download September's calendar, click on this link from Box.com
Link --> September Calendar 2020 - Fall Glory


July in Kentuckiana - Madison IN Antiques

I spent most of July along the Ohio River, between Kentucky and Indiana. As a Chemical Engineer working in the industry, I know the Ohio River Valley well, having lived close to its banks for most of my career. This region, between Louisville and Cincinnati, sits deep along the water, flanked by picturesque hills and dotted with small communities along the winding scenic Ohio River byway. The larger town of Madison, Indiana, takes advantage of its historic position along the Ohio by developing a commercial Riverfront and quaint Main Street with numerous antique shops, unique restaurants and cafes. 

After a morning hiking in nearby Clifty Falls State Park in the heat and humidity of July, I was ready for sustenance. I found myself walking into the G.H Coffee Shop and Cafe where I enjoyed a nice iced coffee and breakfast sandwhich in their outside seating. From there, I walked up and down Main Street, mainly window shopping since many stores hadn't opened (it was Sunday morning). This caught my eye in one of the window displays:
For Sale?
I fixated on the cat to verify he wasn't a stuffed animal and caught the rise and fall of his breath. Later, when this store opened, I looked again and sure enough, it was time to go to work for this guy: Madison IN

I found the street alleys adorned with murals:
Madison IN

Madison IN
As shops started to to open, I ventured inside, scanning the odd antique collections. I enjoy the nostalgia of "old stuff" but never buy anything - until a thought formed in my head - to see if I could find an antique camera. My strategy - walk into a store, ask the proprietor if they had any cameras. If they answered 'no', I would immediately leave (no point putzing around!). Most stores' offerings were limited to those cheap, plastic, point and shoot automatic film cameras, circa 1980's. Then I came upon a store with a treasure trove of interesting stuff - a Kodak Brownie, a Kodak DuaFlex and this beautiful Canon AE-1 Program body:
Canon AE1 Program - Madison IN Finds
Obviously, I bought the Canon. It is in mint condition and now sports a 50mm lens. I have two rolls of Kodak Ektar coming so a new facet to photography begins for me.

I ended my visit to Madison with a walk along their waterfront and taking photos of interesting postal boxes adorning the historic homes in town.
Madison IN Finds

Madison IN

I enjoyed my afternoon in Madison and would visit again.


July in Kentuckiana - Clifty Falls State Park

July flew by in a flash and we now find ourselves in an angst-ridden August, faced with the impending start of the school semester. Each day brings new cases of Covid-19, scrapped then re-vamped plans, vacillating between in person and online course instruction. We deal with the changes by going with the flow, being patient and knowing in our hearts things will all work out OK.

Last month we delivered our daughter to her new venture in Dallas. We traveled there during the height of the city's spike in cases but experienced responsible citizens wearing masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines. This weekend we will transport our son back to St Louis and once again have an empty nest.

Other than the short weekend trip to Dallas, I spent July in "Kentuckiana" (Kentucky and Indiana) for work. My company has a greenfield (brand new) facility in Kentucky and I was there to help with the commissioning and start up of the automation systems. Even though the long hours and days morphed together, starting up a brand new facility is a rare opportunity - I learned a lot from the experience.

On my first day off (I think I ended up with a total of 2 days off during my tenure), I ventured to Clifty Falls State Park in Madison Indiana, about a 40 minute drive from my hotel. Along the Ohio River, the park winds through lush greenery, along cliffs and boasts seven little water falls. At the bottom of the 300 foot deep canyon, the Little Clifty creek flows. I spent several hours traversing various hiking trails in complete solitude, a wonderful respite from my harried days at work.

Clifty Falls

Clifty Falls #littlewaterfall #cliftyfallsstatepark #trail7 #seenonmyhike 

Tunnel Falls

Tunnel Falls off Trail 5 #cliftyfallsstatepark #shirleyhikes #seenonmyhike 

I had such a nice time in the park I ended up going back three weeks later and I brought a couple of co workers with me. We hiked different trails on the southern end of the park and ended up in the Little Clifty Creek. The area experienced significant rainfall two days prior, so the creekbed flowed with rushing water.

Kentuckiana In July

I highly recommend visiting Clifty Falls State park. When you are done hiking, head over to the quaint town of Madison IN with its antique shops, restaurants and river walk. I'll share those photos next.


August Free Calendar Download - Yu Gardens in Shanghai

This month's free calendar download features a pavillion in Shanghai's Yu Garden. This famous walled garden, also known as Yuyuan Garden, covers five acres in the Old City and consistently ranks as a top attraction for tourists to the city.

I entered the Garden upon its opening on a Sunday morning just before 9am. As a result, I was able to explore in relative peace. I've seen photos online where the walkways are packed with people. I believe the garden re-opened to the public in July after being closed due to the SARS-CoV2 pandemic.

To download August's calendar, click on this link from Box.com
Link --> August Calendar 2020 - Yu Garden

In other news, I've been absent here due to craziness at work - I've been in Kentucky, helping to commission a new facility there.  Hopefully I can stay home for a couple of weeks before heading there again.



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All images on this blog (unless stated) are the intellectual property and copyright of Shirley LeMay Photography and Shirley Behind the Lens (© 2005-2020). Do not steal, borrow or pirate the images here.

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