Last Evening in Florida

Our last night in Florida and we’re going out to eat at a Floridian Institution – Mel’s Diner - known for its food and reasonable prices. Let’s not forget retro styling, which I always appreciate.

Mel's Diner

Even at 5:30 on a Wednesday evening, we had to wait a little bit for a table to open up. The kids didn’t mind – the weather was gorgeous and they could goof off outside.
While We Wait
Afterwards, I realized that the sunset would be really nice and if I could convince the rest of them to head over to the beach, we could watch the sunset along the water. But alas, no one wanted to go with me! Instead, we pulled into a gas station as the sun was starting its descent.
Sunset at the Gas Station
I guess a sunset at the gas station is what I get to enjoy on our last evening in Florida.
Once we returned to my parent’s place, the kids wanted to take one last dip in the clubhouse pool. We allowed them to swim as we supervised (the pool closes at “dusk”, so we may have stretched that rule - depending upon your definition of “dusk”).
Like the moon coming up along the water. Too bad I'm at the pool and not the beach
Taken with my iPhone - I thought the street light looked like the moon coming up along the water.

As we finally left the pool, I took a picture of the final remnants of daylight over the pond.
Rookery Pond

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Team Up Thursday - Favorites

With our two favorite colors featured, it looks like Christmas in late March (but really, we don't want any more snow!).

Team Up Thursday - Favorites
Lee's picture features her favorite group of boys goofing off and checking out the Lego site (could be expensive, too!).

My predominantly green picture shows off my new travel coffee mug next to another green mug in my office. I love my new travel mug!

On Thursday, Lee Curie and I create a diptych based on a theme. You can view the other great diptychs at the Team Up Thursday Flickr group.

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More Horses

The Pioneer Woman is running a Horse Themed photography challenge this week.
Fortunately, we see horses on a very routine basis now and here are some recent photos.

Cinnamon
This is Cinnamon.

Rickey's Eye
Rickey - I've posted pictures of her before - she has a lovely wavy mane.

Around and Around
My daughter working her horse, Caesar, on the lunge line.

We feel lucky to access to such beautiful animals.

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Florida - Family Pictures

Unfortunately, all family visits must come to an end, and life must go back to their normal rhythm.

We really enjoyed our relaxing vacation in Florida - my mother and father were great hosts!

And as usual, we must have our standard "group picture" - taken in the screened in lanai:
Family
I should have positioned Scott differently - the palm looks like it is growing out of his head!

This one is a little better, although you can see the remote control in my father's hand (Brian held it in the last picture):
Family Take 2

Of course, we have the outtake:
Say Hi to the Camera

And the rejected background:
Rejected Background

A bonus - Erica let me take a picture of her:
With Curls
She spent a lot of time curling her hair and I thought it was so pretty.

And we have a wrap on Spring Break Family pictures

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Parasailing

We've done the parasailing thing before - the first time in 2006, when Erica (7 years old) went up for the first time and had a blast. That year, we even convinced my mother to parasail.

In 2008, a very nervous Brian (8 years old) parasailed for the first time and received high-fives from the flight crew as well as the others on the boat. That year, we convinced my father to parasail with us.

So it's a tradition for us to parasail when we visit Florida on spring break. We always go back to the same company - Ranalli Parasail, located at the Diamond Head Resort on Fort Myers Beach. They offer a 1200 foot ride (the longest / highest ride you can take on Fort Myers Beach) with a great flight crew. In the past, up to three people could take flight on their parasail rig, but now, they have the capability to fly up to six people at a time. This meant that our entire family could go up together.

It was another beautiful day in SW Florida - the air was warm, the breeze refreshing and little clouds dotted the sky. Our family got on the boat at 1pm with another couple and the boat jetted off to the middle of the ocean.

The crew guy who set us up in our harnesses was nice enough to take a picture of us:
Family Fun

The woman from the other couple saw my camera and also offered to take pictures - she has a Nikon D90, so she was familiar with the general operation of mine.

Blue Skies Above
I believe we used this blue and yellow chute in 2008. It's so pretty against the blue sky.

Here we are, ready to launch:
Ready to Launch

And we're flying!
Soaring
Just a Dot in the Sky
It was really nice to be able to experience the flight as a family - we chatted about what we saw up in the air and when we were dipped into the water, had fun getting each other wet.

A Dip in the Ocean

Back on land, we enjoyed walking a bit along the beach. A lovely day.
Beach Scene

Take a Walk

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Mosaic Monday - Lush Greens

I miss the all the green we saw in Florida. I know things will start to green up here, but the desolate fields of brown and gray skies are a bit depressing.

So instead, I'll look at these and sit by my oven for warmth.
Lush Greens

And these, too.
Fringe

Rookery Bridge

Illuminate

I'm linking up to Mary and Mosaic Monday - there are other mosaics there to warm your soul.

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In Motion

When you have your camera with you, being stopped at the railroad tracks doesn't seem so bad.

Speeding By

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Camera Phone Friday - Vacation Sampler

What I like most about my camera phone - I can take pictures while going about my daily activities and post them to Facebook or Flickr in real time. This is especially fun when I am traveling.

So, here are several of my iPhone captures from last week's visit to Florida:

Scenes From The Road
Driving to the airport

Early Morning Flight
Watching the sun rise

By The Pool
Hitting the pool immediately after arriving in Florida

New Shades
I bought some new shades at the Farmer's Market

Sun Worshippers
A day at the beach

Sunset at the Gas Station, not the Beach
I couldn't convince my family to go to the beach to watch the sunset, so I had to settle for watching the sun set along the gas station instead. Next time, I going to the beach with or without them.

Light the Way
Arriving back in the Midwest where we were welcomed with snow spitting from the skies.

I guess vacation is officially over.

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Cherry Blue Skies

I'm a big Sara Bareilles fan and in one of her songs (Vegas, off her Little Voice album) she refers to sailing the ocean and Cherry Blue Skies there [This is not to be confused with Robin Thicke's Cherry Blue Skies Song].

We left the land of Cherry Blue Skies this morning, leaving the sun, warm breezes and smell of the ocean.

Billowing in the Wind
Yup, cherry blue skies.

Even on the plane, I was reminded of those skies.
Cherry Blue Skies and a Little Moon

And look - a bit of moon to the right of the wing.
Moon off the Wing
No, this is not an advertisement for Air Tran. I wish they had stuck to a logo on the wing instead. Or left it plain. I guess I could have erased it away, but I'm too lazy.

When we landed, however, the reality of overcast skies and biting wind hit us. And it was snowing. Welcome home, right? Well, I still feel the heat of my sunburn from my last day in paradise.

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Team Up Thursday - Body Parts

I planned to post this last week, but life got in the way. No excuses this week!

The theme is "body parts" and Lee's son is maturing into a man, muscles and all (including that rad new hair color). I coupled his adolescence with the veins on my aging hand, and my baby nephew's plump digits. Body parts across the generations.

Team Up Thursday - Body Parts

On Thursday, Lee Curie and I create a diptych based on a theme. You can view the other great diptychs at the Team Up Thursday Flickr group.

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Scenes from the Farmer's Market

I love how farmer's markets sell a wide assortment products these days - not just limited to fresh produce (although the fresh produce is the main reason why I go).

From the Earth

Bursting

We have friends who sell goods from China - silk batted comforters (the only kind of comforter I'll buy), woven silk and jewelry.

Freshwater Pearls

Longevity
The character on the clasp signifies Longevity.

So I find myself window shopping at the market - so many pretty things to look at.

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Surrounded by Green

I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to travel somewhere warm (but not too warm), where the plants display their lush green leaves, the birds soar overhead and the gentle breeze flows through my hair.

We took an evening walk through a cypress preserve, discovering the quiet of the forest, surrounded by lush green.

Green Carpet

Stately

Hidden

Can you see the little baby crocodiles in the water?
Baby Crocs

I wish you peace and serenity for your day.

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A Trip Down Memory Lane

The embedded slide show includes pictures from 1999 to 2003, film that I had developed at Seattle Film Works / PhotoWorks. I received an email from PhotoWorks this week that they were closing, that I had over 1000 pictures with them that they would transfer over to Shutterfly. I didn't realize the breadth of photos I had developed through PhotoWorks, and I am so glad they had all these archives of my film pictures. Pictures from before Brian's birth, all the way to 2003, just before I bought my first digital camera. I plan to have Shutterfly send me the archive DVD of the full resolution files so I can save them on my computer, load them up to my Flickr account, organize and tag them.

Click here to view these pictures larger


I didn't realize when I developed my film with Seattle FilmWorks/PhotoWorks they would provide these archives. Back then, it was very tempting to drop my film off with the Wal-Mart or whoever had the best deal. Being consistent will save me hours digitizing my archives.

Even in today's digital world, I think it is still important to be consistent with your photos. Delete the bad photos, organize the rest, back them up. Choose one photo printing company and print those photos out. I know I've been bad about the "printing the photos out" part, especially since I've been consistently blogging these past three years. I still plan to get my photos into photo books and the like. Receiving these old photos in electronic form has just emphasized that (and most of the photos already reside in scrapbooks).

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The Moonrise, but Not the Super Moon

I guess I was a day too early, but the moonrise on Friday was still very nice and I was in a position to actually capture it.

Moon Through the Trees

Shot hand held, at 70mm. I didn't have my 300mm lens with me, not that would have made a big difference because I didn't have my tripod, either. Nor do I think the people at mini-golf would have been too happy with my set up slowing up play on the 14th hole.

Settings:
Exposure 0.002 sec (1/500)
Aperture f/4.5
Focal Length 70 mm
ISO Speed 320
Exposure Bias -2/3 EV

Moon Rising
Exposure 0.002 sec (1/640)
Aperture f/4.0
Focal Length 70 mm
ISO Speed 320

Saturday evening, I watched a huge, reddish moon rise as I was riding in the car, speeding down the highway. No chance to stop there, but I enjoyed the view.

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Farmer's Market and Wetland Preserve

Saturday morning - and it's Farmer's Market time.

But that's after a nice early morning run as the sun rises -
Morning Pines
It's perfect running weather - mid 50s when I start and mid 60s when I finish - this means shorts and a t-shirt, the first warm weather running of this year.

I go to the Farmer's Market with my parents - they eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. I picked out two mangoes (they were delicious) and a pair of sunglasses (I left mine in IL).

But most of all, I like looking at all the beautiful produce.
Japanese Eggplant

Today's family outing - the wetland preserve - a large wetland area, complete with lake and board walk that winds through the 2500 acre facility. It was a great way to enjoy the evening.

Down the Boardwalk

Crocodile Lake, where we saw a crocodile, sunning himself on dock:
Crocodile Lake

Scott points out the Croc to Erica:
There's a Croc Out There

I didn't capture it well at all (and hence deleted the picture), but on the left side of the lake, there's a grove of trees where hundreds of birds roost at night. In the evening, they fly back to the shelter of these trees. Next time I'll bring my zoom lens to capture this amazing sight.

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