Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Melbourne Causeway

The closest access from our home to the Atlantic Ocean is to go over the Melbourne Causeway between Melbourne on the mainland, and Indialantic, Florida on the barrier island just off the coast. We call this barrier island "beachside."

The first photo shows the hump of the causeway and the second one was taken just as we had passed over the peak of the causeway heading beachside.

That's the Indian River Lagoon on either side of the causeway, and in the enlarged second photo, you can see a sliver of the Atlantic Ocean just past the barrier island and the city of Indialantic.

I have never tired of going over the local causeways and seeing the "River" and the ocean in the distance. It's always a beautiful thing to see, and this is how it looks from a car.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Morning Glory / Beach Sunflowers

These may be morning glories, but I photographed them in the afternoon. They were still pretty glorious.

The yellow ones below are beach sunflowers (also called sand sunflowers) and they bloom all year long down here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

All In A Row

Sometimes color is the subject.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Some photos need no explanation. There sure were a lot of these guys hanging about the day I got these photos.

At least they weren't all circling in the air above me!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Street, Looking East

When I took the photos that I posted yesterday, I also kept looking behind me down our street, looking east to see if anything was happening of interest in the sky in that direction.

It WAS interesting.

I have no idea how those rays were created. The sun was setting in the other side of the sky, so these rays are a mystery to me.

They look beautiful, but they're a mystery.

The second one is a waxing, 3/4 moon as seen through a couple of palm fronds in our front yard.

That's my 'hood.

Friday, October 26, 2007

My Street, Looking West

I carry my camera with me to work on most days. If work gets to be too stressful, I might leave during lunch or in mid afternoon and go to the beach or to a park to walk and decompress a little bit.

Most days I my camera just stays in my trunk all day and I don't take it out until I get home for the evening.

This past Tuesday, I got home about the time of sunset, and as I was driving home I kept stealing glances at the beautiful late evening sky. When I pulled onto our street, heading west, the first photo is what the sky looked like.

When I pulled into and parked in our driveway I got out and got my camera out of the trunk, took a couple of steps into the street and took these photos.

I loved the two portions of the clouds that are glowing orange from the low sun that was still casting it's orangey rays on these far away and high clouds.

Beautiful. A great way to end the work day.

(Tomorrow, My Street, Looking East. Same Bat time, same Bat channel.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rain Tree

Florida might be too hot and not have enough hard wood trees for great fall colors like in other parts of the country, but we do have some.

My favorite tree that grows down here is the rain tree.

This is a baby rain tree that I came across and photographed. They bloom and produce seed pods in the fall every year, but don't lose their leaves.

The yellow blossoms are abundant and the reddish-brown thingamajigs are seed pods that fall and hopefully produce more trees.

This little sapling was really going to town with the blossoms and the seed pods as you can see.

I took some pictures of bigger rain trees last year and posted them on my other blog.

Go here if you want to see larger rain trees in all their fall color glory.

Update: A rain tree is called a rain tree because, in the sun, the leaves stay open, but at night or on heavily overcast days, the leaves close up.

Consequently, when it's overcast and rainy, the leaves are closed and rain goes right through the tree to the ground, as opposed to other thickly canopied trees that tend to block most of the rain.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Secret Service Agents / Air Force One

As a follow-up to yesterday's post of photos I took of President Reagan in 1983, here is the picture of four of the Secret Service Agents that I mentioned yesterday.

This is one of those photos that I KNEW I had gotten a good one as soon as I pressed the shutter button. These guys were amazing to watch. If you ever want to watch some diligent folks, just watch the Secret Service in action. They are all business, believe you me.

They probably love cool and cold weather because it's more comfortable for the guys in the longer coats. They had machine guns.

The lower photo is a crop from Air Force One coming over town to land at the airport. The original slide has some power lines in the upper portion and I cropped enough to take them out.

This was a modified Boeing 707 that was in service until the 747 came into service as Air Force One while Bill Clinton was President.

(Aside: I got to see one of the Presidential 747's up close at a job interview in 1996 near Dallas. This company was responsible for keeping the latest and greatest electronics on these planes, there are two of them, and one happened to be at this company for upgrades the day I had my job interview there. I just got to go around the outside of the plane, not the inside. It's not actually referred to as Air Force One or Two unless the President or Vice President are on the plane.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ronald Reagan

One Sunday morning in 1983 as Lovely Fiance and I were heading to church, the local news on the stock Philco AM radio in my old Ford pickup said that Ronald Reagan, then President of the United States was coming to town.

Monroe, Louisiana, my home town, is farming country in the Mississippi River delta and was experiencing bad flooding.

The Ouachita River (pronounced WASH-i-taw) that ran through town was over flood stage and was being held back only by the levees. Thousands of square miles of farm land lay underwater and it was going to be a disastrous year for farmers.

On his way back from his California ranch in Air Force One, they diverted to make a quick stop in Monroe so that the President could shovel a few sandbags full of sand for the cameras.

After church I rushed and got my camera bag with my trusty Canon AE-1 and went to the location he was to show up for the sandbag filling.

Only problem was that I had no time to go buy film and my camera was loaded with my first love, Kodachrome 64.

ISO 64 slide film is not the preferred choice for shooting in a jostling crowd on a rainy day where the clouds looked close enough to reach up and touch, but hey, I went anyway.

I was able to get close on a couple of occasions and at a couple of places he passed right by me, literally an arm's length away, but none of those shots came out at all.

These two are my favorites of him from that day. The first photo is just after he and his peeps got out of the Chevy Suburbans they were riding in. The gray haired man whose head you can see behind President Reagan's waving arm is the then governor of Louisiana, Dave Treen.

I love the second pic, President Reagan in a sea of reporters and locals. I only wish that microphone boom wasn't there.

Neither of these is great, but I took them myself and am proud of them. As any new photographic situation is, I learned a lot of lessons that day on how I should have prepared for fast moving situations that I use to this day.

I have one other photo from that day that I love, that is of the Secret Service men in a huddle planning their day among the crowd before the President had arrived, but these are my two best of President Reagan from that day.

I was able to get so close to him later because I had this big camera bag and just acted like I was one of the press and nobody bothered me and I was able to walk into areas that they didn't let the crowd have access to, only the press. I had no credentials showing, so I don't know how they let me past. One of the few times in my life I showed false bravado and got away with it.

It was fun, but I learned that I would have starved to death as a press photographer unless I upped my game a whole lot.

Anyway, that's my story.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Tijuana Taxi

Heading home for the evening.

The first photo is one of my toy cars, a reissue of a Hotwheel I had as a kid. The reissue isn't a Hotwheel, but a series of larger reissues by a third party die cast car company in tribute to the custom car designer, Tom Daniel. I was playing around with the movement filter in Elements, something I've never done, and ended up liking this better than the static shot of the little car.

One day last week, after work, I thougt the sky portended an awesome sunset, so I diverted from home and went to the nearest causeway out to the Atlantic. (I didn't go all the way to the ocean, didn't have enough time before dark.) The sunset wasn't as grand as I hoped, but I got some good photos anyway. While trying to get a zoomed in view of the colored clouds I saw birds fly through the frame so I turned to follow them and got this and a couple of other shots.

I wasn't really looking to stop movement, and operated on impulse, thus the slow shutter speed and blur here. But somehow, it works for me anyway, so it makes the cut.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Black and White #19

Vista 1

Parking lot lamp post at the library.

One day at a local park, I came across the scene in the first photo. You can barely see it, but there is a small placard right behind the bench, and it simply reads "Vista 1." I had to laugh, because although I love Florida in many ways, the word "vista" is not what I have in mind when looking upon a grassy field with scrubbly looking pine trees as a backdrop; to me "vista" is for when I'm seeing something grand like the ocean or a mountain scene.

I had taken a break from work and went for a short walk in this park near work and although it was after 3pm, the sun was still pretty high in the sky. Not great for photography, but great for de-stressing from work for a bit. So I worked with it for a good while in Elements, and ended up liking this contrasty black and white version best.

I like the symmetry that the centered bench and hand rail add to the photo.

The second photo is a set of parking lot lights that I posted a closer color photo of the other day under the title "Invaders From Space" because of the spaceship looking upper part of the lights.

This austere, crisp metal contraption set against an unblemished blue sky seemed that it would be another good candidate for conversion to black and white. I like it a lot too.

And, since it's Sunday, that means that on my other blog, Least Significant Bits, I have posted my usual Sunday Picture Post. Go check it out.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I see a lot of great blue herons down here, but I like these white ones better. Something about the pearly white feathers is more appealing to me. These guys are so serious, most birds are, but water fowl like this have to be stealthy and stalk for food, which makes them seem much more intense to me.

The bottom photo is of a bably sandhill crane that I was able to photograph one evening after work several months ago. I had seen this guy with his/her parents one evening in the grassy areas of the property where I work.

I started bringing my camera in my car (in an insulated bag to protect it from heat) and a couple of evenings after my first sighting, when I got off and walked through the parking lot to my car, I could hear the adults, his/her parents squawking on the other side of the building.

I drove around there and got out with my camera and got a bunch of shots of the three of them.

A couple of them were posted on Cute Overload, which thrilled me to no end, and this is one that I don't think I've posted yet.

Here's a link to the Cute Overload post with my sandhill crane family photos.

Here's a post on this blog where I also had other photos in this series.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I Haven't Posted Sunset Photos In A Few Days

So that's what y'all are gettin'.

I have about 100 Billion sunset photos, so I have to throw some of them at y'all from time to time.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Three Of A Kind

The bottom picture is pretty much a straight photo off of my camera. The other two were a black and white conversion and also an experiment.

Warning: Boring Photoshop Elements stuff ahead!

I got to playing with it, thinking initially that the contrast might translate to a nice black and white photo. I do like the black and white one, but while I was playing with it, I tried a couple of things.

When I convert to black and white, I don't just switch it to grayscale. I take the color version and create a levels adjustment layer, and then a third layer using a black and white gradient map, which if I did only this and then saved it, makes a much nicer black and white than simply converting it to grayscale.

Then I go back to the levels adjustment layer and can switch to the red, blue, and green part of the photo individually, and adjust further in each of these component parts.

That's where I usually stop and flatten the image layers, but for this one that I framed, I went back to the gradient map layer and using the opacity slider, moved it such that just a hint of the original color started to appear once again.

I loved the gentle, mint green that appeared so much more than either of the others that I framed it.

Do any of y'all have a preference of one of three?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

If Trees Could Talk...

...then this one already has a mouth ready-made.

An interesting/strange formation on a tree in a local park.

The second photo is some sort of lichens or something really fuzzy looking growing on a tree in a particularly heavily grown and shady area of the same park. I liked the light greenish color of it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Two Old Friends / 8 Random Things About Me

During my high school years in the late 1970s, I wanted to be on the yearbook staff. They had more people than they knew what to do with for most things, but not enough photographers. The yearbook sponsor told me if I had a camera, I could be a photographer for the yearbook.

I asked my parents to buy me a camera. My Dad said, and I quote, "Son, if you want a nice camera like that, you'll go and earn the money and buy one yourself."

I already mowed people's lawns for spending money, so I hunkered down and saved all that I could and finally had enough for the Canon AE-1 pictured above.

I bought it in time to be a photographer for my Senior year (final year, year 12) on our high school's yearbook.

I learned to develop and print black and white prints and learned that if I want something, I can find a way to earn the money to buy it for myself.

The Canon A-1 that is in the second photo had belonged to my Father in Law, an excellent photographer. He passed away in 1996, and my Mother in Law gave me his camera.

I have put many rolls of slides through these cameras. They're like a couple of old friends to me.

Some people have remarked at how much my Nikon D70s and zoom lens weighs, but compared to either one of these bad boys, it's a lightweight.

Imac from Photos From The Mind's Eye tagged me with the 8 random things about me meme.

On my other blog over the past year and a half, I've pretty much spilled my guts and there's little left to reveal. But I guess that on this blog, not many have gone to my other blog and read my stuff, so I'm banking on this and will just regurgitate some things if I run out of new ideas.

1. Although I love to read, I've never been a big fan of science fiction. Until the past couple of years that is. I'm slowly working my way through some science fiction classics and others that catch my eye in the library. In short, I've finally started loving science ficiton. I have found it much harder to find science fiction that I like than books of other genres. I have been unable to read a number of sci-fi "classics" due to lack of interest.

2. As a young man I lifted heavy things for a living, working for Delta Airlines, loading and unloading baggage, freight, and mail on their planes.

3. I started looking into going back to college to learn something like electronics that would allow me to get a better job withing Delta. I ended up quitting Delta in Atlanta, moving back to my home town in Louisiana, and earning a degree in electrical engineering from Lousiana Tech University in 1996.

4. I've lived near the Atlantic coast of east central Florida since I graduated in 1996, working as an engineer with a really good company.

5. The camera that I learned the basics of photography with was my parent's old Kodak Pony IV 35mm camera. I still have this camera.

6. When Lovely Wife and I were on our honeymoon many years ago, we toured through a large underground cave. At one point, they had us look over a ledge into an abyss that seemed to go on forever. I looked at Lovely Wife and said, "If I fall in, grab my camera." She still laughs at me about that one. I was more serious about it than she understood.

7. I'm left eyed. That's why you see an auto-winder on the Canon AE-1 above; it kept me from having to remove my eye from the viewfinder to wind the film after each shot.

8. Here's a random picture of me as a baby, from early 1963.

I decline to tag others to do this, but if you are in need of blog material, have at it friends.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Queen Palm Tree

A Queen palm tree, laden with fruit. It starts out green and turns bright orange. From what I've read about them, the fruit isn't very palatable to humans but that tropical birds like it.

It was neat to see these two big bunches of it hanging side by side on the same tree.

Their palm fronds are in double rows of softer, limper leaves, giving the fronds a feathery look.

The late evening sun obliged me with some lovely light.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Invaders From Space

I loved the space ship look of this pair of parking lot lights. Against the blue sky, they create a simple but strong image. I thought about photoshopping out the pole to really make it look strange, but thought it would just look cheesy.

I thought this was a good match for the top of the pine tree in the lower photo. That's all the greenery on the whole pine tree; just that little bit.

The tree was very tall and tortured looking and I thought it had a look sort of like those little Japanese trees that folks trim very carefully. I can't think of their name right off the top of my head.

Bonsai. That's what I was reminded of.

I did my usual Sunday Picture Post on my other blog today if y'all want to go over there and take a look.

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Black and White #18

At the local library this week.

A couple of my photos looked like they would make good black and white shots.

This was right before the drama of being accused of being a "creep, taking pictures of kids."

Friday, October 12, 2007

On The Sidewalk

Mmmmm. Ice cream.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

On A Street Corner

Just a couple of street shots in the old downtown section of Melbourne, Florida.

Great golden sunlight late in the evening, and some colorful things for it to illuminate.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Super Fresh Photos

I took these yesterday afternoon outside the Brevard County Library branch that I like to go to.

These are white ibis. With all the rain we've been having lately, they've had more worms and bugs coming up for air, as well as tadpoles and whatnot growing in ditches and things.

These almost look as if I used a flash, but I didn't. There was this interesting spotty sunlight coming through the trees behind me and lit the birds beautifully.

These were taken outside a branch of the library here, after checking out a few books on yesterday.

But I had something interesting happen there that I wrote about on my Least Significant Bits blog today, if you care to read it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Whirly Bird

Not much explaining here.

A couple of shots of Lovely Wife's flowers and one of her little decorations in the flower pot.

I haven't had much to say the past few days on my other blog, Least Significant Bits, so I've been posting photos over there too if y'all want to go and see them.

Hopefully I'll think of something to write soon, but until that happens, enjoy the photos both here and there.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Black and White #17

I loved the way the sunlight made this palm frond glow. I thought the contrast would also make a nice black and white version.

The second photo is of the flag pole and tower of the Melbourne Beach, Florida town complex which houses it's fire department, town hall, and it's police department. Again, another contrasty shot I wanted to see in black and white.

You can see the color versions of these two shots on my other blog, Least Significant Bits, today.