Phone Close Ups

Here are some more close up photos taken with my phone, some were taken at Lake Woodruff NWR yesterday, the rest were taken today out in the yard.

Lake Woodruff Perspectives

Today turned out to be what I guess you would call a “Happy Accident”. I had the opportunity to go to one of my favorite places… Lake Woodruff NWR, made sure I had water, binoculars and of course my camera… actually two of them… my Kodak M532 and my old Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-S50. I even made sure I cleared off my SD card for my Kodak… but what I didn’t do was take SD card out of my computer and put it in the camera!

So, my Kodak was good for about 8 photos at 3MP with internal memory. My Sony is OK, but not great for distance shots… but I had my phone, LG Esteem MS910, with me. So I decided to play around with it’s manual focus and try some semi-macro type shots… here are a few, I’ll put more in another post.

Some white flowers along the path in the Jones island section.

Looking along a fallen tree on the trail

A mushroom of some sort along a hidden trail.

A beetle exploring the flower of a thistle

Do You Want to Believe?

Photo of whatever flew over my house on 6/10/2012 with an enlarged, sharpened inset to the top right.

On rare occasions do we see bizarre things. On even rarer occasions do we have a camera in hand… and turned on, ready to shoot. Today was one of those days. Here in the Daytona Beach Florida area… right now as I’m typing as a matter of fact, a large thunderstorm is brewing to the west. About 45 minutes ago the sky was an eerie orange, casting a pale, diffused glow over the area. So, I thought… what a great opportunity to go snap a few photos.

As I walked out my front door, powering up my little Kodak M532, I looked up to see what the sky directly above me looked like. To my surprise, passing right over my head was a dark sphere with a lit bottom floating by. I would love to say, it was my imagination, but it was really there. I snapped a couple pictures and quickly realized it was way to dark for my camera to get any good shots, so I walked out the driveway and switched to video mode…

This isn’t the first strange thing I’ve seen in the sky, but it is the first I’ve caught on camera. The skeptic in me wants to say this was nothing more than a Chinese lantern, but there is a part of me that wonders… what if?

Swimming with Fish

Located just outside of Chiefland,  Fl is Manatee Springs State Park. I’ve had the opportunity to camp there twice and loved it. The springs flow directly into the Suwannee River, which is accessible via a boardwalk. Unfortunately the last time I was there the kayak launch was closed due to Manatees still seeking sanctuary in the spring run.

While snorkeling in the springs I have encountered all kinds of fish and turtles, even an alligator or two.. but they tend to keep their distance. The Mullet that live in the springs have grown accustomed to humans swimming about, and will frequently swim by to check you out… as they did in the above photo.  Camera used: VuPoint Underwater Camera, edited with GIMP.

Sometimes This is How I Feel

I was out for a walk yesterday and as I was walking along a path that crosses an old indian shell mound, I noticed this old, rusted out engine block sitting there. You’ll come across old stuff like this every now and then, where they used to dredge.. or who knows, it could be left from the days when they used to race on the beach here, which is only a few hundred yards away.

All I know, is that this old motor was left to sit and rust away… and sometimes I feel the same way. Not that I feel abandoned or left behind, but sometimes I watch how things are done… how people react and treat others. It makes me feel like I’m just sitting on the side of the trail, watching all the craziness… just rusting away.

A Trip to Cedar Key

Today, I’m going to continue the trend I’ve been on the past few days… places I’ve been. Back in March 2009 I spent a couple days in Cedar Key, Fl. Turns out that it’s one of the few places where Horseshoe Crabs go to mate… it just so happened that it was Horseshoe Crab mating season… which made launching kayaks an interesting task.

Atsena Otie Key

About 3/4 of a mile from the small beach on the east side of Cedar Key is Atsena Otie Key. This is where the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company used to have a lumber mill. Some ruins still remain, and it’s a great place to paddle out to for the day, do a little fishing and maybe have a picnic.

Boats off shore at Cedar Key

I spent 2 days at Cedar Key kayaking and exploring. Both days the boats pictured above were moored just of the shore of the beach. I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures of them. If my time here taught me anything, it’s that you’d be hard pressed to find a place with a better sunset…

Cedar Key Sunset

The sailboat in this picture was out both nights I was there… coincidence or planned photo-op for tourists? Who cares… it’s a great sight either way!


Photos of Lake Woodruff NWR

One of my favorite places for nature photography has got to be Lake Woodruff NWR (National Wildlife Refuge) just outside of DeLeon Springs, Fl. As I started looking through all the photos I have taken there, I quickly realized I could post a photo a day for about 5 years and only be 1/4 of the way through. So, I decided to take photos from one trip there and put them together in a video… enjoy!

One Day at Gemini Springs

A Florida Cooter (AKA: a Coastal Plain Cooter)

For the first few years I lived in Florida I lived near Orange City, which sits about 20 miles south west of Daytona Beach. Although , not near the ocean, there are plenty of parks, lakes and rivers nearby. One such park is Gemini Springs in nearby DeBary, Fl. There is an approximately 4 mile hiking/biking trail that starts at DeBary Hall, runs through Gemini Springs Park and heads to Lake Monroe Park. I used to live to hike that trail, as well as the the smaller, non-paved trails in the park. It was common to come across Armadillos, Hawks, Osprey, Eagles, Turkeys, Deer, Alligators, Ibis, Herons, Egrets and even Cooters. You might ask, “What is a Cooter?” as I did when I first moved here… a Cooter is a large turtle…

Close up of the Cooter

This Cooter was right alongside the trail, and almost looked to be laying eggs. Don’t worry, I left enough space between us as not to disturb her. She stayed here for quite a while, and was still in the same area when I came back by almost 45 minutes later.

Not far from this spot, there is a small lake with some high tension lines mucking up the view. What I consider to be an eyesore however, Bald Eagles consider prime real estate to keep an eye on that small pond. Of, course these other smaller birds, which look like Grackles, like this perch as well. There must be enough fish in that pond that the Grackles feel safe to be hanging out with an Eagle.

Bravest birds in the world?

While all of this was going on, just on the outskirts of the park, the waters of the springs themselves were busy as well. This cover of coots (no really, look it up. A group of coots is called a cover) is busy hunting for small fish and frogs, although they do also eat vegetation. They have to keep an eye out at all times for predators, Eagle, Osprey and Hawks from above and Alligators from below.

A cover of Coots.

Nearing sunset, I decided it’s time to head home for the day. Before I left, though, I snapped a picture of the DeBary Bayou being fed by the springs.

Gemini Springs feeds the DeBary Bayou