Fort De Soto Park, Pinellas County, FL

Those of you who are my FB friends might have seen some of these shots before. My good photographer friend, Paula Showen, and I ventured out to Fort De Soto Park recently for a day of shooting.

The park’s 1136 acres covers five small islands, or keys, just south of St. Petersburg, Florida. There’s an abundance of water and wildlife, as well as well-kept amenities like restrooms, playgrounds, campsites and pavilions.

The park is named after the old military fortress whose remains still exist inside the park. Although the fortress was built near the Spanish American War times (around 1900), the fort was named after Hernando De Soto, a Spanish explorer who lived in the 1500s. read more

Florida Vacation – Winter 2012/2013

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Welcome to my first travel journal of 2013! Don’t forget you can subscribe to my posts using the RSS feed or email menu items on the menu at right. Thanks! I have only been back in Germany for a week, so I haven’t had time to travel to any particular place for reporting purposes. Therefore, I’m posting photos from my month-long vacation to Florida that started on 19 December. The big news is that Santa brought me a new, high-tech camera for Christmas this year: the Nikon D800. I’m still learning all the things this spectacular little supercomputer is capable of, including hi-def video, but I’m having a ball doing it! It is changing the way I process and store my photos due to the fact that, among other considerations, its top resolution is 36.2 megapixels (that is NOT a typo, folks!). Today’s technology is incredible! Obviously, these digital files claim large tracts on my hard drive’s real estate, so I have a new external drive whose capacity numbers in TERABYTES! Wow! So here’s a photo from Christmas day in which our friends Cyndie and Bram (of the neverending bike ride fame) are modeling their new aprons I brought them from Germany that make them look like they are wearing Lederhosen and a Dirndl. Here are some shots from our favorite local park: And on my birthday, I spent the day with my good friend Carolyn, who modeled her Christmas elf apron (must have been an apron theme this year): We went to a wonderful exhibit at the Tampa Museum of Art where we saw prints by one of my inspirations, Henri Cartier-Bresson. When we stopped at the museum cafe for coffee, the staff gave me a free piece of cake for my birthday!Then we walked down the block to the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts where we were treated with photos by another one of my inspirations, Dorothea Lange. After I returned home, my husband grilled me a fabulous steak: For dessert, we had a rum cake I’d made for my birthday. Seriously, this cake is delicious and will get you drunk! On a sunnier day, we visited our favorite park again: My wonderful husband with HIS new Nikon: One New Year’s Eve, we went to the annual party at Cyndie and Bram’s, which, this year, was also Bram’s retirement party: You can see more pics from this party in one of my Facebook albums.Later in the week, I got to meet my friend Jessica’s husband for the first time and also their new one, Fiona. Both passed muster in my book! I’m looking forward to watching this young family experience their lives together. And ya gotta love parents who dress their baby in shoes like this: On a different night, neighbors took us to a new restaurant in Tampa called Rumba for dinner one night. Later, my husband and I returned to sample more of their Caribbean goodies. I can personally vouch for the “Tuna Nachos” which consist of seared ahi tuna on rice crackers with guacamole and a slice of jalepeno, shown on the left in this photo: We spent one evening with our friends Bob and Sharon and started off the evening with a shot of Patron XO Café tequila, which tasted like Kahlua on steroids and went down smooooth… While there, I attempted the first “Bob” photo with my new camera: They treated us to an evening at a new restaurant in St. Pete Beach called Chill, which also has an attached bakery and café called Steam. They serve tapas style dishes with fantastic service and great sangria. And I can’t recommend the mashed cauliflower enough! Here you can see Bob wearing his “watch cap” while he and Sharon “watch” each other! But it wasn’t all fun and games. Our beloved tangelo tree succumbed to an insect infestation, so we had to cut it down. The backyard won’t be the same without it. I’ve enjoyed fresh, sweet tangelos every winter since we moved in; I’ll miss our old friend. I spent another great afternoon at my friend Lauren’s, enjoying her creative talents and food. Here she is with her mother, Miss Ella, who rules the roost: My friend Sherry and her husband Michael stopped by Lauren’s to say hi: Here’s Miss Ella enjoying her new addiction: Pirouline cookies. Doesn’t she look like she should be in a speakeasy with a flapper feather in her hair, holding forth with a scotch in her hand? One day I shot some photos for my neighbor’s 18-year-old son, Adam Willard. Adam is a very talented singer, dancer and actor and has won many awards at his high school stage productions and in local community theaters. He needed head shots for an audition for the Boston Conservatory. I shot the pics and someone else did the Photoshopping, but I hope they served him well for the audition. We are still waiting to see if he’s been accepted, but I don’t think there will be a problem. Here’s one of the more sinister shots (he didn’t use this one for the audition, I just like it): On another day I had lunch with one of my personal mentors, Ralph Annan. Many of you know Ralph because he wrote the old time radio plays we performed at the art gallery when I was director there. At 80-something, he is still going strong, writing plays for repertory theaters and still keeping his paintbrush wet from time to time. Here he is at “our place” – the super Chinese buffet in Port Richey: Although I don’t have pictures of everyone I visited with and all the places I went, as you can see, it was a great trip and I enjoyed every minute. That said, there still wasn’t enough time to see everyone I wanted to see. Next time around, I’ll host a 2-day party to save me from running around, but you’ll have to bring your own sleeping bag! Photo for No Apparent Reason: