I went back to Florida for my 25-year high school reunion recently. I’ve visited many times since high school, and had a camera with me on most of those occasions, but on this particular trip, it seemed I was seeing things as if for the first time. I think that’s because my wife Wendy was with me, and while she too has visited Florida with me before, this was the first time since I got her a digital camera of her own. So I was in part seeing things through her eyes. But I would also like to think my own photographic eye is developing. Anyhow, here is some of what I saw.
We visited the beach pretty much every day we were there. Sometimes what was most interesting was the seascape itself, and others times it was the people:
When I was growing up in Florida, I was always mesmerized by sandpipers – small birds that feed along the shore, constantly running up to the water and then running away as each wave comes in:
Because of my own affinity for the sandpiper, this shot of the daughter of two friends of mine is particularly special to me:
I’m not an early riser by nature, but Wendy made me get up before dawn to watch the sunrise over the ocean. Unfortunately, it was mostly overcast, so we didn’t actually see the sun rise. But we were rewarded with some beautiful scenes nonetheless:
Florida is not just about the beaches, of course. The local flora and fauna are also fascinating:
But one way or another, water dominates most aspects of life in Florida:
I try to bring my camera with me almost wherever I go, because I never know when a great photo opportunity will present itself. Earlier this week I was teaching piano lessons at Regis University and had some time to kill when one of my students didn’t show up. I decided to go for a walk around campus, but didn’t get more than 20 feet beyond the front door of the building, because I found myself surrounded by a cloud of butterflies that were feeding in a flower bed next to the building. I’ve never seen them there before, but assume they must be passing through as part of a migration, or maybe conditions were just right for them this year.
I spent the next twenty minutes attempting to photograph them. In doing so, I looked more closely at the insects than I ever had before, and learned some things about them I probably should have known already but didn’t . For instance, this species at least feeds with wings closed. The butterflies extend their wings only just before taking off and just after landing, or when a gust of wind causes them to lose their balance. I learned to anticipate these moments as the best times to shoot. Even so, it took a great deal of patience and luck to get even a few decent shots.
For the joy these creatures gave me while shooting, for what learned in the process, and for the pictures I ended up with, I have to figure those were among the best twenty minutes I’ve spent all year.
On Saturday night, my wife and I did a gig at a fundraiser for Friendship Bridge, an organization that helps Guatemalan woman escape poverty. We were the opening act for Hazel Miller, a fixture on the Denver jazz/blues/R&B for many years.
I had actually only heard Hazel in person once before, and only briefly. She is a very dynamic performer, belting out a variety of familiar and not-so-familiar tunes by folks like Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin.
The bassist was Rich Lamb. I’ve known Rich for a while now – and my wife has known him since they were basically kids.
Hazel had two keyboardists with her. Pictured first here is Dana Marsh, who has been working with Rich (both with Hazel and in other contexts) for many years.
The rest of Hazel’s band was unfamiliar to me, but it featured Harry Padilla on keyboards and Frank Selman on guitar. The drummer was too obstructed and too much in the dark for me to get a good shot of him.