Into Nature

One of my passions is camping and if you add my camera, then it’s simply incredible.  I have not camped all season simply because I have not had a free weekend to do so and now it’s almost too hot…..almost.

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I decided to camp over Mother’s Day, this way I get to spend time with my youngest son, and as a bonus his best friend as well.  The boys got me the most beautiful card and wrote the most beautiful sentiments on it, I was also graced with a bouquet of flowers and a scrumptious meal prepared by my son and we went to breakfast the following morning.

Because I was in the Big Cypress, of course I have to drive Turner River Road, Wagon Wheel and Birdon Road.  Didn’t see much when it came to wildlife although I did see a deer, but he moved to quickly for me to get a photo.  I was downcast to see several dead snakes and a dead baby alligator, I wish people were more careful.

Tommy and I also walked the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk and were invaded by Deer Flies, but we persevered and were graced with a young Barred Owl, of course on this trip I only brought my iPhone so there are pictures, just not close up; I did get some great cell phone shots from our walk.

 

This is a time lapse photo, but it’s a bit jumpy (sorry)

I love being outdoors, I need to do it more often.

Until next time, I’ll see you behind the lens!

A New Year……So it Begins

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This year started out wonderfully!  I camped over the holiday and it was perfect weather for it too. I had a photo shoot which my son Tommy Owen assisted me; a repeat family I had taken portraits for a couple of years ago.  Getting to work with my son is the best!

It was a great time of renewing and refreshing from the busy holiday season, and I got out and photographed some nature.  Being out in the Big Cypress and the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk this gives my mind a break and my eyes as they seem to always either be on my phone or my computer when at home.  I tried to disconnect as much as possible, just to free myself.  Please enjoy the slideshow.

Happy 2018!

Time Off

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I took some much needed time off. After a full summer and a busy start to our concert season along with weddings, portraits and other work, I was ready to unplug and get back to nature.

My go to place as I’ve posted in the past is in the Everglades.  I love to camp and I took four full days to step out of the digital world and relax.  I did do some posting to Facebook, but instead of worrying about my status, I took camera in hand and stepped out into the swamp.

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Because of the cooler temperatures (great for camping), the alligators were in abundance along the road of Jane’s Scenic Drive in the Fakahatchee Strand, and on the trails my son and I walked, (check out his website: Phloridaphoto.us He even decided to get a bit more up close and personal with a gator lying on the path we were walking.

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I stopped and photographed him, photographing the alligator.  I just could not bring myself to be that close to something that large with huge teeth.  As my son walked past him, Mr. Gator lifted his head and rumbled that deep throaty sound as a warning to let him know he may be a bit too close.   I had the same experience as I hung out the car door to get a rather large alligator hanging out on the road we were driving.

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We also went out two nights in a row to capture the Milky Way, however during the hours we were there, the sky have cloud cover in the general vicinity.  We did capture the sky at night and this photograph shows Miami glowing in the distance as the International Space Station does a fly over (I have an app on my phone called Sky Guide that allows me to track this).

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Overall it was a wonderful relaxing long weekend, with friends, family and my camera.

Maybe Someday…

This year I decided to take at least one weekend per month and either do some day trips or camp.  I really prefer camping because I can incorporate day trips into the camping and that get’s me out and away.  This aways refreshes my soul and helps with my creativity and simply makes me a better me.

I prefer heading to the Everglades, it’s where my soul belongs, even though I left it years ago, I do sometimes long to go back.  The people are fascinating and the stories are many.  I could sit for hours (and sometimes do) listening to the locals talk about the “way it used to be”.  I long for a time much simpler than how I live today.  I could live as a minimalist, in a tiny house somewhere in the woods.  I really don’t need much and I think I would be just fine.  Maybe someday.

I love being outdoors.  I am in an office five days a week for eight hours a day and on the weekend I find I must get out.  When I am camping, I get to sit by a campfire, share a meal with my son and his girlfriend and just do nothing or say nothing if I don’t want to.

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I go to bed early and arise as the sun is coming up and the birds are beginning to sing.

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I overheard a camper yesterday lament about how they hated the birds in the early morning, because they woke them up. Really? how can you hate something so magical and beautiful as birds singing in the new day. I could wake to that sound every single day and be ecstatic for another day.  Maybe someday.

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Coffee is always better when it’s a cold brisk morning and you arise to the sun shining and the birds flitting about and the dewy freshness of a new day.  I so enjoy sitting in the quiet of the morning when I am camping and allowing my body to awaken with nature.  I would love to do this every single day for the rest of my life.  Maybe someday.

I find I don’t miss the television with it’s mundane programming, or the radio blaring; campers around me always seem to have a radio going, and I just don’t understand why? Why do you need that outside element of noise when there is so much more to hear? and if you just look around life is more exciting than anything the television has to offer.  in my short few days, I was able to see a baby raccoon climbing a tree.  Birds feeding, alligators lounging around in the sun trying to get warm after a few chilly nights and I got to experience real conversations with people. I learned so much more than if I had been at home in front of a little box.  I hope to experience this more and more.  Maybe someday.

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Thanksgiving Adventures

Again this year I went camping down in the Big Cypress.  I have needed a really good stint away from all that’s electronic, my phone, computer etc. and totally disconnect for a few days.  I have been really busy the last few months and just felt my body calling me to get away and to refresh and relax, and that I did.  My youngest son lives/works in the Big Cypress and I went to Trail Lakes Campground/Everglades Adventure Tours to spend Thanksgiving with him and friends.  I brought a dish to share at his request; candied yams & marshmallows.  I was able to go to sleep early and wake up just as early pretty well rested and ready to simply do nothing  or to take my camera and capture whatever caught my fancy.

I left late Wednesday afternoon and got there with plenty of time to set up camp which takes less than a half hour; simple is best for me.  I went to sleep fairly early and woke up Thursday morning ready to head to Turner River Road to check out their boardwalk.  Took a few photos, but later that evening was what I was waiting on.  You see Thanksgiving evening was a full moon and I was excited to capture it in a really dark place.

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For the rest of the afternoon I hung out at the store and talked with the people as they came in to check out this little piece of nostalgia.  I also took some photos of my son’s butterfly garden which was quite active.

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We had dinner around 4pm and there was so much food, most made by campground residents and probably the best turkey I have ever eaten.  It was so good, and lots of tasty sides to accompany the main bird, all the traditional things, plus some really good repeats from last year.  I was definitely in a food coma and really wanted to sleep, but I waited for the moon to rise…..and rise it did simply stunning.

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The next day I wanted to go to where my oldest son works as an alligator wrestler/handler and check out he and his best friend’s show.  I got some great video and photos of the two of them working.

Saturday I went to the Fakahatchee boardwalk and took a few photos there, it was late in the day so not much was out and about except this mama and one of her little ones.

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Later in the evening my youngest son (the adventure guide) took me out on one of his tours and I was able to take some breathtakingly beautiful photographs.  I also took photos of his clients and I will be sending those photos to them.  I also met a nice woman and her son who was out at the same time.  Really nice people.  When we returned Tommy’s girlfriend had dinner ready for us when we got back to the campground and it was so good!  Nothing beats dinner prepared on an outdoor fire.  Later Tommy was trying his hand at candle making, and was quite successful, looking forward to some future creations from him.

Sunday came too soon… it’s always sad to leave when I know I will be back at the grind for another month and a half without much of a break.  I will be heading back down in January.   I love going down there, I learn a lot of history from Jack who was born there and he is a wealth of local knowledge of the area.  I come away always with something new learned.

On my way home I drove part of Jane’s Scenic Drive and captured a few good photos of the drive and prairie.

What a fabulous few days, I am so blessed and thankful for the time off and that I got to spend time with my two favorite people; my handsome sons who I love and am so proud of the young men they have become.

For all of you who follow me and live in the United Stated, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and for all of you who are from outside the US here is to a blessed and beautiful holiday season.

Mother’s Day

One of my life’s greatest achievements are my children.  I have two grown boys 31 & 28 and I take delight in what wonderful young men they are.  I don’t see my oldest too often, but he holds the place in my heart where  I was hurting most. During the last few weeks of my pregnancy I lost my dad and Jimmy came along a week (to the day) later.  He kept my mind occupied and I was able to move forward with life. He is my first born and is an incredible athlete and loves the outdoors and strikingly handsome, at the age of 11 a young lady from his school class came to me and said “Mrs. Owen Jimmy is so fine”  and  I would have to agree he’s is fine in all areas, he’s a great man.  Three years and three months later, my life was completely turned upside down once again with the birth of the cutest little blonde blue-eyed guy….Tommy was early and from a really difficult pregnancy and I wasn’t sure if either of us was going to make it.  Make it we did and he was so full of vim & vinegar.  Always into something and taking life by the horns.  We were told when he was little that he would grow up to do great things…..and he has;  In his 28 years so far he has been on a PBS Zoom program based on the Everglades and it’s still featured on the teacher’s portion of the PBS website.  He’s was sent to an environmental camp for Hispanic kids (he’s NOT Hispanic), and he went back the following year to film it.  He’s paddled the entire Mississippi River not once but twice by kayak and canoe, second time alone with his dog.  He wrestled a 10 foot Python out of the water, lived to tell about it and is a featured article in the 2105 Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Special Edition and he’s an incredible photographer and guide in the region he grew up in.  I spend the most time with him, because he’s closest.  It was no different this Mother’s Day.  I went down to visit him and his boss surprised him by giving him the entire day off to spend with me.  We began the day with a picnic lunch at Turner River Road and then took a short drive down the road to see if anything interesting was out.  We continued from there to the Fakahatchee (where he grew up) and walked down a newly forged path and so glad we did.  He has a keen eye for wildlife and is always looking at his surroundings for the live and interesting.  This time around he spotted something that seemed out of place, it was the entire skeleton carcass of a very large deceased alligator.  We surmised it was the remains from the emaciated alligator we had seen a few months prior, one we thought had already died.  Even though it was not in the same pond area, we felt it had moved to find deeper water and breathed it’s last in this area.  The bones were pretty much intact and some were a little scattered due to scavengers on the body, but the bones were clean and the head and jaws were massive.  We had a bit of creative inspiration with the head and I was able to get some great photographs of the alligator and of my extremely photogenic son.

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A Year In Review

Wow can you believe 2014 is just about over?  What an incredible year and I am simply blessed with all the wonderful things I have seen behind the lens of my camera.  From wildlife to rockstars my camera has been there to document the best of the best.  Thank you so much for your continued support of my blog, it’s been incredibly successful.   Please enjoy the slide show I have prepared and HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

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