Stepping Back

This past weekend found me camping and photographing a concert in the swamp; The 1st Annual The Everglades Roots Festival with headlining band Grass is Dead. It was a weekend for stepping back to a simpler life for a few days, to unwind and prepare for a busy rest of the month and Trail Lakes Campground is the perfect spot. Sunday found me back to civilization with the iconic The Moody Blues.  Their music takes me back to my teen years in the seventies and a time I often wish I could return.

Not only did I photograph them on stage, but also was hired to shoot their meet & greet!  I really do GET to do this!  I am really blessed, to be able to photograph the bands I grew up with and love.

This weekend I will be out with a local radio station and enjoying many bacon influenced dishes. bring on 94.5 The Arrow’s Bacon Jam!

Please enjoy a few of my photos from this weekend.

Camping & Superheroes

 

I really have been negligent with my blog.  I can only attribute it to pure laziness.  I must get out of that mindset and really buckle down.  I tell myself it’s because I don’t have any content, which really isn’t true, I have the content, I’m just lazy.

So here goes a new post, and hopefully this will spurn me into doing more writing and shooting.

This past weekend I took a much needed break and went camping.  I got to hang out with my youngest son Tommy and we tried some night photography work, but the clouds wouldn’t cooperate so I really didn’t get much.  We hung out with a giant snake and I took photos of Tom and he of me.

I also scheduled a portrait photo shoot with one of my favorite little girls.  I really don’t take portraits of children often, because they wear me out, mentally & physically, but this little lady is so very special.  I have had the privilege of taking photographs of her since she was about six months old and have every 6 months to a year since.  She is on the cusp of turning four (December) and honestly you would think as a toddler, she would be all over the place, however around the age of two, I had her complete attention.  I alway allow her to dictate when our session is finished (and she has), but she has always given me one hundred percent.  I have asked her to pose a certain way and have shown her and she does it…..without question.  This weekend was different.  I still showed her what I was wanting, but I took it a step further and asked her how she wanted to pose; what I got was just incredible.  This child micro-moves like a model.  She also uses her eyes, and I just love that about her.  Here are a few of her photographs showing her sass and Superhero self!

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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.

The Get-Away

Oftentimes we think of a get-away as going off to some exotic destination, but for me it’s time spent alone and/or with family. Some often ask me if they can come along, but I am hesitant for several reasons; I’m on a structured day to day routine with work and any photography I may have after work or any edits, so my personal time is extremely valuable. I really don’t want to be anyone’s entertainment for an entire weekend. I also crave that alone me time, to sit and do nothing, take a nap or go on a drive or hike and not feel responsible for anyone, but myself. If I do ask someone along it’s because I know they can go off an entertain themselves or they understand my need for solitude, mind you I’m not anti-social, I love people and I love talking to them, and finding out their story, however there are times when I simply want to be silent and sit alone and ponder things in my life and clear my mind. That’s the beauty of being solitary for a time. I’m an Introvert and for years considered myself shy, but yet when around friends and people I care for I am as outgoing as any Extrovert I know. Talkative, animated and full of life, the difference is, I don’t feed off of the energy of people around me, I feed off of quiet and solitude, it’s what restores my soul.

With my day job as an administrative assistant, I am either on the phone, or dealing with residents and vendors who stop by, or our employees, so daily I expend a lot of physical and emotional energy. Then you add to that after a full day of work, I go off and photograph concerts with loud music and lots of people and heavy equipment or shooting portraits of individuals and families with children, I have to be “on point” and my energy level must remain high as I am constantly talking and directing, By the time I am ready for some down time, I’m READY! I love being a photographer and I love the excitement of the crowd and the thrill of getting that perfect shot; it’s what drives me daily, but in order to keep going I have to spend time within myself and alone so when I’m asked if someone can join me in my short weekend sabbaticals, I certainly hope they understand why I am hesitant or tell them no. I need the time to recharge my batteries within myself. It makes me better at my work, it gives me clarity to see I’m doing the right thing and it rests my body so that I can keep up the pace set before me. Foggy Morning

It gives me peace.

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.