Tag Archives: Florida

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is On Top.

There’s a law in Florida that every post must have on top of it a pelican.

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More creatures on top are here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Threes:

“A three-picture story is a way to help you think about storytelling with images. To create a three-picture story, gather:

  1. An establishing shot: a broad photo of your subject.
  2. A relationship: two elements interacting with one another.
  3. A detail: a close-up of one part of your subject.”

Yes, I think I should be able to do that…

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More photos of Florida pelicans are here and here.

North Versus South

By Vladimir Brezina

Different materials, but the same impulse. It’s a united country after all…

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More Florida Birds

By Vladimir Brezina

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We’ve traveled to Florida a number of times over the past couple of years, and each time I’ve come back with hundreds—sometimes thousands!—of bird photos. The bird life on the Gulf Coast of Florida is amazingly rich and varied, and the birds have learned to tolerate, at least up to a point, human proximity…

Needless to say, processing thousands of bird photos has taken a long time.

But I’ve been getting through it. I’ve posted a few selections of the photos along the way (here, here, here, and here), and here now is the final installment.

As usual, though, I need help with identification! The identity of many of these birds is obvious, even to me, but of others not quite so obvious. But I know there are some real Florida bird experts among our readers… :-)

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Still more photos are here and here.

Pelicans on Display

By Vladimir Brezina

Put in a few pilings, or a dock, and they will come…

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All in St. Pete Beach, Florida, February 2013.

A Day at the Beach

By Vladimir Brezina

From dawn to dusk…

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Thunderstorm over the Gulf at Sunset

By Vladimir Brezina

Seen from St. Pete Beach, Florida, August 2013.

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Friendly Creatures: Kayak Camping in Florida, Part 2

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

<— Previous in Friendly Creatures

Day 2

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We awoke to a beautiful dawn spreading across the sky, mistily lighting up the graceful lines of the Tampa Bay Skyway.IMGP1625 cropped smallIMGP1667 cropped small

Well, technically, Vlad awoke to the dawn… I arose somewhat later, once the coffee was ready. We sipped it, watched the sunrise, and IMGP1630 cropped smallremarked on the steady progression of birds flying north—for all the world like commuters starting the day!

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We agreed that Egmont Key, though an unplanned stop, was a wonderful place to start our real adventure.

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Travel Theme: Sculpture

By Vladimir Brezina

IMGP2678 cropped smallAilsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Sculpture.

Her own examples start with man-made sculptures, but conclude with her “favourite sculptures [that] come from the natural world… sculpted by wind… and water…”

Here is a sculpture that we came across recently that seems poised between the two worlds, being both man-made and sculpted by natural forces, wind, water, and sun…

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And in the morning…

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On North Captiva Island, Florida, during our kayak trip down the Gulf Coast of Florida in April (see here and here).

And speaking of beach sculptures, check out this one, courtesy of our friends 2 Geeks @ 3 Knots!

Friendly Creatures: Kayak Camping in Florida, Part 1

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

Prelude

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All set to launch!

“And I want to see a manatee,” Vlad said.

We were discussing our goals for our upcoming kayak camping trip along the Gulf Coast of Florida.

The primary goal was to familiarize ourselves with the route of the WaterTribe Everglades Challenge, a 300-mile race from Tampa Bay to Key Largo that we hope to paddle next year.

It’s held every March, and is open to all forms of small non-motorized boats, whether human- or wind-powered (the wind-powered boats usually win).  There’s no fixed route—competitors simply need to get themselves from the start to the finish in the space of 8 days, although they must check in at three intermediate checkpoints.

It sounds straightforward enough, but there are plenty of reasons  it’s called a “challenge” (including a few that we learned on this trip).

First is the sheer length, which requires paddlers to clock upwards of 30 nautical miles per day.  Then there’s navigation, particularly if you opt for traversing the mangrove swamps in the Everglades. Your sea kayaking skills need to be up to snuff as well, since at least part of the route will take paddlers out on the open Gulf.  Making and breaking camp quickly and efficiently can be its own challenge (as we were soon to find out).

And finally, there are the dangerous animals: Alligators and snakes, but also raccoons (which reportedly love to steal kayakers’ food) and all manner of smaller biting and stinging critters, from mosquitoes to scorpions.

We’d originally intended to paddle the Everglades Challenge this past February, but Hurricane Sandy knocked those plans for a loop by damaging Pier 40, our customary launch place. Since we couldn’t paddle for much of the winter, we were woefully out of shape.

And to be honest, we weren’t really ready to tackle the Everglades Challenge. We’ve done a lot—but we’d never participated in a  Florida race that required kayak-camping.

That’s why we decided to start with a trial run: this trip. Our goal was to spend a week or so doing a stretch of kayak-camping along the route of the Challenge, to get a feel for the terrain and what we’d be facing.

And, as Vlad noted, to experience some of the wilderness, including those dangerous creatures. On the bright side, we hoped to see a manatee (or two). As it turned out, we met more creatures than we’d bargained for!

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