Magical sunsets

A favourite sunset quote for me is “It’s almost impossible to watch a sunset and not dream”. So true, especially for someone who lives in a dream world half the time.
Last month when I spent some time in Florida with family, my sister and I got to spend an evening at the beach together to watch the sunset, with the added bonus of a dolphin, a manatee and giant stingrays in the water. I don’t have any photos for those sadly as I only had my compact camera with me and amazing as it is, it can’t compete with what our eyes can see.
I was fortunate to be in the right spot at the right time to see a sailing boat go past just as the sun was dipping down under the horizon. All rumours about a wee Scottish wuman pushing fishermen off the side of the pier to get the best position for the shots were strictly imaginary.

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Crocodile Dundee…

Or maybe that should be Alligator Alba? Anyways here’s some alligators from my recent adventures in the Florida Swamplands.

*Note no alligators were harmed in the taking of these pictures.

**Also note, no humans were harmed in the taking of these pictures.


Just swimming along, minding my own business when I’m disturbed by cameras and people going “ALLIGATOR!” Blooming humans!!


Say “Cheese” for the camera.


You know what they say – Never trust a smile on a crocodile. But Alligators are OK. Aren’t they? You can trust their smiles?!?


So calm, so inviting…. MUST….NOT…PADDLE….


That is one trusting (or dumb) bird!


He has his beady eye on me…!!!!


Florida swamp – Myakka River State Park actually


Pretending to be a log…. we can see you!!


Not an alligator. Not even when you grow up will you be an alligator. Arry, yer a lizard!


Mr. Alba is SO trusting… “Go a little bit nearer dear, it’s for the photograph!”… hehee




Doesn’t it look great? We also canoed up a river with alligators (Wekiwa Cold Springs State Park) but we didn’t see any alligators when we were on the river. Which is a good job as I had my 10 year old nephew in my canoe and I don’t think there is much meat on him. I’d make a much better lunch for an alligator! :-/


Swamps can be beautiful too


You know, it hadn’t even crossed my mind to molest an alligator….

WPC: Earth

In celebration of Earth Day today (22nd April) the weekly photo challenge this week was to show what ‘earth’ means to us. I’ve been very fortunate to have visited some amazing places around the world, which have quite literally taken my breath away, and could quite easily have posted dozens of photographs that mean ‘earth’ to me… BUT, my favourite places in the world nearly all have a common theme to them. I’m fascinated and drawn to water, whether it’s the ocean, waterfall, river or burn (stream)(or creek here in the USA).

Ever since I was young you couldn’t keep me away from water. When we used to go for a day out as a family my parents would drop me off at the local swimming pool and go do whatever they did when they visited a new town then come back and pick me up in an hour or two. Also growing up in the countryside I was never far from a river and playing stepping-stones inevitably led to falling in and wet feet. As an adult and living close to the sea on the west coast of Scotland I used to drive the 10 minutes to the seaside and walk the dog or jog along the promenade if I was feeling energetic. When my kids were born it was a fantastic excuse to go rock-pooling at the beach again and go fishing for minnows in the burn.

My happy place is always beside some form of water or other so I thought that throwing some photographs up of water fit in this week’s theme well. Anyway here’s a selection of water shots from my archives.

The River Doon in Alloway, Scotland

The bridge in the photograph above is the famous ‘Brig O’Doon’ in Ayrshire where Tam O’Shanter escaped from the witches in the Robert Burns poem ‘Tam O’Shanter’ by crossing the stream (seemingly witches can’t cross running water. Good to know!)

River pebbles at Glencoe

The kids all decided to climb one of the Three Sisters mountains at Glencoe and we waited for them at the bottom so decided to go for a paddle. The water was F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G so we didn’t paddle for long!

Ayrshire sunset

Sunset at Troon with a bag of chips. Nothing more to add really!

Beautiful Florida beach

Breakfast with a view. My sister is lucky enough to live on the Gulf coast of Florida so visiting her we can go out to a beach restaurant and enjoy spectacular views like this for free.

Kauai sea
Kauai seascape

Beautiful Kauai. I’ve done a few posts before about my Hawaiian adventures but don’t think I’ve used this photograph. The rock formations formed perfect steps and watching the waves come over and cascade down in mini waterfalls was mesmerising.

sea cave 2 lowres
Sea caves in Kauai

I could have stood there all day and just watched the power and majesty of the ocean battering into the cliffs at Kilauea, it was just wonderful. “Wow!” as my sister said every five minutes when we would find another gorgeous thing to look at.

Kauai beach
Kauai beach

And finally a beach photograph. It really is good for the soul to sit and watch the ocean/sea/river/waterfall/burn/puddle. Well, maybe not puddle…

I should have been a mermaid.


Birdie on the golf course

Or several birdies on the golf course.

These were all taken at Buffalo Creek Golf Course, home of the 15 foot alligator.

Yes I was playing (sorta). No I’m not very good. Yes I kept getting distracted by alligator hunting. No I wasn’t allowed to drive the golf cart in the ponds or through the sand pits (Seemingly that’s frowned upon on golf courses. Who knew!).

I would have loved to get closer to the Ospreys but there was a stonking great alligator in the pond in front of me, hence the 300mm long zoom plus cropping.

I got a birdie on this hole. A Heron to be precise.
Osprey. Would have loved to get closer but, you know, alligators.
Another Heron looking pretty beside the flowers.
Spoonbill and another bird.
Cute Black Vulture.
Cormorant lowres

Alligator hunting at the golf course

When I was at my sisters the guys (and my sister) went to play golf at Buffalo Creek, which is their local course, and I went along for the photo opps. A few weeks ago there was a video all over the internet about an alligator wanting to play golf at Buffalo Creek Golf Course in Florida. Well guess where I was alligator hunting? This is the video of the alligator.

And this is my photo of the gigantic alligator. Luckily he didn’t come out the water as I don’t know if the golf carts can go fast enough to escape him!

It’s an alligator, not a log!

I did find a small one sunbathing at another pond, but when I got closer it swam away. This is a huge crop from my zoom lens.

Alligator 1
Sunbathing alligator

This is it swimming away when I approached it.

Alligator 2
I can still see you

Then when we were driving back from Miami to Tampa through I75 ‘Alligator Alley’ we stopped at a conservation area and although we didn’t see any alligators my sister and I swear this was a dead body in the pond. Both husbands say it was a rock… BUT WE KNOW BETTER!

A woman’s white top methinks!

People watching in Florida

I love people watching, especially with my camera, but need to be careful and use my ninja-skills when shooting them. I’ve been clocked, totally caught red-handed, a few times but luckily no-one has asked me to stop. Anyway here are some people shots from my holidays. People are great aren’t they?

Miami street 3 lowres
Contemplating the sunset
Miami street 2 lowres
Miami fashion
Miami street 1 lowres
Too much….?!?
Miami street 4 lowres
Searching for treasure
Miami street 5 lowres
Love’s young dream
Miami street 6 lowres
It’s a hard life for some
Miami street 7 lowres
Beach, bar, music…. does life get any better than this?
Miami street 10 lowres
Strolling the boardwalk in Miami
Miami street 9 lowres
Beach Volleyball
Miami street 8 lowres
YMCA anyone?

Photography backlog

I’m a terrible blogger! I don’t even have the excuse that I’ve been off doing exciting things – I’ve just been working and working-out 5 days a week (no chocolate or bread the whole of January and I put on 2lbs!!!!) My photography is also in a slump, I haven’t shot anything new for ages so I’m resorting to last September in Florida to add something to this blog….

boy sunset lowres

But it’s always fun to go through old photographs and pick up on ones you originally filed as ‘later’ then have a play about with them. That is playing with them in between my ‘jobs-that-I-get-paid-for-doing’. The shot above was taken with my compact camera and I loved how the boy was having a blast playing in the waves at sunset so I enhanced the colours and made him as much as a silhouette as I could without losing all definition in the figure.


This one is a totally over the top HDR image, but sometimes it’s fun to go ‘all-out’ and garish.

old postcard beach lowres

Then this last one didn’t quite turn out as I’d hoped, I was aiming for a old postcard type effect without losing the colour or going sepia – I might go back to it one day….

I actually have enough photographs to work on that I never have to shoot another pic in my life and I’d still have hundreds left over. One time I went to New Orleans and husband accused me of working for Google-Earth the amount of snaps I was taking. “Wheesht man and go wait for me at the end of the street – I’ll be there in 40 or 50 shots time!”


Is this my best side?
Is this my best side?

Why are lizards and reptiles cute, but snails, slugs and worms not? (and don’t get me started on maggots *bleaurgh*)

Maybe it’s the slimeyness of them (crunchy, not slimy) or the look of them… or maybe it’s the time I stood on a slug in my bare feet and it squished up between my toes. Everyone was looking at me as if I’d lost my head when I was jumping backwards, hopping about and rubbing one foot on the carpet like a bull before charging going “AHH!! AHH!! AHH!!”. Yep, could be that.

Anyway lizards ARE cute.


Dolphins with baby
Dolphins with baby

What makes life worth living?

Moments that take your breath away… or in my case, moments that have you jumping up and down on the pier going “DOLPHINS. DOLPHINS. AND BABY DOLPHINS!!!”

Yep, that mad person was me. But I think I pulled it off with style (the jumping around bit) Anyway anyone who doesn’t get excited to see magical creatures in the wild doesn’t deserve a fudge donut.

Looking out for unicorns in the woods behind my house now 🙂


The Beach
The Beach

Now that I have half an empty nest it’s time to do more stuff with my other half (husband, not nest) so we’re off to Florida on Thursday for an extended long weekend at my sisters. The big decision is do I take my full camera kit or just my compact? I love it when that’s the hardest decision I have to make – eldest kid is still living at home so she will take care of the house & dog. Ahh, the beach is calling my name…

Just hope I don’t have an encounter with someone in the Beach-shop like the last time I was down there, which went along the lines of…

Him: Excuse me, can I ask you something?

Me: Sure.

Him: I’m trying to buy a T-shirt for my sister-in-law and she’s about your size. Would you say you were a Large, Extra Large or a 2XL?

Me (Flabbergasted and not sure if he’s winding me up or not): Emm, well…

Him: I’ve been trying for ages to figure it out and I don’t have a clue. Please, what do you think?

Me: Well maybe you’d better just get large incase YOU OFFEND HER BY BUYING A 2XL!!!

Him: Thanks so much, you’ve been a great help.

Me: “Speechless” then laughing.

I attract nutters wherever I go….