I believe this is probably a strong contender for "Lamest Picture of the Year" award. I brought my camera with me on my walk this afternoon hoping to see something worth shooting. Needless to say, I didn't find anything so this will have to suffice. I tried a few different angles bracketing around aperture but this was, sadly the best I could come up with.
As you may remember, KC bought an Audi a few weeks ago. What we are realizing is that when you buy that level car, you get some interesting perks although perks is a bit of a strong word. KC received a package in the mail today with a catalogue of Audi merchandise. I wouldn't have believed it either but here's the website to prove it! Attached to the catalogue was a form letter welcoming KC to the Audi family. It was attached with an Audi paper clip. I've never seen anything like that before so I decided to make it my picture of the day.
So I missed a day. We spent most of the day traveling back to NC although we did take an airboat ride through the Everglades. I did not take my camera with me as we were getting sprayed periodically and figured I'd be really mad if I messed up my camera so you'll just have to believe me that it was fun and we saw lots of alligators.
Today, I spent some time snuggling with Floyd to make up for leaving him with Connie for a week. Not that he minds being with Connie but he does resent not being with me for a whole week.
Guy is a huge bird of prey fan. When we learned there was a bird sanctuary in Key Largo, it was a must see. It gets great reviews on Trip Advisor so we were looking forward to it. They run strictly on donations and take in all kinds of birds who have been injured. Some were easier to shoot than others but they were all pretty cool.
On the way back to the house, we stopped by Robbie's to feed the tarpon. They said they were big but I was not prepared for just HOW BIG they are! I read up on them before I went and I think I found Scarface, the original tarpon!
We started the day with a little reading by the pool then progressed to meandering around the beach, going down to Anne's Beach to see if there was better swimming down there. There wasn't but it gave us something to do.
While we were there I took the opportunity to recreate the pictures I took years ago at the beach. This time I included the Dayan kids as well.
When we got back to the house, we noticed a kite surfer so Eyal and I grabbed our cameras and made friends with the people next door since they had a pier and snapped away.
KC and Eyal practiced filming action with the GoPro flipping Macy around in the pool but really we spent the afternoon just chilling out.
Eyal had scoped out a good spot to shoot the sun set so we left KC and Dana with the kids for an hour or so and set up for some really nice shots. My favorite is the one at the top of this post but these were all contenders.
Today was the day we went all the way down to Key West. We started the day at the Butterfly Conservatory. The very helpful woman with whom I spoke recommended we get there first thing in the morning as that is when the butterflies are most active. So we were there at 9:00 and spent about 45 minutes going through the arboretum. The butterflies certainly were active.
The butterflies landing on everyone. Everyone except Macy. She was so still and patient and yet still, none would land on her. In typical Macy style though, she persevered until finally, she was successful.
From the Butterfly Conservatory, we headed down to the Southernmost point in the US but declined to wait in the hour long line to have our pictures taken. Then we ambled up to the Earnest Hemingway House where we met the 6 toed cats (featured in the picture at the top.) Dana and I took the tour while KC and Eyal corralled the kids.
The lighthouse on Key West was just down the street from Hemingway House so we popped in there and climbed to the top. There were some pretty cool views but not much worth shooting. The Keeper's house was turned into a museum and we learned about how the families lived there when the lighthouse was in operation.
There was a beautiful mangrove tree that was just calling to be climbed in. The kids had to oblige!
We tooled around downtown for a while and soaked up the atmosphere. Key West certainly has character. Between chickens roaming the streets to snow birds riding around in gold carts, we definitely were not in Cary!
On the way home, Eyal and I stopped on one of the bridges to catch the sun set. We were a smidge early. It had been a long day and the natives were getting restless and hungry so we shot a few and packed it in. All in all, a good day.
Today was the BIG day. Shiri has been reading about dolphins and saw somewhere that people swim with dolphins. She asked her mother if that was something we could do so Dana put me on a mission. There are several places to swim with dolphins in the Keys and happily for us, one of the highest rated places, Theater of the Sea, was literally about 15 minutes from the house! We signed up for an early slot hoping to avoid the heat of the day and for protection since sun screen is not allowed. Apparently it's not good for the dolphins. Eyal and I didn't even bring our cameras out since we were in the water the whole time but we did purchase the professional's pics that were taken from the dock.
It was an amazing experience. I will admit I was slightly nervous. I don't like being in the water with things that are going to come from under water and touch me. I was afraid I was going to freak out. I'm getting ismy in my old age! To my surprise and delight, I not only tolerated it but once I got comfortable with the animals, I really enjoyed it. They do not feel like I expected at all. They are slippery but not slimy. What impressed me the most was feeling their immense power. While I was hugging him, I could feel his muscles. It was one of the most impressive things I've ever felt.
After our swim, we showered off, applied liberal amounts of sun screen and went out into the park to partake of the rest of the attractions. We wandered around for a bit, caught up to the last 1/2 of the walking tour, then went to the 1st dolphin show of the day. Eyal and I sat right up front and realized quickly that since we didn't know where the dolphins were going to come up, shooting them was difficult. Many of my shots were focused on the background so the dolphins were out of focus. Very disappointing. However, they do several shows a day so we decided to stick around for the next one and our pictures got some better. It was very sunny in the afternoon so I closed down my aperture to f/8.0 and upped my ISO to 200 to maintain a shutter speed of 500 or 640.
While we were waiting for the second show, we also took in the Sea Lion show where Wilber entertained us with some pretty amazing tricks. Shooting in there was difficult because it so so back-lit. I had to do a lot of manipulation in post for those.
After that Dana and KC took the kids on a bottomless boat ride while Eyal and I tried in vain to get a picture of it. Then it was the bird show. I am NOT a bird fan. They are cool for a few minutes but then their eyes start to weird me out and god forbid one flies at me! I told you I'm getting ismy!
Eyal and I left KC and Dana with the kids at the bird show so we could go scope out the same spots for the next dolphin show. We were succesful and as mentioned above, our results were some better than our morning attempts.
Our first scheduled outing was to the Turtle Hospital. It got rave reviews on Yelp and sounded like it was interesting for both the kids and the adults. I'm happy to report that it did not disappoint. We learned all about the different types of sea turtles, all the different ways they are injured and how they are rehabbed. It was pretty cool to see them performing surgery on one, an IV in another and learn that they do turtle blood transfers!
We stopped at the 7 Mile Grill for lunch. The guys sampled an obligatory slice of key lime pie. I was not a huge fan but it wasn't bad. The waitress was very nice and the food was decent. It was next to a small dock where we stopped to take a few more pictures.
Our guide at Turtle Hospital recommended we stop at Crane Point to see some birds and enjoy the nature trail and the very clear water at the end of the point. Since we had nothing else planned for the afternoon, we decided to go for it. Perhaps it was because we were there in the afternoon and the animals were all done for the day but it was fairly underwhelming. The most impressive sight was the osprey nest with several baby ospreys in it. Many in our group were less enthusiastic about the golden orb spiders that spun their webs across the nature trail. It made my skin crawl but I did not have the worst reaction to them, and I'll leave it at that.
Since I was up at sunset, I grabbed my camera and snapped a few shots, bracketing and trying a few different positions. I did not get my tripod out so both of these are hand held. I was torn between these 2. I like the composition of the top one better but I like the sun behind the palm tree in the one at the right.
Later in the day we were chilling by the pool and the golden hour hit. I had to go get the camera again and capture our amazing surroundings. I impressed myself with how these came out!
The kids were loving the pool and even looked like they loved each other!
KC and Eyal were busy getting footage of Macy doing layouts in the pool with the GoPro too.
And we finished the day with ENORMOUS ice cream cones at Ms. Gs.
We left for Florida this evening but KC got to celebrate his birthday first. It wasn't my most inspired gift giving occasion: a new carafe for the coffeemaker and a storage ottoman to replace the cheap one we bought from Target years ago. We use it frequently when we play games at the coffee table and it was falling apart and getting downright dangerous to sit on and KC is the one who usually ends up sitting on it. Crate and Barrel was having a sale but they were on back order online so I called the store in Durham and they had one in stock so I spent an afternoon running up there and grabbing it. I think he was happy though esp since he got to go to the Keys and enjoy a week of activities that I planned for everyone.
I'm a mother of 2 girls living in NC. I've dabbled in photography on and off but really this is just for fun