Saturday, June 06, 2009

No Lightning

I drove home from the movies last night in and out of some rough thunderstorms. They were all localized, though, so when you weren't right under them, you got a pretty good light show from the lighting. Once I got home, I grabbed the camera and the tripod to see if I could get some pictures, as it wasn't raining at all near my house. I tried for about half an hour at three in the morning to capture some shots, but I got nothing worth anything. These are the best of the shots, and you can actually see a little bit of flash in two of them, but not enough to make it interesting, I'm afraid.

I've had a little more luck in the past, but it takes some pretty specific conditions to get decent lightning shots. You can check out my old pics here and here.

Air & Space & Dulles

Since I just mentioned it in a post, here are a couple of pictures of the Air And Space Museum at Washington-Dulles International Airport. You can visit it on it's own or you can visit after checking your baggage for the flight home after a long weekend of shooting pictures in DC. It's got some pretty impressive stuff on the inside, well worth the fifty cent bus ride from the terminal. And since it's a branch of the Smithsonian, entrance is free!

Star Trek

The new Star Trek movie came out the weekend I was in DC for a wedding, so I wasn't able to see it. I finally got to see it yesterday, almost a month after it came out, and man, is it good. It's got plenty in it to recommend to the non-Star Trek fan, as well as plenty for the long-time Trek boys. So be sure you go see it before it leaves the theaters. We had to trek to two different theaters to find one showing the movie at a reasonable hour, and the auditorium only had about a dozen people in it during the showing, so it may not be showing for much longer. Now, perhaps the way to see it is to seek out a local IMAX theater. When I visited the Air And Space Museum at Washington-Dulles, they were playing the movie on the IMAX screen, and I got an email from Kennedy Space Center the other day saying it was playing there as well, so seek it out on the big, big, big screen.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


As I hinted about a couple of days ago, here are a few shots from my quick trip to Lithia Springs last weekend. When I was a youngster, we'd occasionally go here to swim in the big spring, and occasionally in the little spring, the one you see here, when it was still allowed. Eventually, enough people tried to dive into the cavern beneath the water, got stuck and drowned, that they had to post it off-limits and keep people out. The bottom of the spring that you see below is about 16 feet underwater. I'm told that it opens up into a cavern, but I've never seen it, and never been tempted to try and look.

All of these shots show the minor springs. The major springs are much larger, and packed with screaming kids. I suppose I was like that when we used to visit in the summer. We also went to Crystal Springs a lot, but that's been closed and is now used by Zephyrhills Spring Water as the source of much of their bottled water. Shame.

I know you won't believe me, but all of the greenery you see here is maybe three feet under the surface of the water. It's that clear! Plus, I used a polarizing filter on my camera. That helps remove the glare of reflected sunlight. Sorta like polarized sunglasses, but for the camera.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Little Black Snake

I spent a few hours yesterday hunting down an old watering hole we used to visit as kids, a place called Lithia Springs near Brandon, FL. But before I show you any of the pictures of the main reasons I went there, here are a couple of little pictures I shot of a black snake I saw. I heard something in the leaves, louder than a lizard, but quieter than a squirrel, so I started looking, and sure enough, there he was. He gave me the evil eyeball for a few seconds, just long enough to get a couple of shots, then he took off down behind a tree and I couldn't find him again. I'm sure he must have had a hidey-hole back there for just such an occasion.

The Bee's Knees

I love Florida. You never know what you might stumble across. And you never, ever, leave your camera at home. As is usual, I went to Steak 'N Shake for lunch today. When I left, I noticed a bunch of bees flying around my car. A closer look revealed that in the half hour I'd been inside, a swarm of bees had alighted on a palm tree beside my car. I've seen similar swarms before, but they'd never materialized that suddenly, or at least not so suddenly that I'd noticed. I took a few pictures of them, getting closer than you might think safe, then I let the manager inside know that he had some bees outside, and that they'd be gone as soon as they found a good place to build a hive. I doubt if that's going to be good enough for him, so these bees might suffer at the hands of an exterminator soon. But maybe not. There are enough bees dying from that colony collapse disorder already, no need to kill any more of them off.

Another Kite

I spotted another scissortail kite yesterday on the interstate. At 75 MPH, it's hard to get a picture, so you'll have to make do with this picture of the one I spotted a couple of weeks ago. They're pretty few and far between, so I think it's odd that I spotted another one so soon. But they're cool birds, and well worth keeping an eye out for.