Saturday, January 23, 2016

Evergreen Cemetery - Fort Lauderdale.

DSC_5965I remember finding this cemetery way back around 1980 when I bought my motorcycle. I was practicing my shifting and taking all the back roads.  

It was decades before I found it again. I drove by over and over with a friend who always talked about doing a photoshoot there. We never did. Always going somewhere else and too busy to stop.  Never really made a plan to come back.

A long time ago I was passing by with camera in hand but didn't stop. I made a bad turn on the way to somewhere. I was running late and made a mental note to return soon. I never did.

Now that I've moved away and it's quite far to go, I decided to make a plan to stop in. I was expecting a very old cemetery well past the point of being active. I was very surprised to see the dates on the stones were far newer than I expected. I was hard pressed to find any really old markers. There was also someone being laid rest on the very day I was there.

I'm sure I'll leave little more than a handful of dust and a few photos behind. It always fascinates me those of us that choose to leave a little more. Although I did not come across anyone I knew personally at this cemetery, It did turn my thoughts to the friends and relatives that are no longer here. I don't necessarily think of them so much in my daily life but I do when I visit places such as this. Maybe from these photos, you can take a few seconds and remember those that you may know who have moved on.





Monday, January 18, 2016

Yard Bunny

While I'm waiting to be inspired about my next direction in life I'm finishing projects and trying new things. One of those things I often dreamed of while staring out my office window was to be a nature photographer. I certainly have enough equipment. I have a lot of time and an open schedule. I've made a few half hearted attempts. Apparently I have more excesses then passion.

DSC_5836The other day I brought one of my cameras out to my patio with the intention of shooting the birds that are ever present. Well always when I'm trying to enjoy a morning tea or evening beer. With camera in hand it seems like they all flew the coop.

DSC_5841With nothing to shoot but tree branches I was just getting ready to go in when a rabbit came under the fence. I've seen it before but from the kitchen window. I've never gotten within 30 feet of it. Well guess what, I was about sitting 30 feet away and hoping those big ears would ignore the shutter clicks.


It just took one fast, little movement on my part, I was spotted, the ears went up, and the bunny was gone in a second. Even though I was quite literally in my own backyard, I did get a twinge of excitement. Not sure how I would feel staring down a panther in the woods but if I really want to do this I'm going to need to make a bigger commitment to it.


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Palm Beach Zoo - My First Visit

Fifteen years. That's how long I've been driving by the Palm Beach Zoo. I did a quick calculation and it's been hundreds of times. This week was my first, long overdue visit. I had no idea what to expect. The zoo is pretty much in the middle of town and from the satellite image and online map I was not expecting much.


But just like the famous quote from one of my favorite TV shows - It's a lot bigger on the inside. Florida is hot so I timed my trip on the only day not raining this week - cool by Florida standards but still close to 80 degrees by mid afternoon. The creatures must have known this was a special day for me as they pretty much all struck a pose.


Not that I am skilled enough to capture everyone perfectly. Far from it and the mesh cages are not great for photography. But if I do say so myself - I got some awesome shots.


I've already had a request for a print on the Flamingo - my first request ever. Actually all my photos are free on Flickr so feel free to download and print them if you like.


I'm hoping to one day sell my work. That would sure help out with my retirement funding. I'm not quite there yet but I feel like I'm getting close. At least you will know if its good enough to be on my wall - It's a damn good shot.


One thing I was not expecting was a show. It was a thursday with what I would call low attendance. There were actually several shows during the day. I missed one which I'm sure I will go back and see one day. I also met a Raven who took a dollar from me. That was a lot more up close and personal than I expected.

I was there a full day and only walked the park twice. There were plenty of staff to interact with who were only too happy to talk about the animals. I've been to a lot of zoos but this one has much to offer if you have the time to take it slow and enjoy.

For the rest of my photos [click here]

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Retired at 55 - Exactly Six Months into it.

I turned on my computer to work on photos this morning and noticed the date. Has it really been 6 months since I gave up the daily grind of heading off to a work place? Seems impossible. It feels more like a very long weekend or maybe a two week vacation. I had to look back at my blog to see what I've been doing with all this free time. I see a few highlights but simply enjoying life every day is not really exciting to post about.

Most of my time was involved with the rapid completion of a 3 year home renovation project. It's a bit easier when you live in the home you are working on and not 75 miles south of it. I also sold my condo, took 6 trips to Disney, worked on my photography skills, and helped my aging parents. I did make one drastic change. I now wake up at 6:30 am every day rather than 6:00 am.

I read a few articles about folks who retire early and are suddenly bored. Something about being defined by work and being cut off from human contact. I feel sorry for them.

I suppose in my early career when work was everything and I was giving away houses to ex-wives, that would have been a problem for me as well. In my waning working years I made sure I developed a myriad of interests outside the workplace. I also learned to travel alone as I knew there would not be a large pool of people in my situation.

Finances.... That is going to be a problem. My pension is considerably less than my pay. Before retirement I pretty much lived on my proposed pension and used the rest to pay off two houses and save. That way there would be no great shock. My pension is not what I expected but I will not be complaining. I've already booked my first trip of the year, Tentatively scheduled the second and the third is in the planning stage. I'll need to update the passport for that last one. Paying for them will be the trick. I used every bit of my cash out from work to finish my bathrooms. I have friends across the country and a really nice functional house in a lovely part of Florida. I'm sure I can work out some reciprocal couch surfing deals.

For New Years Day I took my oldest camera and lens to see if I could take a few "Artsy" shots. I've already printed a couple of 24" X 36" canvas prints and a few smaller metal prints to start my in home art gallery. I think in my next life I may want to be a photographer. So far that dream seems a little far off but at least I will never be bored.