Celebrating Nature Photography Day

Today the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) along with millions of photographers and photography lovers across the nation will observe Nature Photography Day.

Sunrise at Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah.

Nature Photography Day was designated by NANPA in 2009 to promote the enjoyment of nature photography and since my phone is filled with this type of photography, I thought I should participate. It only seemed appropriate to start with a sunrise.

Mount Moran and reflection in Lake Jackson, Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming.

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”~Albert Einstein

Bison and geyser, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

“Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

Green oasis of Fruita surrounded by eroded rock layers in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.

“The Earth has music for those who listen.” ~George Santayana

Tributary of Colorado River, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah.

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” ~William Shakespeare

Tulip Prickly Pear Cactus, Natural Bridges National Monument.

“Where flowers bloom, so does hope.” ~Lady Bird Johnson

Owachomo Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Colorado River, Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah.

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to the body and soul alike.” ~John Muir”

Arch in Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

“Those who dwell among the beauties of the earth are never alone or weary of life.” ~Rachel Carson

Courthouse Towers, Arches National Park, Utah.

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright

Broken Arch, Arches National Park, Utah.

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” ~Ansel Adams

La Sal Mountains at sunset as seen from Hell’s Revenge, Moab Utah.

Celebrate nature photography day by posting your nature pictures and use #NaturePhotographyDay in social media.

(I took all photos using the camera on my phone, an iPhone 7, no special equipment or filters.)


Revisiting Collect – One of My Favorite Apps

I’d been looking for an app which was both a journal and a way to collect photos, and I found it when I discovered Collect – Photo Journal. It’s been a great way to collect one or more photos everyday and write a brief description of the event. It’s a quick and easy diary on my phone.


After opening the app, you just click on the date and you get the option to either take a photo or open your photo library. If you decide to open the photo library, it opens to the pictures on your camera that were taken on the date selected on the calendar. Then it’s as simple as selecting the image to use. Add a title of up to 115 characters and if desired add tags to provide an easy way to group and find related pictures, and you can even add more detailed notes about an event.

With over 20,000 photos just hanging out on my phone, I’ve never had a hard time finding something to photograph, but with the addition of two little ones, Collect provides an easy way to save and organize these extra special images.

Of course, there are in app purchases that can be made to create videos from the daily photos or a creative pack to add designs and fonts and collages. I started with the $1.99 basic version, but after using it for two years, I’m ready to part with an additional $3.99 to try the extra features as well as to automatically back up to iCloud.


Collect would also be an effective way of participating in the Grateful 365 Project, a way to collect a photo and reflect on something positive every day.

Looking for a way to collect and organize your photos? Try Collect.

(Unfortunately, Collect is only available for iPhone so if you use a similar app for another device, I’d love to hear about it.)

Please…no tablet cameras!

When I see people using their iPads or other tablets as a camera in public I’m so embarrassed for them. In fact, tablet manufacturers should stop including cameras on these devices to avoid this type of public humiliation.

How embarrassing!
How embarrassing!

I can understand that these cameras may be needed in a pinch when a phone or digital camera has a dead battery or isn’t working, but even then it’s best to use the tablet camera at home to document a birthday or whopper fish, not at a concert, game or other public event. It’s not only embarrassing but  irritating to sit behind someone holding a tablet above their head blocking the view of all behind them with a 9″x7″ camera.

If you use a ladder, you need a real camera. To protect the identity of the tablet photographer, I did not include a picture of his tablet faux pas.

I witnessed one of the most embarrassing examples of using an iPad camera last weekend at the Chalk Festival in Venice. A man in his 20s, carried a step ladder around the festival and took photos from an elevated position like the serious photographers with expensive equipment. Did he really think his tablet pictures required that type of set up?

Do yourself and everyone else a favor and please…don’t use a tablet phone (at least not in public).



A trip to Orlando yesterday to pick up rentals for the wedding of a friend’s daughter provided a good excuse to slog through the muck north of Lake Jesup to get an up close look at the swamp sunflowers.


Exiting off SR 417 on Lake Mary Boulevard and then driving about five miles, including down a one lane road, we found the parking area at the trailhead at the Lake Jesup Conservation Area (Marl Bed Flats Trail).

An article describing the place to get a look at the flowers suggested taking the red trail for the best view but warned that this trail is wetter and muddier than the yellow one. What’s a little mud? We’d brought shoes that could withstand some mud. In fact, we were well prepared: boots, long pants, long sleeve shirts, hats, and insect repellent.


Fortunately there was no need for bug spray, but it was all I could do to keep the swamp from gobbling up my shoes. And the sounds of unseen gators bellowing somewhere to my left made it difficult to really enjoy the beauty of the millions of yellow flowers.


Finally we reached drier ground where either the gators were sleeping or far enough away to no longer frighten me. Time for pictures.


If you plan to see the swamp sunflowers along Lake Jesup this year, you don’t have any time to waste. They’re already past their peak. Or you might just want to add this to your calendar for late September or early October 2016. But, I recommend taking the yellow trail.


No Words Needed

Acadia National Park – no words needed!








No special camera equipment needed to capture the beauty of this park. I took all pictures with iPhone 6 (John took the picture of me, also with an iPhone 6).

Chasing Clouds



The past several weeks I seem to be chasing clouds. Clouds at sunrise,


clouds at sunset,


clouds  at all times of the day.

More than once, I’ve pulled the car into a parking lot so I can get a better look and a picture of clouds.


I find it incredibly amazing how at every sunset, the sky is a different shade. No cloud is ever in the same place. Each day is a new masterpiece. A new wonder. A new memory. ~Sanober Khan


The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds – even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less. ~Joseph B. Wirthlin


We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky thinking wherever we find it. Life would be dull if we had to look up at cloudless monotony day after day. ~Gavin Pretor-Pinney


imageIf you’re a cloud lover like me, you may want to check out the website of the Cloud Appreciation Society and the photos of clouds posted by others “cloudophiles”.


Where is this Wednesday?

The Florida State Parks have been posting a picture each Wednesday accompanied by the question, where is this?

Each picture is from one of the state’s award winning parks and it’s fun to see if you can identify the location, or if not, claim the park as one you’ve visited.

So “Where is this?”


Hint: It is one of Florida’s State Parks.

Bigfoot, Smokey and Burt

After hiking along the Columbia River Gorge, we ate lunch under the watchful eyes of the Pacific Northwest’s most famous resident…Bigfoot. Of course, how could I resist a picture with Sasquatch?


The next day, at Mt. Hood, Smokey the Bear stood watch. Time for another picture.


Another Bigfoot in Seattle, Burt of Burt’s Bees, totem pole, pig and prawn meant more pictures.

Then a diver, a ship’s captain, the founder of Fairhaven and a lighthouse keeper.

But my favorite…my face inserted in one of those crazy photo booths…this time showing off a big catch.

IMG_1119You just have to love all the ridiculous picture taking opportunities you find on vacation.


Facebook Doesn’t Recognize Me

A strange thing happened on Sunday. When John posted a picture of me wearing my FAU shirt prior to attending the FAU v UF baseball game in Gainesville, Facebook tagged me with my sister’s name and refused to allow him to change it.

This is me…not Carol!

I agree that as Carol and I have gotten older we do look more alike, but really Facebook, do you think you know me better than my husband?

Warning to Facebook users: If you see pictures of John posted with my sister…no, he hasn’t left me for a younger version of me; and if you see pictures labeled as being me posted with a guy named Dan…no, I didn’t run off with some other guy. That’s my brother-in-law.

Facebook, please let users tag pictures. We really do know best.

Retirement Job?

When people find out that John and I are retiring at the end of the school year, the most common question we hear, “What are you going to do?”

Most people mean, how are we going to spend our time, but a few want to know what new employment opportunity will be occupying our time. John’s even had people make suggestions regarding jobs that he should consider.

I’m confused. When I looked up the word retired on Dictionary.com, here’s what I found:

retired [ri-tahyuh rd]


withdrawn from or no longer occupied with one’s business or profession

It seems pretty clear…no longer occupied with one’s profession.

Volunteer. Fish. Bike. Read. Camp. Write. Travel. Sail. Hike. Practice photography, woodworking, cooking. Learn new things. Find new hobbies. Maybe plant a garden. Go to sporting events. Play games. Visit family. Spend time with friends. That sounds like an answer to that what are you going to do when you retire question.

BUT…if a new career is in the making…then I’m sure it must be vacation photographer because everywhere we go, strangers approach John and ask him to take their picture. Couples. Families. Groups of friends. In NYC, Miami, DC. In state parks, national parks or theme parks. At the beach or sporting events. He’s recognized as the go-to guy for photos. Wonder if he could ask for tips?

IMG_7432And the second most asked question, how many more days? John…37 and for me…41.