Photo Walk at Lake Parker – Alligator Sighting

My happy place is taking a walk at one of the many parks found in my town Lakeland, Florida.  When I have time to myself, I head out and see what I can find.  This time I headed out to one of my favorites, Lake Parker, where you will usually sight a gator or two along with birds and turtles.  There is a path in the park for people who are out for a walk or run, everyone is friendly.  There is also a playground for the children.  This day it was early, there was still fog and it was starting to drizzle so I had to cut my walk short.  My camera does not like the rain.  One thing about Florida is whenever you are at a freshwater body of water, there are alligators.

Alligators are a wild animal and have been around a long time, back to the dinosaur days.  Are they dangerous?  Yes that can be, you need to respect them and be smart and they will probably not bother you.  They are more interested in small prey, that is one of the reasons the warning sign says “hold children by hand”.   The first time I saw this sign I was new to Central Florida and had a small state of panic.  Now when I am walking along this park I look for the alligators, I find them interesting.  They just appear to hang out enjoying time in the water and sunning themselves on the shore.

Here is the sign I mentioned as you are walking along the path.

The rest of the pictures are in the order of the sighting.  From the time I saw the head in the water, to when he appeared to check me out, swimming along from the open to in the brush.

As I continued along the path, at a very leisurely pace, I got to where the water opened up to the lake and the alligator was there.  Further away so I could not capture a good photo.  He apparently was swimming at the same pace as my leisurely pace.  From what I know they can move so never underestimate their speed or strength.

Generally speaking as long as you respect their strength and speed and leave them alone, we can all live together.  When you hear stories about people trying to feed them, not only does  that put them in danger it also puts others including the alligator in danger.  They may become more aggressive which could bring alligator hunters in to capture and destroy them.  The alligator was there first, leave them alone and they will probably leave you alone.

 

Alafia River Camping

Camping is what we do to just unplug and enjoy quiet and nature.  Our most recent trip was to a local park, Alafia River State Park, close by and a new adventure.  We were pleasantly surprised.  The park was small, the sites were spaced apart so we were able to enjoy quiet and privacy.  There was not a lot of time to explore but what we saw we really enjoyed.  Here are some of the photos capturing nature.

Welcome to our home for the next couple of days.  Our backyard is nature, enjoying a campfire at night, when it is quiet time the music is turned off and we relax with a nightcap and a game.

Time to go home and return to reality.  We are able to return to reality with a new attitude, we were able to take the time to unplug even if just for a couple of days.  That is what camping is.

Enjoying Lake Parker

Finally got a chance to take a little me time and enjoy Lake Parker with my camera.  It was long overdue but it had to be done.  There are many parks in Lakeland that have great photo opportunities just waiting for me.  Too often life gets in the way and you need to prioritize and take that time for you.  Here are some of the photos to share with you how relaxing a walk in the park can be.

Enjoy some of my other photos from my walks at local Lakeland parks and you will see what I mean.

Vacation on the Beach

Recently we had a mini vacation on the beach.  We found Anna Maria Dream Island a great place to stay, enjoyed several seafood dinners and enjoyed the sunset.  Just what the doctor ordered.

Here are some shots from Anna Maria Dream Island which was very nice, exactly what the picture portrayed on the internet.  The people were very friendly and helpful, there to offer help before we asked.

There is a covered area by the pool with seating and on the other side you can walk right out onto the beach.

We were there for three nights and went to three separate restaurants.  The first night we went to the Beach House.  Which was very nice, sat right on the water and enjoyed the food, beach and scenery.  There was a wine bottle wall in the restaurant which was really cool.

The second night we went to a place called Swordfish Grill and Tiki Bar which was recommended by the clerk at the hotel.  Excellent, again sat right on the beach and they had my grouper rueben.  Great atmosphere, live music and great food.

On the way home we stopped at Crabby Bills at Indian Rocks Beach.  My husband wanted to go there, he had been at the other two locations and we had to check it out.  Excellent service and food, perfect way to end a mini vacation at the beach.

Vacation full of beautiful weather at the beach, great food and relaxing which was perfect.  Tough to come back to reality but here we are.   There is nothing I would have changed except maybe more time, ready to go back.

The Beauty of a Sunset

Today I am going to share some of my favorite photos of sunsets.  Most were taken over the Gulf of Mexico either on the shores of St. Petersburg or on the shores of the panhandle.  Both locations are prime for capturing the beauty of the sunset.

You can find more of my sunset photos at my site at SmugMug.

Some of the important things to keep in mind when you are taking pictures of the sunset are use your tripod to keep your camera steady and take advantage of the setting on your camera.   Experiment with the settings like ISO and Aperture to see what they do to your pictures.  There are classes online at Craftsy that will help you while learning about landscape photography and the settings that will bring out the best.

 

Photo Walk at Hollis Gardens

Lately I have not had a chance to get out with my camera so I made a decision. taking care of me needs to be a priority.  Getting out in nature with my camera is what massages my soul, so off to one of my favorite local parks I went.  Hollis Gardens is a garden in Lakeland, right on Lake Mirror in Downtown Lakeland.  You will always find well kept gardens with flowers and everything you expect to see in a local park.    Here are my favorite pictures from the day in the park.

Lake Mirror Classic

This is an annual event in my town of Lakeland, Florida where you will find classic cars on display around Lake Mirror.

Lake Mirror is a lake found in downtown Lakeland where you will find something to do year round.  You can enjoy a walk around Lake Mirror, sit on one of the many benches and enjoy watching the birds in the lake and enjoy the gardens of Hollis Gardens which is known for weddings.

Here are some pictures of some of my favorite classic cars found on display.

Enjoying St. Pete Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend we had the opportunity to spend a couple days on St. Pete.  We started with enjoying a Tampa Bay Rays game and decided since we are so close, lets enjoy the beach.  We found a hotel with a very reasonable price, it was clean and perfect for what we were looking for.  We could walk right out to the beach without worrying about crossing any road.  Here are a couple of photos from our trip.

 

Walk Around Lake Hollingsworth

One of my favorite things about Lakeland is enjoying the Lakes, this is a post sharing some photos from my most recent walk around Lake Hollingsworth.  It is a lake that is about a 4 mile walk around the lake, you will see runners, families and friends enjoying the trip around the lake with all the natural wildlife and landscape.

 

Join Me in My Travel Adventures with My Camera