Morikami Gardens

P3110003-Edit-Edit-EditWe went to the Morikami Gardens and Museum in Delray Beach, Fl. This is a photo of the Wisdom Ring. This Wisdom Ring is a replica of a 500-year-old stone lantern that has become a symbol of Miyazu, Delray Beach’s sister city in Japan.

The original Wisdom Ring, or Chie no Wa in Japanese, stands at a temple dedicated to the Buddhist deity of wisdom, Monju. This replica was donated by citizens of Miyazu to commemorate Morikami Museum’s 20th anniversary in 1997.

I did have a little fun with this image: some work with Color Efex Pro 4 plus Snap Art 4. What do you think? Click on the image to see a larger view.

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Gator in Waiting

gator reflectionAlligators are a staple of Florida wildlife. This guy is typical of the breed (Alligator mississippiensis) and is commonly called the American alligator. This photo was taken not too far from my home in a location we call “Loop Road”. The American alligator grows no more than 15 ft. long as an adult.

Gators are at the top of the food chain in their habitat and eat pretty much anything they can get their considerable jaws around, including fish, frogs, birds, reptiles and even the occasional mammal. They won’t bother you unless you bother them. But don’t get between one and their kids or you might not survive the encounter. They are the official reptile of Florida (and two other states – can you name them?)

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The Poo Ladies

poo ladiesAt the Renaissance Festival there are quite a few roving performers dressed in “period” costume and addressing the paying customers in character. These three lovely ladies sang a song clarifying their role as poo removers. Very charming in a disgusting sort of way. And very funny, too.

The original photo was brought into Corel Painter to remove the background annoyances and replace with a “painted” shim. The ladies were brought back into relief with another layer and the entire photo enhanced a bit with Color Efex Pro 4. No Photoshopping allowed.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

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Renaissance Festival

P3040056-EditOur photo buddies celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Florida Renaissance Festival by spending today enjoying the event and taking lots of pictures. Held in Deerfield Beach, Florida, the Festival tries to recreate life in the 16th century (but with a decided contemporary flare).

There are over 100 performers and lots of tents with medieval stuff to look at and buy. We saw dancers and singers, glass blowers and cannoneers. There was a horse show and a high wire act. And of course, plenty of food and drink available.


pirate-EditAt least 20% of the paying guests were dressed up in period costumes with lots of busts and leather in display. So were pirates, steampunk, Celtic folk and vikings. The photo above is of a fellow working in an apothecary and was taken in his “shop”. The pirate looks a lot like a character out of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Click on the images to see larger versions.

All photos taken with my trusty Olympus OMD EM5 II and the 12-40 Pro lens.

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Water Lilly

purple water lily smallI spent the morning yesterday at McKee Botanical Gardens in Vero Beach, FL with the guys. A great place for taking photos of their world famous waterlily collection. Nymphaeaceae, commonly called water lilies are flowering plants which grow in water. While their roots are in the soil below the water, their leaves and flowers float on the surface.

The Purple Tropical water lily pictured here is one of many blue and purple flowered versions. A straight from the camera image with a bit of gentle post-processing.

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Impression of Cars on a Bridge at Night

cars on bridge-2Not just any bridge, but the Brooklyn Bridge. And not exactly at night but at sunset. I stood on the pedestrian walkway and leaned over the railing. Then I set the shutter speed at a low value to produce the streaks of light and metal.

The photo was brought into Corel Painter and I produced a painted impression of the image. Something I call digital painting. The image has been printed on paper but the best one is on metal – a huge 40×20 version that will be in an art show and sale coming up next month. Click on the image to see a nice big version on the screen … you will be able to see the paint strokes.

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Sunrise at the Lake Worth Pier

Sunrise at Lake Worth PierIt was 5:30 am – a most ungodly hour – when a group of us took off for sunrise on the beach at Lake Worth Pier. I had my Olympus OMD EM5II, a light tripod and an assortment of lenses + a flashlight!

Light painting before dawn. You can see two examples on my Portfolio site (click on the Photo Galleries link on the masthead). And then the most interesting and spectacular light show of sunrise over the Atlantic. Great cloud formation made for great photos. A surfboarder was there to add a good foreground element. Plus people on the beach.

Then a nice breakfast with the gang at Benny’s on the Beach topped off a photo op that was well worth getting up so early.

See the entire set of photos at

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Caribbean Flamingo

Caribbean Flamingo

Caribbean Flamingo

The Caribbean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) naturally is the highlight of Flamingo Gardens. Located in their own habitat, the brightly colored birds survey the tourists and photographers alike. Although flamingos are familiar in zoos, they are naturally found in the Caribbean, Yucatan Peninsula, and Galapagos Islands. These birds are also known as the American Flamingo.

They can grow as high as 4 ½ feet and weigh about 6 pounds. While the adults are bright pink, the little ones start out as grey in color.

Caribbean Flamingo

Caribbean Flamingo

They live in lagoon-like environments in social groups. It is unknown if they use Facebook or Twitter. They use their long curved beaks as filters gulping lots of water containing insects and vegetation for their dinner. The flamingo’s characteristic pink colouring is caused by the beta carotene in their diet.

Caribbean Flamingo

Caribbean Flamingo

After some mating dance moves, the female lays one white egg each. It takes about a month for hatching. Initially, the chicks are fed “crop milk” by their mothers or other females in the colony. It takes about five years until the young are full adults (e.g. sexually active).  Predators include jaguars, raccoons, birds and humans.

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Tortoise at Flamingo Gardens

African Spurred Tortoise

African Spurred Tortoise

Return to blogging – yea – and return to Florida. Here is a nice ole guy taken at Flamingo Gardens (Davie, Florida). This is an example of an African Spurred tortoise and this species is supposed to be the largest land tortoise (two other species are larger but live on islands – go figure.)

The sulcata tortoise, as it is also called, can live between 50 and 150 years. The ones in Florida live longer if in a gated community with a good cafe. They eat grasses and plants but not fruit (fruit causes indigestion and you don’t want to go there with this animal). They are sometimes kept as pets but you had better have a large space for them to roam and lots of  suitible plant material for feeding plus lot of calcium around.

This photos was taken with my (relatively) new Olympus OMD-EM 5 Mark 2 camera and 40-150 mm lens (equivalent to 80-300 mm). Light to carry, sharp images. Lovely.


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Heliconius Melpomene Rosina

Heliconius Melpomene Rosina

Heliconius Melpomene Rosina

The Heliconius Melpomene Rosina butterfly is similar to the Heliconius erato. There are many variations in Central and South America. It feeds on various species of Passiflora. 

Linnaeus original described this cutie in 1758. According to the Heliconius web site (yes, there is a web site devoted to nothing but this genus), “Pupae are brown with gold spots on the dorsum, the thorax is strongly bowed and have five pairs of black spines in the abdomen.”

These butterflies are also called “Postman” and are plentiful in Costa Rica where they particularly are fond of sunlight forests with lots of flowers. Both H. melpomene and H. erato are poisonous which tend to protect them from bird predators.

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