Monday, May 31, 2010

My yard

The goal of my blog is to force myself to get out and about with my camera while appreciating all this county has to offer. Often, the beauty of South Florida can be found literally right in our own backyards.

Many of the pictures that I will share in this blog entry were taken the first few weeks after I bought my Canon xsi. It was late December and I decided that I needed a theme for my 2009 calendar. I still didn't really know what I was doing with this much more complicated camera and I needed to play with it to learn it. It was actually a challenge to find twelve pictures that I really liked for my calendar but I was really proud of my results.












(and my photo of the week on DPC)

Jupiter Inlet

This past week, the 3rd Annual Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk was announced. Last year, over 32,000 people in over 900 locations around the globe participated all on one day (in July of 2009) and it was definitely a record breaking event. This year, the walks will be held on July 24th and I have registered to lead my very own walk! The reason I'm so excited is that the two walks I did last year (one in Jupiter and one in West Palm Beach) was the inspiration for the PBC Photo Walkers photography group. I must admit I didn't jump right into organizing this group... but I was one of many people who had a ton of fun last year and said "We really should do this more often". During the following month a few new friends from the walk convinced me to do something about it. I'm pretty sure we only had about 4 walkers at our first meetup in August of 2009; now our group has about 180 members!

Since I'm feeling so nostalgic about last year's walk, I decided to post pictures from the Jupiter walk. Our leader Kim chose Jupiter Inlet as the walk location.

View Jupiter Inlet in a larger map

This was the first time I ever took pictures with a group of other people and it really was amazing to see so many people getting together for this.

The really cool part was that even though we were all in the same location, we really captured a huge variety of images. The day started before sunrise...


As usual, some of the fun images are the ones of other photographers:


Our group found a lot of interesting subjects:

My favorite picture from this walk was one of the first shots I took this day. It seems kind of odd that I got up extra early to take pictures of the beautiful colorful sunrise, and then I went and converted the shot to black and white. However, I just love this shot and it is my photo of the week on DPC:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jonathan Dickinson State Park

I must admit that lately I have become concerned that I will soon struggle to come up with another 32 blogs featuring locations in Palm Beach County. I also admit that I considered quitting. I am two weeks behind and suddenly this blog seemed like a chore instead of a fun project. My husband Gregg talked me through it, encouraging me to continue if it's what I wanted to do. It really is... I just want to enjoy doing it. I was sitting here trying to think of a place I've been lately that I can feature. Of course I can always post more pictures from somewhere I've already posted but I really want to be original for a few weeks. I was looking through my pictures on Flicker and came across a picture from Jonathan Dickinson State Park. How could I have forgotten about this amazing place?!?

The thing is, I'm not 100% sure that this is actually located in Palm Beach County; in fact, I don't think it is. However, the park is SO huge (11,500 acres) that I will take the liberty and assume that SOME of it is down in Palm Beach County (ok, now I feel like a cheater).

For those that have wondered, the park is named after a Quaker merchant whose vessel shipwrecked nearby in 1696. The park has tons of wildlife in 13 natural communities, including sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods, mangroves, and river swamps. The Loxahatchee River runs through the park. One of the really cool things about this park is all of the things to do there. You can bike, ride horses, canoe, kayak, picnic, fish, hike and even visit the 1930s pioneer homestead of Trapper Nelson (oh, and take pictures of course!). The park also offers two full-facility campgrounds and a youth/group primitive campground.

I don't have many pictures of the park to post at this time. I will attempt to go back and find some wildlife and maybe go on a canoe ride with Gregg sometime this fall (he'll paddle while I take pictures of course). I did go a few months back to take some pictures of the sunset with a few friends from the PBC Photo Walkers.

We first met at the The Hobe Mountain Trail, which is a short boardwalk that climbs up through the sand pine scrub to the observation tower. After climbing up the stairs to the tower, you are treated to an amazing view from all sides:

I'm sure Art & Barbara expected us to take pictures of them as they were walking on the boardwalk to meet us. For those of you who know about photography techniques, I was attempting "tilt shift" in Photoshop on that shot :o)

After we saw the sights up high, we decided to go to the boat docks to take pictures of the actual sunset.

While Art was setting up, Denise & I wandered around a little down the path to explore. I just love seeing pine trees as far as the eye can see:

Art brought along his lights so we had fun testing them out. He took some really cool pictures of us with the sunset behind us (thanks Art!).

So, the moment we all waited for, the sunset.


My favorite shot of the sunset is kind of goofy. I had played with this techniques a few times and it always comes out interesting. With the camera on my tripod & using a long shutter speed, I zoomed out (or in, I always forget) while the picture was being taken. It creates this zoom look that I really liked with this sunset picture, which I submitted as my DPC Palm Beach County photo of the week.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Palm Beach (Part 2)

This past Friday, I was an extremely proud mom while I watched my son graduate from high school.

The family joined us at the convention center in West Palm Beach (it's a cool building, maybe I'll post pictures of it in a blog soon) for the ceremony and then we had breakfast at Testas on Palm Beach to celebrate.  Since I took the whole day off and the graduation was fairly early (I was there at 7am) AND I already had my camera with me, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get some pictures of Worth Avenue on Palm Beach.

Worth Avenue itself is not really an exciting looking street, other than all of the fancy stores up and down the 4 block area. In fact, I tried to get some shots down the street but there always seemed to be a work van, delivery truck or construction in the way. The really cool part of Worth Avenue is all of the little nooks & crannies in between and behind the stores. Other than that, I don't have much of a story to tell so I'll just post a bunch of pictures.



I know this might be a little "much" but sometimes I really like the over-the-top processing. In this case, Palm Beach is so over-the-top that I thought it would be appropriate. This is my Palm Beach County photo of the week on DPC.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sundy House

Gregg and I have a tradition of "getting away" for a weekend after tax season each year (we actually also get away before tax season, see this post). For both trips this year we decided to enjoy our own county (and my blog was supplied with two of the fifty-two entries).

So last weekend we stayed at Sundy House, an amazing place in Delray Beach, FL. I had heard about this place prior to going but I had never been there. My mom actually went for a wedding brunch a month ago and said "Wow, don't forget your camera when you go!" (as if I would). Even so, I was not expecting such an amazing little hideaway only a block or so south of Atlantic Avenue!

When we were walking to our room to check in I certainly didn't feel like I was on hotel grounds... it seemed much more like a botanical gardens (Oh, speaking of gardens, I got some great shots at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami but couldn't make a blog out of it since it's not PB County. So for those interested, here's the link to the photo gallery).

To start the journey, here is a shot of the main building:

It's clear that these gardens are tended to VERY well and that they are pretty established. After writing that last sentence, I became curious about how old the place actually was. According to their website they are a "boutique inn listed on the National Register of Historic Places" (they didn't list a year). Here are some shots of the grounds:

One of the really cool things about this place was their dining areas. Of course, they have regular indoor dining... but they also have outside seating all nestled in the gardens:

Even cooler than the dining areas is the "natural freshwater swimming pond". This was an absolutely incredible place to hang out with a beer from the bar & a good book (by the way, that's our room directly above Gregg):

Why do they call it a swimming pond? It's a very clean and well maintained pond that you can swim in. :o)

Another thing I just learned from my blog research is that they only have 11 rooms... I'm sorry, "11 distinctive guest accomodations". We were number 9. Here is our room from below looking up at the balcony:

... and here is a view from our balcony directly down (by the way, those sandals came from a really cool place in Key West called Kino Sandals) and the second is our balcony:

Sundy House is really a great place for photography (looking into doing a PBC Photo Walkers meetup here) - lots of flora and fauna:

I really like this shot because it really showcases the large variety of plant life on the grounds and this photo has a fantasy (somewhat unreal) feel to it. I processed it in Photomatix with three exposures to try to bring out all of the light & colors and for this shot I really like how it turned out. This is my Palm Beach County photo of the week on DPC.