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Body Respect!
Written By: OC Fotoguy
*Click images below to view larger versions.
Body Respect!
Body Respect!
Body Respect!
Body Respect!
Body Respect!
Body Respect!
Body Respect!
Body Respect!
Body Respect!
Body Respect!
Body Respect!
Body Respect!
       After several days of enjoying Mother Nature’s simple beauty that she demonstrates in so many unique plants and flowers, I was off to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s in Key West.  On the way I overnighted at Mitchell Landing a N.P.S. camp ground on Loop Road near Shark Valley, that is on Rt. 41 on the Miami side of Florida, which is always good for seeing rare birds, although it is teeming with tourists.  I drove the length of loop road, which used to be virtually undrivable, but now it’s a smooth dirt road.  There too, as in the part of Big Cypress where I’d been camped, Pink Jeep, there was so much water everywhere.  That condition disperses the birds, who congregate usually in the wet areas.  Now everywhere was a wet area!  The air plants are always impressive. 
The next morning I stopped at Shark Valley, where I was not surprised to see the birds had virtually deserted the wet areas along the paved walking and bicycling trail.  A purple gallinule caught my eye; then a big “banana” spider was the highlite of the stop, and I was off to the Keys.  I had to stop in Marathon when I saw their Christmas Tree made out of fish traps!
A cloudy day in Key West, even with the wind, so no kayaking, is a good day.  I’m recovering from a little injury that got scary baffling, and it was a good day to look at and to photograph fish around the Dinghy Bight Dock at Schooner Wharf in Old Key West.  I’m not sure what kind of fish are there, but the vending machines for tourists says, tarpon food.  I think tarpon are a larger fish, but I’m sure they start small as anything else.  There’s a basin between two buildings that houses the turtle museum in front of the Turtle Kraal Bar and Restaurant on the board walk of the docks and it had lots of eatin’-sized fish with slate blue colored with flashes of white and black at their fins’ edges.  (Later I checked a chart put out by NOAA; that meets what tarpon look like on the chart.)  I also saw a small shark amongst them.  It was probably cruising for breakfast, but I didn’t see it score, as the fish swam around and around.
For photos of fish beneath the water’s surface, find a place that has as little glare as possible, that’s usually with the sun behind you.  In a shadow of a building is a good place.  Forget your flash.  It’ll cause more glare.  A polarizing filter will cut the water’s glare, too.  Remember to take your polarized sunglasses off, though.  With them on you won’t see the effect of the polarizing filter as you rotate it to lighten and darken the image and to increase and decrease the saturation & contrast of the colors.  Truman Annex flowers are another good subject, as the soft muted light caused by clouds saturates colors and eliminates shadows.  Keep in mind if you use a flash, it will cause a shadow, which you probably won’t see until you download and view the image.
Several days ago I strained my left knee climbing into my nest (slide-in camper on a pickup truck).  It was sore for a couple days then it pretty much went away.  The ankle picked up there and swelled up like a balloon.  Why a couple days later?  I medicated and rested for two days and even considered going to a clinic.  Then I applied ice and started taking aspirin on the third day.  The swelling went down, but after I stopped icing it, the ankle puffed up again.  I started asking locals about a clinic.  As I walked back from HH to my nest, I noticed my sandal had loosened up.  The next morning a lot of the swelling was gone.  Yippee!!!  It was getting better.  I applied ice again as I edited my fish and flower photos.  It looks less swollen, now.  I’ll have to keep in mind not to overextend myself again.  That step up from the ground to my truck’s bumper was way too far for me, not again!  You, I, have to respect our body!  I’m on my way to 99 and an injury makes me feel that old.  It takes the fun out of my adventures.  My nest is a comfortable little space, but enough is enough.  What’s going on is out there to be enjoyed and photographed.  The body’s healing power is amazing, though!  Wow!   Whoops, a week later the swelling is persisting.  I could walk for miles and my calf muscle and ankle loosen up, but the swelling persisted.  Maybe I’d be going to the clinic.  Sitting in a waiting room full of sick people is not what I want to do, but when something abnormal is going on, like swelling, I (you) need to pay attention to it.  I’m headed back to my spot in Big Cypress, 26 miles deep in the Everglades next; there’s no clinic there.  I need to leave the swelling here.  Here on the east coast, even way back in the Everglades, a medical facility is no more than a couple hour’s drive away.  Out west it may be farther, but this is the USA; we are safe and free here.  My adventures make this very evident to me, as I meander and do what I want, when I want.
I needed to get some food before sound check at the Green Parrot.  Lasagna was the special at Harpoon Harry’s. I know the food is good there and the price is right, so that’s the ticket for food.  Maybe there’ll be time for a Bloody Mary at Alonzo’s.  Then to hear Donna the Buffalo, a fantastic bunch of musicians that will be there putting on a show with lots of Cajun style music.  I’ll be listening.  I have a little compact recorder that does surprisingly well at picking up their New Orleans vibes, rhythm, and music.  The music distorts some, but it’s not a camera, so I really don’t know much about it.  I’ll get the photos, though.  I’d looked at the buttons that control the settings, turned down the input volume, learned to wrap an old sock around the microphones, and it’s recording was much better quality.  Like most everything else, it doesn’t need to be perfect, just work satisfactorily.  Food, whether I buy it or prepare it myself, is another thing; that has to taste the way I want it or I’m not happy.  Both the Bloody Mary and the lasagna were out of sight good!
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy
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