Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gimme five!

Mischa attempting to play with a lizard on the outside of the window. She hasn't figured out that she can't get through the glass yet. :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ABC Wednesday: "B" is for Bagpiper

Bagpipes are a class of instruments known as aerophones, producing sound via wind passing through the instrument, such as blowing into a flute or trumpet, only with the bagpipe the air is contained in a resevoir bag that is kept under pressure by the players arm, which allows the instrument to continue playing undisrupted where an instrument such as a trumpet would have breaks while the player pauses to take breaths.

While most of us probably think of Scottland or Ireland when we hear the word bagpipe, they have actually been part of the musical history of many locations of the world dating back to the Middle ages or before.

You can check out for a more complete history of the bagpipe as well as a gallery of photos of many of the different types of pipes found around the globe today.

These particular photos are of two pipers found at a Civil War reenactment. Each represented Confederate (Southern) soldiers. Ironically, there has never been any documented period evidence of either Scottish or Irish pipes being used during the Civil War in a military context, in spite of the number of immigrant Scots and Irish who fought on both sides during the war. One New York regiment hired a local piping club to play for a parade as they left to go to war in 1861, but after that - nothing. So while it is possible that one or two bagpipes may have found their way into camp, it is much more likely that none of those immigrants - who were likely quite poor and probably had never owned a bagpipe - even knew how to play.

Still, they are good to listen to - in moderation! - if the player actually knows what they are doing. If they do not? Well, let's just say I think a poorly played bagpipe sounds more like torture than music. :)

But they do make for interesting photo opportunities!

So don your kilt, brush up on your brogue, and pipe your way over to for more ABC Wednesday fun.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Upside down?

Palms and seaoats reflected upside down in a tidal pool.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Casa Marina

The Casa Marina Hotel - and its upside down reflection. This small hotel is right on the beach (obviously), houses a fine dining restaurant on the first floor, and a bar on the top floor that has a large open deck under the cover of the visible canopy. I've always admired the Spanish colonial architecture. I'll have to post some closeups of it sometime.
On a completely unrelated note, I must give a plug for the following website - a professional photographer who devised a way to attach a digital camera to a kite and take photos from up in the sky with a radio transmitter to trigger the shutter release... fascinating stuff, and some of the photos are amazing. Even more amazing are the panoramic shots - those are a must see.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Landscape or Portrait?

At the time I couldn't decide so I took a few of each... I think landscape works better in the end...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

A distant bank of clouds at sunrise with the sunlight just illuminating the windswept tops.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ABC Wednesday: "A" is for Arch

For the first ABC Wednesday of round 3 I choose "A" for Arch.

An arch is a structure capable of spanning a space while supporting significant weight (e.g. a doorway in a stone wall). True arches appeared as early as the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamian brick architecture and in Persian ziggurats (see Chogha Zanbil). True arches were also built by the Babylonians in the 6th century BC (see Ishtar Gate ). The arch then spread to Europe and was adopted by the Ancient Greeks, Etruscans, and Ancient Romans. The arch became an important technique in medieval European cathedral building as well as Islamic architecture. Across the ocean in Mexico and Central America, Mesoamerican civilizations created various types of corbelled arches, such as with the interior tunnels in the Great Pyramid of Cholula and the many styles of corbelled arches built by the Mayan civilization. In Peru, the Inca civilization used a trapezoidal arch in their architecture. The arch is still used today in some modern structures such as bridges.

This particular arch comes from the doorway to the cathedral in downtown St. Augustine, Florida - the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine. The current building was begun in 1793, but there has been a Catholic congregation in the city since the Spanish first landed in the year 1565, making it the oldest parish in the United States, as well as the oldest continuously occupied city in the United States (sorry Jamestown, you are #2 no matter what you say...)

Don't forget - new location for ABC Wednesdays at

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Anniversary

A happy fifth anniversary to my beautiful bride. Here's to five-hundred more (we'd be really, really old...)

(Photos obviously not by either of us... :) Our wonderful wedding photographer Mike gets the credit for those - we were otherwise occupied.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

A double feature this week, but I'll only charge you for the price of one. :)

Hotels along the beach reflecting in the waters left behind by low tide.

Head over to the new home of SKy Watch Friday here!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Now a-pier-ing: 9

This shot has the pier mainly in the reflection of the incoming tide.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

ABC Wednesday: "Z" is for Zephyrhills

Another limited letter for most of us this week with Z, but we make do... how about a nice bottle of Zephyrhills spring water from my own home state of Florida?

(Photo graciously taken by my lovely wife, who has her own blog here. Shameless plug)

Per the Zephyrhills website "About Us" section:

"The history of Zephyrhills® Brand Natural Spring Water begins with a small town that earned the name “City of Pure Water.” This town is located among the scenic rolling hills, citrus groves and lakes of central Florida. The town was called Abbott Station and has a history dating to the Civil War. Paying $3 an acre, Simon J. Temple purchased the first section of land. In 1909, Captain H.B. Jeffries, a Civil War veteran, chose the sight for a war veterans' colony because of the abundance of good water. While showing the town to prospective residents, Jeffries overheard one of the guest's remark how zephyr-like breezes caressed the beautiful hills. The melodic name suits this ideal setting and gave the captain an idea. So, on March 10, 1910, Abbott Station officially became Zephyrhills.

In the same spirit, we named our water Zephyrhills because, to us, it's more than a name, it's a celebration of what's most natural about Florida. We believe Zephyrhills® Brand Natural Spring Water is the best that Florida has to offer: great-tasting water from natural springs in Florida. While Zephyrhills® Brand Natural Spring Water still comes from the Zephyrhills area, we have also selected additional spring water sources in Florida that will continue to deliver the clean and refreshing taste of Zephyrhills® Brand Natural Spring Water for many years to come."

And just for a little geographical reference, the town of Zephyrhills, Florida is here:

View Larger Map

So grab a nice, cool bottle and head over to Mrs. Nesbitt's Place to drink in all of the other ABC Wednesday posts.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Now a-pier-ing: 7

Right underneath the center of the pier looking straight down towards its end.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Now a-pier-ing: 6

A view of one of the support pillars where the tide washes away some of the sand, leaving interesting depressions behind.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Now a-pier-ing: 5

Back onto the pier series - a gentleman net fishing in the surf at dawn, others on the pier above him with rods and reels doing the same.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

Sharing sky watching with three sea gulls just after dawn as the sun rises over the calm Atlantic ocean at Jacksonville Beach, FL. You can click on the photo for the full size to take in the full effect. Sunglasses and sunscreen are optional. :)

Other reasons to get up early? Sky Watch Friday at Wigger's World, of course!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Now a-pier-ing: 4

6:43 a.m. with the sun finally over the tops of the cloud bank on the horizon. I had the guy in the boat move back over to this side of the pier so they could stay in the shot for added intrest, haha. :) This is actually one of my favorite shots - I just love the lighting on the pier and the overall golden hue. It was just beautiful.

If anyone is interested, the entire 282 photo set of the full sunrise can be found in my Flickr photo stream under the set named "Dawn of Independence".

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

ABC Wednesday: "Y" is for Yummy

For ABC Wednesday this week I am going with "Y" is for Yummy. One of our favorite ways to enjoy our trips to Disney World is partake of all the yummy food at the many varrying restaurants. One of our favorite restaurants there is called "Le Cellier" and is found in the "Canada" section of EPCOT. This restaurant, as the name suggests, is designed and decorated as though it were a converted wine cellar - stone finished walls, dimly lit by wall sconces and candles and chandelliers, wine racks and barrels, etc. But the yummiest part is, of course, the food, so join me on a brief cullinary journey:

Upon arrival you are provided with breadsticks - big ones - in three different flavors to depict different areas of Canada: pretzel bread, sourdough, and multigrain. (You don't get the pretty lady included, she's mine. :) )

For an appetizer we absolutely must have a cup of the Cheddar Cheese Soup. We got the recipe for this so we make it at home from time to time: white cheddar cheese, Canadian lager beer, a few other seasonings, and chopped bacon on top. If this ain't yummy, I don't know what is.

Then on to the main course! For me, a medium-well Filet Mignon in a red wine reductions atop a bed of cream cheese mashed potatoes.

And for my wife a medium New York strip steak with rosemary roasted potatoes.

And no fine meal is complete without a yummy dessert, and at Le Cellier the best is the Chocolate Whiskey Cake.

Now that your mouth is watering, head on over to Mrs. Nesbitt's Place to see what everyone else has cooked up this week!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Now a-pier-ing: 3

One minute later, now 6:33 a.m., and on the north side of the pier this time. A lone seagull kind enough to make an appearance in the perfect location.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Now a-pier-ing: 2

A closer angle looking down the south side of the pier with a small fishing boat at the end. If you click on the photo to see the enlarged view you can see the people fishing on the pier itself. Taken at 6.32 a.m. Sunrise was technically at 6.28 a.m., but thanks to the heavy clouds you can see on the horizon, it wouldn't make a full appearance for another few minutes... just enough time to walk over to the other side of the pier and resetup the tripod over there. :)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Now a-pier-ing: 1

I think I shall post mostly photos this week of the Jacksonville Beach Pier, taken at sunrise on July 4th. I hope you enjoy. :)

The above shot taken at 6:12 a.m.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

One for the birds

Pidgeons gathered at the beach to watch the sunrise on July 4th.

Or maybe they were just trying to get early seats for the fireworks show scheduled for later that night... they didn't say.

(PS - I hope to get around to everyone that left a comment on yesterday's Skywatch post, but with the holiday I haven't been home much so it might take me a few days.)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

I'm sure I won't be the only person from the USA posting fireworks this week since this Sky Watch falls upon one of our biggest national holidays, but I can't resist. The 4th of July - also known as Independence Day - in America is a celebration of the date in 1776 when the American colonies issued their Declaration of Independence from England.

The below firework shot is actually from 2006 in a fireworks display in downtown Jacksonville, FL on the river, with the moon shining as the small white speck at the top and the US national and Florida state flags flying in the bottom right. It has become tradition in America to set of fireworks on the night of July 4th to celebrate our independence and most large cities have at least one very large display, often set to music, and some of those largest ones are broadcast nationwide over the television (such as from Washington, D.C. or New York).

It is all great fun until you want to go to bed and there are still people in the neighborhood firing off fireworks until the wee small hours of the morning... :-/

Apologies to any Brits who might still be brooding over that whole rebellion thing. :)

Head over to visit Tom to see what else is popping for Sky Watch this week.