Monday, April 30, 2012


My birthday was this month (thank you all for the kind birthday wishes) and as many of you know, Phyllis booked three nights at the Hyatt in Key West, Florida as a gift. Key West is about a six hour drive from our home and it's a place that I have grown to love!   When you are there, you are closer to Cuba (90 miles) than the nearest Walmart. That in itself would be a good enough reason to love Key West but I also love the vibe there. It's a cool, fun, relaxing and exciting place. 

All that is wrapped up in a wonderful natural light that makes photography a joy.  It can get warm there, into the 90s, but the few times we have visited there is usually a cool breeze that helps relieve the heat! You have some great restaurants and some tourist traps. You have Conch, it is the capitol of Conch! What is conch? It is a large snail that houses in a even larger shell. In Key West you can eat; conch fritters, conch chowder, conch steaks, conch chips.. ect ect !! You can find them in restaurants all over Florida but the Keys are known to have the best!

We really had a great time and cannot wait to go back soon, real soon, really soon (Phyllis reads my blog and I thought I would drop a hint lol). 

We spent the trip with Phyllis' childhood friend, Evie and her husband, Billy a really wonderful couple who were fun to be with !! The first day we arrived about an hour before them and after putting our luggage in our room, we took a walk outside to check out the hotel and its grounds! We walked over the the hotel's pier and a charter fishing boat had just docked. It looked like a good day, they had plenty of snapper (a great eating fish) and a few mahi mahi.

There were many seagulls and a pelican flying around diving for the fish waste that the fishermen would throw into the water as they  cleaned the fish.

As we were watching the action another hungry guest arrived, a good size shark. This pelican was trying to feast on a rather large piece of the fish carcass when he decided that the shark wanted something to eat, the fish or it!! He decided to leave the carcass to the shark!! All in all, a wise choice!!

After Evie and Bill arrived we decided to walk into town and check it out and eventually made our way to Mallory Square, the central place for all things fun: restaurants, bars, street entertainers and some of the best sunsets I have ever seen!!
We found a good Cuban restaurant in the square and had a very good dish of shrimp, scallops and lobster meat. We then started our walk on the boardwalk in Mallory Square. It was already crowded with people enjoying the great night environment, street entertainers and a few of their favorite beverages of choice!!

I wrote a blog post last year on the street entertainers and some of the same performers were there this year in addition to a few new ones!

Soon it was time to find a spot for the sunset and the four of us settled into our own spots ready for the show! In the past we have seen some wonderful sunsets in Mallory Square and we were hoping for the same tonight. We were not disappointed!!

As the sun started its decent, the sky started warming up and the different boats that dot the waters off the square started to show the warm colors on their masts.

As you might imagine, with these wonderfully warm sunsets some people's feelings also start to get warm! It is a romantic place!!! Obviously, this gentleman didn't want to be left behind !!

I would guess that most photographers love sunsets and sunrises. These beautifully warm glowing colors change sometimes a little sometimes a lot. The saturation grows stronger and stronger as the light leaves the air (increased by the perspective of a long lens).

As the sun sets, a flock of seagulls started flying around in front of me. It became a game for me trying to compose on the fly, sorry I couldn't resist the pun!!

Just as quickly as they appeared they disappeared and as one more gull made its pass, I pressed down on the shutter and hoped I had captured what I thought I saw in my viewfinder. If I did, I was hoping the gull was sharp in the image.

When I downloaded the card to my Mac, this is what I had !! I love this image, I really do lol. When I see one of my images like this one, I get the feeling you get when you hit the game winning homer, shot, drive or goal all in one!

When I saw this next image in my computer I was surprised I didn't remember shooting it !! I'm glad I did!

After the sunset I looked down and saw this gull sitting on the pier right in front of me.  I think we bonded. I wished I could have shook his claw and thanked him. Instead I just smiled at this gull sitting there looking like he was asking, " Are we through?"  I think Jonathan Livingston Seagull might have retired in Florida!! Looks good for his age doesn't he??


FherYmas said...

Interesting Travelogue Jim.
Thanks for filling our mind with excellent images again.

Anonymous said...

So happy that you have had a wonderful stay Jim. Thank you for taking me on this journey. I could certainly relate to your comment about hoping that the photo would look as good on the computer as it did in the view finder.

Hope you can go back soon!

melissa said...

I was looking for a real person and found more on your page :)

It's so wonderful to be travelling to a favorite place. You've done it with great justice and have enjoyed everything in it. It's almost like travelling there myself and looking at more details now than before.

I particularly like the sunset images. They do draw in a warm glow not only seen by the eyes but is also felt in the heart. They do affect me immensely and I have stayed more on those images.

It's interesting how you've made the images of the birds come alive (I wish I could remember their names in details though although I could differentiate them now). The backgrounds are also solid and spectacular.

Loved this post :)

Martha J. M. Orlando said...

Between your gorgeous photos and witty commentary, I found your entire post most delightful, Jim! Oh, and those photos of the gull against the sunset? I've never seen anything as fantastic as these. You had a most blessed outing!

JIM said...

FherYmas, Melissa,Neimitravel and Martha Thank you for your kind comments. I really do enjoy Key West and will be going back again and again lol


PORTIA said...

Dear Jim, you are a poet of photography, specially of sunsets! your photos always bring the Nature so close that one almost feels the vibes of the photographed birds and even lakes!

Tameka said...

Hi Jim! It looks like you had a great time. I also enjoy your photos and truly loved the one of your new found friend. What a handsome bird! Cheers!

Sea Green Natural said...

Glad that both of you where able to get away. Totally wow on these pictures, they gave me the feeling as I was with both of you!

Anonymous said...

You really take nature shots so beautifully. I can't say that enough! :) But that guy's hand on the woman's ass takes the cake, hahaha!

janaki nagaraj said...

Lovely pics.

Jim Brandano said...

Thank You everyone , the Florida Keys are a wonderful place to visit and I hope some of you will be able to see it in person one day but till then, I'll do my best to take you with me !!