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Story Behind the Photo: Monterey Peninsula

Monterey Peninsula along the 17-mile Drive, Monterey, CA

The 17-Mile Drive along the Monterey Peninsula winds through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach, California. Touted as one of the most scenic drives in the country, the views absolutely lived up to their reputation. The rocky coastline hints at the uneven rocky surface below that help make the sea look especially restless here. Every now and then between the crashing waves I was able to catch a glimpse of a few sea otters  bobbing up and down and marveled at how adept they were at navigating those rocks. In addition to the treacherous shoreline, it was an extremely windy day when this photo was taken, making the waves seem particularly spectacular.

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Story Behind the Photo: Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron at Marina in Palm Harbor, FL

After a recent fishing trip, my husband was filleting his catch at the marina before heading home for the day. This always draws quite a crowd…not people admiring the catch for the day, but shorebirds hoping for a snack. The feathered opportunists, this little Blue Heron, a few Brown Pelicans and a Great White Egret, were all watching intently looking for any chance that they might have a free lunch. While the pelicans are a given at any marina along the Gulf, Little Blue Herons are a treat to see. Little Blue Herons are small herons that are easily recognizable because they are as named, all blue. That is unless they are juveniles. In their first year, Little Blue Herons are actually all white. This heron is the only species to have such a dramatic color change as they age to adulthood.

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Story Behind the Photo: Pigeon Point Light Station

Pigeon Point Light Station, Pescadero, CA

On a trip to explore the coast of California, my husband and I took our time driving south along the Pacific Coast Highway taking in the scenery. While I expected Big Sur to be beautiful, I was just as taken with the beautiful rocky shoreline between San Francisco and Monterey. Pescadero especially was beautiful, with Bean Hollow State Beach as a stand out thanks to its “pebble beach“. Another beautiful spot in Pescadero is at the Pigeon Point Light Station. When we turned towards the light station from the highway, the parking area was full, so we drove a little further along the coastal road looking for a place to turn around. While we meandered along the winding road, a huge mass of Ice Plants appeared that seemed to go right up to the Pacific Ocean itself. I decided to get out and snap a few photos, and then turned to see this beautiful view of the light station. As it turns out, this view from our remote stop in the road was much better than anything I could have had from the parking lot at the light station itself. Every now and then a detour is a good thing!

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Story Behind the Photo: Honeymoon Island State Park

Honeymoon Island State Park, Dunedin, FL

Taken at Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin, FL, this is likely my single favorite photograph in my collection. Many of you will recognize this photo as I use it as a “signature photo” of sorts on several social media sites and on this PhotoBlog. It was taken back in August of 2007 on a stroll from the main beaches around to the pet beach on Hurricane Pass. There were typical afternoon thunderstorms in the area, and the building clouds are really what got my attention that afternoon. This spot right were Hurricane Pass meets the Gulf of Mexico was the perfect location to capture the golden sea oats in the foreground with the beautiful blue sky and striking white clouds above.

Buy a Print | Florida Gulf Coast Beach Photos

Ten Favorite Photos of 2011

Now that 2012 is underway, it’s time to take a look back at a few favorite photos from 2011. The highlights of my year included two trips with my husband, one to the Southwestern US and one to Puerto Rico. Both were new experiences for us, and both left us wanting more.  My favorite photos from the Southwest are by far those from Antelope Canyon. While not the most serene to actually visit thanks to the many tourists and photographers, the photos from that visit amaze me every time I look at them. The expanse of the Grand Canyon was breathtaking, and I was really surprised by all of the trees and the surrounding forest. I’d always imagined the surrounding area to be desolate.

While the Grand Canyon was on my bucket list, I must say that I fell in love with Bryce Canyon. The intense colors of the hoodoos against the blue sky was simply beautiful, but the most memorable was the quiet  serenity of our day there.  We’ll be back for sure with much more time to explore. On a completely different note, Puerto Rico was a fantastic getaway, and surprisingly easy to get to. The ability to be in 2500 feet of crystal clear water in only a 20-minute boat ride was amazing! My favorite spots were the rain forest at El Yunque and streets of Old San Juan with the beautiful architecture and brilliant colors.

As usual, it was hard to narrow my favorite photos down to only ten this year. There isn’t really any rhyme or reason for why these photos are my favorites, but there is something about each one that I love. Enjoy the photos and have a wonderful 2012!

Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon, near Page AZ.

Kolob Canyon at Zion National Park, UT.

Kolob Canyon at Zion National Park, UT.

La Coca Falls, El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

La Coca Falls, El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon, near Page, AZ.

Ponderosa Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT.

Ponderosa Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT.

"Garita' along the city wall of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

"Garita' along the city wall of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Powell Point. Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ.

Powell Point. Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ.

Agua Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Agua Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Spanish Colonial Architecture in Old San Juan. San Juan, Puerto Rico

Spanish Colonial Architecture in Old San Juan. San Juan, Puerto Rico

Upper Antelope Canyon near Page, AZ.

Upper Antelope Canyon near Page, AZ.

News: Photo Featured in Museum Magazine

Anyone out there speak Afrikaans?Culna - Magazine of the National Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa

About six weeks ago, I was contacted by the Editor of Culna – Magazine of the National Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa, about the use of one of my photos for the magazine.  Yes, South Africa, as in the other side of the world from me in about every way.

Culna is published annually in November and is distributed free to all schools and libraries in the Free State Province of South Africa, all museum patrons and is also featured on the museum website. All articles are written by museum staff members and the content relates to current exhibits at the museum.

My photo, “Scallop Shells” was used to help illustrate an article entitled “Skulp – onbewoonde huise van die natuur” by Ancilia van Staden. The article touches on the importance of shells in history and promotes the museum’s shell exhibit. As the article is written in Afrikaans, I only know this because I was able to harness the power of Google Translate to read it!

van Staden, Ancilia. "Skupe - onbewoonde huise van die natuur." Culna 1 Nov. 2011: 24-25

Story Behind the Photo: El Gato

El Gato. Cat in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

If you are avid reader of the PhotoBlog, you’ve likely been wondering if what rock I’ve been hiding under for the last few months. I wish that I’d been on some exotic assignment taking photos at the ends of the earth but I’ve just been busy juggling too many things at once and something had to give. While photography is my passion, it is unfortunately not how I pay the bills and my ‘real job’ was exceptionally demanding in the last few months. Add to that ensuring that I spent quality time with my family and it left little time for shooting new photos or blogging.

Fall hasn’t been completely devoid of new photos, though. There was a trip to Puerto Rico in mid-October, and a long weekend in Raleigh, NC to see some fall colors a couple of weeks ago. All of the photos from Puerto Rico are up on my website, and I’m hoping to have the fall foliage photos up soon. In the last few months I have also been sneaking in some time here and there to get through a backlog of photos that need to be edited, and feel good that I’m getting caught up.

Now that things aren’t so hectic, it’s time to start blogging again, and that brings me to this photo from San Juan, Puerto Rico. While strolling through Old San Juan and trying to take in all of the beautiful historic architecture, it seems like there was something new to see around every corner. The bright Caribbean colors with bright white trim and were absolutely beautiful and gave each building its own character. While admiring the intense school-bus-yellow on this building, a black and white cat wondered by and added a little of his own character to the photo.

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