I recently took part in a protest involving the decision to allow – for the first time – hunting in a National Wildlife Refuge, in Loxahatchee, west of Palm Beach County, Florida.
There’s something very wrong with a culture that says it protects animals but allows them to be slaughtered – poached – on the very same sacrosanct part of the earth dedicated to protect them.
To view the photographs and read the story, click here (opens a new window to my photography website): http://andrea-oconnellphotography.com/2014/08/16/a-national-wildlife-refuge-not/
So, are you wondering where the heck I’ve been? I’m still here and thriving but not writing as much as I used to.
I’m following another dream of mine: Photography. Been working really hard at it, too.
I hope you’ll check out my work here:
The United States Fish & Wildlife Service, along with the State of Florida, is allowing, for the first time ever, sport hunting of alligators. The Wildlife Service “awarded” eleven licenses to alligator sport hunters, allowing each hunter to kill two alligators each.
The hunt kicked off last night, August 15th, 2014, and runs until the end of October, 2014
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This week the photo challenge word is close. I’ve chosen to use “close” as in close-up, or macro photography. I shot this last week:
This is my cat, Beau. I love his eyes! He’s jet-black with white whiskers! When I can get him to sit still or wake up, he’s a good subject:
The word for this week’s Photo Challenge is “unfocused.” Certainly an easy one for me as I have many photos that fall into that unsightly category. 🙂
I’m like a photography hoarder, I keep
the even the blurry and goofy pictures!
This pretty fella, the bright Peacock, moved just as I clicked.
The second photo is the effect of theatrical lighting on aluminum scaffolding. Not only is it blurry, it’s also distorted! Two features for the price of one with that photo!
The photo challenge this week asks us to illustrate the word “journey.” (And what a great word it is, too!)
Lewis Carroll wrote,
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.
There’s certainly truth in that, both positive and negative; we don’t always know where we’re going, and the road that takes us there may be paved with whatever is next – the good, bad or indifferent.
I like what Ursula K. LeGuin wrote about journeying:
It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end.
I captured the photo below – downtown Miami – through a car window during a recent journey.
The building in the center of the photo – the one shaded in yellow – is the Miami Freedom Tower. It once was a haven for Cuban immigrants who journeyed to freedom.
The journeys that this beautiful Red Shouldered hawk once enjoyed are a part of the past now.
This Florida beauty is held at the Flamingo Gardens, in Davie Florida. a wildlife sanctuary for injured and/or endangered animals.
This lovely fellow can no longer fly as a result of a serious injury. (If he were not cared for at Flamingo Gardens there would be little chance for his survival.)
He’s well taken care of, as are all the animals in the Flamingo Gardens Wildlife Sanctuary.
The juxtaposition of the bird and the fence is striking. This is a bird whose journeys were no doubt expansive, reaching far and wide.
It’s so sad to see this bird fenced in like this. His journeys are in the past, now – only a dream.
I’m enjoying working with my photos and enhancing them with Photoshop Light-Room 4. I’ve taught myself how to use it via trial and error and experimenting. However, I have no idea how a picture of a Florida Panther
bobcat that I’d been editing ended up being embedded in the bottom left corner of EVERY picture I work on? All of these pics are in an export file, and every photo I export the Florida Panther bobcat on the left had corner of the of the photo is embedded….but how? The Florida Panther Bobcat is not in the export file….so how does he end up in my cloud and Roseate Spoonbill pictures?
So, clearly I have not learned nearly enough about editing pictures when panthers
bobcats mingle in my clouds and with my lovin spoonbills! Hah!
Anyway, click on the pics to see a bigger version of it while I go and figure out what the heck is going on!
If anyone has an idea how/why this is occurring, I’d sure appreciate it….
Oh my! Old Man Winter hardly stops in South Florida – my neck of the woods.
When South Florida’s temps reach 60 degrees during the day, that’s cold! (And beautiful!)
There are rare South Florida days when the High-Temperature will get down to the 40’s or the 50’s. Alas, they are few and far between, but memorable. It’s pretty common to catch a whiff of moth balls on those very cold South Florida days. You’ll smell them well before you see them – furs are the usual suspects. When the furs come out, with the fine scent of moth-balls, you know it’s got to be below 60 degrees outside.
Anyway, this photo challenge is going to be a challenge, I thought at first. Then I remembered that I’d taken pictures of trees in Orlando that lost their leaves and seemed so brittle and old without them. Those pictures were a bit depressing and cold in the wrong way. Winter isn’t necessarily barren – there’s a lot of life happening in the winter, right?
Then, I looked at my bird photographs and saw this! It felt and looked like it could be winter, if you didn’t know it wasn’t! Well, I shot it during the winter months in Florida, anyway!
Can you feel the winter in it, too?
I’m out of gas today, and so is Jazz. Like me, he didn’t want to get out of bed this morning.
But, I had to get up – he didn’t have to get up until he was ready, and he slept for nearly 30 minutes after I was up!
Anyway, I’ve been working on the computer most of the day. I was also doing a little blog-browsing – looking at animal photos, and came across an article on the No Dog About it Blog, with the I Am a Forever Dog, Not an Until Dog, photo (below), and I liked the message. I really liked the blog, too. Here’s a link to the blog: No Dog About It Blog.
The article on the blog has to do with adopting dogs for someone’s Christmas present. Or, getting a puppy “from Santa” to make kiddos happy, but not having a plan to deal with the rest of the dog’s life. That happens more often than not, and we’ve all probably heard the horror stories. People have the greatest of intentions but don’t realize how much care and attention a dog requires. Cats are easy, not so with dogs. There is a lot of work associated with having a dog. It’s a big responsibility, and they can be very expensive.
When I was young, we had a little Chihuahua that we named Pedro. He lived a good long time and we had him for many years. The black and white photo (below) was my brother feeding Pedro his bottle. That was 1967!
One Christmas, while we still had Pedro, when my brothers and I were very young, Mom and Dad (Santa), bought us an adorable little chocolate-brown Poodle. We named him Honey Bear. We were crazy about him.
We’d had Honey Bear only two weeks when one day my folks called the three of us kids out to the patio to have “a talk.” The first thing we all wanted to know was when will Honey Bear be home, he’d gone to the vet the day before and we missed him like crazy. Well, my Father broke the news to us – while my mom sat silent and tried to hide that she was crying. (Mom never cried.) Then it became a family crying-fest. We all cried and cried and cried.
Honey Bear had been very sick, my Father gently told us, and would not be coming home. Honey Bear had Encephalitis. The vet put him down.
After that we never had another dog but Pedro. It was too upsetting for every one. It must have upset me a lot because my memory of that time is very detailed, and I was only about 8 at the time.
I never had my own dog until I got Jazz, my 10 pound Chihuahua, when he was 9 weeks old.
One of the reasons I’d wanted to have a dog was to get out and walk more as I was just getting over two painful knee replacement surgeries. Getting a dog, I thought, would be great therapy to strengthen my legs. And it was.
However, before I decided to adopt Jazz, I had to look at my life to be certain I could give him the attention he needed. He barely weighed two pounds, was so small he required four feedings a day to sustain his little body.
I lived close to where I worked so it was easy to come home every day at lunch and feed him. I also had neighbors looking in on him during the day, too. He was so small and I was ultra-concerned about making sure he was okay.
That was 7 years ago.
Today, my life revolves around my animals schedules ( I also have a cat.) I plan my social life around my dog’s feeding and walking-times, as if he were a child. In turn, he is the perfect dog – so happy and fun and wonderful.
If you have a dog, you know what a responsibility it is. Just like a child – you’ve got to care for it, train it, love it. When you love a dog, they repay in kind, but give back so much more. A dog will change your life.
So, I really liked the message from the German Shepard Dog Community on Facebook (below).
I am looking at things in different ways. different angles. necks don’t always stick out but they should, sometimes. maybe. for others. yes. and then again. no. but usually. yes. sticking my neck out. wondering. in shades like salmon. feathered. weathered. but fine. so happy.
See more here: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/andrea-oconnell.html
Where it ends, it begins!
(Photo taken at Flamingo Gardens, by Andrea O’Connell, all rights reserved.)
During Thanksgiving vacation, in Orlando, this was the constant dog dance:
My little 10 pound, sweet and docile bundle of love, Jazz, was not so sweet when it came to hanging around Buster.
Jazz had Mad-Cow disease – or something – because if Buster was in the vicinity of Jazz, or if he got too close, fa-get-a-bout-it! Jazz became a wild growling snapping machine, attacking Buster like a Great Dane might.
In all honesty, it was funny to see them running around, Buster begging for some play time, Jazz growling and snapping.
Buster would have loved to play with Jazz. Poor Buster, he tried really hard to tame the wild music in Jazz. Nothing worked. Jazz only either ran away or turned and attacked.
This was somewhat of a good game to Buster – for a while anyway. Eventually, as in this photo, Buster gave in and sat bemused and humbled – not understanding.
Just before taking this shot, they were moving in circles around the patio with Jazz as the aggressor. They moved so darn fast it was difficult to capture them. This is the only halfway decent photo I was able to get.
Doesn’t Jazz look like a little monster?! But, in reality, Jazz is loving and docile, as is Buster. Jazz just refused to entertain any playtime with Buster.
Oh, and for humans dealing with this dog war, it got somewhat dangerous. When Jazz jumped up into one of our laps (which was often – he’s a lap dog), and if Buster was anywhere in the vicinity, Jazz would turn into a shaking, growling, snapping maniac.
Twice a human arm got in the way of Jazz’s teeth. Well, pillows, blankets and newspapers got in the way of his teeth when he turned into the monster, too. What ever got in the way of his snapping jaws got in the way of his rabid snapping jaws! Of course, he’s so little his bites didn’t break skin, and he never hurt Buster, though he sure tried!
I felt badly for Buster – he’s a loving and gentle puppy and wanted so badly to befriend Jazz. Well, Jazz only tolerated Buster when he was in his crate. That’s when Jazz did his happy dance.
A great topic for this week’s challenge! Lot’s of possibilities. I love the word “windows” as a metaphor – seeing more than what is present at first glance – windows of the soul… eyes….
Windows would also be lovely topic to write about, I think. Well, one of these days….
Anyway, I didn’t think I would take part in the photo challenge this week because I don’t have a single photo of a window. Well, I was thinking of “windows” in the literal sense.
Driving home from work tonight, I let my mind wander through the photo files on my computer.
I knew I didn’t have any beautiful or interesting shots of windows. I have lots of photos taken with my cell phone while sitting in my car – in traffic. ( Sitting in traffic is a constant here in South Florida.) I love to take photos with my cell phone – filling the time. I especially love capturing dark clouds as they roll in. And it’s fun to take pictures through the rain on the car window.
Anyway, I remembered this photo I’d taken of Jazz as he’s looking at me through the glass of the sliding glass door. He was so mad at me because I was outside and he was inside. He’s a whimper-er. He has a shrill whimper that sounds like “hmimp, hmimp.”
I took this as I was out side taking pictures of ducks – unfortunately for the ducks, he loves chasing them better than anything. He will lunge, then jump up at them as they fly away into the water. (I’m pretty sure the ducks figured out that Jazz was totally harmless… though they’d never, never dilly-dally when he was nearby.)
Doesn’t he look sad in this picture? I finally did let him out and the ducks dealt with it with their usual flat-footed aplomb.
Hey Internet. Jazz here. Remember me?
I’m still here even though she took my picture away! I’m still here.
You remember me now?
My face used to be all over the place in here. Remember that handsome picture of me?
She replaced me with a dead butterfly.
Heck if I know why.
Those butterflies were real once, I guess.
My picture is better than a dead butterfly, okay?
It gets me sad. I can’t explain it. I’m not really a good explain-er of things. I’m a dog, after all. (By the way, this is new to me, so don’t expect me to wax-poetic here, okay?)
So I’m here instead of her – the lover-of-dead-butterflies-better-than-me.
I’m here because she just kicked me off her lap.
She said, “Jazzy, I need my lap to read the paper,” and told me to get down.
I wish I could make decisions around here for once in my life! I was comfortable, too.
Well, the plain truth is: I hate it when she sits there crinkling the paper. She says, “I’m reading the paper, Jazz.” Oh? Well, “Ruff-ruff, I don’t care,” I say. But I do care.
All she’s doing is crinkle crinkle crinkling that paper and it’s LOUD, and it drives me up the wall!
Don’t get me wrong, she is the best human any dog could want. Lots of other dogs in my neighborhood dig her – and I hate that! I hate when she’s cool with the other dogs, it really kills me! It’s like a knife in my heart.
I can’t help my jealousy, I was born that way. People don’t understand me because my tail won’t stop wagging even when I want it to.
She knows how jealous I am and she gets mad. Sometimes she even raises her voice at me and I really hate that. She doesn’t get it – she’s mine – she’s only mine.
She lets any human sit on my couch. They move my things around. They play with my pillows.
The worst is when some human is so big they can’t feel when they’re sitting right on top of my toy. I go out of my mind when they do that and they always do.
When they get in my face because I’m acting nutty, it really makes me crazy. Sweat comes pouring out of my mouth and my tongue hangs on the left of my mouth and it looks stupid and I scratch at the humans legs and at the couch and all they do is yell at me!
But, it’s MY TOY THEY ARE SITTING ON!
They don’t care that it’s MY TOY!
Well, I don’t care that my long nails scratch their pale skin!
I scratch like crazy but then I keep getting yelled at and I really hate that, but it sure doesn’t stop me until she gets involved and all of a sudden I’m where I really want to be – in her arms.
Home is when I’m in her arms.
I’m in one of her arms actually. I am really balancing on her shoulder. (I rest my feet on an elastic thing that’s across her body and under her shirt – she calls it an over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder thing.)
So, I can balance real good ’cause my legs and chin hang over her shoulder and it’s the best. I works perfect UNTIL she moves to talk to another human. I go crazy when she does that with me on her shoulder!
I can’t even stand it when she’s looking at another human! I hate it. Can’t help it. I hate it. I do.
Jealousy is my only flaw (except for the five times I pooped in her bathroom and once on her bed). I really had to go, okay? I told you I have only two flaws! That aint’ too bad for a dog, right?
Why am I getting defensive?
I’m sorry, okay?
That’s not like me. I’m a pretty happy kid, usually.
If you wanna know the truth, I’m itchy ’cause I didn’t sleep good last night. It’s her fault.
We went to sleep real late because she had her tablet that glows that she reads from. She reads in the bed with that thing when all I want to do is sleep.
That’s about the extent of what she does anyway. She sits on the couch, sits at the computer. Sits on the couch; sits at the computer. Sits on the couch; sits at the compu…. Well, you get the picture?
Sometimes she takes me out. Me and her and her mom (my Grammy), we take my bed and other stuff and we go in my car. I like to be in the back, in my bed where I can see her. When she stops she looks back at me and says sweet things and it feels so good and makes me and my tail so happy.
We ride in my car to a house where there are three other humans – one who is small and blond. There are two dogs there and I tolerate them. There’s a bird and two fish. And they got some grass, too! Man, that back-yard is long and wide! There’s nothing like that yard! There are a lot of stories to smell in that grass – all kinds of stories to smell. I’ll tell you some of the stories I’ve smelled there when I get a chance to sneak back to her computer.
You know…. She goes out a lot without me. I like to go with her. I used to cry when she left me alone. I’m okay now about it. I deal with it now, you know? Now I just sleep and dream until she comes back.
Dreams are awesome, too! Dreams are cool – when they’re good dreams.
When they’re not good it’s not like dreamin’ at all. It’s nightmarin’.
Uh-oh, I really gotta go! She’s coming!!!! See ya!
The topic for this weeks photo challenge is comfort. There are a few things that bring me a great deal of comfort – that can take away the stress of the day. Things like sleeping with my down pillow. Or, lying on the couch with a blanket, my dog and cat, watching a movie. Eating spaghetti; reading when it’s raining outside; or doing nothing on Sunday.
But, the first thing that came to my mind when I thought of what is comforting to me is my dog, Jazz. He’s my constant comfort. Beau, my cat, is dearly comforting, too. But, there’s something about that unconditional love of a dog… you know what I mean?
When a dog makes you his everything, things seem right with the world. The love of a dog is beyond the beyond of wonderful.
I have taken hundreds of pictures of Jazz, in all kinds of poses… The photo below is a favorite. It always makes me laugh. It’s comforting to laugh…. that’s why I chose this photo.
Hope it gives you a chuckle, too!
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Comfort (thebloggingpath.com)
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Comfort (youonlyhavetogetthrutoday.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Comfort (mikehardisty.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Comfort (dailypost.wordpress.com)
- Comfort ~ “Home Sweet Home” (nrhatch.wordpress.com)
- weekly photo challenge: faces (andreadreamin.com)
I took the photo of this fine fellow – a Florida Bobcat – at Flamingo Gardens, in Davie, Florida. All of the animals at Flamingo Gardens are being rehabilitated due to an injury they’d suffered in the wild. However, I’m not sure why this regal guy needs to be rehabilitated.
Many times Flamingo Gardens rescue animals that had been pets, until they got too big or unruly to handle. This creates a problem for the once domesticated, but born to be wild, animal. They lose the ability to act like a wild animal. They they don’t know how to hunt for themselves and if left alone, could die in the wild.
There are two Bobcats on hand at Flamingo Gardens. Their habitat is lush and green and there are plenty of trees for shade. When it’s hot, they have a cave to cool off in, and a little pond to play and bathe in. It’s quite the life they have!
It’s fun to see the two Bobcats play together; they are just like kids rough-housing together. When the weather is cool, they are especially frisky! It’s such a treat to see them.
This is my entry for the weekly photo challenge by WordPress.
These charming photos were sent to me via email and are so lovely I just had to share! They made me smile, I think they will you, too.
I wish I could give credit to the photographer(s), but I haven’t any idea who these photos belong to.