Earlier this month, The Villages hosted a Balloon Glow event. It was a huge success as about 10,000 people came out to our Polo Grounds over the weekend to see the hot air balloons, and even get free tethered rides. I prefer to stay on the ground, thank you. But I was eager to see what kinds of photos I could get.
I arrived early to watch the crews inflate their balloons.
There was a steady stream of folks going for rides.
Once the sun went down, throughout the evening the balloons would fire up their burners simultaniously and give the dark sky a glow.
Of course, I couldn’t resist using a little Photoshop magic to get rid of the tethering ropes on some of my photos…because this is probably as close as I’ll ever get to a real hot air balloon experience.
There is a Great Blue Heron nest adjacent to one of the golf cart paths here in The Villages. It’s on a branch that sticks out, very visible and on a route I frequently take. The first time I spotted it about a month ago, Mom or Pop was standing guard over the nest. Naturally I didn’t have my camera with me, but as soon as I got home, I grabbed it, jumped back in my cart and raced back to the spot….only to see Mom or Pop was gone. A couple of days later I made special trip there with my camera. Alas, nothing to see. Finally the other evening I was returning from shooting at another place when, as I approached, I spotted Mom or Pop and a bonus baby’s head! Finally, I got ‘ya!
Another beautiful evening on the boardwalk at Lake Sumter Landing
Between this guy’s long legs and long antennas, I almost needed a wide-angle lens.
Or Maybe just Disney Animal Kingdom
Up until yesterday, I had only seen a wood duck twice: once on a boat ride and once at a distance. Both times not conducive for good photos. So yesterday when I found a bunch of them at Tuscawilla Park in Ocala, Florida, I was like WHOO-HOO. Let’s Do this. (Facebook peeps, click on the link to see all photos posted)
I’d be remiss if I didn’t share a photo of a sweet, little female wood duck too. She’s not near as flashy as her male partner but look at those soulful eyes, that cute little puff of wispy hair on her crown and that splash of turquoise with a hint of gold on her side.