Tuesday, February 04, 2014


Last month, Doug and I spent two weeks in Florida, escaping, at least temporarily, the hardest winter we've experienced in Indiana in decades.
It was seven degrees Fahrenheit (about -14 Celsius) when we left home on January 8th.
These "ice falls" lined the highway all the way through Kentucky.

Our first day in Florida was the warmest we were to see, at 80 degrees F (27 C). We visited Sunset Beach, near Tarpon Springs, with friends, Dean and Marilyn, who winter in the RV park at Word of Life in Hudson, Florida.

At the beach, we encountered a man from Indiana, who now lives full time in Florida. We had met the same guy at the same beach last year, and Dean didn't waste any time before renewing the acquaintance.
Dean is the guy with clothes on.

We were there to attend conferences at Word of Life, so free time was somewhat limited. Still, although cool temperatures marked the remainder of our stay and most Floridians were bundling up and shuddering at the thought of going to the beach, Doug and I managed to spend several afternoons at the beach during our two-week stay. Mind you, some of those days involved jackets and sweatshirts; but they all involved sunshine.
Other than the one day at Sunset Beach, the rest of our beach time was at Fred Howard County Park, which consists of a mainland park, much like any other park, plus an island which is reached by a one-mile drive out a causeway.
This schematic gives you an idea of the layout of Howard Park.

These trees, common in Howard Park, are unlike any we see in Indiana.

One of the picnic areas

A picnic pavilion seen across a pond.

Several dolphins were swimming near the causeway during one of our drives out to the island.

A late-afternoon beach scene on the island at Fred Howard Park

A windsurfer zipping by on a windy afternoon in the Gulf.

On many of the days we spent at the beach, we chose a spot on the north side that was sheltered from the wind by a bank of rocks, providing a nice place for us to set up our chairs for an afternoon of reading and photographing shore birds.
Our strip of beach on the north side of the island, looking toward Tarpon Springs.

In future posts, I'll show you some of the birds that were the reason I didn't get much reading done on these beach days.


  1. Looked like a wonderful trip even those it was cool enough even in FL this winter. Where did you stay? Does Word of Life have cabins or dorms?????

    I'm sure you had a good time.. Beautiful park. I know you enjoyed the beach --even in the cool weather. (Still better than Indiana though I'm sure!!!! ha)


  2. i am loving those trees - they look like such have such character. wow, so cool that you saw dolphins in the wild. love that!! neat times. ( :

  3. I really love the tree covered picnic area and can't wait to see the shore birds. I'm a huge bird fan.
    Your mention that Dean was the one with clothes made my day. *rofl* Methinks everyone should wear them. Still giggling...

  4. I'm dying of jealousy for the dolphin shot!

  5. what a nice break for you! you're right, florida residents were shivering and you were enjoying the sun! :)

  6. I'm glad you were able to escape some of Indiana's winter and enjoy some Florida sunshine. The park you visited looks interesting.

  7. What a nice break, I was tempted this week.

  8. Your pictures make me ache for warmer weather.

  9. That beach scene at Fred Howard Park is gorgeous. Some of the other scenes remind me of Louisiana. Glad you had a good time and got a break from the harsh temps in Indiana. Can't wait to see the birds that kept you away from reading. Must've been dang good! :)

  10. Such a lovely, peaceful break, Linda!

  11. These look amazing. The trees, as you pointed out, are really unique, and they came out nicely on your images. Regarding your comment on my blog about the image specs, I'll try to make a night photography tutorial soon, and get some tips out there on how I do it. Thanks so much for visiting, and I'm looking forward to more of your images from Florida.

    Mersad Donko Photography

  12. This looks like a beautiful place to be. A friend of mine from Manitoba is currently in Florida and has been since late November. Can't wait to hear all about his birding adventures.

  13. It's so pretty there and you've captured it beautifully in your photos. I can't to see the birds you post!!

  14. You are a real wide traveler it looks like your hubby and you. I only know Florida with beaches. Of course that is why Canadians go there for. Sun, beaches . Ha-ha.

    Your pictures are so magnificent like out of a photographers Geographic magazine.

    trees are wow.

  15. HI Linda Glad you got some respite from your very clld weather adn it ooks a lovely placce with plenty to see.

  16. Hi Linda! You gave me quite a giggle at your clarification that your husband was the one with clothes! Cute :)
    Two weeks in Florida sounds pretty good right now. That photo of the icicles is so pretty, but such a good illustration of how cold it is here!! I'm so glad you could get away. Makes for warm memories on these cold nights.
    Loved the photo of the dolphins too!

  17. just can't beat the beauty of the sea.

  18. Such pretty sights.. I love those trees .. they're amazing. And the dolphins.. what a treat.

  19. Most of the times I venture to the beach is when it is off season. I think it's so much nicer then, without the huge crowds.

  20. Florida is such an unusually unique state. A photographers heaven

  21. The picnic area with the trees looks inviting and very unusual. You've been doing a great job with your camera, I love the composition details in your photos. Beautiful.


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