Friday, July 31, 2009


"We spend most of our time and energy in a kind of horizontal thinking. We move along the surface of things [but] there are times when we stop. We sit still. We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or its memory. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper."

James Carroll

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fort Pickens

I realized this morning that in all the photographs I've shown you of the newly reopened Ft. Pickens area of Gulf Islands National Seashore, I haven't shown you a single one of the fort itself! Completed in 1834, the fort has withstood countless hurricanes.

The fort was the site of the first major battle of the Civil War on Florida soil. It was known as the Battle of Santa Rosa Island.

Designed by French engineer, Simon Bernard, over 21 million bricks were used to build Ft. Pickens.

Despite the damage from hurricanes, there is still much to explore at Ft. Pickens.

There are daily tours of Ft. Pickens at 2:00 p.m. and a beautiful section of the Florida Scenic Trail begins within the fort itself and travels east over marshes and canals.

Lantana grabs a foothold in a crack of the old fort wall.
It costs $8.00 per vehicle to entry the Ft. Pickens Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore and it is good for a period of one week. U.S. citizens who are 62 years of age or older may purchase a lifetime Senior Pass for $10.00 which is good for all national parks!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pensacola Beach Fire Station

The new fire station on Pensacola Beach had their ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning.

All the trucks were on display.

Jet skis and two four-wheel drive trucks are ready for beach rescue.

A beautiful new station to replace the one destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.

A 7,200 square foot building, built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane.

Containing some 2,000 cubic yards of concrete.

A workout room for the firemen.

Command central.

Room to relax and watch a widescreen television between calls.

Coffee bar and small extra dining area.

The kitchen and seating area.

One of the individual bedrooms with computer access.

Flags fly high at 901 Via de Luna.

Directly across the street is the Pensacola Beach Elementary School, which was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education in 2007.

This little boy is proud of his dad!

Families of the firefighters attended today's dedication with pride. We salute our hardworking men at the Pensacola Beach Fire Department.

When I grow up....

All of us have heard the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I think we know the answer for little Maxwell Van Camp.

Max was mesmerized by the firemen wearing dress uniforms this morning at the dedication of the new Pensacola Beach fire station.

In fact, I think it would have taken a canon firing to get his attention away from firemen Brian Chetwynde and Larry Richardson.

I think there should be a fire truck under the tree for Max this Christmas. How precious!

Beach babes!

Summer friends Emma and Jared Rodriguez and Lauren Pinkston attended the dedication of the new Pensacola Beach Fire Station on Via de Luna this morning. Emma and Jared are visiting their grandparents, Mike and Chrissy Cook. Lauren is the daughter of Dr. Tracey Pinkston.

Ten year old Jared, already a skilled gymnast, shared his plans to be in the 2016 Olympics! He's somewhat concerned that he's taken a week off from practice to visit Pensacola Beach, but I have no doubt that with his level of dedication and confidence we will see him there in 2016.

You heard it here first!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Discovering Gautier

An unusal post for me, but I discovered something special tonight that really excited me. For several years I have had a blog follower from Gautier, Mississippi and at last I know who it is -- sorta!

Bloggers know few statistics other than a visitor's internet provider (a number or AOL, Verizon, Bellsouth, etc.), location (city/state of internet provider) and the amount of time they spend on the blog. My follower from from Gautier (pronounced go-shay) has been faithful for so long that I almost worry when they aren't there when I check my daily stats!

So, Sylvia from Gautier, Mississippi, I am very happy to meet you! I discovered who you are tonight during a Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event. Your friend, Lee McLaughlin, said "My friend from Gautier starts her day with a cup of coffee and your blog."

"Gautier? My every-day Gautier!!!!??"

Lee wants you here for a girls' weekend and I have told her I have to meet you when you make the trip! Anyone who follows Pensacola Beach as closely as you should not be visiting here! Girl, you should LIVE here!

Go Gautier!!!! I can't wait to tell you -- in person -- how wonderful it has been to have you as a blog follower!

Walking on clouds

“A pessimist only sees the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides and shrugs; an optimist doesn't see the clouds at all--he's walking on them."

~~ Leonard L. Levinson

Monday, July 27, 2009

Heron nest at Ft. Pickens

What a great discovery at Ft. Pickens! It's a nest with two blue heron chicks! Unfortunately my strongest telephoto lens is only 250mm, which not nearly enough to get decent shots of the chicks.
If you're a local and would like to know where to go to view the nest, please e-mail me!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Top 5 places to retire

If you didn't catch it in this morning's USA Weekend, be sure to check out the number 2 spot on the list of Top 5 Places to Retire.

Passion flower

A lovely passion flower blooming along the Florida Scenic Trail in Ft. Pickens.

Clouds at morning

"I saw two clouds at morning,
Tinged with the rising sun,
And in the dawn they floated on,
And mingled into one..."

~~ John Gardiner Calkins Brainard (1795 - 1828), Epithalamium

Sunday sunrise

I hope you didn't miss the beautiful sunrise this morning.

By the time this photo was taken, I had already patrolled to the edge of Pensacola Beach and started back toward Ft. Pickens, looking back occasionally to get another photo of the sunrise.

Impressive Cumulonimbus clouds added drama. They also added a little rain at times!

How lucky am I to see Pensacola Beach at dawn! The only downside of the morning was no sea turtle activity.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Snowy Egret

I first noticed this beautiful snowy egret at Ft. Pickens a couple of weeks ago, but it has been difficult to get a photo because he/she is very skittish. Also, most of the photos I take on patrol are not sharp due to the vibration of the Mule, but I was happy to finally nab one of this beauty, especially one that shows his bright yellow feet!

Although the snowy egret is not endangered or threatened, it is listed as a species of special concern in Florida because its numbers have been dwindling since the 1950's

As always, you can learn more about the subjects of my photos by clicking on highlighted text which contain links with specific information.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blog issues

I'm having some problems with my blog, but hopefully things will be back to normal soon and perhaps I'll post some photos this afternoon.

I'm happy to see my B.I.G.ettes (blog followers) function is working again. I'm not sure where you all disappeared to for a while, but I'm very happy to see your smiling faces are back again!

UPDATE @ 12:30 p.m. : Well it appears my B.I.G.ettes are off and traveling again. Wherever you are, I hope you're have a lovely visit in the etherdom and that sends you back soon. Send e-cards. ;-)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bands on the Beach

July 21, 2009

It was perfect weather for Bands on the Beach. Beach balls in the air everywhere, if you look close! We had a light breeze and lower humidity.

The crowds are growing and with the featured Reunion Band, a fan favorite, it was even larger!

Hmmmm... caught this local bigwig in the sunlight/spotlight, didn't I? Sorry for the bad lighting, Buck, but nice to see you out enjoying Bands with us as usual.

Making memories. Everyone is happy and good energy abounds.

Jeff Goudey enjoying Bands, along with his special lady...

Paulette Provost. She's da Queen, otherwise known as First Mate of the Krewe of Wrecks this year! I enjoy photographing Paulette. She always has a huge smile for me.

And I love this photo - so sweet and carefree. I hope they remember summer evenings and dancing on the beach when they are all grown up with children of their own.

Dick Bedics and his wife, Bonnie, spend most of the evening together on the dance floor. But you can frequently see him helping out as a culinary assistant at some of Distinctive Kitchens' cooking classes at their location in downtown Pensacola. You may check out the DK cooking class schedule by clicking HERE.

Meet another special lady - Mary Lou Long from Missouri! She's head of the happy, energetic Froot Loop gang - comprised mostly of mothers, sisters, daughters, and granddaughters - who have been coming here every summer for years. Mary Lou and I have corresponded for probably three years now! This year her adorable 8-month old granddaughter, Lilly, made her first trip to the beach.

The Froot Loops tee shirt from last year's annual vacation to Pensacola. These ladies go all out.

And these young ladies - Madison, Hannah and Joey - are Froot Loops in Training! They have a great time at the beach. In fact, the whole family love Pensacola Beach so much that they are thinking about coming back for Thanksgiving this year!

Sadly, I missed a photo of my little turtle girl of the group, Isabel. I'm thinking she may turn out to be a marine biologist someday.

See ya in a few months, girls! I think you'll find our temps much nicer than Missouri's in November!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I love this photo! It allows me to show you the pristine white sand on Pensacola Beach/Santa Rosa Island. It's truly beyond compare. I stopped during my sea turtle patrol to take a photo of the constantly shifting shoreline. Surf action, tides and winds will either cut into or smooth out the beach, but it's ever changing. It wasn't until I came home and looked at the photo more closely that I saw it was less about the shoreline, more about the sand.