The morning was always destined to have heavy cloud across the central Florida skies but that wasn’t going to deter me.

I had slept miserably and after a couple of hours tossing and turning, eventually got out of it a little after three.

There are some mornings where you give it your all; try every trick in the book to regain any semblance of sleep. But when it isn’t working, it isn’t working. And a grown man has to recognize that it’s time to pull on his big-girl panties and call it a night. Why a grown man might have big-girl panties is beyond me but suffice to say that mine felt extra large at that time of the morning.

The cats unanimously gave me a set of what-the-fuck looks as I gave them an early breakfast. I could see them checking their little wrist-watches when the door to the office opened and they were all still caught in a half-sleep state.

By the time I arrived at Ballast Pointe it was still pitch dark and other than a few people who were sleeping in their cars, there was no one else around.

In the distance I spotted a cruise ship returning to port and other than the eventual reddening of the distant clouds, that was the extent of the excitement for the day.

I added a selection at the end of the blog that shows the gradual transition from night to twilight and I hope you enjoy.

At the end of it all I sat back in the car and started the drive home and I began searching my mind for the relevance of anything I might have shot into the surviving thought for a blog.

But honestly, there was nothing.

Typically there is some aspect of the shoot that gives me the enduring thought for the words that follow but this time, none of the images or the situation that I found myself in seemed to matter enough to generate a thought.

And then it hit me. Searching for relevance IS the blog thought!

You see, we go through so much of our life in efforts that make us relevant. Relevant to the people around us, to our family that depends on us, to the world at large even.

The more relevant we feel, the better we feel about ourselves and the impact that our being alive has created.

Famous and infamous people go to extreme lengths to write their relevance such that it leaves a legacy behind them.

But most of us don’t fall into that category and seek relevance within the circle that we move in.

Our feeling of relevance can be deed-driven, or emotionally-driven, and different people find different ways to set their own relevance.

Those that don’t find relevance generally live a worthless life and they become vulnerable to depression and even suicide.

I have lived through periods where I found relevance and then watched it evaporate before my eyes. Because sometimes circumstance can rob us of our relevance and make us feel so small and unimportant. For example when a loved one dies or someone breaks your heart. These can be hugely important events for which we have no say and there is little to comfort us or make us feel relevant when they happen.

I am in a bit of downturn at the moment and it would be easy to feel sorry for myself and moan about how irrelevant I have become. But the truth is, my relevance can be found in the same cats that check their wrist watches when woken early, or the possums and raccoons that nightly find fresh food waiting for them when they are in their nocturnal survival mode.

Our sense of relevance doesn’t have to be written in the pages of history. And in tough times, it doesn’t even have to be anything larger than the smallest creature that we are of assistance to.

It doesn’t matter how small as long as it is external to us. Because even for just that tiniest of creatures, the world is a better place for having us in it.

I guess what I am trying to say is that seeking relevance is an important part of our lives but sometimes, we need to take it where we can find it.

… just a thought.


Although blue skies were guaranteed for later in the day, yesterday began with thick fog that hampered any plans for an early morning shoot.

That being said, I decided to visited the trails at Circle B which had reopened finally after the damage caused by the hurricane six weeks ago.

The main trail that I often take that swings down by Lake Hancock was closed with some of the trail apparently still under water but I had already decided that I wanted to take the one that ran down by the marsh and wetlands and thankfully that one was open.

I got there just at sunrise but there was no sunrise to see as the thick swathes of fog drowned out anything more than one or two hundred feet away.

Initially I focused a lot on the dew-covered webs that seemed to line much of the trail I was on, occasionally stopping to take some scenic shots that illustrated how the fog was consuming all else.

I also took some bird and alligator shots in the knowledge that the fog would likely kill the clarity of the shots, but such is life some times. Not all good photographs are going to be crystal clear.

When I reached the far end of the trail (and before turning back for the return journey) the mosquitoes found me as I was changing lenses and made life miserable for a few minutes.

The misery caused me to drop my lens cover into the water but I decided not to reach into the water for it as my hand might have presented too tempting a lure for the nearby alligators and gar that were rife in these waters. The cover is easier to replace than my fingers, so I moved on.

It was on the homeward section of the trail that I found myself in an interesting confrontation with a large alligator.

She was a rather grumpy twelve footer and standing about six feet from her and getting shots of her as she lay in the water apparently was a source of irritation for her.

First she started blowing bubbles (I hadn’t seen that behavior before) and then she move closer directly to me and came out of the water and walked to where I was standing. I began back peddling and trying to take shots as I did so.

I probably should have given her more space than I was and when she got to where I had been standing on the trail, she just looked at me with a clear air of annoyance.

Then after a minute or so, she went back into the water and I decided I needed to give her space and walked away. I suspect she was guarding a nest of eggs in the muddy embankment.

You’ll see the pics of her along with the others at the end of the blog. And here is where I put the 45 second video of her getting back into the water. It gives you a good feel for her size/weight.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

It was on the drive home as I was thinking of the lack of clarity that was undoubtedly common throughout the days pics, that I began to muse over the whole concept of clarity and how important it is in our lives.

I’ve been feeling a little sorry for myself for a while now as I am stuck at one of life’s crossroads unable to move forward. I am waiting some clarity on what my options ahead are and the lack of it has really hampered my ability to make any forward-looking decisions.

But sometimes, while we wait for the fog in our lives to clear, it is important to recognize that the real clarity that we need comes from within.

Yes, it is good when outside forces clear away the fog and let us determine what our options are. When that happens, our view ahead is clear and we are then positioned with whatever we need to look ahead and determine our best course.

But what about when outside sources don’t introduce such clarity or when that clarity takes too long to materialize?

Well, staying at life’s crossroads forever is one option but is hardly a good one. The best answer is to seek what clarity we can find within ourselves and establish a cut-off moment for outside influences.

If you are a procrastinator, then you are very unlikely to comfortable with cut-off deadlines. But in order to regain control (somewhat) over your own destiny, we oftentimes have to forego a feeling of comfort and just reach inside and ask ourselves what is it that we really want and how best can we attain it.

That level of clarity is a good source for critical input to any decision process we find ourselves in. It is important that any life decisions that we make are made on a solid basis otherwise we risk an abnormal level of failure and unhappiness.

So, while I find myself at this crossroads, I have given myself just a short period to continue with and will then decide how best to move forward. I know where my line is.

This is something we should each practice when we find ourselves at any of life’s crossroads.

Ask yourself if the decision process is clearly identifiable and where is that clarity coming from.

That is the knowledge that establishes whether we are actually making the decision ourselves of hoping that someone else will make them for us.

… just a thought.

One Hour

It was an extremely early start to the day, given the clock change overnight.

I had originally thought of sitting all the kitties down and explaining that breakfast would be an hour later today. But I couldn’t quite translate the whole concept of daylight savings time to Meow-speak.

In any event, I had slept like shit so there was no real inducement to staying in bed.

Besides which the thought that ran through my head was along the lines of a death-bed conversation with the devil.

“Neville, my boy, you’ve been a good servant over the years and steered a lot of impressionable young souls in my direction. So, tell you what; have an extra hour of life for your troubles”

Then the question I asked myself was what would I do with such an hour, if I had one. I certainly would sleep it out nor park myself at the PC. So, the clear choice became let’s take that extra time and shoot somewhere you haven’t before.

I drove down the St Pete side of the bay and just outside of Fort De Soto, found a bridge that gave me a view over Tampa Bay. My intent was to find something that included the Skyway Bridge and sure enough, there it was in all its glory, lit up in darkness in the distance.

I had to deal with an unusual complication on the bridge that cost me many blurry images; the wind was so strong that it kept shaking the camera on the tripod. But knowing that, I just kept shooting anyway, hopeful that some would come out.

There was also a magical moment that got away from me because I wasn’t ready. Out of nowhere, a gorgeous Osprey floated little more than five feet above my head. Unfortunately my camera was in manual mode and on a ten second timer, so I knew I had no shot.

I just looked up at him and he down at me and for a moment, our eyes locked in mutual acknowledgement.

Such is life, sometimes.

Anyway, I have attached a number of shots at the end of the blog that more or less show the progression through the growing twilight. I hope you enjoy.

The thought for this blog emanated from the whole extra hour gift of earlier and it extended into the whole idea of how we use our time on our life-journey.

Some folks imagine that they will live eternally in the clouds after this life is over, others imagine they will come back for another round reincarnated as something more intelligent, no doubt.

I, on the other hand, look at this life as our one shot. I have voiced before how I believe our journey should be devoted to improving the lot of those we love, those around us, and the world we live in. So I won’t repeat all that stuff again.

But now I want to point out the value of the time itself and how we use it.

TV used to be the huge distraction from life turning so many into couch-potatoes. Now it is the internet and the phone that manufactures vegetables on an even larger level.

The future, if you consider the direction of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and ventures like the whole Metaverse folly, is being shaped to take even more of us away from life’s reality and consume our time in endless escapes.

Their argument is that feeding the brain with different experiences is a good (and profitable) venture. Gamers and surfers flock by their millions to experience this altered reality oblivious to the sheer waste of their real-world time.

Getting out and breathing the air, watching the colors of a sunrise or sunset, walking a trail and experiencing nature on a personal level … these are the real pastimes that enrich our life experience.

Of course, if humans become distracted away from the real world, then they also become oblivious to its demise. Which feeds the coffers of major corporations and their evil henchmen in government.

Government voices on the left are rarely heard when they try to point out damage to the environment; not listened to by the greedy bastards that put profit ahead of planet and unheard by those idiots who walk through life with their headphones in.

This is why the real change of approach must occur at a grass-roots level where people look only at their own life journey and ask themselves how many hours do they want to live versus how many do they want to escape from life.

If your focus is on escape rather than life, then let’s hope you do come back next time as a something slightly more intelligent. A worm, perhaps.

… just a thought.


It was one of those mornings where you have time between what you have done and what you next need to do and you ask yourself how best to fill it.

All the babies had been fed and released and I was still a couple of hours before I was meeting Cassandra for breakfast.

The weather app (not even sure why I still check it any more) said fog so believing this to be the theme to run with, I decided that I would head towards downtown Tampa with my camera. Scenic shoots on lakes or bays would be rendered impossible so any shoot worth taking would need to use the fog as a feature rather than an obstacle to a good shot.

Of course it was pitch dark outside so I was initially none the wiser on the app accuracy until I got a little bit down the road.

I was passing by the ball fields on Walker Road when the thickness of fog was clarified and sure enough, downtown buildings were the only real option.

So I spent the best part of an hour wandering around different parts of the downtown area, looking for shots that would use the fog and tell the real story of this particular morning.

It was really great fun and I felt accomplished by the time I headed off to meet my breakfast date and begin the day in earnest.

I have attached a few at the end of this blog and I hope you enjoy!

The idea for the blog came from a moment as I was leaving the ball field area. The stop sign suddenly appeared closer than I had thought it was so, I ended up breaking hard.

Everything slid off the back seat behind me and I cursed my slow reaction.

That’s when the notion hit me of how fog changes our perspective on the road and things around us.

The reality is that I have been in that spot many times before and have never been suddenly surprised by the stop sign. So my perception of what was around me had nothing to do with the newness of where I was.

There are many things in life that affect our perception of the journey we are on.

We might have a bias, or an expectation, or might be in a particular mood (good or bad) and each of these will affect how we see something unfold in front of us.

This is one of the reasons why many people can witness the exact same event play out and come out with entirely different explanations on what they just saw.

Or we slip and fall somewhere and get up cursing one moment but have an identical slip and fall and get up laughing, another.

Our own ability to alter our perceptions is therefore a major factor in whether our experiences are generally good or generally bad. If you always see the glass half-empty then most of life will be a disappointment and frustration.

Those with a happy and half-full disposition will find life much more rewarding and enjoyable.

The facts of what we experience won’t change because of how we perceive them but our own response to these facts will change.

Being aware of how we are predisposed is therefore an important part of understanding the life we are going through.

I gave up on trying to understand the biases and perspectives of others. Some people are the most stupid fucking idiots out there and yet they are convinced in their own righteousness.

As long as they are not harming others with their perceptions, then fuck ’em. I leave them to their own misery. Those people will never be happy.

So when it comes to understanding perspectives, I try to focus mine internally.

We need to understand our biases, our mood, our state of expectation and try to adjust them to give us a more positive view on the experiences we are about to encounter.

At the end of the day, our perception becomes our reality and if we allow ourselves to perceive things in a negative fashion, then we most definitely experience a negative reality.

… just a thought.


When you are done your early morning kitty chores and it is still two hours to sunrise, life gives you some options.

You can go back to bed for a snooze, start the work day a bit early and devote that time to the PC, or grab your coffee and head to the lake.

I checked the weather app because it was so dark I couldn’t tell what the skies were like and when it said “partly cloudy” I chose the third option and headed off to Lake Parker in expectation of something good.

It had rained unexpectedly last night and I thought that combined with a partly cloudy sky might give me a twilight to remember.

I was wrong. Well, actually the weather app was wrong. It forgot to mention low fog and a dominance of associated clouds.

So, when I got there and began to see what was happening on the far shore, it quickly became obvious that this was not going to be a photo shoot to remember.

At first I was a bit miffed but then I tried to get some shots anyway and have attached them at the end of the blog.

Nothing spectacular, I’m afraid but I hope you enjoy anyway.

By the time I got in my car and set off for home, I was over my annoyance and had accepted that sometimes we don’t get what we expect. The weather app isn’t always right and twilights aren’t always memorable.

And it made me think that the whole notion of “always” is something that we humans have created and is totally in conflict with reality.

“I will always love you.”

“I will always be there for you.”

“Always and forever.”

These are concepts that sound good but unfortunately that is the extent of it.

The person offered such promises has been groomed to expect them and anything less is often taken as a slight.

In the US alone, 50% of all marriages end in divorce or separation. So, half of those “I will always love you” promises are untrue.

100% of all parents and all friends and family die. So the “I will always be there for you” is unfortunately bullshit.

And as for the “always and forever” line, given that we are hell bent on destroying the one planet we live on and even if we don’t, it eventually falls into the sun, well I think it’s fair to say that might be a slight exaggeration.

So, why do we insist on saying such things and hearing such promises?

Words are merely expressions of an emotion that we are trying to convey and when it comes to love or care or commitment, we feel honor-bound to overstate our position.

So, in essence it is quite harmless.

However, the overall concept of always or forever is more misguided and dangerous and can lead to serious consequences for us and the world around us.

For example, look at the way expressions like the bible or the koran are adopted and enforced as if they were absolute instruments of how humans are supposed to coexist?

They were written in times far away from the world we live in yet extreme conservatives try to enforce each word within them as if an absolute and unquestionable truth.

But if you don’t really give a shit about those teachings, then consider something more recent.

Look at the american constitution and its subsequent amendments. Consider in particular, the second amendment which to its most ardent proponents reinforces our god-given right to weaponize ourselves.

Those who framed the constitution and this amendment did so at a time of muskets and swords and did so specifically in a world threatened by a foreign country. So their expression was that civilian militias were entitled to take up arms and defend their freedoms.

But now weapons far exceed what anyone then could have imagined and the country has a legitimate army and police force to protect it and us. So, it begs the question should such an expression last forever and always divine a civilian’s “right” to bear arms?

Personally I view anything other than a simple handgun as being the domain of our police and armed forces. But I am sure some of you think it is ok for us all to have assault rifles, machine guns, and anti-tank bazookas.

In my mind it is absurd yet the defense of such position heavily leans on a document that was written in 1787.

And therein lies my problem. Nothing that is written or said, is absolute. It is merely an expression of how people feel at a particular moment in time and not something that we have to hang our hat on for eternity.

Eternity is a misnomer in any event, so exclaiming a belief that lasts forever is flawed and ignores that everything in this world evolves.

As it should.

… just a thought.


Life has a way of teaching us things along our journey.

Oftentimes they are things we don’t even want to learn and do so begrudgingly.

A few minutes ago I was filling up the water dish for the possums and raccoons, having just put out their food for the evening. It is the very last step in my daily chores for the night creatures that pass this way.

As I was filling up the dish, a tiny movement near me caught my attention and I spotted a lovely little spider just perched on his web, hopeful of catching an evening snack.

After I filled the dish, I grabbed my camera and tried to take some pics of him but I came up dreadfully short on the skills needed to pull it off. I could point at the fact that the breeze was moving the web and that I don’t have a decent lens for close up work so I had to work about 18″ inches away.

I could also point out that because of his size, I had to exclusively use manual focus, which with my eyesight, sometimes leaves a lot to be desired.

But the real truth is that I was working against several of my own frailties and sometimes when we do that, our frailties win.

In any event, I have attached three little shots that are mildly OK at the end of the blog so that you can see the little character and his lovely coloring.

Hope you enjoy!

As I sat at the PC, fuming at my miserable results, it suddenly dawned on me that the very subject of my endeavors is exactly the right teacher for one of those life-lessons that I mentioned at the start.

We all know the story of Robert the Bruce from 1306 and how the spider that he observed taught him to persevere and not give up just because of his failures. So, I won’t go into that here.

But spiders have a remarkable characteristic unlike almost any other creature besides their amazing perseverance.

Their patience.

When they finish their exertions and find themselves in possession of a worthy web to work with, their next step is that they wait. Patiently.

The whole purpose of the web is just to sit there and snare something that happens by. There is no active element to the catching. Simply waiting with its presence, in hope that it has been built somewhere that an unwary visitor might travel.

If she were a less patient little creature, she might build a number of webs and go from web to web, routinely checking for something that might have been caught. But no. She doesn’t.

She sits there patiently with one foot touching a silken strand, waiting for a vibration that might tell her something has come her way.

I don’t know what the average wait time is, but what I do know is that spiders often go 30 to 60 days without food which means that catches are not likely a very common event.

But do the spiders sit there and sulk? Do they moan and complain when a day or two has gone by and their work has gone unnoticed?

It takes then up to an hour to build a typical web and given that on average they live less than a year in their wild surrounds, their construction effort is the equivalent of us spending two work-weeks producing one.

So imagine, you have spent two weeks building something that you hope will provide you with something to eat but then typically wait a year before the first morsel comes your way (if at all).

How would you feel?

Would your patience hold up?

More likely than not, your moaning would be heard by your friends and neighbors almost instantly and by the end of that year, your state of mind would be inconsolable.

In recent years we have crafted a modern world that is built on instant gratification and apart from all the other aspects of humanity that suffer the consequences, patience is an early casualty.

Waiting for nothing is all well and good until one day, you have to wait for something.

I have been tasked with waiting on something extremely important for a year now and to say that it has fucked up my brain is an understatement. It is something that I deal with disappointedly every day and has destroyed what should have been a happy year for me.

I won’t get into the details, but while it is of huge importance, it is also something I can do absolutely nothing about.

And so I wait, impatiently.

Admittedly, with defeat and the depression that attaches on such a moment, patience begins to grow.

You begin each day no longer in expectation or even hope that something good will happen but you resign yourself to a belief that it will not happen today again.

And so as disastrous such an event can be, it builds within our character a tiny thread of patience.

It is only a thin thread and while it is directly only related to this one instance, it begins to spread little off-shoot threads that teaches us to scale back our hopes and expectations on other events that are happening in our lives.

Finally (whenever that may be) we realize that we have actually built a web of patience in how we relate to almost every thing in our lives.

And when we finally have that web in place, we sit there, gently touching one of the threads that lets us know whenever something is finally happening for us.

Only when we feel the sensation of a happening, do we reopen our floodgates of expectation and embrace whatever morsel life has finally chosen to send our way.

William Langland in 1360 wrote a poem that espoused “Patience is a virtue” and though sadly lacking on a global scale, it is indeed one that can make the road a little less fraught and bumpy on this journey of ours through life.

… just a thought.