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It seems whereever we travel, we always find an array of critters to amuse and entertain. Now, central Florida doesn’t have any chipmunks (sad, yes) but they do have plenty of small lizards! You can’t go anywhere without seeing these little guys!

“Larry” (Brown Anole, Male, Anolis sagrei, Common Florida Reptile) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 100mm, F/5.8, 1/640s, ISO 100, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Vignette’ Filter

They are full of personality but very skittish. Just when I would get close enough, they would scurry away, only to return moments later. Perhaps it is some sort of lizard game??

They particularly liked hanging around the pool ledge, basking in the hot sun. This female was certainly gettin’ her ‘tan on’ while making sure the other reptiles weren’t invading her territory.

“Lounge Lizard” (Brown Anole, Female, Anolis sagrei, Common Florida Reptile) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 34.3mm, F/4.5, 1/800s, ISO 100, Cropped and Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Vignette’ Filter applied

During our visit, we also saw many birds wandering about, most likely looking to make a nice meal out of the small lizards. 🙂

“Little Blue” (Little Blue Heron, Egretta caerulea) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 20.3mm, F/4.5, 1/200s, -0.7EV, ISO 100

Mostly, we saw white egrets, cormorants and ducks, so it was a nice change of pace to come across this colorful fellow. I wish it wasn’t just as we were leaving for the airport! Isn’t that the way it is with critters? When you have all the time in the world, none can be found but as soon as you are in a hurry or ill-prepared, boom! They appear out of nowhere, posing all nice.

Until next time, my friends. 🙂

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I don’t typically post a yearly wrap-up but, Scott Thomas’ latest photo assignment, “Best Photos of 2011” had me looking back today. Hmmmm, was a pretty lean year for posting… I must do better in 2012! 🙂

To make it easier, I approached this task with the desire to select the best photo for each month starting with November 2010 through October 2011. Three months proved more difficult and I allowed myself to select more than one image.

Here we go! 😀

Back in November 2010, fresh from a trip to Disney, I had posted a series of photos from Hollywood Studios. The giant scrabble board complete with green army man was my favorite:

“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” (Oversized Scrabble Board with Green Army Man, Pixar Place, Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Nikon D300, 34mm, F/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 200, ‘Poster Edges’ CS3 Photo Filter

In late December, we were hit with the first of many Nor’easters. Even so, the abundance of heavy, wet snow couldn’t put a damper on our holiday spirit!

Frosty

“Frosty” (Snow-covered Holiday Wreath) Nikon D300, 82mm, F/5, 1/60s, +0.7EV, IS0 200

I couldn’t pick a favorite from January. Both images hail from our October Disney trip since by then, I simply had HAD it with winter! (Molten Mickey post is here).

“Coquettish” (Lesser Flamingo, Disney’s Animal Kingdom) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/7.1, 1/200s, -0.3EV, ISO 400, Nik Color Efex Pro Bi-color Filter

“Molten Mickey” (Turn-style Gates at Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Nikon D300, 52mm, F/7.1, 1/200s, ISO 250, Nik Color Efex Pro Detail Stylizer & Bi-Color Filters

February brought some fun with my 105mm macro lens and 3-ring extension tube set. I wanted to see just how ‘up close and personal’ I could really get!

“Missing You” (Dianthus Stamen & Petals) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro w/3-ring Extension Tube Set, F/11, 1/30s, -1.0EV, ISO 640

The macro fun continued well into March

“C is for Carousel” (Stargazer Lily Stamens, Lilium Oriental Stargazer) Nikon D30, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/8s, ISO 1000

After a visit to the doctor in February got me back into a fitness routine, I was in serious need of motivation to ‘stick with it’. I found exactly that in April! 🙂

“Motivation” (Marc Jacobs Swimsuit) Nikon D300, 36mm, F/4.2, 1/20s, ISO 640

Critters are often featured in my photos and this adorable little chipmunk stole my heart in May:

“Home is Where you Make it” (Eastern Chipmunk in Birdhouse) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/5.6, 1/200s, ISO 640, Built-in Front Curtain i-TTL Fill Flash, -1.0 EV

June turned out to be all about flowers. I couldn’t decide between these three beauties:

“Yamaboushi” (White Kousa Dogwood, Cornus kousa) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/200s, ISO 320, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, +1.0 EV

“Love” (Dicentra spectabilis, Pink Bleeding Heart) Nikon D300, 260mm, F/5, 1/640s, -1.0EV, ISO 200

“Hope” (Pink Herbaceous Peony) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/4.5, 1/320s, -0.3EV, Built-in Front Curtain i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser

As a die-hard foodie, I love to cook and sometimes, I actually remember to take a photograph of my creations! We chomped on these delights all throughout July:

“Summer Cubed” (Watermelon, Mozzerella & Procuitto Bites) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/30s, ISO 1000, Built-in i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser

Feeling very proud of myself for not only sticking to my fitness committment but also exceeding my expectations despite breaking my left foot, I decided to show off the results of my hard work in August!

“Good Form’ (Female Fitness Portrait) Nikon D300, 28mm, F/4.5, 1/10s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV, Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Silhouette II’ Filter

Another entry for August… when I wasn’t sweating on the elliptical, I made sure to enjoy the summer sunshine and was rewarded with a unique photo of a bee in flight:

“Flight of the Bee” (Carpenter Bee in Flight) Nikon D300, 280mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x teleconverter), F/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 640

I got all ‘artsy’ in September with a series of cucumber tendrills…

“Undulation” (Abstract Cucumber Tendrils) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/4, 1/320s, -1.0EV, Built-in i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV

…and finally was able to say a proper Au voir to summer in October.

“And the Sun Sets on Summer” (Rudbeckia ‘Gloriosa’ aka Black-eyed Susan) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/7.1, 1/125s, ISO 400, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Photo Stylizer’ Filter

So, that’s it folks…a small photographic slice of 2010.

Yes, it was a VERY good year! 😀

…is not like the others! 🙂

“Hugh Hefner” (Male Northern Cardinal with Bunny Statues) Nikon D300, 390mm (200-400mm w/1.4x teleconverter), F/7.1, 1/160s, ISO 640

Seeing a Cardinal sitting still is not a common occurrence, so I found it remarkably strange, then, when I spotted a male just leisurely ‘hanging out’ amongst the two small rabbit statues under one of our garden benches. Perhaps he thought he had made some new friends??  

The bird stayed in this exact spot for quite a long time (well, for a Cardinal, mind you, as they are typically very skittish birds), even shutting his eyes to rest! I actually began to get concerned he was injured or sick, but, just as I was about to investigate further, I accidentally startled him and he flew off.

Most likely he was a young male, simply getting his bearings. I’ve been seeing many juveniles lately, from squirrels to chipmunks to birds to rabbits, sporting atypical animal behavior and it has been humorous to watch them try to make sense of their surroundings without the aid of the parents. Kids! 😉

Oh, well. Just another day in Milkay’s Animal Kingdom, where the critters never cease to amaze! 🙂

We’ve been having some spectacular spring weather and the birds have been all a-flutter!

Monday was the first day in a very long time I felt inspired to haul out my 600mm lens (the ‘big gun’) equipped with my 1.7x teleconverter. Earlier on in the day I had spotted an Oriole high up in the tree-tops with the hopes of scoring a photo. No such luck on the Oriole but, I did manage to catch a few shots of the elusive male Northern Cardinal, despite his best attempts to thwart my efforts!

Here they are for your enjoyment. 🙂

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