Thursday, January 30, 2014

Suburban tree and scrub, Nocatee

 Nocatee has very defined limits. This tree was planted years ago on the edge of the property. It, like all of Nocatee's landscaping, is very well tended. The lovely scrub palms and pines behind it can only hope to get some water in the summer. We have had a run of days with Weese light and I have tried to capture the rare low contrast, subdued color.

Calm seas, Ponte Vedra Beach.

Carolina skimmers, Ponte Vedra Beach

These lovely birds pass through twice a year on their migration. Those long downward pointing beaks allow them to skim the surface of the ocean and catch fish, thus the name.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A bike for Martina, Jax Beach

You are an influence. This just popped up today. Happy snowboarding.

Bricks for Carl, Jax Beach

I go on the blog Working Pictures every day to see what Carl Weese has put up. I am almost always gratified or amazed. He has put up many brick wall pictures and I love the color in them. Down here in the Deep South (or North Florida) the bricks are of a brighter reddish orange and almost always varied. I took this today during our coldest snap (39f high (3.9C) under cloudy conditions. Even with the bluish light the bricks were warmer that the Connecticut ones.

I love this wall, as the bricklayer had a whimsical bent.

Window and agave, Jax Beach

Agave leaves, Jax Beach

Deceased Wendy's, Beach Blvd., Jax Beach

The eastern end of Beach Blvd. has been going through a small renaissance in the last few years. Old scrubby lots have been cleared and small businesses have been setting up shop. This Wendy's closed a few years ago and a new one opened on 3rd St. a few blocks away. For some reason this site has not been snapped up. It will be.

Fence and branches, Jax Beach

 The old Chevy dealer on Beach Blvd. has been demolished, cleared and is being prepped for a large apartment building. Certainly an upgrade to the area.

Magnolia cuttings, Nocatee

Nocatee living;-)

Nocatee, our local super-developement, has been booming of late. After the economy tanked, all new building either stopped or slowed to a crawl. There were the starts of roads to the starts of new subdivisions but no work. Two big developers plain pulled out. In the last year or so there has been an explosion of clearing and building. A lot of the road heads are now roads and heavy equipment is everywhere.

This was taken at one of the remaining road heads. People often use areas like this to dump their junk for free. I saw a bunch of beer cans littered around, so this may have been an intentional dump that evolved into a clubhouse.

Ponte Vedra Beach

I believe that this was the first dollar sign that I have ever seen in the sand.

Winter light, Atlantic Beach

Atlantic Beach

Friday, January 24, 2014

Atlantic Boulevard walk in the cold.

 WE are, like the rest of the U.S., in a cold snap. For us that means a bit of a freeze, followed by a 40f (4.4C) day with stiff breezes from the North. I took a walk along Atlantic Boulevard in Atlantic Beach to take advantage of the clear, humidity-free air. The Shaved ice did not appeal today. We lived in Vermont for 22 years so I have a small section of my closet devoted to LL Bean winter shirts and vests. I was toasty under three layers.
 Sinful waffle

Retro McDonald's, Atlantic Beach

I'm not a big fan of McDonald's. The only time we eat there is on a long drive with no other options. The fries are a very guilty pleasure for a Weight Watchers member. I have always liked the design of this one in Atlantic Beach. It retains some of the feel of the first McDonald's, which were a novelty and a bit of a thrill to go to. Guess I'm old.

Bumper sticker and sign, Sawgrass

Frozen fan palm leaves, Atlantic Beach

Today was our coldest day of the year, 41f (05C) at the warmest. We went down to 28f(-2.2C) last night and the sub-tropical vegetation took a big hit, again. The freeze adds some interesting color to what is usually a uniform green.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Crow, Sawgrass

Frozen hibiscus leaves, Roscoe

We had our first hard frost in three years last week. Hibiscus are very frost sensitive and all of mine closed up shop for the year after 28f (-2.2C) all night. It remains to be seen how far back the stems were killed. Only Spring will reveal that.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Last Sunday on Third St., Jax Beach

 We live here on the Atlantic coast. With the ocean about a mile from everything. Here on Third St. or A1A, we are 1/4 mile from the sea. Therefore we usually have a lot of moisture in the air. This creates a soft light and takes a little intensity from the colors. Every now and then we get a very dry air mass that gives us crisp, clear light. All of us photo types run out and shoot because it is so rarely that we get the chance. I had my Olympus EM-5 with the Sigma 19mm f/2.8 lens on it. This is by far the least expensive lens that I have for my Micro 4/3 cameras and yet it is in the top half of all of the lenses for clarity, or presence. I don't like sharpness as a definition because it isn't that important to me. Every lens I have is sharp enough to make a good 13x19 print from. This is just a neat, light anonymous lens that fits my eye very well. It is the equivalent of a 38mm lens in 35mm. It still only costs $199.00 at any of the usual suspects.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Survivor, Jax Beach

I believe that in every town or city there are what I call Restaurant Dead Zones. These are plots or buildings that look like perfect restaurant locales but seem to have huge turnover rates. This location has in the twenty years I have been in Florida, had at least four different Chinese or Japanese restaurants, then a very fancy Italian restaurant and a few other concepts to boot. This one, Mario's, has lasted pretty well. I have not eaten here but my guess is that the food overcomes the curse.

Napkin, Jax Beach

McDonald's in ruins.

They are knocking down the McDonald's on Third Street in Jax Beach. I'd be happy, but I'm sure that a newer, bigger one is on it's way.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Culvert and trees, Nocatee

Trees, Nocatee

Tree, Nocatee

Finally, we lose a few leaves. They'll start to grow back in 6 weeks or so.

Pole and fence, Nocatee

I went for a walk on the bike/hike trail in Nocatee. Nocatee is a huge housing estate, or combination of housing estates that was just gathering steam when the recession hit. It has been showing signs of rebirth in the last year and now there is building going on all over it. They built the infrastructure first and did all of the landscaping. Unlike a lot of projects like this that come to hard times, Nocatee was well planned and the trees are all tended to and the roads kept up.  Nice to see the recovery. I love the walking trails here, as they are well away from traffic and safe.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

House detail, MSD, Ponte Vedra Beach

Happy New Year! To my faithful readers and friends. The MSD, I will explain, is an area of our town that is semi-autonomous. It sits between A1A and the ocean. It stands for Municipal Service District, my nominee for least interesting name for an area ever. It's a lovely little enclave with nice houses ranging from wonderful to ridiculous. I have never understood 17,000 square foot houses populated by two people. This is a very nice house that has some wonderful angles.