Perfect Day at Circle B Bar Reserve

Diane White

The OLLI-USF Outdoors “hikers” explored one of their favorite places, Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, on a beautiful day in March. We would like to share it in words, but mostly pictures, with OLLI Connects readers.

If you are looking for a great place to take your out-of-town visitors, or just go for a stroll to take in amazing wildlife, this is the place to go. One of our members, Sheryl, wrote, “With the exception of the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel, Circle B Bar had the biggest variety of wildlife I’ve seen of all my hikes in Florida.”

What will you see? In many places you will see birds on the left, birds on the right. You might see a great blue heron and gator face off.  View more

My Day at Circle B Bar Reserve

Mary Satterwhite

Recently I went with a few friends to hike and take photographs at Circle B Bar Reserve near Lakeland.  It was a LONG drive there but well worth it.  It is a very large park of more than 2,000 acres. We hiked four and a half miles and saw not even a quarter of the park.  We took Marsh Rabbit Run (where we were stopped by a large alligator blocking the trail) and Alligator Alley which was my favorite. The large trees shading Alligator Alley are lovely.     View more

You may be wondering why you received an OLLI Connects email for a story that isn’t yet available over this weekend.  We have to chalk that up to an unfortunate misclick during the editing process for an upcoming piece.  Please disregard that notice–for now– and enjoy this week’s two offerings focused on the splendid photos produced by the hiking and nature SIG members.  And, check back with us in early June for the “Flying Tigers.”–Editor 

The Balloon Also Rises

Delia Palermo

Dawn, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

The first surprise was the actual pre-dawn hush. There really was “a kind of hush all  over the world,” at least outside of Moab, Utah. Following strangers to a dark van in a dark parking lot could have put us in mind of Scandi noir, but instead we felt the hush; no one in the van spoke on the drive to the balloon, which lay flat and ghostly on the dark ground. Shapes began to emerge into the other-worldly red rock terrain of the canyon although we could not see the tops of the canyon.

The previous night I had read a review that exalted over a balloon’s basket hitting the ground and bouncing up nearly to the top of the canyon, then again (more…)

The Birds of Marco Island

If you’d like to work on your paddleboarding or kayaking, you should consider the tidal lagoon at Tigertail Beach Park on Marco Island.  As you’re probably well aware, Marco Island is a barrier Island in the Gulf, a bit south of Naples, linked to the mainland by bridges. It’s a wonderful place for a vacation.

Marco Island is also an outstanding place for photographing birds.  Birds that are somewhat commonplace for us, but wildly exotic if you’re from, oh, England for example. As our photographer, Paul Sullivan, is.  We’ll tell you what he has to do with OLLI at the end of article, but first, let’s take a look at his photographs.  (More…)

 

And Now for Something . . . a Little Bit Different

Theresa D’Aiuto Sokol

OLLI Connects is almost three years old, and in its short lifetime, we have shared a wide variety of your fellow OLLI members’ contributions: powerful  stories, rich personal experiences, fascinating nuggets of history, and humor.  We’ve taken you on trips to other parts of the United States and journeys to other parts of the world.  We’ve shared technology, book reviews, poetry and more.  We’ve had posts that were all photographs with no more words than were needed for context.

But we’ve not had a post that was almost all video.  Until today.

Theresa D’Aiuto Sokol has shared two of her blog posts, and now she shares some of her video work.   (More…)

Underwater Photography

Donna McGrew

I started diving in 1994 when I taught school on Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands where I earned PADI Open Water, Advanced and Rescue Diver.  I returned to Florida for a year and did a little diving here on the east coast.  In 1996 I returned to the Pacific to teach on Saipan for two years in the Northern Marianas Islands.  While there, I earned my PADI Dive Master and Open Water Instructor.

But the photography bug did not bite until I returned to Florida once again.  I started with film in a Sea&Sea point and shoot camera.  Today, I shoot with a Panasonic EM5 with two Sea&Sea strobes for lighting.

Over the years, I have had a chance to travel and dive throughout much of the Caribbean including Cuba and Belize.  This included  (More…)

Confined to Quarters

Shelly Belzer

02 VendorIn normal times, the OLLI Shutterbugs range over the state, the country and even the world to take pictures. Staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic has made us look at what’s right around us for good subjects.

Rich Edwards was probably the most adventurous, traveling to a goat farm in May and then to the Blairsville farmer’s market in Georgia in July for these shots of a vendor and honey in sunlight, as irresistible to a photographer as to a honey lover. Gail Parsons, master naturalist, shot the pictures of a yellow-sided skimmer and a black swallowtail butterfly getting ready to drink nectar from a thistle at Lake Dan Preserve in northwestern Hillsborough County.   (More…)

So, What Are You Up To?

Jane Applegate Belzer

When reading George Hyde’s last post in OLLI Connects, I thought: Now I know I’m not alone in seeking ways to occupy myself during this period of quasi-hibernation. While this is a home of two readers, there are other activities that we of a certain age will be doing to exercise our spirits while at home for what now sounds like a couple of months. I’d like to know what you are doing to entertain yourself during these isolating times.

I just pulled five cookbooks off my shelf to entertain myself and share with you. The Black Sea, by a British journalist, Caroline Eden, is a travel guide and cookbook to the exotic world from Odessa to Trabzon. The recipes enrich the stories of her journey through this very ancient region. If things get back to normal, we hope to go there next year. (More…)

James Museum

Shelly Belzer

A boyhood love of cowboy movies isn’t unusual, but Tom James, now chairman emeritus of Raymond James Financial, turned his love into a lifetime of art collecting and then founded a museum to house part of the collection that he and his wife, Mary, have amassed.  The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art in St. Petersburg opened in April 2018, holding 400 paintings and sculptures, a bit more than 10 percent of the James collection. (Most of the rest of the collection fills the Raymond James corporate headquarters.)  Word about the museum got around, and one day in August the OLLI Shutterbugs went to see for themselves.  (More…)

No Fleas in Sight

OLLI Shutterbugs

The Indie Flea Market, a classy event with an ironic name, seems to draw all the beautiful young people in Tampa to the Armature Works every third Sunday of the month. So the OLLI Shutterbugs went to check it out in May.

Dozens of friendly, mostly young, artisan sellers of handmade clothes and jewelry, soaps, plants, greeting cards, cookies, gelato and other wares stood and sat at rows of stalls, some of them unable to keep from dancing to the pervasive beat of piped-in music. They were well outnumbered by the even younger, upbeat crowd, with the occasional baby and dog, that filled the aisles. You have to love crowds to come here, and for photographers who like to take candid shots of people, what better way to spend a summery afternoon? And, of course, it’s air-conditioned. (More…)