Sea Grapes

June 8th, 2013
Sea Grapes, June 7, 2013,  FL Dune Walk

Sea Grapes, June 7, 2013, FL Dune Walk

I was lost in thoughts
but you stopped me  
with green leaves
and pendulous fruit
against a bright blue sky.

You cared nothing for me,
a rambler in the dunes,
trying to regain
her sense of  calm.

You held fast
to the shifting sands,
effortlessly creating beauty
and somehow shared
your peace.


After Andrea

June 7th, 2013

Andrea - first tropical storm of 2013

For a little while I felt her energy,
a wild goddess of the sea set free
to go where nature sent her.

She mated passionately with the earth,
until depleted, she vanished
into the air and oceans.

She left me behind, safe within my walls,
strangely restless and longing for more.

Gulls, gulls and more gulls

January 14th, 2011

I know we have all heard the saying, “birds of a feather flock together,” but I now have proof positive that it is true! Every year in January, I attend the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival in Titusville, Florida. One of the field trips advertised during the event is the Gull Fly-in at Daytona Beach Shores.

Reportedly, gulls gather here each night in huge flocks of up to 30,000. What! Why had I not heard about this before! This was something I wanted to see for myself. As a local, I did not need to wait for the Festival field trip and arrived at the gathering spot late in the afternoon on a blustery January day.

And, there they were – gulls standing along the shoreline as far as I could see. How on earth could I ever hope to photograph such an overwhelming number of birds? It was the Grand Canyon in feathery form; awesome, but REALLY hard to capture in one picture.

I came home with many (poor) attempts, and the photos featured here do not show how wonderful it was to see this in person. However, my delight at seeing the huge flock and being in its midst was replaced with dismay as I found out how selfish humans can be.

Gulls on Florida shores are tolerant of humans, and they allow us to draw near if we approach quietly and slowly.

Apparently, it is not enough for some to appreciate the gulls as they gather and rest on the shoreline, some standing with bills and often feet tucked in their feathers for warmth. No, these humans want to see large numbers of birds flying up in the air. I watched parents urge small, laughing children to run at the birds; and I saw adult photographers race toward the flock, all causing the birds to take off again and again.

Upset at first, I speculated that these folks might be tourists and did not fully understand their actions despite the fact that there are signs posted on our beaches saying not to harass the wildlife. I decided to take the educational approach. Admittedly, it took me a while to do so because it is not easy to speak up to strangers; one never knows what the reaction will be.

When one of the little running boys drew near, I asked him quietly not to disturb the birds as they needed to rest and stay warm. He returned to his parents, and they left. The fun was over? The adult photographer admitted he just wanted to see them fly up to get that “cool shot.” He also stopped chasing them and started asking questions about this wonderful sight. Progress!

Will I speak up again? Most likely. Who knows? In doing so, I may even save a bothersome human from harm at at some time in the future. The next group of animals being harassed might not be as passive about the intrusion as the gulls. :-) Lyn

I remember each Christmas, a delightful story told to me when I was a child. According to the legend, at midnight on Christmas Eve, animals were able to speak to us with human voices. How I wished I could stay up to witness this miracle, but a good little girl needed to be tucked in her bed so that that Santa would stop by while I was sound asleep.

How wonderful it would be if this parable of talking animals came true! Or would it be?

What would the animals say to their human cousins if they could plainly speak their minds for even a few minutes? Would wild animals chastise us for acting as if we humans are superior to the rest of the animal world? Would they blame us for ruining their habitats and for taking their lives beyond verifiable human needs?

Perhaps we would fare better with our beloved pets that we love and treat like members of our families. They would, no doubt, thank us for caring for them. And we could, in return, thank them for the many moments of laughter and companionship they have provided to us.

Lately, I have been saddened and outraged to hear on the news about the many pets that have been abandoned during recent hard times. Their owners have left them to fend for themselves in dire circumstances; and sadly many have died, not only because of neglect but also, I suspect, because of broken hearts.

Often, when photographing animals in the wild, I wonder if I am disturbing them and try not to do so. Looking in their eyes and watching them as they go about their daily lives is a wonderful gift that I would not want to abuse.

Recently, I spent some time sitting quietly in the dunes on the beach, gazing at the ocean when a tiny sandpiper slowly approached. Since I did not speak or move, it decided to investigate this strange human interloper and circled around me until it was within inches of my knee on the sand. I must have stirred a little, and it scurried away.

Had that tiny, lovely bird been able to speak, what would it have said to me? On this eve of Christmas, a time of love and joy, I can only hope that we would have both remarked how lucky we were to be alive on a glorious day, sharing together a place that we both cherish.

Alas, I will never know, since talking animals remains only a sweet story. Humans can, however, speak kindly and reasonably for the rest of nature, and can show by our actions that we want truly to share this beautiful world with all.

Merry Christmas! Lyn

The best laid plans…

November 28th, 2010

Often, I have goals in mind when going off on an photo jaunt. But, I have learned to remain flexible, since nature is unconcerned with my plans.

This was the case recently when I visited Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, with three friends from our nature photography club. The idea was to drive the famous Blackpoint Drive to look for and to photograph wintering birds. This is a seven mile drive on berms that surround several marshes, with habitats varying from open water to relatively dry marsh.

It can be a hot spot for bird watching, but not on the day we visited. As my friends mentioned, “It is a bit early in the season, perhaps. We should come back later when more of the birds have arrived.”

This is not to say that birds were absent, of course. I enjoyed seeing the ones that were there, but they were the typical species that call Florida home, year round.

But nature did not disappoint us. Amazing cloud formations, interesting lighting, and scenic landscapes would be our photo subjects that day. The clouds were beautiful all afternoon, and produced an spectacular sunset for us!

I have included here some of my favorites shots taken that day, including one of a “face” in a gnarly cypress tree by the road.

And, here is one of the sunset that I have used to create some products in my Zazzle Store:*.

I am still looking for birds, though. :-) Lyn

Creative Commons License
This work by Lyn Hoffmann is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at
Nature Blog Network