52 Week Challenge

52 Weeks of Susan's Life


Week 49 – #6 Celebration

celebration1 copycelebration2 copy

If you haven’t been to Punta Gorda for the Annual Fisherman Village Pirate Fest, you should plan to go this September.  The festival is a 3 day celebration and I can personally attest that those that go really get into the spirit of the event.  I was there on the final day of the celebration and from the looks of the participants in the village it appeared to be a very successful event.


Week 48 – #45 Spooky

Recently the Characters Group from the LWRDPC took a trip to the Red Barn. If you haven’t been, its a must see.  There were no shortage of “characters” and we had some great photo opportunities.  What I didn’t expect to see (at least this time of year) was an assortment of spooky objects for sale.  Ever the opportunist, I decided to snap some photos  for the “spooky” category of the challenge.  We are accustomed to seeing Halloween items in October but they seemed strangely out of place in June.  Enjoy.  Halloween, spooky, Red Barn


Week 47 – #32 Nightime


ISO 100, F-stop 7.1, 30 sec shutter speed. 

Night Blooming Cereus, Selby Gardens, Sarasota Fl


Night Blooming Cereus – in the opening stages

Night Blooming Cereus Flower, Selby Gardens Sarasota FL

Dead Flower after just one night of blooming…so sad

I’ve lived in Florida for 15 years and have heard all about the Night Blooming Cereus but never actually had the opportunity to see one in bloom.  Since these beautiful, fragrant flowers only bloom once a year for one night, timing is of the essence.  A few days ago, I received an email from Selby Gardens saying they expected their Night Blooming Cereus to bloom that night and would be available for viewing between 8-11 PM.  I was not about to miss out on this unique experience so I packed up my camera equipment and headed over to Selby about 10PM. I was in awe of this spectacular tree with about 250 blooms.  It was difficult to properly photograph this tree due to the crowds  and constant cell phone flashes interfering with my timed exposures. I switched back and forth between  my Nikon 105mm Macro lens and my 28-300 mm lens.  I was on a tripod and shot manual  with 100 ISO and varying f-stops and shutter speed.  It was tricky because their was a slight breeze which becomes a big breeze with a macro lens.  I shot in two different locations;  Selby Gardens and a tree on Orange Avenue.

Here is a brief description of this beautiful flower.   “Regardless of genus or species, night-blooming cereus flowers are almost always white or very pale shades of other colors, often large, and frequently fragrant. Most of the flowers open after nightfall, and by dawn, most are in the process of wilting. The plants that bear such flowers can be tall, columnar, and sometimes extremely large and tree-like, but more frequently are thin-stemmed climbers. While some night-blooming cereus are grown indoors in homes or greenhouses in colder climates, most of these plants are too large or ungainly for this treatment, and are only found outdoors in tropical areas.”

Some Night-blooming Cereus plants produce fruits which are large enough for people to consume. That  night,  the botanist from Selby was trying to pollinate some of the flowers in the hopes that they might be fruit bearing in the future.

This YouTube 12 hour time lapse video demonstrates just how quickly this flower blooms and then wilts.

I found the entire process an amazing example of mother nature and can’t wait until next year to witness it again.


Cell Phone Shot of entire tree….


Week 46 – #50 Toys

cowwater_Fotorhorses_Fotorcowboybee_Fotorcorall_FotorOn a recent trip to Chicago to  visit my 5 year old grandson I thought it a perfect opportunity to knock out the “toys” category for the challenge.  I wanted it to be a project we could work on together so I asked him to pick out some of his favorite toys.  To my delight he choose his “farm” collection as I am a great fan of horses, having owned and rode horses myself.  We jointly decided to set up a coral  which we did with the addition of some mulch to authenticate the dirt surface.  It was his idea to fill the water bins with water for the cow to drink.  We did get a totally unexpected photo opportunity when a bee landed on the cowboys arm (3rd picture).  I’m sure the bee was disappointed when he discovered it was made of plastic instead of a juicy human arm.  I have to say this was one of my favorite challenges with the given opportunity to spend quality time with my adorable grandson.


Week 45 -#44 Speed

brady2slide copy

On my recent trip to Chicago I took my grandson Brady to his favorite playground.  He loves the slide and I got a few photos of him in action coming down the slide. When I took the photos into the computer, I noticed his tee shirt said “faster than fast”.  I decided this was the perfect shot for the “speed” challenge.  One photo you won’t see is when he talked me into going down the slide after him:).


Week 44 – #3 Before and After

bud_Fotorfullflower2_FotorThis beautiful flowering bush lives in our front yard.   I love to watch the various stages of budding with this particular flower.  It’s especially productive this time of year.  I used my Nikon 105mm Macro lens for both of these shots with natural light.  It happened to be a cloudy day so the ambient light was just perfect.  I shot at 100 ISO, f-40 and SS 10.