Saint Augustine Cathedral

On our recent visit, we had the privilege of toust-augustine-7727ring the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine.
The spire of the church is one of the most recognizable features of St Augustine’s historic district.  When you look down Cathedral Street, the cathedral and the tops of the main buildings from nearby Flagler College draw your eyes toward the sky.

St Augustine Cathedral was part of the original Spanish colony but the original buildings were small and crude.  The current building was constructed over five years, from 1793–1797, it is the oldest church in Florida.  The interior is full of beautiful stained-glass and elaborate details.  The exterior is a combination of Spanish mission and Neoclassical styles.

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Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine
St. Augustine, Florida
Featured Image: Nikon D7100
Sirui P-204S Monopod
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
16mm @ f8 –  1/2 sec – ISO 800


Taking Flight

Across the street from the St Augustine Light Station is the local gator farm.  Besides a large population of alligators and crocodiles,  they also host quite a few local birds.  The trees surrounding the main Alligator swamp is filled with native water birds.

We saw a variety of birds including herons, storks, egrets and roseate spoonbills like this one.  I spent a few minutes following this specimen because he kept watching people and anxiously looking around.  I got the feeling that he was on the verge of moving and true to form, he soon took off to find a new perch.

St Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park
Nikon D7100
Sirui P-204S Monopod
Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM
500mm @ f/10 –  1/800 sec – ISO 320

Going Down

st-augustine-7847The St Augustine Light Station is probably the easiest climb I have experienced at a lighthouse.  The current light was completed in 1874 but even at that time, tourism was considered in the construction.  The circular stairway was built with handrails and several landings to allow visitors to make the 219 step ascent with ease.

This is not the first lighthouse at St Augustine.  There is evidence that towers had been built in this area as early as the late 16th century and there was a previous light built closer to the water in 1824 which collapsed.  The existing light was located more inland to get a more stable foundation.
st-augustine-7771From the top, you get great views of St Augustine and the surrounding waters.  You can also get a peek at the operating first-order Fresnel lens as it rotates 360° around to spread its light and avoid maritime accidents.

The Light keeper’s house is now a museum and contains a variety of exhibits that are interesting and educational.  I would definitely suggest this as a good place to visit if you are touring the St Augustine area.

St Augustine Light Station
Anastasia Island, Florida
Featured Image: Nikon D7100
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
16mm @ f14 –  1/5 sec – ISO 640


Good Morning

Of the days we were in St Augustine, this was the one morning that was not rainy.  We were planning to sleep in but woke up early anyway and went out to walk the beach.  It was still a little misty on the horizon but the sunrise was really nice.  I got this shot of the sun rising through the pier with a nice reflection off the wet sand and that told me it would be a good morning.

Sunrise at St Augustine Beach pier
Nikon D7100
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
24mm @ f29 –  1/125 sec – ISO 100

Meeting the Locals

Life is always more interesting when you get to talking to people.  We were walking along the beach in St Augustine, Florida when this guy appeared and started feeding the gulls.  I snapped a couple of shots with the birds flocking around him and thought, that’st-augustine-7586s interesting and then proceeded to look for other subjects.

The next thing I knew, here comes the same guy, walking right up to me and he strikes up a conversation.  Where are you from?  He says.  So, we told him and he proceeded to give us history lessons on St Augustine and nature lessons on the different types of gulls you see here and a short history of his life which turns out to be pretty interesting.

st-augustine-7581The really amazing thing about this is that my wife and I both saw this guy and were immediately reminded of our good friend, Jim Waters, who passed away just a couple of months ago.

He was just that great, quiet, free-spirit type of guy who would have been very much at home just wandering the beach and talking to people.

We sent a message to  Jim’s wife Jan and she said it’s just another instance of Jim walking back into lives of his friends.  I can’t agree more!





Florida Gulls on St Augustine Beach
Nikon D7100
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
18mm @ f7.1 –  1/200 sec – ISO 400

What to do on a Rainy Day at the Beach

Well, I am back on my theme of making the best of unfriendly weather.  We arrived at St Augustine Beach ready for Florida beach weather and were greeted with gray skies and rain.  All the locals were happy because they have been in drought conditions but don’t they know we’re on vacation?

For some people, bad weather is good news as you see with the surfers out on this ugly day.  The waves were breaking all around which made for good surfing even if the rest of us were wishing for sunny skies.  Things have gotten more to our liking and we’ve been able to see lots of interesting stuff but on this day, I had to look hard for a good subject.

Nikon D7100
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
110mm @ f16 –  1/100 sec – ISO 400

Vintage-style radio

Although I don’t think this is really an antique radio, it has the look and with this black & white version, I think it looks like a step back in history.  The Archibald Smith Plantation Home in Roswell dates back to the beginning of the town.  Built in 1838 and occupied by the Smith family for almost 150 years, the interior contains a wide variety of pieces from that history.  Some of the furnishings are original pieces that the family and servants used and some were added when the home was converted into a museum.

Every time I go here I see something different.  It is a great place to dig into local history and experience what southern life was like for the founders of Roswell from the beginning, through the Civil War, the Great Depression and into the modern age.

Bedside Lamp and Radio
Archibald Smith Plantation Home – Roswell, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @ f/22 –  1 sec – ISO 400