Tag Archives: gulf

Last Breath of Summer from a Beach in Gulf Shores

Lighthouse Sunset Over the Gulf of Mexico

Lighthouse Silhouette as the Sun Sets Over the Gulf of Mexico

Busyness has many enemies, but to me, one of the greatest causalities of busyness is the loss of creativity. When life turns into a checklist of task items the thing that loses out, at least in my life, is always the creativity of reading, writing, photography, poetry, contemplation, prayer, games, music, and so on. Many of those can be viewed as spiritual disciplines, which means one could say that busyness can pull us away from those things in our life that are to be set aside for worship.

This past weekend I finally got a few days to go down to the beach and relax, only it wasn’t quite as relaxing as I had thought it might be. Sure it was time away from the routines of life, which was great, but I really think it takes more than a few days to untwist your mind from the speed of life we live today. That’s the part that never really happened… but that’s ok too, after all, how busy could it possibly be with the view from our balcony below. What we did get to do was visit with family we haven’t seen in a few years, I finally got to visit the aviation museum in Pensacola (that post is upcoming), and we enjoyed a few glorious sunsets on some empty white sand beaches.

I left Auburn hoping to get through two books while I was down at the beach, both of which I had made it about one chapter deep. I managed to make it to the last chapter of the first book, one called Lifted By Angels by Joel Miller, and one I hope to write a review about soon. This was a great book to read uninterrupted at the beach, a place where one’s thoughts can be lifted above the routine of daily needs. There were so many quotes that caught my attention in this anthology about our interactions with angels, especially when it comes to our interaction through a prayerful life, but this stood out when talking about asking for things in prayer…

Isaac the Syrian said that when we ask for earthly things, it’s like a subject standing before his king and imploring him for a measure of manure. The request insults both the king and the subject.

I think we often get so caught up in the earthly life of “things” and the tasks of the day, we forget our life is about preparing for eternity, not necessarily worrying about tomorrow. Below is sort of a timeline from sunup to moonup on our last day, in the last bit of summer warmth before the real fall arrives soon.

Balcony View of Gulf of Mexico

Balcony View of Gulf of Mexico

Sun Setting Over the Gulf of Mexico

Sun Setting Over the Gulf of Mexico

Sunset Through the Grass at Gulf Shores

Sunset Through the Grass at Gulf Shores

Moonrise Over the Beach

Moonrise Over the Beach

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

Sun Rise on St George Island, FL

Sun Rise over the Gulf of Mexico on St George Island, FL

It didn’t take me as long to come up with an image for “merge” this week as a part of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge (Merge), but it also looks like one of the more popular posts from the traffic as well. A sunrise might be a little more cliché than my previous posts, but we just got back from the beach, and this is what you shoot at the beach. I also have an extreme fondness for sunrises and sunsets. Twice a day we get such a unique view of God’s creation, and no two are ever the same. Last year I watched two sunrises and almost three sunsets in about a 24-36 hour period when I flew from Atlanta to Africa (which I actually don’t think I have posted yet).

I love the topic of photographically showing merge. There is no better way (to me) to photographically exhibit the topic of merge than a sunrise or sunset over the ocean, except perhaps a heavy fog. The night merging into the day. All the colors merging and blending all into one. Then the horizon disappearing or reappearing, marking a change in time from one day to the next. This shot was taken yesterday looking out over the Gulf of Mexico from St. George Island, FL just about 30-45 minutes after sunrise, just about the time all the color in the sky and water faded into dull blues. It was just as peaceful in person as it looks in the photo above.

I’m going to do another post later with just photos from St. George, so for now, here is my version of “merge” for this week. Be sure to check out some of the other entries below.

Other Related Posts:

  1. Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge « Ruth E Hendricks Photography
  2. Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge | Four Deer Oak
  3. Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge | Denise discovers…
  4. Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge… | Mirth and Motivation
  5. Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge « City Life Picture

God, Wind, Surfers, and Some Photography

DSC_5669-surf1

DSC_5407-surf2

DSC_5418-surf3

DSC_5459-surf4

DSC_5483-surf5

DSC_5532-surf6

There is nothing quite like the power of God as seen through an incoming storm on the ocean. This week we planned on spending a few days in-between our two fall semesters down at the gulf, and of course there was a strong remnant of a hurricane from the Pacific on its way over right to our little spot. The ocean is even limited in our mind by as far as we can see, and only from the tiny little spot on the sand we can stand.  But it changes every day.  I have been to the Pacific, Atlantic, and of course the Gulf and it never looks the same, the ocean, even from our small perspective.  The surfers were quite thrilled to see the 35-40mph winds down there today, and I took a few shots of the local surfers.

Photos From Gulf Shores State Park Beaches

Tent at Night in Gulf Shores

Birds on the Beach

Sand on the Beach

Shells on the Beach

Water and Shells

Shell on the Beach

I finally got around to editing some of the photos from our camping trip last weekend.  We stayed at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores Alabama, just down the road from where we use to live in Orange Beach at Bearpoint Marina.  This state park is one of the larger ones, but a little less on the “camping” side and a little more on the RV side of camp grounds.

We have visited this park several times before and it is a very well developed area just on the other side of the main road from the beach.  It does border the lake that is in the area and there is a golf course in the park as well, but if you are looking for a camping spot on the actual beach this is not it (nor were we expecting it to be).  It does have great access to the Gulf State Park beaches which are starting to get a little crowded at this point.  If you want an empty beach in the same area, same beautiful white sand, just take a short drive down to the National Seashore in Florida called the Gulf Islands National Seashore (though they don’t allow pets on the beach).

One thing about this area is the hurricane damage that is still present in the tree line.  Several years ago a hurricane topped all the tress around here so if you look at what is normally a pretty full pine tree forest type area, you see sort of a tree trunk grave yard. Pretty weird looking but some of the photos below are a few trees that made it among all the ones that were topped, and the smaller ones that have emerged.

We have been to all these beaches and most of the restaurants in the area so many times that we will probably make our way east next time toward Panama City where we haven’t spent so much time.  All in all it was wonderful and relaxing as always, and I did get to take a few photos while we were there.  You can see the complete slideshow of photos here on flickr.

On the Beach Again with the Whole Family :: Friday Feet

Scott, Deborah, and Ebby on the Beach

Scott, Deborah, and Ebby on the Beach

Scott, Deborah, and Ebby on the Beach

Scott, Deborah, and Ebby on the Beach

Last weekend Deb and I went back down to Gulf Shores for a quick camping trip.  Of course, being that we were camping we had no Internet access (at least non-cellular) which was weird, so I have some catching up to do on my blog.  I haven’t missed a Friday Feet post since I started it last year so this post-dated version was from last Friday.

Always an interesting weather time weather wise down here where thunderstorms usually start to roll in and winter still tries to hang on.  One day it is freezing and the next is it hot.  Thursday we arrived to a blustering tornatic frontal system and Friday it was sunny and hot.  It was still a great time to relax away from the computer and start thinking about Holy Week coming up.

I have several posts coming up on photos from that weekend, a few book reviews, and many more, stay tuned.  Have a great Holy Week this week.

Storms Arriving in Auburn as We Leave for Gulf Shores

Cumulonimbus Clouds

Cumulonimbus Clouds

Columbia Tent

Last weekend we tried to go camping but the rain never really let up.  Not only did it not let up, but the severe weather down in the gulf kept getting worse so we decided to give it a go this weekend.  We are or were pretty avid campers in the day and we have camped in just about every state in the country but haven’t been in quite a while.

I am looking forward to a bit of relaxing on the beach with some time to read and write, hopefully we will see a bit of sun while we are down on the gulf this weekend.  Below are some of the cloud formations we saw in the storms coming through this week.  I love clouds, they are almost like snowflakes, day is different and they are constantly moving.

Perdido Key National Seashore Photos :: Friday Feet

sea gull on the gulf coast

friday feet

bike ride in the gulf coast

plant in the sand

scott and deborah

parasailing

Today was our first and last full day on the gulf coast.  For January, the weather was beautiful but very very windy.  We went to one of our most favorite places in the Perdido Key area, the Gulf Islands National Seashore. We never really stay for more than a day or two down here but you pay for a 7-day pass ($8) and have access to one of the most wonderful white sand beaches on the Alabama/Florida gulf coast shore lines.

Every time we have been here the 5-7 mile stretch of beach has only a handful of people (today almost no one) and it seems to be one of those few areas in the country that still has pristine beaches and little sign of city life.  Our other favorite area like this is over on the Outter Banks of North Carolina which also has some of the most untouched beaches in the country. So for my Friday Feet post today, here is my feet image, and also a few more.  Tomorrow is it back to Auburn and back to work.

Gulf Shores Bike Trail to Beautiful Sunset Beach

Gulf Shores Sunset

Branyon Backcountry Trail

Bike ride

Bike ride

I would like to say that every day is filled with a bike ride and a walk on the beach, but at least, today, it was.  We use to spend quite a bit of time in Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, and Perdido Key, but haven’t made it down here in the last 6 months.  This is our absolutely favorite time of year to be down here.  The beaches and parks are usually empty, the temperature is still pretty nice.

After getting some work done at home we drove down to a bike trail in Orange Beach that is easy to find but not on many maps or searches.  The Hugh S Branyon Backcountry Trail, which starts and runs through Gulf State Park, is a paved trail that have several different 1-2 mile sections that runs through the sand dunes and some beautiful nature areas.  We have driven by several times in the past but never stopped to ride the tail.

Of course no day would be complete down here without a walk on the beach.  We made it over to the sand just in time to see the sun set.  I walked a few miles down the beach and then we had dinner at a restraunt there on the beach, The Hangout.

I am always amazed at the beauty of the beach and the ocean.  I have seen it so many times, in many different states and countries and it still has some magical, almost mystic quality.  A place that for one reason or another allows you to remove the routine of life and the busy world around you and leaves you with sand and water… but a lot of sand, and an unreal amount of water.

I think people are attracted to the beach because it represents life.  Water that is living, breathing, and a constantly changing yet every time you go to the same beach, it looks relatively the same.  Taking a walk a few miles down a nice white sand beach (especially in January) is a spiritual thing, and I will take a walk any chance I get.  Here are some photos from the day.

Leave the Boat in Orange Beach to Sit in Traffic on I-65

traffic-wreck

Well, we had to leave the boat and come back home. It was such a great weekend we didn’t want to leave but all good thing must come to an end I guess. It was nice to get back to the house though and take a nice shower and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.  We left the boat around 9am and took our normal routine (which includes a stop for donuts) back up to North, LA. Along the way, unfortunately, we were stopped by a horrible accident on I-65 that was said to be a fatality. When we finally got up to the wreck, we could see only one car left, a black Chevy Suburban from Alabama, which obviously rolled at least once.

We thought we saw a careflight type helicopter, but we were only about 45 miles south of Montgomery so it would have gone north of us on takeoff. One of those things that makes you wonder why some of these drivers are so careless when this can be the outcome for more than just themselves. At least I had my camera but I wish the best of the family of that car, it was in horrible condition, unrecognizable.

While traffic in California may be bad, we rarely get stopped, but in this case we sat on I-65 for more than an hour with MANY other people. As a photographer, did I mention that I love head shots (and my wife), so, isn’t that a great shot of Deborah.

Update to This Blog

After I got back home I decided that “My Life in LA” needed to be complete. I imported, added, and re-posted all the blog entries from when we moved to LA, which was early 2006, up to this point. My apologies to those rss subscribers would are now spammed with all my previous blog posts. I am sorry, just want this to be an accurate historical record of our life in Alabama, which, at this point, began in January 2006. I did spend much of this weekend working on previous blog entries and updates to my other blogs for organizational purposes, hopefully that work is now done. Tomorrow and this week will be busy.

Nature in View

Once we got back home today we did find a female Red-Breasted Grosbeak at our feeder, along with two males. This was the first time we had seen any females and Deborah and I were both surprised to see them still here at our feeder.

Walking on the Beach is My Favorite Exercise

coldplay is what's on my ipod

All the bad weather stayed well north of us today and left us with the most beautiful Saturday we could have asked for. Partly cloudy, 82° with a slight breeze, and enough humidity to remind us we were actually on the coast. Probably the nicest weather we have had since Deborah and I started coming down here more than a year ago.

We had breakfast at one of our favorite morning diners, Waffle House, then went over to a local public beach access point so I could get in a good walk on the beach. I was going to walk to where I knew the beach was blocked by a pier construction, then walk back. The pier was about 4 miles away, with a nice state park beach about 2 miles from my starting location.

Walking is Great Exercise

I have walked on this beach many times before, and sometimes it can be a fast walk, sometimes, very slow. It depends on the tide and how deep you sink into the sand. Today it was a slow walk that really works the legs, especially since I was walking in my jeans for some dumb reason.

I walked the 4 miles to the pier, then back 2 miles to the state park pavilion and decided I had had enough at 6 miles. I text Deborah who was happily knitting at my starting point and she came and picked me up. It was a 6 miles walk that felt like 10, but it was good exercise and I enjoyed it very much. Nothing relaxes the mind like a beach, a walk, and an iPod.

Flipper’s is Now Opened

A new restaurant opened that we were hoping would be good, since it is right near the boat. It has been several other establishments prior to Flipper’s but it opened yesterday and today lunch was good. I had a grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich with sweet potato fries, both of which were GREAT. Deborah is going to try out their hamburger for dinner. Hard to mess up one of those but we have been to many places that did.

Nature in View

Today with the walk on the beach I had an hawk or eagle fly over head, dive in the water and catch a fish with its talons. It flew within about 50 feet of me, I could almost see what kind of fish the bird caught. He flew off across the beach, road, and back to his nest I guess. Beautiful bird. No dolphins yet today, but there are some really loud party goers two slips over and if I was a fish I wouldn’t be anywhere near this place right now. Maybe later.