September 11th, 2017

Hurricane Irma has come and gone. We spent our Friday setting up sand bags at our back door and securing our grill closer indoors. Sarah and I then settled in for the evening. The air was nice and cool, there was a soft breeze, you’d hardly notice there was a category 4 hurricane headed your way.

Saturday, we did what two home bodies would do, we slept in, watched some TV, I played some Destiny 2, and cooked some of our perishable food. Irma was just starting to make landfall in Florida, still category 4.

Sunday morning, I woke up around 6am for no apparent reason. I then booted up my MacBook Pro and set up a weather stream. I had a camera facing out our window with a current weather radar showing the area, the local weather conditions, and the reported conditions of Irma. The stream lasted a whole 11 hours before we finally lost power. After getting the stream running, I played a little more Destiny 2 (by the way, I’m really enjoying it, I might go into more detail at some point). It had been alternating between raining very lightly a little heavily all day, and eventually we had the idea to take a nap. Finally, around 8pm, the power went out. By 10pm, we made our way out to our front porch and watched the storm with our neighbor and his dad. We even got to watch green flashes of light illuminate the sky every time lightning struck electrical equipment. It was very twilight-zone-y. By about midnight, I was feeling tired again, so we had made a go at going back to sleep.

It’s really difficult to sleep in complete silence. Especially when you’re used to having some form of white noise. The howl of the wind, and the noises from the dogs kept me up and down all night. Around 2am, I finally was completely asleep. Then again, 5am rolled around, and I was wide awake again. It was quiet, too quiet. We were in the eye. Naturally, I got up, got dressed, and went outside to check it out.

Eventually, we got back to sleep with the peace of knowing what our neighborhood looked like. Around noon we got out of bed and moseyed the dogs outside for another walk. On our way back to the house, we noticed that one of the houses had a light on outside. Then, people started popping out of their houses to exclaim “WE’VE GOT POWER!”

Due to all the damage outside our little neighborhood, neither of us really have work tomorrow, still. I hope everyone is safe and doing well.

Took a Hike out to La Chua

Today, Sarah and I had the day off together for the first time in, well… what seemed like FOREVER. So, instead of just sitting around the house, we decided to get out and enjoy the warmer weather and go for a hike. This time, we went a little north to Paynes Prarie and hiked the La Chua Trail. 

When we arrived, to the entrance to the trailhead parking lot, it became apparent that all of Gainesville had the same idea. Cars were lined up all along the road, parked in every last bit of available space. I get it, though, it’s the first day of spring, completely understandable. We were lucky enough to get a parking spot, strapped on our (highly unnecessary, but incredibly comfortable) hiking boots, and headed off for the three mile hike.

It was neat to see so many different animals in their natural habitat. Although, it was pretty odd to see wild horses and Bison in Florida, but that’s what happened after the Spanish settled here all that time ago. As a photographer, this is a good place to get some excellent wildlife shots. There were three or four photographers there with immense lenses strictly to get those crazy close-up shots of the birds, gators, and more.

While we were there, I shot a little bit of video on the Fujifilm X-T2, which I’ll edit together eventually, probably. Unfortunately, tragedy struck my favorite camera. After folding my tripod back up and flipping the screen back into place, I noticed that the screen looked blank. I thought it was maybe because the camera had gone into standby, and I woke it back up. Nope. I guess as a direct result of the tilting screen, I can no longer use the screen when it’s flush to the camera. It still works great in ANY OTHER POSITION, but no, not in the standard alignment. I’ve already fired off an email to Fujifilm USA to see what they have to say about it. It is a little worrisome that after about seven months of use, I’m having problems. Maybe I’ll try to upgrade to the GFX 50s. Who knows! I’ll keep you all updated, because I know you’ll be waiting with bated breath.

Overall, despite the crowds, despite the technical difficulties, we both had a good time, and that’s all that really matters. 10/10 I would recommend this little walk to anyone wanting to just get out for a couple hours with the chance of wildlife interaction.

All photos shot with the Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 Lens and edited in Lightroom CC, except the monochrome photos, which are straight off the camera from the Fujifilm X-T10.

Twenty Eight

I honestly don’t believe that I’m 28, but here I am, laying in bed watching a movie that I haven’t seen since 1998 (Lost in Space, if yo nasty), eating a Twix ice cream bar, and posting things to SnapChat. That’s what adults do, right? I’ll probably figure it out soon. 


Today, we went to the Fountain of Youth archeological park for the first time, and got to learn more about the First Nations that lived here, and that one may have even immigrated here from Mexico over 4,000 years ago. I really do find it awesome to learn things like this about our past. It’s always good to know where you’ve been, so you know where you’re going next. 


After that, we did our typical walk around old town Saint Augustine, which was surprisingly normal since the hurricanes had blown through this past summer. I’m glad to see that the city is so resilient in the face of hardship. 


Most of today, I had my Fujifilm X-T2 with the 27mm pancake lens, and as predicted, it was great for walking around on the streets. I definitely look forward to seeing what the photos look like when I get them into Light Room at home. 


Later, we went to our usual spot, the Black Molly Grill, for dinner. We both got steaks, as usual, and they were perfect as always. After, we went out to the beach. 


Naturally, by this point, it was dark outside, so there wasn’t much to see, but I only wanted to stand in the stillness of the night and listen to the waves crashing against the shore and feel the wind blow. 


It was the perfect ending to the perfect day. Next, we’re going to have to head home. Lame. 

Hurricane Matthew

It’s Thursday, and my first week back at work is already over, due to a little storm known as Hurricane Matthew.

Leading up to today, this week’s been pretty easy-going, the weather’s been amazing, and I feel like I’ve been able to accomplish a fair amount of work, even. Coming back from a long vacation is never easy, but fortunately, this week was Customer Service Week, so there was a lot of things to distract us from our work, which, to be honest, is a bit odd considering that our collective objective is to serve the customers, and we can’t exactly do that when we’re being distracted by games and activities.

Either way, I had a lot of fun, and I feel as though it really helped bring our team closer, and especially make our newest member feel welcome, I hope at least. Granted, within her first week, she got to travel on a pretty awesome marketing shoot that I missed out on because I was on vacation, so I’m sure things are looking up.

Anyway, the storm.

Being that I’m on the west coast of north-central Florida, I will be affected by the storm, but not as much as those on the east coast. The projections for the storm appear to have Matthew loop around and come back. By then, it will have weakened, most likely, and then fizzle out, most likely as soon as it makes landfall for the second time. Of course, there is the possibility of it going straight up the east coast into the Carolinas. Some say that there’s a chance that it’ll turn and head more up the middle of Florida, but I highly doubt that, based on the National Hurricane Center’s projections, the course that it’s already set on, and my own common sense (which I’m sure means a whole heck of a lot to you, but just trust me on this), the eye of Matthew will stay to the east of Florida.

All things considered, though, it wouldn’t hurt to still be stocked up on food, water, gasoline, propane, charcoal, and whatever you and your family needs for survive at least a few days.

On a slightly different note: I believe that Governor Rick Scott’s “This storm will kill you” statement was a little too much. While, yes, the hurricane is dangerous and people should heed to evacuation orders, making heavy statements like that do nothing but incite panic. While some believe that panic is what we need, it does NOT help at all. We need the evacuees to leave calmly and quickly. Panic will only make them rush and not think straight, car accidents will happen, roads will get bogged down, panic increases, then who knows what happens. Panic could also incite robberies, fights, and even riots, with the dwindling amounts of essential supplies.

Then again, I am not a psychologist, a politician, or a meteorologist, I’m just a guy with a blog. Stay tuned either on here, my Twitter, or my Instagram for updates on this craziness.

My heart and mind go out to all those who are trying to make their way away from the storm, and especially those who have already been affected.