Friday, August 5, 2016

THE Daytona Beach, Florida

Reposted from my blog April 12, 2015

The “product name” for Daytona Beach can probably be used for several miles up and down the coast, but there is only one “true” Daytona Beach and this is it. Why? Because it is located IN Daytona – well, on the beach anyway.

Guess where the beach is?
Through this portal and slightly downhill you can turn right or left and drive right onto the beach, park your car and enjoy your day. There seemed to be more room to park on the right. I had already parked my car in the city lot and paid their machine a couple of bucks to park for a few hours. I was only going to take a few photos, not jump-in the cold Atlantic. Not on a cool day such as today was.

To use the parking meter, you can use cash or your credit card, push buttons for the amount of time you want to stay and the machine prints your ticket showing paid and time expiration, which you then place on the driver’s side of your car dashboard. No more of this nickel/dime/quarter parking any more. They had the same type of parking meter machines on Tybee Island near Savannah. Never saw a meter-maid or officer, though.

The view from my parking space - Joe's Crab Shack - very famous.
After I parked my car I couldn’t wait to start snapping away. My Nikon battery was fully charged, memory card emptied, equipped with my 80~200 f/2.8 lens, we were definitely “up for anything” today. It was low tide, but according to my cell phone weather app, the tide was coming IN, so the waves should become a bit larger now. Ocean Waves~the one thing the beach does very well.

The weather was fair, but not great and tourists pushed themselves to get their visit in.
Because the weather was expected to change by late afternoon, the beach crowd seemed to consist of vacationers who insisted “today or not at all” was their only day for the beach. Locals wait for warmer weather, I assume. Heck, they lived there. They could go anytime. It really wasn’t all that warm and the breeze was a bit stiff, if you know what I mean. I decided that I would walk the beach as far south as I could, then turn around north again and see what I could see – to sort of, sample the overall scene.

The ultimate beach cliché -  the "lone surfer" takes his wave, shoots the curl as the tide rolls in.
Daytona Beach is definitely a commercial enterprise – restaurants/bars, bicycle/tricycle rentals, and on the other side of the pier was the amusement park. I walked alone, breathing the salt-spray air and feeling healthier than I had before I arrived. I don’t know why that is – high oxygen content, maybe? Other people don’t offer to talk much, but they see my camera and wonder what I’m up to. I just nod, smile and sometimes wave and say, “good day”. I’m just taking candid photos and memories of my day.

This seagull was really determined at having this carelessly discarded champagne cork.
I spotted this seagull who had found a champagne cork and really thought he had found something special. He eyed it carefully before he picked it up the second time with a better grip. I don’t know what he did with it.

I do like to photograph indigenous animal life. I didn’t see any crabs. I guess between the restaurant and the seagulls the crab situation was pretty well handled. Seagulls like to watch the waves come-in just as much as people do. A little farther down the beach, I spotted some more wildlife and I really, really wanted to get the shot, but I had to act nonchalant. I pointed the camera behind the subject, to catch the waves. (yeah, right). I admit to taking several shots – just to be sure I got a good one.

That girl - probably not from Ipanema. Nice waves action, too.
Just as the girl in the old song, The Girl From Ipanema ~ “Tall and tan and young and lovely, The girl from Ipanema goes walking,  And when she passes, each one she passes,  Goes “A-a-a-h”  I know I did, but I had to catch my breath first. We older guys are so susceptible to the images of youth. I continued along, but turned suddenly to see a guy walking along the beach with his boy. He looked at her and smiled her way, but she just kept on walking – her eyes on the distant horizon. Yeah, she was that girl, all right.

The Beachcomber - What a life! I wondered if he was a local guy or a visitor here.
No beach at low tide would be complete without the obligatory beachcomber. A brief moment ago, he was watching our girl above, but quickly got back to his business. I think he got a “beep”. Maybe today’s treasure hunting will yield big rewards, maybe just a healthy walk along the beach, maybe he’ll meet that someone special today or not. He has his hobby and I have mine. Are we so much different?

Two kids on these tricycles deliberately scatter the seagulls.
These two kids on little rented tricycles deliberately scattered the seagulls. I didn’t see any of them dump on the kids, but they would have deserved it.

As I had reached my journey’s end to the farthest end of the southern beach area, I turned around to catch the view. Many times, when taking landscape or scenery photos, we pick a selection of the scenery ahead never realizing the scene directly behind our camera position can be equally beautiful – at least different. Perspective .. its all about perspective.

I just love photographing wildlife.
Well, there wasn’t much going on at this end of the beach. A family picnic here, some kids and moms splashing in the ocean as dads watch. The never-ceasing waves roll-in. It was as timeless a scene as ever. I turned around and headed north again. I took a photo here and there, but just stuff to remember the day in pictures.

One of the best Kodak film ad campaigns ever ~ “Remember the day in pictures.”  Remember going to theme parks and standing in front of the little signs that read, “Kodak Picture Spot” and actually taking a picture there? I know I certainly did – Kings Island, Disney World, Disneyland even.

This is part of the "basement" of Joe's Crab Shack aka, the Daytona Beach Pier.
I walked under the famous Daytona Pier and got this shot. I can’t imagine any surfer with guts enough to “shoot this pier”, if I may borrow the line from a Beach Boys tune. I shot this with my camera – much, much safer. At high tide, you would never see these concrete pilings or the barnacles. I guess I was attracted by the light patterns on the construction of the pier.

I continued my pilgrimage, keeping a watchful eye on my cell phone to check the time and other things. I’m retired now and have no need of a wristwatch. It only gets in my way. Today, life seems to revolve around the cell phone, but this day, my world revolves around the beach. Just on the other side of the pier is the amusement center – rides, games, plushy stuffed animals that you can win .. maybe, bad fair-type food and all. I guess it wasn’t open just yet. If it was, it wasn’t very busy. Maybe the anticipated weather had something to do with it.

How would you like to take that Slingshot Bungee ride ... just once?
As you can see from the cloud formations, the weather was threatening if the wind would blow from the wrong direction. Still, people were there to enjoy Daytona Beach and today was that day, just the same.  If better weather was expected, I would like to have stayed and photographed this scene at night.

Moving along among the ocean-goers, a few cloudy-day sun worshipers and beach umbrella rental trucks, I happened to record the Lifeguard station during the shift change. Pick one up, drop one off. Have a safe shift. Ocean temperature today: 75 degrees.

Not "Baywatch", but beach safety is important everywhere along here.
Up on the dry land of the beachfront hotels and amusement center, a band played in a concert shell, a mobile bar was selling cocktails and a lady sculpted sand. Inside the nearby shopping center area, artificial snow blowers made the snowbird tourists feel at home. Remember the Boston snows?

Artificial snow makes Snowbirds feel right at home outside Bubba Gump's.
Daytona Beach: they L-I-V-E for tourism. Well, it was time to actually visit the famous pier. It was the popular place to be for a couple of reasons. It was near dinner time and people flocked from miles around to Eat At Joe’s. I’ve been seeing those signs all around the country ever since I was a kid. There must be a lot of guys named Joe who owned restaurants. Secondly, as the tide was returning, so did good fishing and the smell of freshly cut bait – or was that the restaurant? – was in the air.

Fishing is serious business at the pier.
A very serious and well-equipped fisherman converses with a curious tourist. This wasn’t his first fishing rodeo.

I spotted this fisherman who was prepared for anything. This wasn’t a guy ‘going down to the fishin’ hole with his cane pole for a lazy afternoon’ type of operation. This was serious fishing. He was obviously expecting to catch some big fish – maybe even a small shark.

Mr. Casual, here, maybe waiting for a handout or a grab & snatch.
Of course, it takes all kinds of fishermen to inhabit the pier area. I think this bird-guy in the crazy tennis shoes would probably be happy to rob some bait. I didn’t see him do it, but I’m sure he was thinking it.

I didn’t know if it was starting to sprinkle rain or if the ocean breeze was blowing water, but looking at the sky made me wonder. I wasn’t prepared for rain and neither was my camera. I thought it prudent to head back to the car and check the parking meter. I though my time was just nearly up. If it wasn’t, it was going to be just he same. I had walked in my shoes instead of barefoot. My feet hurt a little bit.

Even the view toward my parked car was good. I’ve got this “thing” for palm trees, don’t-cha know.

The sun did peek through the clouds for a brief time and I got a glimpse of a small piece of rainbow in the sky above the ocean. It was very faint and I could see it better than I could record it. I wondered why, but I couldn’t ponder that for too long. I got in the car just as a few more raindrops hit the windshield, then made myself comfortable, took one last view through the windshield glass, then slowly headed back to camp. I thought about what I saw, what I wanted to see and did I get every shot that I could. I still had two minutes left on the parking meter.

Good timing, I’d say.



  1. who knew you had such a "thing" for palm trees and wildlife" ... hahaha! you're wild! lovely pics by the way. enjoyed reading the post, almost as good as being there.

    1. Daytona was my winter trip in 2014-15. Last year, I went to south Texas. I have to say, I liked Daytona better. I'll have to go back there ... soon!

  2. Yeah, winter will be here b4 you know it!

    1. With all that I've had to fix and upgrade this summer, I hope I'll be getting a job at Amazon Warehouse in Campbellsville, KY. for a few months.

  3. never been to Campbellsville, is that a nice area? Son has a birthday weekend at I'm thinking at Natural Bridge ... renting some cabins ... Isabella and I are going ... its down that way somewhere. It'll be nice to get outta Dodge. :)

    1. I still have part of the employment process to go through before the seasonal hiring begins. I've never been there before, so I'll still be going somewhere new and different. Having adventures.