Thomas Anderson Photography: Blog en-us (C) Thomas Anderson Photography [email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:54:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:54:00 GMT Thomas Anderson Photography: Blog 80 120 Week Sixteen - Scouting Greetings everyone and welcome to my sixteenth blog post!  Yes, its been a while since my last post but to be honest, there really hasn't been too much going on here lately.  The weather hasn't been very "Florida like"  photographically speaking.  The tides they are a changing though, and with the coming re-launch of my portrait business, I have cleaned up the web site and begun scouting out some good locations.  I started by nosing around downtown Kissimmee and it's lakefront park.  It's a very nice park on the northern shore of lake Toho with a small lighthouse and plenty of green space.  I also like the fact that there is plenty of FREE parking.  I'll be scouting areas throughout the region and put together a good shoot list like I had in Chicago. 

On Saturday, we made the short drive to Cape Canaveral to try some seafood at "Grills Seafood Deck and Tiki Bar".  It's located at the cruise ship port along with a few other seafood restaurants.  We were looking forward to sampling their Lionfish and Shark since neither of us had tried either one before, but they were out of both!!!  So, aside from those two menu items there was really nothing special about the place.  Yes, it is on the water and yes, they had outside seating. But the view is very industrial with the cargo terminal across the water.  We will return, but we're going to call ahead to make sure the Lionfish and/or Shark is available.

So there it is.... Short and sweet.  With more to come as I scout more areas.  I'm probably not going to post images of many of these locations because they will look best with a person as the main subject, but we'll see what I come up with.  I will close with this shot I grabbed of some pelicans loitering near the fishing boats at Port Canaveral.




[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) Central Florida Florida Grills Seafood Deck and Tiki Bar Kissimmee Port Canaveral USA lighthouse pelican photo photography scouting Mon, 08 Feb 2016 16:40:28 GMT
Week Fifteen - Grand Slam Greetings! I hope everyone is doing well and settling into the New Year.  This week my daughter and I took on the challenge of what is known as the "Disney Grand Slam", visiting all four Disney parks in one day.  We got to see some new things and It was a lot of fun.


Our strategy was to start with Animal Kingdom because it had the shortest operating hours that day and it's the furthest from the other parks.  It was a rough start since we arrived to a steady drizzle which would stay with us for much of our visit.  We opted to ride "Dinosaur" since it is the one ride we hadn't risen since we moved here and , more importantly, it is in doors.

Dinosaur Line queue Beginning of Dinosaur ride Expedition Everest Queue Yeti! - Expedition Everest Tree of Life - One park down, three to go

After Dinosaur, we headed over to Expedition Everest since the drizzle subsided a bit.  After Expedition Everest we wandered over to Africa and then decided to head to the next park - Hollywood Studios


We opted to drive to Hollywood Studios to save us some time.  Since the weather finally cleared up, we could have used Disney transportation to get to all of the parks, but it would eat up at least an hour for each park and since time was important to us, we were better off driving.

Hollywood studios is going through a bit of a transformation, but there were still a few things we wanted to experience.  One was the Start Tours ride.  We have risen  this countless times, but now they changed it up a bit to include elements of the new Star Wars movie.  After Start Tours, we stopped at the Writers Studio (which is basically a coffee shop) and enjoyed a quick snack.  I had their signature carrot cake cookie (my favorite) and my daughter had the "Red Shorts Shortbread Cookie.  We then visited the new Star Wars Launch Bay.  This has a couple of "Meet and Greets" (We visited Chewbacca) along with various memorabilia from the series and the obligatory gift shop.  We also rode the "Great Movie Ride" since my daughter had never ridden it before.  The ride is a bit dated in my opinion, but its lines are usually short and its a good way to get out of the weather.  The wait time for "Rockin Rollercoaster" was too long, so it was time to head on to Epcot.


Chinese Theater Lobby - Great Movie Ride Great Movie Ride Begins Entrance to Star Tours C3P0 - Star Tours Queue Ready for Star Tours Red Shorts Shortbread Cookie Chewy Meet and Greet Hollywood Studios - Halfway there

Once again, we opted to drive to Epcot.  I figured it was quicker, easier, and would allow us an easy exit when we were done for the day.   We started with a ride on "Spaceship Earth".  This is a dark ride that takes you inside the "ball" and takes you through the history of communication.  There are plenty of animatronics and what not to keep you interested.  You also get to be in your own cartoon using a photo they take of you in the beginning of the ride.  

We then proceeded to walk through the World Showcase.  We stopped for a beer at the United Kingdom area and watched a performance by a folk music group.   We walked by the other pavilions, but always seem to end up walking through the store in the Japanese pavilion and this time was no different.  I watched the Pearl Woman do her demonstration and looked at all the strange goods the Japanese have to offer.  This time we also walked through an exhibit called "Kawaii - Japans Cute Culture"  This takes you through a Japanese teens room and shows highlights from the Kawaii fascination.  

We were growing hungry, so we stopped at the Mexico pavilion and enjoyed the loaded nachos and sangria.  We then headed to "Mission Space", a ride I vowed to never ride again.  Mission Space is hosted by Gary Sinise and simulates a space mission to Mars.  Each rider is assigned a task and you are to perform your task during the ride by pushing certain buttons when they are lit.  The original ride put you in some sort of centrifuge to simulate being in the zero gravity of space, but all it did was make some people incredibly ill and even killed some people!  Though you can still ride this with all the spinning and what not, they now give you the option to ride with no spinning.  I hadn't tried this before and wanted to try it.  MUCH BETTER!!!  The ride is not only tolerable, but I really enjoyed it.

We finished Epcot and was now time to head to the final park - The Magic Kingdom

Our Cartoon - Spaceship Earth Ride Japanese Pearl Woman Kawaii Cute Stuff Kawaii Teens Bedroom Epcot Japan Pavillion Nachos and Sangria Mission Space Queue Preparing for Space Spaceship Earth - Dusk Epcot - Three parks down, one to go

We took the monorail to the Magic Kingdom.  It's easy and fast which was important to us.  It was starting to get dark and my feet were beginning to hurt, but we pressed on!  

The Magic Kingdom is almost always the busiest and this time was no different.  The crowd levels were not too bad, but after being in the other parks, we could see the difference here.  We decided to ride our favorites and see how we felt after that, so we rode Pirates of the Caribbean and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  We then walked the through all the lands and people watched at the Incredibles Dance Party.  It was now almost eight pm and we were weary!  So we mutually decided it was time to go home, but WE DID IT!!! 

Our ride to the Magic Kingdom Florida Sunset on the way to the Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle Liberty Belle Docked for the Night Four Parks - Mission Accomplished!!!!

That was our Disney Grand Slam!!!  A few things I thought should be accomplished (these are NOT rules) to be considered a true "visit" to each park are: We should walk the perimeter of the entire park visiting as many areas as possible, and riding at least two rides in each park.  Simple enough!  Of course living here makes it tremendously easier and knowing the parks layout, crowd levels, and popular rides helps a ton as well.  I will add that there is no way I would attempt this in the summer heat!!!  The parks are open longer, but it would be truly exhausting!!!

That was the highlight of the week!  Hope your enjoyed it and if you did, let me know!  I love getting feedback!!  Also, if you have any suggestions or questions, shoot those to me as well.



P.S.  I couldn't help but include this photo I took of this tiny Asian princess we came across at Hollywood Studios - 


Tiny Asian Princess

[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) Animal Kingdom Disney Disney World Epcot Florida Grand Slam Hollywood Studios Japan Kawaii Magic Kingdom Mission Space Orlando USA photography Sun, 10 Jan 2016 17:06:17 GMT
Week Fourteen - Christmas Break Happy New Year everybody!!!  Another year has gone by (so quickly for me) and we now usher in 2016.  Its been a couple weeks since my last blog not because I haven't done much, but because I didn't do a whole lot photographically.  I've been spending time with my wife and daughter taking in some activities that don't really welcome cameras.  One example was the Blue Man Group.  We've been wanting to see this show for years and finally were able to do it right after Christmas.  The theater is located at Universal's Citywalk so there were also plenty of dining options after the show.

I woke up Christmas morning to our neighborhood cloaked in fog.  I managed to grab my camera and jump in the car to get some foggy shots of the trees and neighboring meadow.  Fog is a great dramatic element to most photos and the shots I took that morning did not disappoint.

Fog in the Field Foggy Christmas Morning Treeline

This is the busiest time of year for the parks and the crowd levels are outrageous!  We made a point to avoid the parks for the week between Christmas and New Year for this very reason.  However, I noticed on Christmas evening that the wait times at the Magic Kingdom were pretty short, so we took a drive over and it was well worth it.  We didn't arrive till around 9pm ( the park was open till 1am that evening) and we were able to basically walk up to most rides!

We kind of took the same approach on New Years day except this time we went to both Universal parks.  The crowd was a bit heavier, but we did manage to ride a few favorites and enjoy a Krustyburger at Moes Tavern!

Ripsaw Falls - Islands of Adventure Men in Black ride - Universal Studios Lombards Landing - Universal Studios Macys Christmas Parade - Universal Studios Thats kind of it in a nutshell.  We have some adventures planned later this week, so stay tuned!




[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) 2016 Christmas Florida New Year Orlando USA Universal Studios holidays photo photography theme park Sun, 03 Jan 2016 17:23:04 GMT
Week Thirteen - A Visit With Opulence Hello everyone and welome to week thirteen.  This week we set out to Florida's Gulf Coast for a few days to enjoy some good food visit the Ringling museum, and take in some awesome sunsets.   The Ringling museum resides in Sarasota and was once the winter quarters for the circus.  John Ringling also built his winter estate as well as a pretty good sized art museum here.  Admission includes access to an impressive circus museum, the art museum, and access to the mansion that served as the Ringlings winter home.

Entrance to the Ringling

I was impressed with the circus museum because not only did it show the in's and out's of circus life, but it also had big layouts of scale models of a circus with tents and the circus trains.  These models were meticulously done in great detail. 

Model CircusTheresa checking out the model Circus PostersPosters from the golden years of the circus Looking Down at the CircusThe model circus from above Grrr

The winter home (mansion) was called Ca' D' Zan which translates to "House of John" and was also impressive, but admission only included a self guided walk through of the first floor.  I guess you could pay an additional fee to have a guided tour that included the second floor, but we didn't know about this till later.  John Ringlings wife Mable was in love with Italy especially Venice and this shows in a lot of the architecture and decor of the home.  All I can say is there must have been some good money in the circus business back then.

Ca'D'Zan ceilingSome of the ornate woodwork on the ceiling Ca'D'Zan Ceiling Back of the MansionThe back of the mansion which abuts the inter coastal waterway The Front Door

There was a lot of art spread throughout the grounds which made walking from one museum to the next more enjoyable.

Grounds StatueOne of many pieces of art on the grounds

John Ringling was a big collector of European art which was left to the state of Florida and is housed in the art museum on the grounds.  We were amazed at the size of some of the paintings.  Entrance to the museum was $25 which I initially thought was steep, but you basically are getting three museums and a pretty nice park entrance with the admission price and we really enjoyed the afternoon we spent there.

Art Museum Courtyard Breezeway Classic European Artwork Art Appreciation

We spent an evening in downtown Saint Petersburg and really liked the way the town decorated for the holidays.  The trees in the park were all decorated and lit and they even had a rink to skate on.  It wasn't ice, they called it "glice" which from the looks of it, was some sort of coated fiberglass.  It didn't look like it was very slick, but after watching several kids fall repeatedly, I was convinced that it was slick enough.

St. Petersburg "Glice" Lining up to see Santa

Of course no trip to the Gulf Coast is complete without going to... well... the Gulf Coast!!  Our place is right across the street from Indian Shores Beach which is home to sand, surf, and the most spectacular sunsets!  On my beach walks I've seen everything from washed up sea sponges, to marked off turtle nests (though I have yet to see the turtles hatch and make the dash to the ocean), we've even seen a dead shark washed up on shore.  This time I spotted the usual people fishing, seashells, and a horseshoe crab.  

Horseshoe Crab Young Fisherman Sunset Cyclist

End of an Amazing Day  It was a quick weekend, but it was relaxing and very enjoyable.  Can't wait to return.

That does it for this week.  Lookin forward to next week and the images that come with it!  Till then..... Stay outta trouble!!!


[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) Florida Gulf Coast Orlando Photo blog Ringling Ringling Museum USA art circus horseshoe crab photo photography photos Mon, 14 Dec 2015 03:55:58 GMT
Week Twelve - Colors and Magic Hello everyone and Happy December!!  I'm not a big fan of the holiday season, but I love the lights and colors that are on display everywhere.  There is a new attraction at Epcot called "Colortopia".  I tried it out and I photographically enjoyed it but, aside from the fiber optic paint brushes, the presentation itself wasn't very exciting.  Your ushered into a room and get a schpeel (by Modern Family actor Ty Burrell) about color and how it influences your life, feelings, etc..  Your then brought into a different room and issued a "paint brush" that you use to "paint" on a scene on these giant screens.  They only bring in groups of twelve or so people at a time, so your not all competing to color at once.  It's one of those things that may appease the young'ins but thats about it.  I'm thinking this is a temporary exhibit, but with all the hoopla thats been going on about this, it may be here longer than it needs to be. Fiber Optic Paint Brush Painting ScreensYou put your paint brush into the different color buckets and paint the different scenes on the screens Paint Buckets Color Wheel Paint Buckets

After experiencing Colortopia, I headed over to the "Imagination" area to see "Captain EO" the George Lucas/Micheal Jackson 3D movie that I'm sure was cutting edge in 1986 when it was made.  I had never seen it before and read that it is slated to go away Dec. 6th. Ifd your really interested in seeing this, click here  Captain EO Theater

China UmbrellasPair of umbrellas for sale at the China pavilion at Epcot

We also made a brief stop at the Magic Kingdom in search of certain gift ideas, so no rides this time.  I did grab a few shots on Main Street but we never did find what we were looking for.  A View From Main Street ​Well that wraps up the activities for this week.  More adventures await in the near future and Im looking forward to it!


[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) Captain EO Colortopia Disney World Epcot Florida Magic Kingdom Main Street Orlando USA photo photography Sun, 06 Dec 2015 18:30:06 GMT
Week Eleven - Holiday Hello everyone and welcome to week eleven!  Pretty laid back week, but still managed to have some fun.  Our daughter flew in from Chicago to spend Thanksgiving week with us, but her visit was delayed due to the snow storm that hit the Chicago area the morning of her flight.  Long story short, she ended up flying out the next morning.  We enjoyed our low-key holiday with the usual Thanksgiving dinner and then proceeded to Disney Hollywood Studios for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights which our daughter had never experienced before.  We also managed to grab fast passes for the Rock'n Rollercoaster, which is always fun.  We only spent a couple hours at the park which was a great way to spend Thanksgiving evening.

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

We did get a little sprinkle that evening, but nothing compared to the weather up in Illinois.  It rained just enough to wet pavement enough for some nice reflective photos.  I love how wet pavement enhances photos with colorful reflections.

Reflections at the Chinese TheaterThe rains made for some nice effects for night shots

I have never taken part in the "Black Friday" melee, I'd rather pay full price and keep what little sanity I have left, so we opted for another day at Disney.  This time we went to Epcot to visit the Norway pavilion and try the "School Bread".  I follow a few vlogs on youtube and one in particular is local to the Orlando area.  So thanks Tim Tracker for enlightening us on Epcot's "School Bread".  It was delicious by the way.  It consisted of a bun (kind of like a large dinner roll) stuffed with custard and toped with a coconut frosting and was DELICIOUS!!  I am constantly learning of these little hidden gems in the parks and this is definitely one of them!

School BreadSchool Bread from the bakery at the Norway Pavilion at Disney's Epcot

We walked around the World Showcase for a bit and then hopped on the monorail to the Grand Floridian resort to show our daughter the giant gingerbread house (see last weeks blog) and the Polynesian Resort to visit Trader Sams Grog Grotto.  This time we sat inside and watched the antics of the staff.  So much fun!

To end the week visit with our daughter we took a portrait of the three of us.  Self portraits are difficult and time consuming, so this was the best I could come up with. Although it was brief and flew past, we enjoyed having our daughter home and look forward to her return for Christmas.

Our Portrait

Well here endeth the lesson!  Till next week, Enjoy!


[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) Christmas lights Disney Disney Grand Floridian Resort Disney Hollywood Studios Disney Polynesian Village Disney World Epcot Norway Pavilion Florida Grand Floridian Resort Orlando Polynesian Resort Thanksgiving USA photography photos school bread Sun, 29 Nov 2015 19:11:50 GMT
Week Ten - Lights, Camera, Grog! Hello all and welcome to my tenth blog post.  This past week was relatively quiet compared to last weeks adventures, but we did have some fun none the less.  We visited Disney's Hollywood Studios to see the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights as this is going to be the last season they will be displayed.  This was the first time we experienced the light display and I have to say it was amazing!  To add to the festive atmosphere, Disney blows some type of sudsy substance to resemble snow.  We really enjoyed it and I'm glad we got to see it in it's final year.

Osborne Holiday Lights Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights Peace on Earth From Disney's Hollywood Studios

We made another visit to Disney this past weekend, but we did not enter any of the parks.  Instead we enjoyed drinks and appetizers at Trader Sams Grog Grotto which is located in the Polynesian Resort.  Sams has an inside and outside seating area, but to get a truly unique experience you have to sit inside.  This is well known because there is always a wait for inside seating whereas there is always a table available outside.  What makes seating inside unique you ask?  Everything!  From the decor to the wait staff yelling the drink orders and other attention grabbing phrases/chants.  The decor includes a mock window with a view of a volcano that erupts, an occasional thunderstorm, and many other tiki related garb.  One of the drinks on the menu is called the Polynesian Pearl.  Whats cool about this is it is served in a pearl shaped cup that is dispensed from a giant oyster named "Shelly".  The server will take the Pearl from Shelly and a new pearl magically appears for the next order.  Most of the beverages are served in souvenir glasses that are available for purchase.  The whole atmosphere inside is neat if your in the mood for a lot of yelling and antics.  If you simply want to enjoy the drinks and have conversation, the outside area is better suited.  The outside area is simply tables with umbrellas, but your overlooking the resorts marina and there is live Hawaiian entertainment.  The food was all appetizers with a polynesian influence.  We sampled the dumplings and a sushi roll.

Trader Sams Bar Area Polynesian LobbyPolynesian Resort lobby centerpiece Trader Sams Grog GrottoInside area of Trader Sams Tiki StatueTiki statue that decorates the outside seating area of Trader Sam's Grog Grotto

After our "grog", we went for a stroll down to the Grand Floridian Resort to take a peek at the giant gingerbread house.  It was giant, and they sell gingerbread items from inside!  All a bit pricey I might add.  Anyway, that rounds out this week.  Not much, but enjoyable.  

Grand Gingerbread HouseGingerbread house at the Grand Floridian


I'm looking forward to the holiday this week and the adventures that come along with it.




[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) Christmas Christmas lights Disney Grand Floridian Resort Polynesian Resort Trader Sams Grog Grotto drinks gingerbread house lights polynesian tiki tiki bar Sun, 22 Nov 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Week Nine - Road Trip and Reconnections Hello everyone!  What an exciting week!!!  This week we hoisted our sails, turned our ship (car) south and headed down to Key West,  a road trip we had been wanting to do for years. We decided to spend one night in Miami so we could get an early start on the Overseas Highway (Hwy 1) and take our time stopping in couple of areas we had wanted to visit.  Miami was busy, crowded, and loud - Everything I had expected it to be.  We did NOT explore the "Art Deco District" nor did we go to "South Beach".  We were here to kick back and rest up for the drive to Key West.  We stayed at the Holiday Inn Port of Miami which was downtown near the cruise ship terminal.  It was also right across the street from the Bayside Marketplace, a touristy outdoor shopping mall with a Hard Rock Cafe and some good views of the city. 

Downtown Miami Posing at Bayside Park

Bayside MarketplacePart of the crowd at Bayside Marketplace Hard Rock CafeMy obligatory Hurricane and Hard Rock glass to add to my collection. Miami EveningDowntown Miami at dusk. Used a long exposure and my "Gorilla Pod"

Starting fresh the next morning, we checked out of the hotel and began our trek through the Florida Keys.  Our first stop was in the city of Homestead where we found the Coral Castle. This little museum contains the works of Ed Leedskalnin who constructed the castle (containing many stone walls weighing in excess of three tons) by himself.  This place was inexpensive and interesting.

Coral Castle EntranceEntrance to the Coral Castle and NO it wasn't just 10 cents. More like $15

Coral Castle Tour GuideThe tour of the Coral Castle is guided and lasts about 45 min.

Coral Castle SculpturesThe tall one with the hole near the top was his "telescope"

Theresa and EdTheresa is the same height as Ed Leedskalnin

Next we began our 100+ mile journey down the Overseas Highway (U.S. Hwy 1) to Key West. We stopped at a couple of scenic spots along the way including the Seven Mile Bridge and yes, I tripped it out (like a nerd) and it is indeed seven miles long.

Our First StopThe first scenic spot we stopped at on the Overseas Hwy.

Seven Mile BridgeSmall park on the side of the road before crossing the Seven Mile Bridge Seven Mile Pedestrian BridgeThis is the old bridge that runs along side the new seven mile bridge. This one is open to pedestrian traffic, but due to a break at the mid span, you cannot walk the entire seven miles Old Bridge

We were told that we need to stop and find a "Key Deer" and while we were at it, stop in the No Name Pub. So we made a lunch stop on Big Pine Key which is home to the National Key Deer Refuge and the No Name Pub.  The Key Deer are small versions of White Tail Deer and are unique to the Keys.  Full grown, they are only around three feet tall.  The No Name Pub is a bar/grill that is tucked off the beaten path and has been popularized by various food and travel programs for the food and all the dollar bills attached by patrons (us included) to the walls and ceiling. We had lunch at the pub and figured we would set out and do a brief search for a deer.  The bar tender told us that the deer liked cooler temperatures and our best luck would be early morning or dusk, so we figured it was a slim chance we'd find one.  We were in the car in the parking lot and I was just about to put the car in reverse, so I checked my rear view mirror and as if on queue, there was a deer!  A little over three foot tall buck, grazing on some leaves right there in the parking lot!  Mission accomplished.

No Name Pub BarDue to the crowd, we sat at the bar at the No Name Pub No Name SignLots of dollar bills in this place

Leaving Our MarkAll you have to do is ask, and a member of the staff will hand you a basket of markers and a staple gun

Theresa and the DeerThe Key Deer we found roaming the parking lot. This one is full grown

Next was the final leg, Key West!  We stayed at the La Concha Hotel which was right in the heart of Duvall Street (the main drag in Key West). After checking in, we headed straight down to Mallory Square to experience the "Sunset Celebration".  This consisted mainly of local street performers juggling and tight rope walking for tips along with locals selling wares and food from booths.  Of course there was the sunset as well, but there was a lot of boat traffic and it was pretty hot since there was no shade.  The views were still spectacular and it was fun.

Sunset CelebrationLocal performer tossing knives for the sunset celebration

Sunset Tall ShipA nice warm sunset silhouetting a ship on a sunset cruise The next morning we set out to see some of Key Wests popular sights.  We started with the Key West lighthouse since it was on our way to the "Southern Most Point".  I love lighthouses and was truly disappointed when we were told the lighthouse itself was closed for renovation!! Bummer!  I did get some nice shots of the exterior and I guess this gives me reason to return?

Key West LighthouseThe Key West lighthouse that is closed for renovations till sometime next year

At the end of the road (Whitehead St) sits the "Southernmost Point" marker.  This marks the southernmost point of the continental U.S. (The actual southernmost point of all the U.S. is Ka Lae in Hawaii on The Big Island).  Its actually the southernmost publicly accessible point because there is a spot a bit further south, but it sits inside of the navy base.  Nuff said.

MarkerSouthernmost marker. Was much more crowded than this leads you to believe

There was actually a line formed along the sidewalk to take your picture with the marker. We opted to forego this and took shots of the marker itself since theres no need to be in the shot (It's obvious we were there, we took the picture!!).  There were also locals there selling trinkets and coconuts for you to drink out of.  We decided to share one and it was, well.... A coconut.

Queue UpPart of the line of tourists waiting to take their photo with the southernmost marker CoconutTheresa holding her coconut. She was upset they didn't crack it open so she could eat the flesh of the coconut

Right around the corner from our hotel is the beginning/end of U.S. highway one.  Hwy. one runs along the east coast of the U.S. from here (Key West) up to Calais Maine.  Its popular to snap a photo of "Mile Marker One" and I must oblige.


Mile 0Mile marker 0 marking the end of U.S. 1 south. Of course a crossed the street is marker 0 marking the beginning of U.S. 1 north

The highlight of our trip came on the last day.  We booked a flight on Key West Seaplane Adventures to the Dry Tortugas National Park to spend the afternoon at Fort Jefferson.  The trip included the round trip flight, a cooler of bottled water, and snorkel gear.  The flight is only thirty minutes (versus a three hour boat ride), everyone gets a window seat, and the pilot points out various points of interest on the way.  We got some spectacular views and the experience itself was amazing.

Adventure BeginsChecking in at Key West International Airport Seaplane PilotAt the controls taking us to the Dry Tortugas On Our WayOne of the many keys we pass on our way to Dry Tortugas SightseeingEveryone gets a window seat. We were able to see many sea turtles swimming along the way ArrivalUnloading after our arrival Fort JeffersonSign marking the entrance to the fort ​If you ever plan on going to the Keys, we highly recommend planning a day for the Dry Tortugas!

Arriving At The FortGetting ready to land at this remote location Moat Around the FortThis wall goes around the entire fort creating a moat, but mostly to block the surf from the walls DepartureAfter a fun afternoon of snorkeling and exploring, we head back to Key West Loggerhead LighthouseLoggerhead key is about three miles from Fort Jefferson and home to the Loggerhead Key Lighthouse

This marked the end to a great road trip.  The next morning we gassed up and made the seven hour drive home.  All the photos from our Key West adventure are in my Key West Gallery

We wrapped up the week with another reconnection with two of my classmates from grade school whom I haven't seen since... well.... grade school!  We met up at Disney Springs and even though our time together was brief, it was nice to see them again and to know they are doing well.

NLS AlumniA quick snapshot from our brief meet up. great to see Amy and Rachel again.

What an amazing week!  We got to see some amazing places, fly in a seaplane to remote islands, and actually pet a member of an endangered species all without leaving the state!  Lovin this Florida lifestyle!!


If you have any questions about some of these places or want more detailed info on our Key West trip, leave a comment/question below and I'll smuggle you the essentials


[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) Big Pine Key Dry Tortugas Florida Florida Keys Fort Jefferson Key Deer Key West Key West Seaplane Adventures La Concha Hotel Mallory Square No Name Pub Photo Blog Travel Photography USA deer lighthouse photography photos road trip sunset sunshine travel tropics Sun, 15 Nov 2015 18:40:30 GMT
Week Eight - M.K. and Reconnections Hello everyone and welcome to week eight.  Since Theresa and I were preparing for our upcoming vacation, we kind of laid low this week.  We spent most of the time getting caught up on things at home and didn't venture out too much.  But, as always, the photo bug in me kept nagging to go out and capture at least a few images before weeks end.  The result was a short solo trek to Disney's Magic Kingdom to try a few things that were dancing in my head.

I love to people watch and there is no better place to do this then Disney.  You are presented with folks from all over the globe and of all ages.  I wanted to bring a longer lens (my 70-200 in this case) and capture some candid/tender moments that I always seem to witness in the parks.  The first one was a father carrying his young son.  It was later in the afternoon and the boy had obviously had a long day.  What caught my attention was, as tired as he may have been, he still was carrying his toy sword and shield which made me think "Even warriors get tired"


As I was waiting for dusk, I ventured over to the carousel in Fantasyland and watched several families pose for photos in front of the "Sword Stone".  I wanted to capture some of the children's faces as they attempted to pull the sword from the stone.  I happened to overhear a father tell his kids that the sword was indeed real and that it can be pulled from the stone by the right person.  Sensing a good opportunity, I grabbed my camera and took aim.  I never would have guessed the outcome.  The daughter made her attempt obviously to no avail, so next up was her younger brother. 

As much as he tried, he wasn't able to pull out the sword (go figure).  Here was the kicker for me.  I expected some laughing, maybe some teasing, or even complaining.

Instead, they both banded together and made as best an attempt as brother and sister could possibly do.  Now THAT is a tender moment!

As I made my way towards the back of the park, I caught a glimpse at the que time for the Haunted Mansion.  It read "13" minutes.  I've heard that they do this, but this was the first time I had ever witnessed it.

The sun finally went down and I was able to pursue the image that had been dancing in my head.  A few months ago, I took a photo while riding on the Dumbo ride.  What struck me was the colors and I wanted to expand on that.  This time I took the shot from the ground and, using a long shutter speed, blurred the ride itself.  Even though a wider lens would have been better (I don't own one), I was happy with the outcome.  I will post a different perspective of the same shot on my flickr 365 day challenge album.

It was time to head to the parking lot BEFORE the parade/fireworks to avoid the teaming millions heading to the park exit.  I stopped to nose around a bit at the Polynesian Resort and have my obligatory Dole Whip, when I noticed that the audio from the "Wishes" fireworks show was being broadcast outside the resort.  Having my long lens and tripod with me, I was also able to grab a few shots of the show (See my flickr album) as well as a distance shot of Cinderella Castle.

Another highlight of my week was reconnecting with a childhood friend and classmate who was visiting Epcot.  I'm not sure when the last time we saw each other, but it had to be in the early '80s.  I enjoyed getting "caught up" and walking Epcots food and wine.  Good times!!

Well thats it for this week.  Brief, but fun and productive.  More fun and adventures await, but not till next week.


[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) Disney Florida Magic Kingdom Orlando USA people photo blog photography tender moment Sun, 08 Nov 2015 13:45:00 GMT
Week Seven - Visitors and Jock Lindsey Hello everyone and welcome to week seven.  This week we set off to try a new bar, checked in on Universal, and enjoyed a visit with family.

We start with trying out a new bar that opened at Disney Springs (FKA Downtown Disney). This place is called "Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar" and is themed on an obscure character from the first "Indiana Jones" movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar SignSign out front of Jock Lindseys Hangar Bar

For those not familiar with the movie, Jock Lindsey is the pilot of the bi-plane Indy escapes in when he is being "pursued" by a South American tribe.  The place is decorated with all sorts of aviation and Indiana Jones related memorabilia.  I didn't have the time to explore all of the trinkets, but that gives good reason to return right? Jock Lindsey's Hangar BarInside bar/eating area

The menu is done up as Jock Lindsey's log book.  It consists of about a dozen different appetizers followed by several pages of drinks.  Their specialty drinks all have names related to the Indiana Jones movies.  I had their "Signature Drink" called "Reggies Revenge" (reggie was Jock's pet snake that was sitting in the plane as Jock and Indy were making their escape from the jungle) while Theresa tried the "Cool Headed Monkey" which I think was related to when Indy and company were offered "Chilled Monkey Brains" in the "Temple of Doom" movie.   Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar MenuMenu and coaster

On the food side, we tried "Lao Che's Revenge" which were wings in a tangy sauce and the "Rolling Boulders Sliders" which were three spicy meatball sliders.  Really enjoyed the wings, not so much the sliders (they were a bit dry). Chilled Monkey and Reggies RevengeThe two drinks we tried at Jock Lindsey's

Indiana Jones MemorabiliaSome of the memorabilia included the voodoo dolls from the Temple of Doom

The bar itself has a fairly decent sized indoor area and a large outdoor area with an outside bar.  We will definitely return.

Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar outside BarOutside bar area at Jock Lindsey's

Next we headed out to Universal Orlando to check on progress of the new King Kong ride (Set to open next summer) and the renovations of the Hulk coaster.  Yes, I also did some night photography as well.

Skull Island ConstructionKing Kong Skull Island construction at Universal Islands of Adventure

As you can see, King Kong is well on it's way.  I am so looking forward to this ride and the new King Kong movie that is set to come out next year.  Both are going to focus on Kong and his home, Skull Island.

Skull Island and KongYou can see the giant Kong Head in front of Skull Island. Would be cool if this is the entrance to the ride que

Hulk RenovationTaking down the tracks of the Hulk roller coaster

The Hulk coaster is supposed to be getting a renovation, but they are actually removing the tracks.  I'm not sure if that means it's going to be completely re-done, or they are simply replacing with new track.  We shall see.

We also tried the "High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride" which takes you through the "Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoopendous".  I also had to take the obligatory photo of the Islands of Adventure lagoon.  I think this is the best spot for sunset photos in all the parks!  More of my shots appear in My Flickr 365 Day Challenge album.

Circus McGurkusRiding through Circus McGurkus eating area on the Seuss Trolley Train


Islands of Adventure LagoonDusk shot of the lagoon. A bit overexposed for the lights,but I was concentrating more on the sky for this one. Probably would have been a good HDR shot

We wrapped up our weekend on Halloween with some dear family members.  We spent the afternoon at Animal Kingdom and enjoyed lunch at the Yak and Yeti restaurant. It was a first for all of us.  The menu consisted of mostly asian dishes and the portions were huge.  I kind of expected this and ordered off the appetizer menu.  That was plenty for me since I also helped Theresa with the curry seafood dish she ordered.  And no, neither Yak nor Yeti were on the menu!

Enjoying Yak and YetiAwaiting our food at the Yak and Yeti Restaurant in Animal Kingdom

I was amazed by a character experience I have never seen at Animal Kingdom before.  A woman was on stilts and dressed in vines and leaves.

Vine WomanAmazing costuming and makeup for this "Vine Woman" at Animal Kingdom

Was really something to see, or not see as she would wrap her arms around a light pole and totally camouflage herself.  I was amazed at the detail in her costume and makeup.  I'm thinking that this kind of stuff is slowly being introduced as Disney is adding an "Avatar" themed area in the near future.

Camouflage The "Vine Woman" wraps herself around the bamboo light pole and disappears! You can make out her face about half way down the bamboo pole.


So, as always, it was a busy and fun weekend full of sights, friends, photography, and some rum punch.  As always, I'm looking forward to next weekend.


[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) Animal Kingdom Disney Disney Springs Disney World Florida Hulk Islands of Adventure Jock Lindseys Hangar Bar King Kong Orlando Universal Yak and Yeti Sun, 01 Nov 2015 18:26:33 GMT
Week Six - Barbecue and Expedition Everest Greetings from Central Florida!  Another great week of adventure in food and photography. We set out on Friday for the town of Winter Haven (about a 40 min drive) in search of "Smokin Jims House of Bar-b-q".  Thats right, we wanted some good barbecue and were willing to drive a good distance for it, but it was really worth it.

Jims House of Bar-b-qThe outside eating area of Jims House of Bar-b-q

We showed up during the lunch hour and showed our carnivorous side by ordering up some brisket and ribs.  All I can say is it was delicious and worth the drive.

MenuSmokin Jims menu - Best Butt in Town!!

Theresas Lunch - Beef Brisket

Toms Lunch Ribs

The highlight of the weekend was our visit to Disney's Animal Kingdom.  It's not like we had never been there before, but this was a rare evening where the park was open past sundown.  Animal Kingdom always closes early, usually between five and six o'clock, which I find disappointing since the parks all have a much different look at night.  I always thought the early closing times had something to do with the animals, but now Disney is in the process of building a "Avatar" themed area and plans on keeping the park opened later at sometime in the future.  Of course I was excited because I love night photography and I was finally going to be able to shoot in Animal Kingdom at night.  I wish the park was open later so I would have had more time to explore, but this was better than nothing and there will be more evenings in the future.

Road to AsiaLooking to Expedition Everest at dusk Expedition Everest QueExpedition Everest all to myself EverestUsed a long exposure and my gorilla pod - "Slow and low"

One of the best parts about staying till closing was, for the last half hour or so, I had the park virtually to myself.  Good times!


[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) Animal Kingdom Disney World Winter Haven barbecue food night photography photography Sun, 25 Oct 2015 15:55:14 GMT
Week Five - Small Travels Greetings from Florida!  We had a fun week this time around starting with an evening at Disney.  We started off by going to Disney's Hollywood studios, not to ride anything, but to photograph the now unobstructed Chinese theater.  Earlier this year Disney took down the giant "Sorcerers Hat" that sat in front of the theater for years.  This was a very popular move until they constructed a giant stage in place of the hat.  The stage was used this summer for some "Frozen" themed show, but when I noticed on a vlog I watch on youtube that the stage was taken down, I had to set out to shoot the unobstructed theater.

Disney's Chinese TheaterThe Chinese theater with the new green area in front of it

I wanted to do this before Disney builds another stage (I'm sure they will for the holidays).  In the mean time, you can now see the theater all the way from the entrance to the park,


Hollywood Studios Sans HatThe new view from the parks entrance

After our photo trip, we walked over to Epcot.  The "Food and Wine Festival" is still going on (It runs till mid November) and for some reason it was very crowded that night.

Food/Wine Greek BoothBooth for Greece on a crowded night at Food/Wine

Ireland - Food and WineBooth for Ireland at Food and Wine Festival Hawaiian SamplingKalua Pork slider from the Hawaii booth PatagoniaGrilled beef skewer and beef empanada

This was our third trip to the "Food and Wine Festival" and as annual pass holders, we were each rewarded with a commemorative wine glass.

Commemorative Food and Wine GlassDisney annual pass holders get a commemorative glass on their third visit to Food and Wine festival

Despite the crowds, it was a fun evening.


Friday we set out to the Gulf Coast to spend a couple nights in the town of Indian Shores.  It's about a two hour drive, it's right on the beach, and is about midway between St. Pete Beach and Clearwater Beach.  We love the Gulf coast (Indian Shores in particular).  The ocean tends to be calmer, its quiet, and laid back.  Plus they have some of the most spectacular sunsets I've ever seen!  With the beach right across the street, an award winning restaurant right next door, and a cool little coffee shop within walking distance, our location was perfect!  

Indian Shores Coffee CompanyCool little coffee shop. They have "Open Mic Night" every Friday

I snapped a bunch of photos there this weekend and I'll be sharing some of them on my flickr page in "My Flickr 365 Day Challenge" album.  My favorite shot though was one I did with my wife.  We've been wanting to take a "nice" photo together for a while now and I seized the moment when we went to the beach for sunset.  I brought my tripod and my remote shutter release, but the real fun was trying to compose the shot.  Self portraits are always difficult and time consuming (for me at least).  We managed to get the shot in just a few takes and we're pleased with the result.

Tom & Theresa - October 17 2015Taken at Indian Shores Beach

Well it's back to the "grind" of work, but the weekends just a few days away!  New adventures await!



Gulf SunsetGulf sunsets never fail to amaze




[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) Chinese Theater Disney Hollywood Studios Disney World Epcot Florida Food and Wine Festival Gulf Coast Indian Shores USA barefoot beach resort photography photos Mon, 19 Oct 2015 05:46:06 GMT
Week Four - More Food and this time Wine Hello all!  Another week has gone by and the weather is beautiful. Theresa and I ventured back to Epcot for another afternoon at the "Food and Wine Festival"  This time we sampled food from Greece, Japan, Brazil, Canada and the good ole USA.  

Epcot Spaceship Earth along with decor for the "Food and Wine Festival"

We really enjoyed sampling some of the wines and a beer flight on this visit.  I'm not much into micro brews and all, I'm pretty much a Bud Light/Coors Light/Carona drinker when it comes to beer.  This beer flight consisted of four beers.  Three of which I could barely stomach and a the fourth I actually liked.  We also sampled a couple of wines, the notable one being a Cabernet Franc from the Canada booth.  It's the first time I've tried a Cab Franc and probably the last, nuff said.  

Our beer flight. SweetWater Take Two Pils - Atlanta GA
Goose Island Honkers Ale - Chicago
Samuel Adams Rebel IPA - Boston
Dogfish Head Sixty One IPA - Milton DE
A Scene from the dining area at the Japan Pavilion

A friend asked me to further explain how the "Food and Wine" festival worked.  Basically they have booths representing different countries scattered around Epcot (Mostly in the "World Showcase").  Each booth will have three or four different food samplings you can purchase.  They also have a few different beverages with at least one "Recommended wine" that pairs with the signature dish.  It's basically like the "Taste of Chicago" with class(LOL).  

So it was another Epcot weekend, but we really enjoy that park and it's the most convenient to us.  We have to return to the festival one more time and we'll get our annual pass holder wine glasses.  Maybe next week.

My "photo of the Week" is one I took at Epcot earlier this year at Epcot's Moroccan Village.  It's part of my Flickr 365 day challenge, but never got posted to Facebook for some reason.  I use the option offered by Flickr to automatically post any new additions to "My Flickr 365 Day Challenge" album to Facebook, but it doesn't always work.


  Moroccan VillageMoroccan VillageThe Moroccan Village at Epcot

​The thing I really enjoy about Disney World (Epcot mostly) is there are so many little hidden spots tucked away in corners off-the-beaten-path.  As an annual pass holder, I have the opportunity to go to the parks and explore these little photographic nuggets.  The area in this photo is in the Moroccan village, but in the back of the alleyway.  I think most visitors venture into this area in search of the "Restaurant Marrakesh" which I didn't been know existed till I wandered back here.  Did you know about this place/restaurant?  Most folks like to wait till all other people are out of frame to get a good "people free" shot, but I sometimes like to have the human element in the photo.  It would have been nicer if the folks in this shot were wearing Moroccan style clothing, but we aren't in Morocco are we?!

Well thanks for visiting and till next week!!


[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) Disney World Epcot Florida Food and Wine Festival Orlando USA photo photography Sun, 11 Oct 2015 17:58:28 GMT
Week Three - Food, But No Wine Hello all!!  Had another fun week here in central Florida. The temps. are coming down, as well as the humidity.  This week I visited Disney twice.  First on Thursday I went to the Magic Kingdom.  The park is decorated for autumn and "Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween".  I was there to ride the recently reopened and newly renovated "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride.  Happy to see that nothing really changed. The ride was merely cleaned up and, I assume, some of the mechanicals were worked on.  It appeared to me that they may have added another "Jack Sparrow", put a Captain Barbossa on the big ship in the beginning of the ride, and added a couple more dogs.

Fall Micky WreathThe Magic Kingdom is decked out with Fall colors Bones at the HelmAlways love Pirates of the Caribbean New Jack Sparrow?I think this one was recently added, but I could be wrong Barbossa?Always love Pirates of the Caribbean

On Friday, Theresa and I went to Epcot, where they are having the "Food and Wine Festival".  They have this every year from mid September to mid November.  You can buy food and wine samples at different booths that represent different countries.  This visit we sampled food from Patagonia, New Zealand, China, Germany, The Dominican Republic, and Hawaii (I know Hawaii is not a country, but just go with me on this).  We also tried a couple of different drinks, but didn't do any of the wine pairings.  I did manage to grab a Dole Whip w/coconut rum though.  We plan to head back a couple more times to try some stuff that interested us, but we didn't have the appetite for.

Spaceship Earth - Epcot

As far as photography goes, I tried using my neutral density filter at the Magic Kingdom.  This allows for longer exposures during daylight.  It helps to remove people or other moving objects from the image and comes in handy in busy places.  Of course Disney World is always busy and even with the smaller crowd levels this time of year, I couldn't get the effect I wanted.  I kind of knew this going into this, but I'm still getting my feet wet with this filter.  As you can see in the photo, there is a lot of ghosting (people moving, but not fast enough) and there are some folks that just didn't move during the entire exposure.

Main Street USA - Magic Kingdom Done with a 10x ND filter. You can see the "ghosting" of some folks and the flags. Gonna keep trying!

I will keep trying till I get the result I'm looking for.

In the mean time, I have included one of my prouder Magic Kingdom photos.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Till next time!!!



[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) Disney Florida Food and wine Pirates of the Caribbean USA photography photos Sun, 04 Oct 2015 20:42:50 GMT
Week Two - Curveball I did it!  I just doubled the amount of blog posts i've made since my last attempt at this.  The sad thing is, it is just my second consecutive week and it was still an uphill battle.

I was thrown a curve ball this past week as I was feeling "under the weather".  Translation, I was sick!  The sickest i've felt in quite some time.  This screwed up many plans, but I still managed shoot some photos and still yet, managed to come away with some decent images and learn a few things.

We spent a day at our beach condo on the Gulf of Mexico.  Mainly to clean things up and do some needed repairs from the busy summer rental season.  When we arrived, I first went down to the beach to get some sunset shots.  The sunset (as beautiful as it was) just wasn't as photogenic/dramatic as I had hoped.

Bleh SunsetThe colors were beautiful and this shot does not do the scene any justice, but it's just not very attention grabbing. I was not alone on the beach and everyone else was snapping shots of this sky.  What many didn't do was explore the whole scene.  Behind us was a much more dramatic cloudscape and better subject matter for the foreground.

Looking Inland While the western sky was missing drama, the eastern sky was very much alive I always try to explore the entire scene.  Sometimes you get rewarded with images you never intended to capture.  Till next week!



visit my Flickr gallery and see how I'm doing with my 365 Day Challenge


[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) clouds drama ocean photography sunset water Mon, 28 Sep 2015 12:37:18 GMT
My First Blog post (Again) I am going to give this another try.  I have recently relocated to Orlando Florida and have been photographically learning the "lay of the land" here.  I find myself at the theme parks more often than not (at least once/week) since they are visually spectacular and its a quick/easy way to capture some colorful and interesting subjects.

A couple of weeks ago I was doing some night shots at Disney's Magic Kingdom when I was approached by someone and asked if I had a "Photo Blog".  I don't and thats what I told them.  They said I resembled a photographer whose photo blog they were following and had to ask.  This sort of planted the seed in my head that made me revisit this blog idea.  I have tried this before, which was a major fail, but my life has taken some major turns since then and thats why I'm gonna take another stab at it.


[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) Florida USA backyard photos second chance Sun, 20 Sep 2015 16:15:50 GMT
Florida Photos Well, we are wrapping up our last visit to Florida for the year.  This photo was taken from the "Long Pier" at Redington Shores.  Visit my gallery to see some of my personal favorite shots I took while visiting this year.

[email protected] (Thomas Anderson Photography) Florida beach photos Thu, 26 Dec 2013 03:30:14 GMT