Friday, June 24, 2011

Sanibel Pops with Never Ending Photo Opps!

I am humbled by the many great photographs I have seen taken on
Sanibel Island over the years. No, really I mean it. It takes patience to get that perfect shot, as well as luck in both subject matter and weather. We have been coming to the Island for over 14 years, and though we have some wonderful pix, we are generally so busy while there attending to our vacation rental properties that running about finding great photo opportunities is pretty low down on our list of things to do.

But thankfully, our guests----and particularly those that stay in our home, Toucan House----find no such obstacles in their way.

So when I heard from the Wyoming family who rented Toucan House for the month of May that they loved the home and had a wonderful time on the Island, I was gratified. But the appreciation doubled when I saw the pictures one of the group had taken. The photo here, titled by the photographer "Sanibel Line Dance" is one of several that truly tickled my sense of humor.

The photographs are compellingly composed and crystal clear. And I just loved Terry's whimsy in coming up with the descriptions.

Like many who come to the Island, he and his family love collecting shells. But there are times when the shell collecting is less bountiful than others. The weather, movement of the Gulf and tides do make a difference in the number and variety of shells to be found, but whether shells are in abundance or not, wild life always seems to be.

In Terry's words: "....I happened to buy a Nikon camera while I was staying at your house, which has transformed my whole beach experience. It used to be disappointing when there weren't many shells on the beach, but now I simply switch into photographic mode, and there seems like there is always something of interest to photograph, especially when one gets out early.....Bowman's Beach is surely the best place ....for photographing nature and wildlife. "

Well, looking at Terry's pix, I would have to agree. Take a look for yourself and enjoy what you see:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sanibel and Sunshine: Things to Know Before You Go

We are full throttle into summer, the days are hot and sunny and though off set by other factors, visitors should not be mislead. Neither the cooling waters of the Gulf nor the balmy breeze through the trees will protect you from the sun's rays. If you want to be outdoors, the only real defense against sun burn is staying in the shade.

But, hey, who is going to come all the way to the beautiful and tropical Island of Sanibel and stay in the shade all day?
You know you will want to jump into the sea, take a dip in the pool, bike the Island or in some way immerse yourself in the inviting embrace of el sol.

But before you slather up, there are some things to keep in mind about the efficacy and impact of using sun screen. According to recent research, some sun tan lotions are more harmful than beneficial.

A form of vitamin A is added to some sunscreens to minimize the aging effects of the sun. What’s not to love about that? Potentially plenty: Researchers with the National Toxicology Program say retinyl palmitate–a vitamin-A compound used in at least 40 percent of American sunscreens–may speed up the development of skin cancer–related tumors and lesions when used on skin hit with sunlight.

And Vitamin A isn’t the only controversial ingredient slipped into some SPFs. Oxybenzone and octinoxate, common block chemicals, are linked to allergic contact dermatitis and photocontact dermatitis (irritation caused when certain chemicals are on skin that’s exposed to sunlight), as well as hormone disruption, in lab animals. But your sun screen can not only damage you, it can damage the environment as well.

Twenty thousand tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers, divers, and surfers into the oceans every year, eventually affecting marine life, according to a 2008 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. And coral reefs are getting especially creamed. Researchers say sunscreens with octinoxate, oxybenzone, parabens, or camphor derivatives are killing hard corals (which could negatively impact biodiversity and reef ecosystems). None of this is a problem if you’re hiking, biking, or sunbathing on dry land. But if you plan to swim in the sea, slather on a biodegradable sunscreen that doesn’t contain ingredients that are mean to marine life.

Before using any sunscreen, make sure it has not expired, has been stored properly, and that any medication you are on will not make you more prone to burning.

Sanibel sunshine awaits your arrival, but do play it safe!