Skip to content →

Dark Night in Sun City Center

Morton decided on a plan. He was pretty sure it was flawless.

He’d retired to Florida the previous year. He hated to admit it, but his old life of screeching deadlines, frozen traffic jams, and nail-biting performance reviews, well, he was starting to miss it. He’d heard somebody once called photography “a friendly imitation of work,” so he took it up as a hobby and bought a little camera (a Canon Powershot G7 Mark II, if you must know). Soon he joined the Tampa Bay photo club, and in a few months was entering monthly competitions.

He enjoyed the group, but dreamed of winning a ribbon to show his northern friends. He’d taken a perfectly in-focus picture of a Roseate Spoonbill dredging its beak at pond’s edge. But so had seventeen other contestants, all with fancier cameras. And that Sandhill Crane pecking at his lanai screen – that should’ve earned him an honorable mention. But shutterbug Herb L’Amour came up with two of them! Mating! Morton was very proud of his last attempt, a shot of a redoubtable Brown Pelican attacking his nephew. Until he got disqualified because it showed “the hand of man,” some arcane rule barring human influence from nature photographs.

He fell into a slight depression for a whole day. To shake himself out of it, he decided to submit a truly unique bird photograph. But of what? And where?

One evening David Attenborough hosted a show about nocturnal birds. Nobody at the photo club had ever captured one of those. So be it then! He’d wow them with a winning shot of a night raptor. A Great Horned Owl, hapless rodent in its talons. A row of tiny Screech Owls, disturbed at being disturbed. A Barn Owl with heart-shaped face, lunging to strike.

He found an isolated nature path (safely landscaped) and waited for dusk.

Peter Bates

Peter Bates is a writer and photographer living in Florida. He is the administrator of this blog and runs the blog Stylus.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle PlusYouTube

Published in Articles & Reviews


  1. Yair Egozy Yair Egozy

    Wonderful music, and cinematic effects

    • Will keep trying to come up with more effects.

  2. Karen Klein Karen Klein

    Loved fancy work with the ghost😍

  3. Carolyn Gregory Carolyn Gregory

    Amusing video! Love the theremin and the change of light about half way through. Could use more variation.

    –Carolyn Gregory

  4. Anonymous Anonymous

    Very creative effects. Glad Cheryl received an acting credit.

  5. Edie Tepper Edie Tepper

    Made me laugh! Thanks!

    • Excellent. One of my intentions. The next one will scare you (hopefully).

  6. Cary Cary

    An interesting experiment to conclude a verbal narrative with a visual narrative as the conclusion to the verbal. The visual seems fairly stand-alone; the verbal, to me, doesn’t, nor does it seem to introduce the video, without a transition that connects owls, detailedly introduced, to ghosts or poltergeists. I.e. there seems a missing “and” to the narrative.

    • That does it. It now makes sense. Would it be okay if I run these videos by you before final compilation?

  7. Alec Hirschfeld Alec Hirschfeld

    Image quality and effects – excellent!

    Acting – appropriately over the top.

    • Thanks Alec. Coming from the cinematographer of The Terminator, that means a lot!

  8. Loved reading Morton’s photography adventure! 📸 It’s a charming and humorous tale that beautifully illustrates the joys and challenges of picking up a new hobby in retirement. Can’t wait to read more of your stories!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By :

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)