Archive for May, 2010

Catching Up On Photography This Year Starting with Florida

I have been a little lax on posting some of my photography outings.  But before I go on with that I would like to mention that if anyone is in the Decatur area, stop by Rock Springs Conservation Area.  It is a great place to hike and enjoy the outdoors.  Also, down the South Wing Gallery are several of my images on display.  Hopefully you can take a look sometime.

I started off the year in Florida this year.  I spent ten days down there.  It was great.  I loved seeing the locals walking around in warm winter coats while I just wore a T-shirt.  Daytime temperatures in the 60’s are great to me.

Spent the first part of the trip in St. Augustine.  One of the days I spent time walking the beach and photographing.  As mentioned people were wearing coats and I  a T-shirt.  To top things off, I was laying in wet sand on my stomach taking pictures.  I know the locals thought cold and crazy when they saw that.  But here are a few of the images I came away with:

Looks like the Ring Billed Gull is Dancing in the Waves.

Looks to me like it is wet out there.

Laying in the sand allowed me to get a bird’s eye view with this Brown Pelican as with the birds shown above and below.  It was fun crawling in the sand to get the view and also to get closer.  I had a lot of brushing off of my cloths to do before getting back in my vehicle.

Watching these birds was a blast.  Their interaction was amusing.

Next I headed down to the Everglades for a few days.  Anhinga Trail was my first planned stop.  I had been there for a half day on another trip to the area.


On the drive through the Everglades going to Anhinga there are many opportunities to photograph birds.  There will be areas of water by the roadside.  Just pull off the road, get the right angle for the sun and shoot away.  This was shot in the middle of the day using a flash extender on my strobe.  It amazes me that there are few to zero photographers stopping to photograph on the road.  Most will go to areas like Anhinga and Shark Valley.

After taking my time on the drive I arrived at Anhinga.

  There are many birds and alligators close by.  You walk a paved trail and the birds are across a small moat which are full of alligators.  The alligators also sun themselves on the walkway as you stroll by.

There will also be some endangered species making a show.  Wood Storks find their way to the area.

These birds did not do much while I was there.  They sat there sunning themselves.  Once in a while they moved slowly, but not far from the previous spot.

Another bird that is kind of ugly (like the Wood Stork) is the Black Vulture.  These birds were all over the place at Anhinga.

An interesting note on the vultures.  They tend to like the rubber surrounding  windows on cars.  So the US Fish and Wildlife Service has come up with a vulture deterrent.  They hang dead vultures from poles in the parking lot.  It seems to work, as the vultures stay away from the parking lot.

One other note on the vulture.  At the bottom of the post the vulture hangs from is a sign that says something to the effect that the carcass is the property of the USFWS and disturbing it is illegal.  Go figure, but it works.

Birds in flight are always fun and a challenge.  Here is another one taken the same day at Anhinga.

Even though there were plenty of birds around there are better times of the year to head to Florida to photograph birds.  April and May tend to be best.  Most of these birds are nesting and feeding young.  Some areas such as here and, also the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine hold more birds than you can image.  I still say there were plenty of birds to photograph.

It was getting to be dusk with the sun about to disappear.  The alligators were moving and I wanted one more image of one.

You can see the gators gums below the water line.

Being the sun was disappearing, it was time to leave the park.  What a great time.  Time to head back to the hotel and get ready for the next stop.

In the morning I headed to Key Largo to see an old diving operation I used to visit.  It looked like it was shut down.  The owners wanted to sell and my guess the hurricane was not good to them.  I found a great place to eat on the water.  Then I headed for Kissimmee, Fl.

The next morning I met with photographer Jim Neiger.  Jim is an excellent birds in flight photographer there.  We went to several places that morning, even thought it was cloudy, to photograph.

The conversation became interesting.  I mentioned I was from Decatur and he said he lived there when he was young.  It ends up he lived about ten blocks from where I lived.  We talked about people we both knew.  It is a small world.

We went to one place to call owls in.  We could get them to call back, but they never showed themselves to us.  On the drive out of the area a meadowlark appeared.  Jim pulled over and let me photograph out the window of  his truck.

Another stop was the CaraCara tree.  This tree is a great place to go for CaraCaras.  They are endangered in Florida.  They are in the eagle family.  For some reason they like this tree alongside of the road.  We saw them first thing in the morning.  They flew off and we went on our way.  Toward noontime we stopped by the tree and they were there again.

These birds are smaller than the Bald Eagle, but are still impressive.  What amazes me even more is how consistent the birds are sitting in a tree with all the traffic going by.  There must be a great food source close by.

One of the very last stops we came upon a Great Blue Heron. 

It looks to me that something did not agree with it and it was coughing it up.

Florida is great in the Winter with sunshine and great photographic opportunities.  This was a great trip and I plan on doing it again sometime.  Florida is the place to go for these kind of birds.  As I said though, it gets even better in April and May.