The Florida Gulf Coast has had the coldest winter in 20 years. Several of our bird photography sites have not had the usual birds. So, we went down to Ding Darling Reserve on Sanibel Island to look for the migrating birds.
While there we had the unusual experience of photographing a fisherman who caught an infant hammerhead shark. The hammer head is still bent back toward the tail as it is when first born. Although most sharks come from eggs, the hammerhead is born live.
Since my last post to this blog, there was a fire in the grasses at Celery Fields park, Sarasota, Florida. We haven’t had rain in weeks and the whole county is under a fire alert. The shallow ponds in which sandhill cranes spent the nights have almost entirely dried up. That would have happened even without the fire. But, now the surrounding area stinks with a scorched smell. There are only vulture birds, now.
Here is a picture of the stilt sandpiper birds that are one species of stilt bird found in ponds at the Celery Fields park, Sarasota, Florida. These birds are in the pond most of the day. The sandhill cranes are usually there only in the hour before sunset. This is a well known birding spot with a lot of cameras and scopes waiting for sandhill cranes. There’s not much interest in the stilt birds, but, they are photogenic, too.
Stilt Sandpiper birds at ImageKind
We are off now to photograph on Siesta Key, Florida. Today is the first warm day after a week of cold and wind.
For the first time in my life I saw newly hatched loggerhead turtles emerge on a Florida beach. What a privilege to see those wonderful creatures on their first day of life. The babies are so small they fit in the palm of your hand and grow to be bigger than you could lift. Here is the picture we made using the inexpensive zoom lens camera we keep in the car. No tripod or add on lenses. It is not too sharp focus because the baby turtle was covered with sand. We did not see if the turtle made it out into the Gulf of Mexico. It had a lot of beach to cover and there was a lot of wave action.
Recently we worked at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. They have large, clean aquariums with many species of tropical fish. Tripods, which are essential when using slow 100 ISO film, are allowed. Only fish in sharp focus will be considered for publication, so, we always check before traveling to a photo location and make sure tripods are allowed. Here is a lionfish now on sale at Cafe Press.
We just returned from several days in and around Pine Island, Florida. While there, we stayed at the Bokeelia Tarpon Inn, a friendly bed and breakfast. We hired Captain Jim Welch and the “Lady Bokeelia” a 25 foot boat to take us on a hunt for dolphins and water birds.
Our inventory is now full of fresh Florida images including anhinga, ibis, sea hawks, dolphin, boats, and palm trees.
We made lots of great pictures at the AKC dog show today. It was held indoors, but the area was well lit. Derk made digital pictures and I used a fill-flash for pictures on ISO 100 35mm slide film. We also photographed dogs in the exercise area outside.
No photography was allowed inside the show ring. That is understandable because it certainly would distract the dogs, handlers and judges. The show, itself, had 1 photographer with a digital set-up who photographed the winning dog at each judging.
The yorkshire terrier below was photographed with Derk’s digital Nikon.
Derk had an interesting day at Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, Florida. He used his Nikon D200 digital camera, no flash, and no tripod. The pictures are great! We worked there on two earlier occasions using film, flash, and tripods. So, it came as a welcome surprise that the digital camera, alone, could do the job.
Mote has the usual aquarium type tanks for tropical fish. The biggest problem photographing in that area of the facility is the ever present hobby photographer or visiting school group.
Mote also has a huge aquarium tank for manatee. It is necessary to use wide lens because the manatee are big. The best perspective for a picture is from the lower viewing area where you make an underwater shot. Reflections on the aquarium glass can be a big problem there.
Here are a couple of Derk’s pictures. The Jellyfish is available at kphotos.imagekind.com/TropicalFish as poster or framed print and the clownfish is also available there.:
Regardless of the heat we made great pictures of Orlando, Florida this week. A sample picture from Disney Marketplace is below:
Today we got an early start and photographed Disney Marketplace before the heat became intolerable.