Category Archives: Everglades

The Ultimate Guide to Everglades Photography

Hey folks, wow, it has been a long time since I put up a blog post. But, I am excited to release my first E-book, The Ultimate Guide to Everglades Photography. It is over 40 pages and offers insight into seasons, locations, landscapes, and wildlife.

After a brief introduction to the Everglades, I get into the meat of it. Chapter 1 is the bulk of the book and gives details on various shooting locations throughout the national park. I dived the park into 3 sections, North, East, and South. The South Section has mileage given for locations and has the largest amount of area to cover.

Chapter 2 covers shooting from water craft, Chapter 3 is camping and lodging locations, Chapter 4 is Clothing and Wet Hiking, and Chapter 5 is Dangers and Discomforts.

 

At the end, is a quick reference with what I think are the best bets if you are short on time. You can purchase it here: Everglades E-book, and any purchase in September from my website is eligible for a $100 gift card.  Thanks for looking and feel free to ask any questions!

 

 

 

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Those Foggy Mornings

I am not a morning person. As a photographer, this can be a big hindrance. It means I am missing 50% of the good-light opportunities of the day.  If you look through my portfolio you will notice a lot of sunsets. The sunrises, however, are a bit limited.

One thing that sunrises have that definitely helps pull me out of bed, is the possibility of fog. I always strive to have a mood or atmosphere to my images. This can be created most easily by lighting at the ends of the day(sunrise/sunset). Fog, however, really can ramp things up.

In the Everglades, I  seem to gravitate to the pinelands when it is foggy. Sometimes hard to shot, the fog can really simplify things and allow you to isolate elements easier. I went out twice recently and got several images I am happy with.

The first morning I stayed around the Long Pine Key Campground. There is a lake there with an awesome island of pines that is a wonderful element. I created this panoramic before the sun came up and the moody blues really helped here.

The Still of Morning

This morning was so thick with fog, and you could hear the condensation dripping off the trees.  It was perfectly still and quiet. As the sun broke through the fog I hiked out in the pinelands to get a composition I had in mind but never with these conditions. As I was hiking out to this spot (1 mile away) I could hear turkeys calling. They were reintroduced to Long Pine key after several attempts and it is good to know they have stuck around and not become bobcat food.

A New Beginning

I hiked back to the lake to see how everything looked with different lighting conditions and got this tighter shot of the island.

This was the first shoot of the year and for several months. It definitely helped renew my desire to get out and to create new images.

As the forecast called for fog again, I ran out a week later and it happened to coincide with the full moon. What is great about the full moon is that it rises and sets opposite the sun. This can help with the evening out of lighting conditions and lead to some dramatic images.

As I was driving out this morning I noticed the fog wasn’t as thick as I wanted. I was thinking of running out to the dwarf cypress but decided to go to Pine Glades Lake. I figured getting the  moon setting would be a nice image. I waited until the sun was about the break the horizon and got this image. It is a single image double processed to just barely bring back the overly bright moon. The sun’s light on the foreground helped to even out the dynamic range.

Moonset Over Pine Glades Lake

I briefly walked back into the pinelands and shot this clump of pines, with a nice glow behind them.

Fog doesn’t always help produce dramatic images but sometimes subtle is what you need. Still there is no denying it helps set the mood. Have a great weekend everyone!

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The Mangrove

Florida has 3 or 4 species of mangroves, the Red, Black, and White. The button wood is also considered a mangrove sometimes. This post is dedicated to the Red Mangrove(Rhizophora mangle), the one I consider the most visually interesting. Mangroves are an extremely important aspect of the coastal ecosystem. They stabilize shoreline and provide feeding, breeding, and nursery grounds for fish, shellfish and birds. Red mangroves can be identified by their tall prop roots which help supply oxygen to the flooded roots below and also help stabilize the tree. Here are some of my favorite images created in South Florida of them.

Storm Over the Mangroves

Mangrove Moonrise

Reaching

Mangrove Magic

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Summer Storms

Its that wonderful time of year in South Florida. We are well into the storm season and it seems a daily thunderstorm rolls around in the afternoon. I have spent a good deal of time chasing these storms over the years and am excited to hopefully add some new images this summer. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten out yet but I wanted to showcase some of my favorites from the past. Standing out in the Everglades when one of these whips up is an awesome experience. For one thing, the cool winds that precede the deluge feel great when it is 90 degrees plus; and it also helps blow the mosquitoes of my skin.

The lightning shows can be incredible and the sheer size of some of these storms just helps put things back in perspective. I hope you enjoy them.

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Scenes from the Swamp

The cypress swamp is an amazing ecosystem in the Everglades. Maybe the more typical type of scenery when people think of the Everglades, dark and mysterious. The water is usually almost crystal clear, filtered by all the plants, or yellow stained with tanins from fallen leaves.

A small “collection” I have mentally kept in mind to develop will eventually be called “Scenes from the Swamp”. The idea was to show the details. My go to lens typically was the ultra-wide. The wide angle scenics certainly have appeal, but I got tired of them. They became easy and predictable.  Many photographers do very well with only one type of photography, but I want to have strong images at all ends of the millimeters. You also can’t tell the whole story with just one focal length.

So here are some images from the slowly developing collection. Enjoy!

The Architect

Alligators are sometimes referred to as the Architects of the Everglades, because they actually help create the cypress domes by moving around the soil. By pushing it up, they create deeper holes for water, and deeper soil around the hole. This in turn allows the cypress more nutrients and they can grow larger.This image was taken with the ultra-wide, but very close to the alligator, to get a close-up with some habitat in the background.

The Puddle Hunter

In the dry season, it can be a time of plenty for the predators. The fish and frogs are all bound to the water, which is shrinking in size. This Water Moccasin was takin advantage of the newly concentrated food supply in this small puddle.  This was taken with my 400mm and extension tubes to allow for closer focus.

A Good Father

A Barred owl also uses the time of plenty to raise some owlets. This one was keeping an eye out as its fledgelings were hopping about. Also taken at 400 mm.

Looking For Light

A more intimate shot at about 28mm.

Secret of the Swamp

Not the shot I sell as a fine art print, but one that shows how hard it would be to find a ghost orchid when not in bloom. It is a leafless orchid, so for 11 1/2 months of the year, you would have to look for a few roots, hidden among the mosses. My 180mm macro was used here.

A more recent shot to add to the set. Wild Grape on a cypress trunk.  This was taken at 75mm.

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