While difficult to see most of this out-of-the-way preserve without a boat, I was able to find a place to park the car and work my way into the wilderness enough to get this landscape photograph highlighting some of the botanical biodiversity in the region. Several kinds of oak trees, swamp lilies, an variety of ferns and the ever-present cabbage palms show a wild and unspoiled wetland so rarely found along the Peninsular Gulf Coast.
Category: Nature & Wildlife
I saw a super-fat eastern fence lizard clinging to a tree, not budging. Unusual as these close relatives of iguanas have the predictable behavior of vanishing with lightning speed. It was a she, and she was full of soon-to-be-laid eggs!
One of my favorite things about quick, sudden trips is going light – meaning one lens, one camera, no other gear. It forces me to see things a certain way, and often instead of suddenly wishing I had that wide angle or prime lens that I left at home instead, I am forced to see a potential shot in a new way, confined by my self-imposed restrictions. Many of my best-selling and creative images have come from this forced limitation.
Many years ago I learned a good lesson about wildlife and nature photography. Always have your camera ready and, keep a predetermined setting so you won’t miss that sudden opportunity that will so often leap out in from of you.
A couple of days ago, I was driving along the coast of Apalachee Bay on the Florida Panhandle on the edge of Tate’s Hell State Forest when I saw the unexpected. It was a group of 25 to 30 cattle egrets along the shoreline and perched among the skeletal remains of pine trees killed by beach erosion. Strangely peculiar as these egrets are not normally associated with the beach or salt water, and are most often found inland perching on or walking among cattle or horses.
Recently while on a trip along the St. Joseph Peninsula I stumbled into one of my very favorite of shoreline critters – the ghost crab. Even though they are very common all over Florida’s...
One of the most common bits of advice that I’ve heard given to budding new nature photographers is that you don’t have to go far from home to get the best shots. I’ve heard...
The coral bean (Erythrina herbacea), also known as the Cherokee bean or the red cardinal, is a common springtime bloomer found all over the state of Florida. I’ve seen them in dense woodlands, sandy...
Sometimes it just happens this way. It suddenly gets quiet. The wind dies down. The birds become silent and get settled for the night. A sudden hush falls over the wilderness, and then the sun slips into the sea, and the world goes to sleep.
One of the most difficult birds for me to find in Florida has been the red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus). It is a very skittish bird – even for a woodpecker, and tends to avoid people if encountered. I’ve seen them only a couple of times in the Osceola National Forest north of Gainesville and in remote areas near the Georgia border north of Tallahassee, and only from a distance of at least five hundred feet.