I spent several evenings at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm photographing birds. Sometimes I was so overwhelmed, I just stood watching the birds come and go. Some, the Brown Storks and some Great Egrets had already started raising their babies. Other birds were still in the nest building stage. As evening came on, many of the birds would take a rest from their daily activities and provide wonderful opportunities for photographs. I hope you agree.
I attended Photoshop World in Orlando Florida this Spring. Whenever I attend Photoshop world, I like to drive to the city. Driving allows me to slow down and explore the area both before and after the event. This year I was after nesting shore birds. The St Augustine Alligator Farm has a rookery. The rookery is used by many wild birds i.e. egrets, roseate spoonbills, Great Blue Herons, Little Green Herons, and others. The timing was perfect to see Great Egret hatchlings and most of the other breeds building their nests. A relaxing few days at the alligator farm and some nice images to serve as a reminder.
I was chasing Monarch butterflies in Congaree National Park. One was fluttering around near the water and would sometimes land on the cyprus knees. I was very intent on capturing a shot that I forgot to look around. When I finally realized I wasn’t going to get the shot, I stopped and had a look around. Looking up I saw this owl in a tree not 40 feet away. It was watching me for a bit and then got bored (I suspect). What a surprise to see this bird so close and not being scared off when it realized it had been discovered.
Not far away is the Ball’s Bluff National Historic Area. The area includes woods, a small meadow and a cemetery. Lots of birds make this area home and it is common to hear a Barred Owl calling in the early evening. Along with the birds are many wildflowers. It is amazing how many flowers can be found in a very small patch. I photograph flowers lying down with the camera mounted on a Platypod Pro. The mount places the camera lens about four inches off the ground. The low angle of view puts a nice perspective to the flowers. The mount also allows for a very steady camera for longer exposures as the sun drops below the horizon. I especially like the “golden hour” effect on the flowers.