Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bonefish wishing on Biscayne

I had more opportunities to photograph fisherman than I did birds today. The biggest challenge this morning was the lighting. First, I was on the water before sunrise, about 6:30 am. The tide was still rolling out reaching its low a few hours later. Word was out that the best time to spot the elusive bonefish was just before sun up. So I was there, with those kayak/canoe fishermen who are as obsessed with catching a bonefish as I am with capturing a sharp image of a heron catching a fish.

In the dark, we paddled out the creek. The cloud cover in the sky would dampen the sunrise and it remained quite dark for awhile. There was a hint of light on the calm bay water, and the cloud covered sunlight gave out some nice orange hues, but far from brilliant. it was that type of sunrise that looked to be covered in parafilm. Still beautiful, I watched the silhouettes of the fishermen scattering about the bay, searching for those tails.

I paddled out into the open bay as the sun tried to come up. Eventually, it appeared above the clouds and finally, the mangrove shoreline was lit up. Before it got light, I had seen a couple juvy yellowcrown nightherons flitting around the shoreline. A couple tricolor herons and great blue herons flew over. Only one or two cormorants did I see today, an unusual thing. I heard the melancholy appeal of the osprey, but never did see it. Noisy kingfishers were seen and heard but to photograph one of those jet birds is near impossible, at least when you are on the water.

I finally noticed the yellowcrowns feeding along the mangrove roots. With nice lighting, I was able to get relatively close to one before it realized I was too close and flew off to a near by spot, not so well lit. Since these guys were not cooperating with the light, I zoomed in on the distant shoreline that was lit up by the sun to search for a moving target. I spotted a white bird and started to paddle over to it. It was about 1/3 mile away and in the meantime, the sky hazed over with a thin veil of clouds. I took out the flash and kept my eye on the bird. A noisy boat behind the jetty got the bird's attention. With me approaching and the noise, it flew to another spot nearby.

While paddling toward the bird, I couldn't help but notice the water sparkles where the sun was now casting its light strongly behind me. The fishermen were in the distance where the most light appeared on the water. I decided to try out my new trick that I had learned from Denise Ippolito's photography blog. I set the aperture to 22 to get a great depth of field and stopped down with the shutter speed. The sun light was a bit diffuse, so I didn' stop down too much, I think about 1/3. I captured some vertical shots of Vivian in her canoe and David in his kayak. I enjoy photographing each of them, Vivian's canoe is so beautiful and David looks great when he is standing in his boat fly fishing. Earlier, I had a decent shot at bonefish whisperer as he poled along looking for tails. The only problem is with me photographing fishermen is that my camera and/or lens scares the fish away. Consequently, I rarely get a photo of someone actually fishing!

The tide was continuing to roll out and finally, more birds began to appear along the shoreline. That's when I came up on a little blue heron that was eagerly catching worms and shrimp that it hardly noticed me as I attempted to capture him in the act. A green heron appeared out of the shadows but was not as animated as the little blue. With a little time spent with these two birds, I decided it was time to leave.

Next weekend, I will be attending a macro photo workshop with Roman Kurywczak. Going to be learning about diffusers and reflectors, not that I will be using those tools in the canoe (well, maybe in the creeks???). But, since Roman is also a landscape photo expert, I plan to sneak in some questions about that. If I am lucky, may get out on the bay again this week before I begin the semester. Maybe Deering next time.

1 comment:

  1. Connie, Some great images here and an interesting read!