I have always said that the canoe came first and the camera followed. The canoe takes me to these beautiful places where I see fantastic animals. The camera followed because I wanted to preserve those moments; it's since evolved into more than that. This all got me thinking about the idea of feeling in control. I think one can go through life believing they are in control. But step outside of that reality and explore the wilderness and it becomes apparent immediately that absolutely nothing is in your control (I believe this is why so many people do not enjoy being in the wilderness). Out there, the weather, the tides, the water, the animals we try to photograph, none of those things do we have control over.
Out there, you are only an observer. Once you accept that fact, many gifts start coming your way. These gifts are often not easy to come by; they require experience, perseverance and patience, innovation and problem solving, and sometimes just plain luck. As you attempt the challenges, you allow yourself to let some things go, but while one door closes another may open as you become a better paddler, a better navigator, a better photographer. You study the animals and learn their behaviors. You realize that you can photograph the beautiful Everglades, but only on their terms. Negotiate the terms and you will accumulate the many gifts it has to offer. Here are a few gifts from over the years as I explored and learned.