Monday, July 14, 2014

Favorite Places

In south Florida, there are special places where I love to photograph. Although exploring the vast world is very appealing, I believe that photographing in one place again and again for many years is an opportunity for growth. It reminds me of an old story that stuck in my head for years (I read it in grade school). The title of the story is "The student, the fish and Agassiz", where basically the student is tasked with examining a dead fish specimen for several days until he learns the details of the fish adequately according to his mentor. Observe, study, learn.

It's interesting that this process includes how we view and experience familiar places. As we become more skilled in photography, we also become more skilled at seeing things. I am not a world traveler, but every time I venture into the Everglades, the Big Cypress forest, Biscayne Bay waters, I see new things and I see old things differently, through the camera lens.

The other part of this is seeing the same thing but under different lighting or tidal conditions. This is where being in one place for 24-hr at a time or returning to the same place at different times of the day (or night) can be useful.

Here are some images from my favorite places where I have been many times. It is in these places where I wish to spend long hours as the sun passes from one side of the sky to the other and as the tides ebb and flow. With excitement, I look forward to another visit to each place, coming with new camera skills and ideas, trying new techniques or lenses. It's like experiencing a place for the first time, every time.

There is a specific hardwood hammock in Big Cypress located on one of the side trails of the Florida Trail where I want to hang my hammock and spend the night to photograph all day and into the night.

Deep within the Ten Thousand Islands, there is a magical location where hurricanes have done damage and where fresh water meets salt water. It is a place where I have seen the most birds concentrated in one area. To spend quality time here requires at least one day of paddling to get there and optimal coordination of tides and sunlight direction.

Along the western shoreline of Biscayne Bay, mangroves prevail. There is a specific location where it is, in my view, the most beautiful. I come here many times each year and always, I am mesmerized with the scene.

Mangrove creeks are so inviting but photographing them has always been a challenge for me. There is a particular creek in the Everglades that has captivated my attention and I look forward to spending quality time exploring it from sunrise to sundown.

I love camping in the Ten Thousand Islands, although typically I stay in one place for only one night at a time (moving from campsite to campsite). Base camping (two or more nights) at one location has become more frequent in my camping trips so that I can spend quality time photographing from one location.

Chokoloskee Bay would not be considered a great location for photographing with its close proximity to the island of same name, the numerous boat channels and most of all, the inhospitable oyster flats. But it has been a productive area for bird photography. There is a labyrinth of mangrove islands that border the bay. When I am not photographing birds,I explore this area for hours at a time, alone. Now, I wish to explore it with the use of a tripod and wide angle lens.

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