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Final Update from the Everglades                                2/19/11

It has been an amazing almost three weeks here in the Everglades and I write my last update with mixed emotions. While I would love to stay longer and watch the owlet twins continue to grow into young owls, I have my own twins to look after and I miss my family. This place grows on you though, the more you explore and the further afield you go, the more you realize the vastness of it. It is also a place where you have to get out of your element, get out of your car and just start walking back into the marsh to truly discover what is out there. Once you have left your comfort zone you will begin to see what the Everglades has to offer.

So here are a few shots from the last couple of days, I'll go into more depth and tell you a few stories when I get home and start to wade through the nearly ten thousand images.

A Mother Barred Owl Near Her Nest
A Mother Barred Owl Near Her Nest

Barred Owl Over the Boardwalk at Mahogany Hammock
Barred Owl Over the Boardwalk at Mahogany Hammock

A Cormorant Dives Into a Yellow Reflection
A Cormorant Dives Into a Yellow Reflection

Two White Pelicans Gliding Inches Above Snake Bight at Low Tide
Two White Pelicans Gliding Inches Above Snake Bight at Low Tide

A Reddish EgretTaking a Stab at Some Small Fish
A Reddish Egret Taking a Stab at Some Small Fish

Late Afternoon Light in the Dwarf Cypress Forest
Late Afternoon Light in the Dwarf Cypress Forest

Moonrise Just After Sunset in the Mangroves
Moonrise Just After Sunset in the Mangroves

Full Moon Leading me Home after another long day of shooting
Full Moon Leading me Home after another long day of shooting

Fourth Everglades Update                                            2/15/11

After my last post, we had a cold front push in bringing much colder temperatures, (OK I know lows in the 40s isn't cold for many of you) wind, and two days of coulds and some rain. I laid low, working on older files and took a rainy drive to the keys to stave off depression.

When the sun returned I did more exploring including a hike to Christian Point, a morning shooting from the boat in Snake Bight and a slog deep into a cypress dome. Here are some shots from the last few days and a few older ones I had a chance to edit on the rainy days.

White Ibises on the Morning Flight out to Florida Bay
White Ibises on the Morning Flight out to Florida Bay

A White Pelican Yawns, Standing out from the Crowd
A White Pelican Yawns, Standing out from the Crowd

White Ibises Sparring over Prime Preening Positions on Clive Key in Florida Bay
White Ibises Sparring over Prime Preening Positions on Clive Key in Florida Bay

For my Fishing Friends, Here's a Tarpon at Robbie's in the Keys
For my Fishing Friends, Here's a Tarpon at Robbie's in the Keys

A Barred Owlet at Mahogany Hammock
A Barred Owlet at Mahogany Hammock

The Colors of the Coastal Prairie on Christian Point Trail
The Colors of the Coastal Prairie on Christian Point Trail

After Slogging through the muck and wading through the Dwarf Cypress Trees, the Cypress Dome Opens up Deep in the middle.
After Slogging through the muck and wading through the Dwarf Cypress Trees, the Cypress Dome Opens up Deep in the middle.

Another Everglades Sunset
Another Everglades Sunset, Haven't Had One Without Pretty Clouds Yet

A Roseatte Spoonbill Flying Over Snake Bight
A Roseatte Spoonbill Flying Over Snake Bight

Sunsetting Over a Cypress Dome
Sunsetting Over a Cypress Dome

Third Everglades Update                                              2/11/11

Since my last post, I've been back into Whitewater Bay, south in Florida Bay almost to the Keys, and found the mosquitoes. My first few days I saw very few mosquitoes, except when shooting past sunset. With a number of days in a row in the 80s, they have emerged.

Yesterday I went for a sunrise hike to Snake Bight, when timed with the high tide it is suppose to produce
numerous birds from the boardwalk including the only chance for flamingos from land. At the end of the two-mile hike the weak high tide put no birds within shooting distance. The walk back the bugs were amazing. You could literally hear the swarm behind you, and if you slowed down or God forbid stop, they were all over any exposed skin, deet or no deet. I should have known better, my Dad and I only made it about fifty yards down the Snake Bight Trail the last time I tried it, back in 1981.

I also took the canoe out on a couple of little treks, a quick trip around the too shallow Coot Bay Pond and paddle through the almost too narrow Noble Hammock Canoe Trail. Noble Hammock was a fun little trip through the mangroves, but I kept picturing a snake falling on my head when paddling through one of the many little tunnels.

Here are a few shots from the last several days, and a few older ones I had a chance to edit:

A Great Egret in a Cypress Swamp
A Great Egret in a Cypress Swamp

A Butterfly on a Flower
A Butterfly on a Flower

The Dwarf Cypress Forest Midday
The Dwarf Cypress Forest Midday

A Couple of Big Anhinga Trail Gators
A Couple of Big Anhinga Trail Gators

A Pair of Burrowing Owls
A Pair of Burrowing Owls

A Green Heron Sporting an Awesome Mohawk
A Green Heron Sporting an Awesome Mohawk

A Closeup of an Anhinga Tail
A Closeup of an Anhinga Tail

A Tree With a Loop in it at Sunset
A Tree With a Loop in it at Sunset


Noble Hammock Canoe Trail Tunnel


An Opening in the Mangroves

Sunset Near Mahogony Hammock
Sunset Near Mahogony Hammock

Sunrise on Florida Bay
Sunrise on Florida Bay

On the Flats, Half Way to the Keys
On the Flats, Half Way to the Keys


Second Everglades Update                                                2/7/11

The last few days I ventured into Whitewater Bay, did many of the main park's trails and boardwalks and took a side trip to shoot some burrowing owls and drive the Loop Road in Big Cypress Preserve. In Whitewater I found a bunch of baby sawfish in a shallow bay which were very cooperative models. In the main park I ran into many of the usual subjects including one of the many Red-Shouldered Hawks eating a snake. As always the burrowing owls did not dissapoint, they are full of character and always ready for a photoshoot.

Here are a few of the shots, I'd put more up, but my computer's time is mostly spent downloading the day's new images.

Baby Sawfish in Whitewater Bay
Baby Sawfish in Whitewater Bay

Baby Sawfish in Whitewater Bay


Dwarf Cypress Trees at Dawn
Dwarf Cypress Trees at Dawn

Red-Shouldered Hawk Eating a Snake
Red-Shouldered Hawk Eating a Snake

Dwarf Cypress Tree in the Grass
A Lone Dwarf Cypress Tree in the Grass

The Z Tree at Sunrise
The Z Tree at Sunrise

A Tree Snail in Mahogany Hammock
A Tree Snail in Mahogany Hammock

An Everglades
An Everglades "Hiking Trail"

Mama Alligator With a Baby Crawling Across Her Back
Mama Alligator With a Baby Crawling Across Her Back

First Everglades Update                                                    2/4/11

Two months of planning, three days of packing and ten hours of driving and I'm finally here in the Everglades. First of all, I'd like to thank a few people who made this trip possible: Cerisa who heads up the volunteer programs here at Everglades National Park and the AIRIE committee for selecting me, Marj for suggesting I apply in the first place, my Mom for supporting me in so many ways, my daughters for be super big girls while Daddy's away, and mostly for my wife Joanne for doing it all so I can do this...and of course my Dad who took me here for my eleventh birthday.

I'm still just getting settled into a routine here, but have shot three sunsets, two sunrises, an owl, a rattlesnake and more than a few alligators. I'll post updates as often as possible, here are a few shots from the first two days:

Sunrise over the pinelands, Everglades National Park
Sunrise over the pinelands, Everglades National Park

Sunset With Palm Trees at the Royal Palm Area
Sunset With Palm Trees at the Royal Palm Area

The Sun Rising Through the Marsh grass
The Sun Rising Through the Marsh grass

A Barred Owl Napping in the Sun at Mahogany Hammock, Everglades National Park
A Barred Owl Napping in the Sun at Mahogany Hammock, Everglades National Park

A Roseate Spoonbill Preening at Eco Pond, Flamingo
A Roseate Spoonbill Preening at Eco Pond, Flamingo

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake in the Brush off of Bear Lake Road
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake in the Brush off of Bear Lake Road

White Ibises in the Dwarf Cypress Forest at Sunrise
White Ibises in the Dwarf Cypress Forest at Sunrise

Sunrise Over the River Marsh
Sunrise Over the Marsh

Sunset in the Everglades
Sunset in the Everglades

Two Alligators Argue Over Teritory at Anhinga Trail
Two Alligators Argue Over Territory at Anhinga Trail

A Congregation of Alligators at the End of Anhinga Trail
A Congregation of Alligators at the End of Anhinga Trail

A Flats Boat Heads towards East Cape Sable in Florida Bay
A Flats Boat Heads towards East Cape Sable in Florida Bay

Dwarf Cypress Forest With Afternoon Clouds
Dwarf Cypress Forest With Afternoon Clouds

The Everglades Night Sky is Full of Stars
The Everglades Night Sky is Full of Stars



New Lens and Final Trip Prep                                         1/29/11

I received my new lens last week (Nikon 300mm F4 AF-S) and finally had the chance to take it out for a quick test drive yesterday. I decided to go to the Magnolia Plantation Swamp Garden for a quick walk and a little preview of the kind of shooting I'll do a lot of in the Everglades. There was not much going on on the cold morning, but managed a few decent shots. I'm very happy with the lens, it will be a good addition to the arsenal.

In addition to the quick shoot, my days have been filled up with taxes and preparing for the Everglades trip.

Canada Goose at Magnolia Plantation's Audubon Swamp Garden
Canada Goose at Magnolia Plantation's Audubon Swamp Garden

Chickadee Shot With my new NIkon 300mm F4 lens
Chickadee Shot With my new Nikon 300mm F4 lens

White Ibis at the Swamp Garden
White Ibis at the Swamp Garden


A Few Days on Kiawah and Trip Prep                             1/20/11

I was on Kiawah two days last week, one was for the wildlife clinic and the other was to shoot a beach house for a client. The clinic went well, we shot lots of birds and tried to get close to some deer and raccoons in the marsh. It was a nice morning spent with good people in a beautiful place. I didn't shoot much, but managed a few icicle shots, a rare site in the Lowcountry.

The other day was spent shooting interiors of a beach house. The rest of my week has been taken up with preparing for my Everglades trip, which includes readying gear (camera, boat, canoe, computer, etc.) and dealing with taxes and other such things I won't be around to deal with for a bit.

Rare Lowcountry Icicles on Kiawah Island
Rare Lowcountry Icicles on Kiawah Island


Livingroom of  Kiawah Beach House Livingroom of Kiawah Beach House


Bar at a Kiawah Beach House
Kitchen Bar


Screen Porch of a Kiawah Beach House
Screen Porch


A Cold Kiawah Morning                                                  1/10/11

I spent Friday morning shooting and scouting on Kiawah for a private wildlife photo clinic I'm doing this week. It had been a bit since I had shot on the island so I wanted to check all my normal spots for wildlife activity. Despite the cold and wind there was a good bit of bird activity and a larger number of ducks than usual. Bass pond alone had over 500 scaup floating on the wind chopped water. I also got more shots of a nice kestrel and found some deer in the marsh.

Scaup on Bass Pond, Kiawah Island
Scaup on Bass Pond, Kiawah Island


Redhead on Turtle Beach Pond, Kiawah Island
Redhead on Turtle Beach Pond, Kiawah Island


Redhead Duck at Turtle Beach, Kiawah Island



Tricolored Heron Reflecting in Killdeer Pod
Tricolored Heron Reflecting in Killdeer Pond


American Kestrel (Sparrow Hawk) Near the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island American Kestrel (Sparrow Hawk) Near the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island


Backlit Spartina Grass in the Preserve at Kiawah Island
Backlit Spartina Grass in the Preserve at Kiawah Island


Happy New Year!!!                                                           1/6/11

Happy New Year everyone. I hope everyone had a great holiday season as we did, but I for one am ready to put 2010 in the rear view and welcome in 2011.

Over the last few weeks I mostly took the time off to be with my family, which means a lot of catching up on the business side of things now. So I've been logging some hours staring at the computer screen, making emails and phone calls and starting to prepare for my big Everglades trip.

I did manage to get out on a couple of chilly nature shoots with my daughters over the break and found some interesting things. The first trip we made was to Bear Island WMA and Donnely WMA on a chilly late December morning. Bear Island is closed most of the winter for duck hunting, but you can still see quite a bit from the main road when it is next to ponds and marshes. On the way back towards the highway we went through Donnely WMA and found some alligators sticking their mud covered noses through the ice (never seen or heard of that).

Our next trip was to Magnolia Plantation's Audubon Swamp Garden. It started a bit slow, but we ended up with a bunch of blue-winged teal, an American Bittern and a screech owl poking out of a wood duck box. Both the bittern and the screech owl were photo-firsts for me.

Baby Alligator Poking Through the Ice in Donnely Wildife Management Area, SC
Baby Alligator Poking Through the Ice in Donnely Wildife Management Area, SC


American Avocet at Bear Island Wildlife Management Area in the ACE Basin
American Avocet at Bear Island Wildlife Management Area in the ACE Basin


Killdeer along the Road to Bennet's Point, SC
Killdeer along the Road to Bennet's Point, SC


Wintering Swans at Bear Island WMA, ACE Basin
Wintering Swans at Bear Island WMA, ACE Basin


A Kestrel Hunts From a Telephone Wire in the ACE Basin
A Kestrel Hunts From a Telephone Wire in the ACE Basin


Blue-Winged Teal at Magnolia Plantation's Audubon Swamp Garden
Blue-Winged Teal at Magnolia Plantation's Audubon Swamp Garden


An American Bittern Hunting at Magnolia Plantation's Audubon Swamp Garden
An American Bittern Hunting at Magnolia Plantation's Audubon Swamp Garden


A Screech Owl Peeking out of a Wood Duck Box at Magnolia Plantation's Audubon Swamp Garden
A Screech Owl Peeking out of a Wood Duck Box at Magnolia Plantation's Audubon Swamp Garden

October/November/December 2010

CharlestonSCPhotoBlog.com
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will be sharing my photos of Charleston, Kiawah and The Lowcountry's natural and man-made world with you, as well as my thoughts on photography, nature and life in the Lowcountry. I hope you enjoy it and come back often.

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