A friend left her amaryllis with me, so I could document its growth each day while she was away. It’s fun to focus on the change that takes place each day. These two photos show five days’ progress. Both images are lit with ambient light in my sunroom.
This monochrome treatment of the anhinga, drying its feathers, isolates the elegant dark bird from its habitat, a busy tangle of tree branches spotted with lichen. Anhingas are plentiful in southwest Florida, tame around people, and interesting to watch as they swim underwater to catch fish. After a swim, they fan out their wing feathers to dry.
I like this the sepia effect on a square composition. While the bird takes center stage, the diagonal branch and star shaped air plant add interest. The overall effect of the image reminds me of photo taken in the early days of photography. It makes me feel akin with the wildlife explorers of old.
Early Sunday morning, they sought light, peace and community. You could call it Bird Church. This flock of unusual white pelicans mingled with the cormorants. All I can say is this: I was grateful to bear witness.
This image of these two great egrets crossing each others’ paths while feeding reminds me of the universal truth about Nature that all of life is interconnected. The food chain ties together many life forms: plants, fish and mammals. Just think of what humans eat. All life forms depend on clean air, clean water and undeveloped areas of Earth.
I photographed these egrets in a nature preserve on Sanibel Island that is named for an editorial cartoonist who was passionate about the environment and was an important early conservationist. J. N. “Ding” Darling was concerned about the pace of development and believed that urban development was suffocating the ever shrinking untouched natural environments. ” D’ing” worked in Des Moines and New York City and won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1924. He was was appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as head of the U.S. Biological Survey, forerunner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (Wikipedia)
In 1976, 5200 acres on Sanibel Island, FL were set aside as a National Wildlife Refuge, and the area is known for migratory bird populations. Often large flocks of roseate spoonbills feed there. Keep an eye out for more photos in future blogs.
Back to the Florida swamp, I’m sharing this image of a smiling frog in honor of the ever popular St. Patrick’s Day. I might have missed this friendly guy without the tip from the watchful naturalists at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. I was busy watching the enormous alligators; both the male and female were groaning at each other from a distance. They sounded something like a person who groans from joint pain while standing up. Do you know anyone who does this?
There were also some baby alligators crawling on the mama, and some large anhinga birds sitting on their nest. But you’d hate to miss the little guys — like the lizards and frogs and insects they are about to eat.
Have you ever looked up into a tall Royal Palm and seen pink and yellow highlights? Well, now you have! I hope you enjoy the second image in my series of painterly effects on photographs of tropical plants and scenes. In this work, I began with a strong composition featuring a receding diagonal line leading to a star pattern, and applied a Topaz filter to enhance the lines and colors of the palm tree. The resulting image connotes a brilliant sunny day when you have time to look up and soak up the scenery. Of course, you will be wearing your Lily Pulitzer or a Tommy Bahama fashion statement. How does this image make you feel?
I am looking for input from my followers for what kinds of notecards, tiles and prints to bring to the Sewickley May Mart. Would you be interested in this technicolor palm on a notecard, or a tile, or as a print? Let me hear from you! And if you like this post, please share it on Facebook or your favorite social media outlet.
Have you ever witnessed a large flock of birds roosting as the sun sets? In Florida, the large wading birds like the heron, egrets and pelicans roost together for protection. They will often find a rookery island where predators like raccoons can’t reach them.
In Six Mile Cypress Slough, a large flock of egrets chose this wooded area along the edge of a pond to roost. As the setting sun sheds warm light on the trees, dozens of these egrets decorate the landscape. It is a special sight to witness, especially for a “snowbird” like me.
I was curious to see this Royal Tern standing on top of his partner while walking the beach in Florida. In all my travels and observations, I’d never seen that cute little stunt before. A little research revealed that behavior is part of the mating process, and it is the male bird balancing on top, proving himself to her. When I shot this photo, I stayed a good distance from the flock, and later cropped the image dramatically to isolate the busy couple. It is important not to disturb birds when you observe them in their natural habitat.
Spring is also a great time to admire the breeding plumage on some of the larger wading birds, like this Great Blue Heron in the Everglades National Park. I love the long and delicate feathers hanging in front.
I continue to practice ICM (intentional camera movement) while I have easy access to sunsets over the Gulf. I love to see the sunset through this unique lens: the horizontal lines blurred to the point of near abstraction and the colors enhanced in vibrance and contrast. I was attracted to this image because of the criss-crossing lines of the waves. Comparing fiction and fact, painting and photography, I like to say, “you can’t make this stuff up.” Compare this image to the sunset ICM image in my previous blog. How would you compare the mood of each?