On Sunday I shot 26 family portraits as a volunteer for a Pittsburgh school for children with disabilities. To protect their privacy, we will keep the names of the school and the family private. This portrait was my favorite, thanks to the loving gesture of the grandfather. As you reflect on the smiles on the parents’ faces, you can tell they are counting their blessings too. These families give me a gift every year, by showing me where true happiness comes from.
Today I have submitted three photos to the Royal Poinciana Golf Club’s annual nature photography contest. All photos submitted to the contest must be taken on the grounds of the Club. Last year I won second place! My favorite submission this year is the morning light on the Great Blue Heron.
I will let you know if one of these images is a winner this year!
This female anhinga caught a catfish that looks almost too big to swallow. She kept adjusting the fish in her beak, perhaps tenderizing it with each chomp, ultimately lining it up to go down the hatch. As she juggled her prey, it was fun to watch.
Here is another view:
You know it’s a very hot day in the Everglades when the Blue Heron is panting. I had never before seen a blue heron open its mouth and flutter its tongue. Its neck was undulating too, and it was making sounds. I took a video, so I could ask the National Park ranger about it. Sure enough, the ranger said that the blue heron pants like a dog when it needs to cool off.
The birds have the golf course to themselves early in the morning as the sun rises and begins to dry the dew. This Great Blue Heron was enjoying the tranquility at sunrise at Royal Poinciana Golf Club.
As our birding guide Brian Beckner observed, “there is a Great Blue Heron observing the hazard line” — the red line in the grass. No one wants you to address your golf ball too close to the water’s edge, as there are alligators lurking in there. It’s better to stand a safer distance from the water.
On the shore of Lover’s Key State Park, this tree refuses to go away. Years ago it died and fell over on the beach, exposing its root system to the wind, the rain, the sea and the hot sun, melting into sunset every day, waiting in darkness through the cool nights. The people who wander past hang a shell on its frame and return to find it again, perhaps adding another shell. Dozens of shells, carefully placed, tell a silent tale of all the people who came and cared.
This was not the first time I visited this tree and wondered about its story. Here is my photo from early 2018 also at sunset, just one year before. Comparing the two, you can appreciate the erosion that has gradually diminished the remains.