There are many different schools of thoughts about photographing captive animals at your local zoo. The elites will tell you that it is “cheating.” And they say that as they are writing an article from their iPad in some remote, exotic, corner of the world. I, on the other hand, will not be traveling to Madagascar or Iceland anytime soon. It’s hard for me to break-away from my daily life to get to South Florida. Personally, I think you should shoot what speaks to you. There is beauty everywhere in the world around us. But, if you find yourself trapped in urban wherever and want to photograph exotic animals, I’ll see you at the zoo. I will say I believe it is important not to represent your images as something they are not. I am proud to disclose where I capture my images. Your local zoo actually presents many challenges that you will not encounter in the Outback or the Serengeti.
This summer my wife and I took our kids on their first camping trip. We went to Gamble Rodgers State Recreation Area just south of St. Augustine, Florida. The campsites sit atop the dunes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The kids woke well before the sun rose. Wanting to allow my wife to get a little more rest, I took the kids down to the beach to watch the sun rise. It was a beautiful sunrise. One I will never forget.
I’m not originally from the state of Florida. A couple of years ago my mother requested I bring my wife and children to meet her half way so she would be able to see her grandchildren for Christmas. I agreed and the location she selected was in a small town in northern Georgia called Helen. It’s an neat little German-themed village that happens to be in edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. After arriving we were looking for something for everyone to do. I searched online for any parks where nearby and found Unicoi State Park. After a little arm twisting I was able to convince everyone to go for a short hike. Unicoi SP is the site of Anna Ruby Falls. I’d never heard of the falls. But, we walked up the steep hill in order to see them. And wow. It was a tremendous suprise. It was a foggy day and the falls were very impressive. I think it made a memorable trip for everyone involved. Should you ever find yourself in Northern Georgia looking for something to do, Unicoi just might fit the bill.
It was one of those nights at work. You know what I mean. Not a bad night. It was just really intense. I had my camerabag with me and I broke away from it all for a few minutes. I jumped in my trusty Suby and headed downtown to the river. I spent a half hour in the viewfinder. (Unfortunately, my blackberry isn’t smart enough to know I was trying to get away.) But, let me just say, it didn’t really matter. It was great to spend a few minutes in the fresh air near the river. There were shorebirds fishing and the night air was clean and cool. I went back into the office and all was well.
Big Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville, Florida affords an incredible abundance of subjects for photographers. Any time spent here is sure to be rewarding. (Make sure to take your bug spray.)
Who knew Florida had caverns? My family and I venture out to some of our Florida State Parks regularly. I never even thought to look for caverns here. But, we had a great time the other day touring the caverns at Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna, Florida.
Most people pack up their cameras at the end of the day. However, photography at night can be fun and rewarding. Living in Florida, it gives me break from the high temperatures. It also allows you to be as creative as you wish. Moving lights always make interesting subjects. And the long exposures that are required can make foot traffic simply disappear.
The crowds have been small at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens due to the recent heatwave. I took my new glass for a test drive last week.
I’ve been spending a little time at Spring Park in Green Cove Springs, FL. There is an abundance of wildlife in the park. I’ve seen a wood stork, herons, egrets, and an osprey. I also watched an amazing sunrise the other morning.