Brown Pelican – Saint Augustine, Florida

Pelican - Toby Gant -2013

I captured this image of a brown pelican in St. Augustine, Florida. Our guide pointed out that he is so colorful because he is wearing his mating plumage. The pelican’s appearance is comical to me. There is just something about pelicans that make me smile. Thanks for stopping by.

Back to Merritt Island – Florida

Merritt Island - Toby Gant -1719

On my recent trip to Florida, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go back to Merritt Island and drive the Black Point Wildlife Drive again. I was pleased to see that the water levels all appear to be back to normal. And with the normal water levels there was wildlife everywhere. As a matter of fact, I think there was more birds than I have ever seen there at any one time. While following my normal modus operandi (searching for osprey), I stumbled across this magnificent bald eagle. Armed with only my 70-200mm VRII and 2x teleconverter, I was not able to get as close as I would have liked. But, I had a great time observing it all the same.

Wildlife in the GSMNP

Cades Cove - Toby Gant -2316Wildlife is abundant in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We have yet to drive the Cades Cove Loop Road and not see plenty of wildlife. The usual suspects are deer and turkey. We’ve seen elk, coyotes, wolves and bobcats in other areas of the park.

I captured this image of a whitetail buck on the loop road. I used my 70-200mm VRII at 200mm shooting from the Suby using my Puffin Pad.

The Puffin Pad is a great tool to use when shooting wildlife. As long as you shoot from your vehicle, most wildlife will not even be remotely concerned by you. It’s when you get out and set up a tripod they tend to want to go elsewhere. The Puffin Pad was indispensable to me on my vacation between visiting both Cades Cove and Black Point Wildlife Drive.

I have recently added new images to my gallery. You can see them at http://www.tobygant.com/tobys-gallery-images/. Thanks for stopping by.

The Interloper

There is a new addition to our back yard. There is a new cardinal and hen that have joined our existing couple. They have not had a very warm reception from the existing birds. Red, my first cardinal, seems to particularly dislike him. My wife has dubbed the scrappy new bird “the interloper”. I think he’s stuck with the name. I also think Red needs to get accustomed to him being here because the interloper seems to have no intention of leaving the feeder anytime soon.

A New Project

My search for the perfect osprey shot has obviously been placed on hold due to my new geographic situation. I have found a new mission to keep myself occupied. The perfect cardinal (Cardinalidae) shot. Granted, the cardinal is by no means an incredible fishing raptor. But hey, it is very colorful and can be found literally in my back yard. In between work and semi-frequent trips to the Georgia state parks, I think it will have its own rewards. This particular cardinal and it’s mate can be found in trees out back every day. They are also both camera-shy. I’m taking on the project. This image was captured with my 70-200mm VR II and 2x teleconverter. More of my wildlife images can be found on my website at http://www.tobygant.com/wild. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Taunted Again

OspreyWhile visiting Merritt Island last week I observed osprey after osprey. I must have seen at least a dozen of these incredible animals and yet the shot I am looking for still eludes me. This particular osprey was feeding on top of the lights in a parking lot. Not exactly a “nature” shot. Even though it is natural to see them perched on street lights and overhead street signs. I think I am going to have to take some time away from my day job and camp by the river to get my shot. I’m simply not going to get the shot any other way. If anyone has suggestions for capturing an image of an osprey catching its lunch, I am open to suggestions. I captured this image using my 70-200mm f/2.8 and 2x teleconverter. You can see more images of osprey and other wildlife at my site. http://www.tobygant.com/wild

Little Black Ducks

Little Black DucksOn a recent trip to Orlando, FL, I took the long way home via Merritt Island. Black Point Wildlife Drive has simply never disappointed me. Time after time there is always something new and exciting. They are now charging a fee to enter the park. If you stop by make sure you have five US dollars in your pocket. If you live close by or frequent the area I would suggest the annual pass. There was abundant wildlife throughout the park. This time we saw the herons, egrets, ducks, osprey, american alligators and butterflies. I still have yet to see any otters. I guess I will have to continue to visit until I see them. The image on this post is of some “little black ducks.” It reminds me of Daffy from the Loony Tunes cartoons. I’m not that familiar with ducks. If anyone out there knows what type of duck this is, please let me know. I am interested and can’t find them online. This image was captured with my 70-200, f/2.8 with a 2x teleconverter. As always you can see more images from this trip on my website: http://www.tobygant.com/blackptwildlifedr.

Blue Spring State Park – Florida

Great Blue Heron by Toby GantAs stated in my last post, my trip to Blue Spring State Park was a success. I walked away with several images that I was happy with. I captured the images from the St. Johns River Cruises and Tours narrated nature and ecological cruise. It was a great time. Shooting from the moving motor-powered platform provides its own set of challenges. I’ll  definitely increase my shutter speeds and my active VR if I make the journey again. But, the amount and variety of wildlife we were able to observe would not have been possible shooting from the shore. Recalling the days events, I think I will need to take another day off work soon. Maybe I’ll take 2 next time.

This image of the Great Blue Heron was captured using my 70-200 f2.8 and 2x teleconverter. You can see more of my images of Blue Spring State Park at my site. http://www.tobygant.com/bluespring

tobygant.com: Streamlined

My website (www.tobygant.com) has taken a recent leap forward. I have streamlined the content and it now allows full functionality for your mobile device. iPad, iPhone and Android are all supported. Please stop by and let me know if it has improved your experience.

Elusive Osprey Shot

Osprey Spring Park - Toby GantSo, I have found myself searching for the perfect osprey shot this summer. As the summer closes out, I have not reached my goal. I have had precious little time to try to achieve my objective. I had hoped that luck my help me along. Well, luck and the shot have both evaded me for the season. I won’t quit. I know the stars will eventually align and the shot will be there. I hope so anyway. But, I will say it has been a very rewarding adventure all the same. I’ve had the opportunity to observe these incredible creatures. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been stalking this adolescent osprey. He is currently not the most adept fisherman. (Far from it.) But, I plan to keep my eyes on him. I plan to be there with my camera as soon as he refines his technique. Image was captured with my 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII and TC-20E III 2x teleconverter.

No Travel Required

So, just like so many of you, I still have a day job. Mine requires me to be “on call” every three weeks. Just like my photography, I take my day job very seriously. Therefore, I try to stay engaged and never venture far from home when I can be called at any moment to

Tree Frog

Tree Frog

engage with work. That said, I often find myself wanting to pursue my passion while captive at home. So, I’ll search around the yard for a willing subject. Today I had some luck finding this incredible little tree frog. I think he made an interesting subject. Please share your thoughts. Image was captured with my 105mm micro VR lens handheld.

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Our weekly adventure took us down to Palm Coast, FL. We went to Linear Park. It is a small public park that is extremely well-maintained. Our mission was the same as it usually is. First, to get outside and enjoy some sun and fresh air. And secondly, to try to find some interesting wildlife along the way. We were successful. Although the park is located inside the town of Palm Coast, there is still wildlife to be found. Today’s surprise was a barred owl. It was an incredible creature. It would not allow us to get terribly close. But, it seemed to tolerate us from a distance. This image was captured with my 70-200mm f/2.8 with a 2x teleconverter.

Big Talbot Adventure

Well, our weekend adventure took us to Big Talbot Island State Park. We walked a long trail that was not well-travelled. I had to lead the way to clear the spiders for the rest of the troops. We found a large turtle on the trail. But, not much else. In the parking lot at “The Bluffs,” we found a very thin and hungry raccoon. After the walk we went to a pull-off and watched the birds in the marsh. Storms were rolling in and the heavy winds felt great on a hot summer day. As always it was great to be outdoors and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. I hope everyone else out there had as much fun as I did this weekend. This image is of our little bandit friend in the parking lot. It was captured with my 70-200 f/2.8 VRII.

Black Point Wildlife Drive & New Friends

I’d like to first thank my family for the best Father’s Day ever. They got up at 3:00 am this moring to go with me back down to Merritt Island for the sunrise. The water has bounced back nicely since our last visit. However, they could still use some rain. While on our little adventure we came across some gentlemen with a vehicle in the center of the drive. As we approached one of them came running toward us frantically waving for us to stop. I pulled over and my wife and I stepped out of the Suby to investigate. There was a nighthawk sitting in the road. This is extremely rare because it was close to 10 in the morning and they are nocturnal animals. The gentlemen at the side of the road photographing the bird (Ken Blye, Wayne Bennett & friends.), had a wealth of information about the wildlife drive and the animals that reside there. They shared good conversation and their knowledge. It was a truly remarkable day. You can see more of the images at my site: http://www.tobygant.com/blackptwildlifedr

Black Point Wildlife Drive (Revisited)

I just had another opportunity to visit the Black Point Wildlife Drive in Titusville, Florida. The weather has turned colder since my visit a couple of weeks back. I was concerned there might not be as much to see. But, to my surprise there was wildlife everywhere. The cooler weather even brought out some alligators in search of the sun. You can see more images at my site.

Jungle Adventures

My wife and I took our kids to Jungle Adventures in Central Florida this weekend. The kids had a great time. Not only could they look at all of the different wildlife but, they were allowed to hold a spider, a snake, an alligator and a scorpion.