I saw an interesting article in the New Your Times this week confirming what I feel: Spending time out in nature can improve your mind. It’s called “Easing Brain Fatigue With a Walk in the Park” and references a study published this month in The British Journal of Sports Medicine. (I hope you can read the NYT article – I’m not sure how their pay wall works.) The study measured volunteer’s brain waves as they walked along a path through three parts of a city. Then they looked at the recorded patterns for signs of frustration, agitation, attention / engagement, and calmness. The portion of the path through a park engaged the people’s attention while at the same time increasing their calmness. The urban portions of the walk increased their frustration. The moral of the story (at least for me): Spend more time with nature, and wildlife.
I increased my engagement with nature and my calmness this week by visiting the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
I stopped first at Kars Park. I hadn’t been there before and wanted to scout it as a sunrise spot. I also hoped I could see / photograph the cruise ships at Port Canaveral from there. They should make a good subject when they’re lit up in the dark. I arrived before dawn and found a pier, but didn’t really like the results and moved on. I’ll have to try again some time.
On the way to MINWR I noticed clouds developing on the horizon. They were pretty enough to make me pull over for this photo:
Pretty clouds – My sunrise photos didn’t come out so well, but the light was interesting a little later in the morning.
Turning in to Gator Creek Road, I spotted an Osprey in a dead tree. I crept up slowly, stayed in my car, and tried not to disturb it. It gave me a few hard looks but kept eating and was still there when I left.
No sushi for you – An Osprey with breakfast along Gator creek Road. It watched me as I drove slowly by and didn’t seem to want to share.
A little further on, I ran into this pair, also enjoying breakfast:
No sushi for you! (2) – A pair of eagles. They didn’t look like they wanted to share their meal either. I enjoyed watching them for a while and when they finished eating they flew away together – so I’m pretty sure they’re a couple. I’d like to go back to the area to see if I can get a better photo.
After Gator Creek, I took a turn around Blackpoint Wildlife Drive. It was pretty quiet but I did see a few of the regular birds (Great Blue and Tri-colored Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets, Black Skimmers, Gulls, Mottled Ducks, Terns, Scaups, etc.).
My last stop was the Bairs Cove boat ramp. I wanted to check out a new kayak launch area just across Haulover Canal from there. On the way in to Bairs Cove I noticed an isolated tree on the left and made a quick photo. As I drove around the boat ramp parking area I kept thinking about the scene. Something was very appealing and I didn’t want to get home without a good image of it, so on the way out I stopped again and made this more careful photo. It’s two IR, HDR images arranged so I could stitch a vertical panorama to get this square format result.
A tree along the road to Bairs Cove
As usual, my visit to MINWR was very enjoyable – and engaging, and calming. Click on the photos above to see larger versions. You can also see more photos from MINWR in this set on Flickr, and Black Point in this set. And I have many older posts about MINWR – you can look through them from this link.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos! And by the way, Happy Easter!
©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.