I make a lot of photographs – you may not have been able to tell ;-). And I have many that I like that never get into the blog. So this week I’m going to post a handful of B&W images from around Central Florida that I think are worth seeing. I hope you like them too. Not many words this morning. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Pump house, Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive
Cathedral Interior, St. Augustine
Cypress stand, Orlando Wetlands
Quiet morning, Merritt Island NWR
Sunrise Along Bobcat Trail, Orlando Wetlands
Tranquil morn, Orlando Wetlands
As always, click to view larger on Flickr, and you can see many more of my monochrome photos in this folder.
Thanks for stopping by and looking at my blog. Now – go make some photos!
Hello faithful readers! This is my first post in a new category I’ve created on the blog that I’m calling “Postcards”. I’m going to occasionally post photos here that are typical Central Florida scenes – like a postcard.
You’re welcome to download them at full resolution for your personal use. I’m going to use the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license for these instead of “All rights reserved”. Please visit this page to see details and restrictions that apply: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.
In the future, they should be easy to find using the “Places / Categories” pulldown menu over on the right side of the blog and selecting “Postcards”. If you’re viewing the site on a phone, you might not see that menu – if so, just type “postcards” into the search box.
Anyway, the first photo in the new series is this one:
To download, just click on the image to go to the source and then right-click to download it. I hope you like it!
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
Black Point Wildlife Drive seemed quiet when I was there a week ago, but Lake Apopka is active. We saw lots of people and lots of birds. I don’t catch Black-crowned Night Herons that often, but we spotted several including this young one fishing in a canal.
Black-crowned Night Heron
A little later we spotted another that’d just caught a catfish.
Black-crowned Night Heron and Catfish
This looks like a Sailfin Catfish. I hadn’t heard about these, but Kevin M. filled me in. They’re a type of suckermouth (or armored) catfish and a non-native, invasive species in Florida. Originally from Venezuela and Colombia, they’re popular in aquariums. Most likely they escaped from tropical fish farms and / or were released here by people.
Now they’re abundant and widespread throughout Florida and bad for our ecosystem. They dig burrows that cause erosion. Because of their tough, armored skin and sharp spines, they can choke birds that eat them. There were a lot of them in the canals next to the roads. The St. John’s River Water Management District has an undesirable fish harvest each year that gets some of them out of the water.
In addition to the Night Heron, we also saw a Great Blue Heron and a Great Egret with one. I hope they didn’t choke.
I don’t see many Purple Gallinules either, and I didn’t realize this was a young one until Kevin M. ID’d it for us. Thanks, Kevin!
Purple Gallinule juvenile
We saw several other types of birds, dragonflies, butterflies, flowers, and the usual alligators too. Lake Apopka is well worth a visit, even in the hot summer.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
Country Road – Near the Lust Road entrance to the drive
There’s been lots of activity there this summer. Robert and others described feeding frenzies in the ponds by the pump house. Alligators and birds have gorged on fish, creating some great photo opportunities.
And people have seen many interesting birds too including Swallowtail and Mississippi kites, Brown Thrashers, Fulvous Whistling Ducks, an Ash-throated Flycatcher, Purple Martins, and others.
Red Shouldered Hawk with Field Mouse (in right claw). It had just caught the mouse on the road and carried it to this tree.
On our trip, we also saw several kinds of dragon flies:
Halloween Pennant Dragonfly
And many water lilies blooming, some of them in very pretty light:
MINWR can be quiet through the hot part of the year and the times I checked on it this summer, I saw few birds / wildlife. Conditions were poor with little rainfall for long periods followed by some huge fires along Black Point Wildlife Drive.
On the other hand, Lake Apopka’s been a wonderful place to visit this summer. It’s a shame I didn’t go over there more often. Not too long ago, the lake was polluted with farm runoff. Restoration efforts and the opening of the wildlife drive about two years ago have made it a premier nature and wildlife destination in Central Florida.
It’s about the same distance from me as MINWR. I’m going to make a point of visiting more often. If you haven’t been recently – go.
My friend Tom M. wanted to go out shooting last week and hadn’t ever been to the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. The drive itself is only open to cars from Friday through Sunday, so we met on Friday morning and went over. It was raining when I got up and still cloudy on the way over, which made for interesting skies in my infrared photos.
Lake Apopka Pump House – 2 frame panorama, infrared, black and white.
We did have a bit of good light while we were there. We saw this bird struggling to swallow a fish and stopped to watch for a few minutes. It was on the side of a canal with the clouds reflecting in the water behind it and flowers blooming in front. I stayed in the car so I wouldn’t bother it and shot a series of single frames while we watched. This one was the best one of the series.
Nice catch! – an Anhiga tosses a fish it caught along a canal on the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive.
On this trip, I brought my micro four thirds cameras. I’ve used the system for about four years and they’ve worked very well. The dynamic range and noise performance are not as good as larger sensor cameras, but it’s “good enough”. And the noise is not an issue for me. DxO Optics Pro does an outstanding job processing the RAW files. The focusing capabilities have been fast for static subjects – but I’ve never been able to do very well with continuous focus. Well, I recently traded up to a used Olympus E-M1, which has phase detect sensors built into the image sensor and it’s been doing a great job with continuous focus. So much so that even for birds in flight it’s working “good enough” too. Here’s an example from Friday:
Checking me out – A hawk in flight looking at the camera
Kevin K., Kevin M., and I went round the Wildlife Drive on the Lake Apopka North Shore yesterday. This 11 mile long section of dirt roads opened to the public earlier this year and provides access to a large part of the restoration area near the lake.
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive Entrance.
This was mostly a scouting trip as Kevin K. and I had never been, and since it’s the middle of the summer we didn’t expect to see a lot of wildlife. But similar to Viera Wetlands, there was lot going on. We saw many of the usual Florida birds and even some unusual ones like Least Bitterns. About half way through, we stopped behind another car observing a tree full of birds that turned out to be swallows.
My experience with swallows is that they’re very erratic flyers and seldom sit still – which makes them hard to photograph or even identify. But these were happily perched in the tree and later on power lines. This allowed us to get some good photos and recognize several species. Two (Bank Swallow and Barn Swallow) were lifers for me. I even got both of them in the same frame – how cool is that?!!