Generally (and especially in Florida) clouds are good for landscape photos. And when water is part of your composition (like it often is here), wind can add interesting motion effects to longer exposures. If you can’t use those two elements in your images, can you still make landscapes? Of course, but you may need to use mirrors!
Mangrove Mirror 1. Infrared, Olympus HiRes mode.
Our winter weather fronts bring cooler temperatures and often very clear skies to Central Florida. And winds can be especially calm in the early morning. When I run into situations like this, I don’t put my camera away. Instead I watch for mangrove trees and other reflections.
Mangrove Mirror 2. Infrared, Olympus HiRes mode.
Compositions that minimize the sky and maximize the patterns their branches and roots make in the glassy water appeal to me.
Mangrove Mirror 3
How do you approach landscape photography at daybreak, when the wind is dead calm and the clouds are few and far away?
Beacon 42 boat ramp, before dawn. Venus in the upper right, reflecting in the lower right.
It looks like a great place to launch from, with easy access to Mosquito Lagoon in the distance to the east.
I also went by the Visitor’s Center since I needed to renew my MINWR annual pass. The very nice man at the desk asked me how old I am. When I told him I’d be 62 next month, he told me to come back then and get a senior pass. I’d heard about this before but didn’t know it started at age 62. And that it’s a lifetime (not annual) pass! And that it gets you in to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites including national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation! It’s quite a deal – I’ll be back there next month to get mine.
I did make a few more photos that day. Here’s one more:
Reflecting mangroves: Something about mangroves always seems photogenic to me. Especially in mirror like water.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – if you’re a US citizen age 62 or older – get your pass. Then go make some photos!
Ansel Adams said: “Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter. ”
For me, last Friday was one of those times. When I find myself in in a situation like this I have to be careful not to be overwhelmed. It’s too easy to start clicking the shutter and forget many things I’ve learned about photography. I have to slow down, concentrate on the basics, make the best images I’m capable of, and capture at least a little bit of what it was like to be there. Of course, we all know that Ansel Adams would have made better photographs than I did. But I was the one there with my camera and so maybe you can look at the images I made and get some idea of how beautiful this place is, how nice that sunrise was, and something of how it feels to experience mornings like this. Black Point Wildlife Drive (http://www.nbbd. com/godo/ minwr/BlackPoint /index.html ) is only about an hour away from my house. I haven’t ever been there in January, and I was curious about how active it would be in winter. I had Friday off, so I left at o-dark-thirty to get there before dawn. It wasn’t as active as it is in spring time – there were only about 5 other photographers there. In the spring the photo flock can number more than 30 and it can actually be hard to find a spot to put your tripod up. On Friday there were many birds around (egrets, herons, ibis, ducks) and although I usually see spoonbills I didn’t find any this time. I also saw a gator or two, a wild pig, and some kind of feline (a bobcat?).
And I was treated to a wonderful sunrise. All in all, well worth the drive.
If you’re from this part of Florida and you haven’t been to this place, you’re really missing out. Plan on being there for dawn. In addition to a chance for a good sunrise, the wildlife is more active and the winds are calm, which will give you some good reflections in all the water.
If you’re from out of state and in Orlando with your family, you should think about a visit too. You could make a pilgrimage at dawn and be back before ~10am. They might not even miss you.
I posted some additional photos from this trip here.