Monday, July 27, 2009

The Inbetween Time

Sky Painting
July 27, 2009
Bonita Beach, Florida


“When it looked like the sun wasn't going to shine any more, there was a rainbow in the clouds,”
--Maya Angelou

Tonight, just minutes before sunset, a quick glance up at the sky as I walked to the dock showed some pretty cool, feathery clouds overhead, stretching in tails to the west. I gave in to the impulse, reversed course back to the office door, grabbed the camera, jumped into the car and drove the three minutes to the beach.

Summer is always a quiet, lazy time on the beach at sunset. Locals and a few international tourists typically dot the beaches, a far cry from the crowded hustle during tourist/snowbird season. Tonight, I overhead one man say he was from Serbia. Such far flung visitors. Tonight was even more lazy, another sure sign of this troubled economy. Streets are relatively deserted these days; businesses fail weekly. My street looks like one big blue light special in the foreclosure aisle. These are tough days on the sandbar.

But tonight, that was all but forgotten as the sun dissolved into the Gulf. What hinted at being a wild, unruly sunset ended up being a gentle fusion of day and night. Soft light woven with a vivid thread or two. My intentions for landscape sunset shots became unexpected abstracts.

The inbetween time bled to night. Wealthy in the only meaningful manner, I walked up the sand path and headed home.

Nikon D2x, Nikkor 18-200 VR, Flip flops.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Looking...

"Here's Looking At You"
Fledgeling Green Heron
July 26, 2009
Wiggins Bay - Naples, FL


"It is lovely, when I forget all birthdays, including my own, to find that somebody remembers me."
-- Ellen Glasgow

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”
--Abraham Lincoln


Current Designs Kestrel Kayak, Nikon D2x, Nikkor 80-400mm VR


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Egret Fishing



The One That Didn't Get Away
Snowy Egret - Wiggins Pass
Naples, FL

"All men are equal before fish."
--Herbert Hoover


I've been spending lots of time in the kayak so far this summer, working on new photo inventory for next season. Boy, is this a fun job! I get to spend a lot of time with my bird friends, who never fail to crack me up.

This young adult was polishing his fishing skills in a strong outgoing tide with lots of bait on the surface along the south side of Wiggins Pass. Now, if you don't know snowy egret personality very well, let me tell you that these are persistent birds who can be very territorial and really cranky when other birds come to fish nearby. He'd already chased off two other snowy egrets, a pelican and even a great white egret with great flaps of wings and a lot of irritated vocals. Cranky persistence all the way.

He caught quite a few small "shiners" - little bait fish - as I photographed him. I call those fish "one gulpers" because they go from the water to the bird gullet in one fast gulp. But this fish - well, this one really tested his skills. Much, much larger than the one gulpers, he just couldn't quite figure out how to swallow it whole. He tossed it into the air (and caught it again), he came up onto shore, dropped it, and pecked at it a few times, and he even nearly lost it when it managed to wiggle out of that scary sharp beak once over the water.

This shot caught the last flip in the air before it aligned perfectly and he managed to swallow it down. In the millisecond of a shutter release, fish and bird looked at each other in midair in that tiny space in his beak. And then...poof...gone.

One minute, you're swimming with the gang and the next minute you're lunch. It's can be a dangerous world out there.

Current Designs Kestrel Kayak, Nikon D2x, Nikkor 80-400mm VR