Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sanibel Island Photography

Thick clouds, cold temperatures, and a stiff wind do not make for good conditions to do bird photography in a sub-tropical climate. Upon my arrival at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, there were only a few birds around. Most were sittting far back in the trees trying to stay warm. There did not appear to be any signs of a break in the clouds so I did what any good photographer would do. I went to breakfast. Then I took my wife shopping. While keeping my eye on the skies, I saw a few breaks in the clouds. My wife was nice enough to keep shopping and allow me to head back to the refuge.

Small pockets of sunlight started peeking through breaks in the clouds. Although there was not much to photograph, I was able to spot this Great Blue Heron perched on a log.  He was sitting back in a dark spot, but had some sunlight shining on him. I spot metered on the heron and it allowed the background to go completely black. I think it makes for a dramatic photograph. But then it clouded up again and the photography was on hold for a while.

Finally late in the day the skies cleared and I was able to start looking for something to focus that 800mm lens on. I headed to the south end of the island by the lighthouse. There is a nesting pair of Osprey that have been there for a few years using the same nest. I pulled into the parking lot and was setting up when this Osprey landed in the tree right over my head. (My luck was finally improving) It appears that fresh Flounder was on his menu as he started to feed. I actually had to back up across the parking lot to get him all in the frame.  (How rare is that when you have to back up instead of trying to get closer) He kept having to flare his wings to keep his balance as the wind was still blowing pretty hard.   

With the sun quickly going down and clouds starting build, I headed out onto the beach to try some shorebird photography. To be honest, I do not know exactly what species of shorebird this is, but I think it is a Black Bellied Plover, but I will have to ID it when I get home. There was a nice soft light at this point, and I was able to get a few photographs. There were a lot of people on the beach and it became to difficult to do any photography, so I called it a day. I wanted to get a nice sunset, but off shore clouds were moving in. So I have posted a nice sunset I did from Blind Pass Beach that I did last year at this time.


Have a great day

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