Monday, December 7, 2015

Fort De Soto Park & Beach - Our Top Rated Beach & Great Birding Place Too!

Fort De Soto Park in Tierra Verde, Pinellas County, Florida is one of Florida's best beaches but also a great place for fishing, camping, kayaking, boating & birding!  And the scenery is not bad, either.  There is even an old historic fort to wander through.  

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is visible from the East beaches & loop.

Storm Coming!

The fishing piers are very popular and I have seen many fish caught off of them.

When I make the trip over to this wonderful park I am on the look out for wildlife and particularly, birds.    During the winter months the birds are usually very plentiful.   There are shorebirds, raptors, and songbirds in the various environments found on the island. 



Snowy Eqret

If you are in the Tampa Bay area I highly recommend a visit to this park.  It has something for everyone!

Please click on the images to see the originals and for info to purchase prints. 

That is all for now!


Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Central Florida Park You Should Not Miss- Circle B Bar Reserve

Circle B Bar Reserve is a park that belongs to the Southwest Florida Water Management District.  It has a lot of water but it is so much more.  This out of the way park is in the Lakeland, FL area so it is close to Orlando & Tampa.

There are trails and more trails so it is a great place to walk or jog.  But it's main attraction is the wildlife!  There are birds of all types, including Bald Eagles, Hawks & Osprey.   

Red-Shouldered Hawk

Seasonally, White Pelicans can be seen in the lake & ponds. Ducks and wading birds of many species also frequent the ponds.  

White Pelican

 Alligators sometimes cross or walk along the trails.   There are rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, armadillos & occasionally, even a bobcat is seen!


The best time to see critters is early in the morning or just before sunset.  

A recent addition is an Observation Deck on the Marsh Rabbit run trail.  The deck is built our over the water and has a blind setup at the end so human movements are less noticeable by the birds.

A View from the new Observation Deck

There is also a Nature Center with lots of info about the park and Florida.  So check out the park's website to see what they offer. 

Common Moorhe

I love walking and photographing in this park!  I highly recommend it!

Click on the images to see the originals or to purchase prints. 

That is all for now!


Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Bit Further... Photographing Elk in North Carolina

I have always liked animals, domestic or wild.  So I am always happy to see animals when I have my camera.

While we were in Tennessee, we did see some deer, turkeys & bears but the best day was the day we drove over the mountains to North Carolina to the Cataloochee area of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and spent some time with a couple of herds of elk!

They were relatively close to the road and even with the forest rangers there keeping us at a "safe" distance, these elk are obviously habituated to people, so we were pretty darn close.  Using my 200-400mm lens brought them even closer!

We spent several hours between the two herds that were along the main road.   There were some yearlings and one female was calling that strange elk call for several minutes. She was looking for someone!

There were a couple bulls interacting with their cows (yes, elk are bulls & cows) which gave me an opportunity to capture some elk behavior.   As a student of animal behavior (my post graduate work many years ago),  I am always looking for something more than a static portrait of an animal.

The bulls were keeping me busy for most of the time we were there!   Elk have a very different call and this bull was calling his cows!   Many of the elk were radio collared.  Not great for photographs but to me this is important part of their behavior study as these collars help the rangers and scientists keep track of their movements.

Another bull with a huge antler rack was giving us all a show! Digging up the grass with his antlers!

Testing the air for the correct scent of his cows.

Even the static pose of this guy looking back at me was too much to miss!

If you get a chance to visit this area I would highly recommend it!   And any time you see wildlife, please be respectful.  If they move away from you, do not move closer. Do not interfere with behaviors as much of it is related to breeding, feeding & safety.  But from that safe distance, wait & watch, you will be rewarded! 

Please click on the images to see the originals and to purchase prints and more. 

That is all for now! 


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Florida Clouds at Myakka River State Park

The clouds in Florida are spectacular at times.  When they are like they were on the day I visited Myakka River State Park,  I think of them as Florida's mountains!  They give this flat state some definite height & character.   

For a photographer, the Florida clouds add another dimension to the image.  When the sky is clear that photo is just not the same.

Myakka River State Park has nature trails, airboat rides, wildlife, camping, boat ramps, fishing and some very awesome clouds & scenery!    It is another terrific Florida state park!  I highly recommend it! 

To see the original images and much more please check out my website:

That is all for now!


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Re-enactment Time in Florida

Now that the weather is starting to cool off a bit (really?), it's time to check out the Civil War & Seminole War re-enactments in Florida.   Some of the smaller ones have already happened (not sure how they made it through the battles let alone the day in those wool uniforms & long, high neck dresses in the late heat we have been experiencing lately).  

We made it to one of the newer Civil War re-enactments last weekend.  This one was at the Florida Horse Park  in Ocala. It was the re-enactment of the Ocklawaha River Raid.  

There are always great photo opportunities with the various uniforms and period clothing, plus the camps are full of items to shoot.  The battles are not always easy to shoot but capturing a blast from a muzzle or cannon is always a fun challenge! 

Once the holidays are over the re-enactments will be going just about every weekend through the spring.  I highly recommend these as a low cost way to spend some time outside, learn a little history ( the participants are full of info and love to share) and get some great photo opportunities, all over Florida.   Be prepared to walk a lot as the encampments at some of these are very big!

The FL Re-enactors website has the schedule of most of these events.  Check it out. 

If you are interested in the above images and many others, please click on over to my website. 

That is all for now!


Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Bit Further... A Week in the Great Smokey Mountains

I am just back from a week in the Great Smokey Mountains, one of my favorite places especially in the fall!   This year, no snow!  Was a bit too warm for that but still got some great shots of the fall colors!   

The elk were on the NC side of the park.  They were very close and were going through some very interesting behaviors while we watched!
We had a lot of rain but did get some fog and great low lying clouds.  We spent some time at various streams and even spent a morning with some elk.   

The Great Smokey Mountains National Park is the busiest national park in the US but even though there were deer jams, turkey jams and even a bear jam with all the cars driving the loop, it is still worth the trip!  We found a few out of the way places that were off the main road to shoot.  But with some patience and good timing even this busy park can look desolate!

This is a destination that every photographer should shoot.  And even non-photographers will enjoy the scenery!
For the originals of these images and even more please check out my website:

That is all for now! 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Hillsborough River State Park - Time to Check it Out

You know you take the things & places close by for granted some times!   Hillsborough River State Park is only a few minutes from me & I have not visited the park in awhile so I spent a couple of hours there recently.   

With all the rain we have received this summer (sorry to all of you in the drought stricken areas) a good bit of the park was under water but it also created an actual "rapids" in the rocky part of the river which is usually just water flowing past some rocks! 

I was not there at the best time for light, mid-day, so I decided to do some long exposures.   The moving water turns to silk with this method of shooting.  I used a 9 stop variable neutral density filter to get the long exposure even in the bright light. 

With all the green and great tree shapes this was a terrific place to use my Infrared converted camera as well.  
If you haven't been to a Florida state park lately, I highly recommend this one or any other park near you.  You experience the "Real Florida" at these beautiful places across our state!
   See the originals and more images at

That is all for now.