A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to revisit Six Mile Cypress Slough in Fort Myers, Florida. Another photographer that had never been there before accompanied me. As a side note, I’m supposed to be teaching photography and possibly Elements and Photoshop classes at this facility in the fall.
They have a really nice indoor facility that educates you on the kind of animals that you will see and explains what the “slough” really is. They also have a photo contest once a year, it’s always neat to see what other photographers are doing. The admission is free, but you have to pay a $1 per hour up to $5 a day for parking. Needless to say this is a really inexpensive place to go on a family trip. There are a picnic tables and places to eat under shade if you would prefer to take a lunch with you. This is also the only park that I have been to that uses blinds for photographers. Want to bring your 600mm lens with tripod and sit in the shade of hours? This place is all set up for that. However, with that being said, at this current writing it’s June here in Florida. It’s hot and humid and these two ingredients equal man eating mosquitoes. I have been to some parks where even the Deep Woods OFF didn’t phase these things. If you are going to visit the slough, I wouldn’t exactly dilly around while on the boardwalk or you’ll have a bull’s eye on your back. There are many things to photograph, landscapes, bugs, birds, plants and flowers to name a few. Here is what I came back with…
It rained really hard the day before we went. As I walked down the entrance to where the boardwalk begins, I noticed the raindrops on the trees that were next to the boardwalk itself. I didn’t have a maco lens with me, so I racked out my 18mm-200mm lens as far as it would go. The way that the drops were laying on the foliage reminded me of what the trees looked like when it was cold and freeze up in good ole’ upstate New York.
I’m not right, but most of you already knew this. We were walking along the boardwalk and this little guy showed himself. The tops of the pylons that hold the boardwalk up have plastic caps on them to keep them from rotting and this is where he was hiding. As we were walking by he came out to greet us. I’m not deathly scared of snakes, but I’m no Steve Irwin either. I got as close as the lens would allow. I was in striking distance and I was hoping that if I did get bit that this was the non-poisonous variety. He was very patient with us, as we must have taken 30 photos of him. I did some research when I got home and he is a Florida Yellow Rat Snake, and yes he’s non-poisonous. I have photographed diamond back rattlesnakes here before as well. My advice would be use a really long lens for those! Great photos don’t always come from being safe.
It was overcast when we were there which kept the heat at bay. Even though it was overcast, it was still tricky to keep the dynamic range in what the camera could capture. My fellow photographer that went with us stopped and looked down this walkway. They took a few photos. I shot over them and what I saw in my mind was a great black and white. When I got this home I had a little issue, the top was a little overexposed and the bottom was a little underexposed. So I double processed this in Adobe Camera RAW and layer masked them together to balance out the detail. I used Nik’s Silver Efex Pro to do the conversion to black and white. Lastly, I ran it through Nik’s Sharpner Pro and out the door it went.
This was a great trip as most of them are. If you are in the area, this is a great stop. Not to mention if you go in the morning there is a Golden Corral right down the road so you can get UNLIMITED BACON! Sorry, it’s a family thing, like putting mayo on hot dogs and French fries!
Until next time…
Keep Your Glass Clean