When I’m teaching out of my local area, I always welcome suggestions from students on where to go shoot for the field trips. When I was teaching a class in Fort Myers, it was time to decide where we would be going for our last field trip. One suggestion that came up was the Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve. Having only been to certain parks in the area this was a new place and sounded quite interesting. We had a mixed group of interests so we like to find a place that offers something for everyone. Nature parks are usually a good bet as there are birds, bugs, flowers and who knows what else, maybe even humans.
It was time to make the drive from Port Charlotte down to Fort Myers, I was excited until I went outside to pack the car and I saw some rather “full” clouds going by. I’m all for shooting on overcast days, but shooting in a rainstorm might be a little tricky. Either way, I was going and all I could do was to hope for the best. It lightly sprinkled on the way down but the big buckets of water held off. I arrived and was amazed at how nice this place was set up. I have been to some real humm dingers, but this place had covered pavilions, grills and even an outhouse (yes, it even had the moon on the door). Some of the students had arrived before I did and there were a few coming in behind me. Again, looking at the clouds, I was hoping that the Photographer’s Gods were going to be on my side today. As I packed my gear for the walkabout, I also packed one of my oversized zip lock bags just in case. By the way, you can get these at Lowe’s and the dollar stores. After some quick question and answer time, we headed out. One person in our group is a regular visitor of this location so I was assured that we couldn’t get lost. Also, we had someone who could tell you anything about nature; this is always a good thing. More to come on that in a bit.
We stared along the trail that had “plastic wood” down and this made for easy walking, not to mention accessible for everyone, nice touch Lee County! We walked for some time without taking a photo. With the weather and palmetto after palmetto, I was beginning to think this was going to be a bust. We heard some noise in the bushes and we found this little guy.
These little lizards run all over the place here in Florida. I have been told that the green ones are native and the brown ones moved in awhile back. What I found interesting is that part of his tail must have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. He posed for us and left.
I really don’t know what the technical term is for this bush, but it reminded me of needles. The scene in color wasn’t that interesting, but in my minds eye I thought this might have potential for black and white. I also wanted to repeat the pattern in the background. I used my Nik’s Siver Efex Pro to do the conversion. I tried all of the digital color filters and choose the one that made the background darker and allowed the brush to stick out like a weed….ok, that was lame. Moving on…..
We were walking along and we noticed that the trees were staring back at us. Now I know how Dorothy felt just before the trees attacked her on the yellow brick road. Of course this was a once in a lifetime photo, so we had to take one. Later that day, we noticed other trees had the same “look”. All we could figure is that this might have been a scavenger hunt for school kids. Remember I mentioned about the naturalist that was with us? This is the point in the show where she yelled up ahead, “Say on the path, the sides are loaded with poison ivy.” We all looked at each other and in a collective groan said, “Oh great.” None of us got into it but just the mention of this stuff was making me itch. It’s not a party until you come home with a rash!
I can’t remember what kind of flower this is, I’m sure someone can tell us in the comments section. Yes, I know it’s a YELLOW flower! Since it was overcast, it was a great day to take flowers. There aren’t any harsh shadows or highlights to contend with. Using a low f-stop as I usually do, I was able to blur the background.
OK, this one I remember…I think. I remember our naturalist saying that these are Lubbers. This is a much shorter name than orange grasshoppers. I was told at one time these are an invasive species to Florida. Every year I see these guys crawling across the lawn. I liked the symmetry of his legs. I had never seen one in this position before. He was probably preparing to jump on my face.
I get the honor of making a monthly donation to this place as well as the rest of the folks in Florida. This is one of the many power plants that allow my computer to work. I was told that this was converted over to natural gas awhile back. As I looked at all the fancy pipes through the lens, all I wanted to do was to find a way in there so I could shoot some industrial photos. Hummm, would they allow a photo blogger in? Not sure. I could tell them that they need to have a State Urban Conversation Keeping Environment Regulator or SUCKER for short to come in and look around!
This tree had a bad day and was lying by the walkway. All of the shards of wood were interesting, again thinking of black and white I wanted to bring out the texture in the scene.
I know lately I have been consumed with dragonflies. This was my chance to get an “aerial” view. I moved back and fourth to get a somewhat solid green background and minimize all of the distractions. Also, looking at his wings I didn’t realize that part of the structure is filled in.
Along one of the fallen trees there were some mushrooms. Personally I don’t like to eat the things, but these were very photogenic. It looks as if something has been in them and had a snack. I wonder if that “thing” is still alive. I had to get on the hands and knees on the boardwalk to get this shot. Shooting shrooms (here comes the DEA) from standing height is kind of boring in my opinion. Like pets, if you get on their level, you can get some amazing angles.
This one I know, our naturalist told us what this was. I’m guessing when it turns red it’s ready to be processed. I asked if it was still edible and the jury is out on that. I’m guessing that the Native Americans must have eaten this stuff. Anyone want to try and report back? Just a suggestion….
It was a great day and the weather held. This was a great location, but be sure to take walking shoes and follow the signs or you’ll be out there for days. We got separated in our group and our leader told us to “stay to the right”. I guess we did ok as we made it back. There isn’t a charge to park or get in, so the price is right. Take clean camera cards and fully charged batteries, there are many opportunities to shoot.
Until next time…
Keep Your Glass Clean