Caloosahatchee Regional Park – Alva, Florida

I’ve always said that the best part of what I do is meeting some really great folks, the photography is just a bonus! This photo trip is no exception. I’ve had these photos in the hopper for a while and it was time to get them out to the big world. One of the challenging parts of not traveling for a while is how to do you keep your photography fresh with the same ole’ locations. Granted, I’m not an expert on Florida, but I have found some neat places to visit.

A couple of years ago, I was teaching a photography class at Six Mile Cypress Slough in Fort Myers, Florida. One of the folks who was brave enough to put up with me was Jayne Gayle. She’s one of the nicest people I have ever met. Over the years, I have gotten to know Jayne and not only does she have a great outlook on life, she knows the “real Florida”. She mentioned that I should come down to her neck of the woods sometime and have a look around. A few months ago, I did just that.

I have to say, if you get the chance, and you are going to check out an area, find someone who lives in that area. In this case, Jayne was gracious enough to act as a guide and took me to many places. One of the places that we stopped was where “Ozzie” and “Harriet”, the bald eagles where they are on camera and you can watch them on the internet.

Before we even left her property, I got quite a few photos. She has an amazing area where she has her horses, butterfly gardens, and all kinds of species of birds come and go. Here are a few from the days shooting.

Spencer Pullen photographed this horse named Jet in Alva, Florida.Jet – Spencer Pullen © 2016 All Rights Reserved

Jayne boarded horses and gave riding lessons in her “working career”. We wanted to get some photos of one of her horses before we left. This is Jet. It worked out as she was working with Jet and I was able to snap off a few. Working with horses, safety is a big thing. This was a no flash photo, I didn’t want to startle Jet. I photographed “to the right” keeping the white on his head in tone. This allowed the shadow area to be as light as possible. I took quite a few but this seemed to be the best portrait.

Spencer Pullen photographed this woodpecker in Alva, Florida.Woodpecker – Spencer Pullen © 2016 All Rights Reserved

As Jet was going back inside, this woodpecker flew on a pole. Looks like he may have a home in the pole from the looks of the round hole. He stayed there for sometime making this easy to get the best possible photo.

 Spencer Pullen photographed this bluejay in Alva, Florida.Bluejay – Spencer Pullen © 2016 All Rights Reserved

We were getting ourselves together to leave and this bluejay flew in. For this photo, I used the pop up flash to help push a little light in the shadow area. Granted this is a pop up flash, I can’t expect too much out of it. I set it for full power (1/1) and hoped for the best. I was surprised when I looked at the photo on the computer there is a catchlight from my flash in his eyes. You just never know.

Spencer Pullen photographed this armord catfish in Alva, Florida.Armored Catfish – Spencer Pullen © 2016 All Rights Reserved

One of the places that she took me was to the Caloosahatchee Regional Park. This is a great place. There is a really nice walkway that parallels the Caloosahatchee River. As we were walking along, we found this catfish skeleton. I asked her, “What’s up with this fish?” She replied, “It’s an armored catfish.” OK, I wasn’t sure if this was a shot at the new guy to see if he would fall for it, but ironically when I got home Nat Geo did a piece on rivers and indeed this is an armored catfish!

Spencer Pullen photographed this apple snail in Alva, Florida.Apple Snail – Spencer Pullen © 2016 All Rights Reserved

As we walked along the bank of the river we found many of these shells. Jayne explained these are Apple Snails. No one was home in this one. I really liked the texture of the shell as if this poor thing had been through the war.

We had a full day. She also took me to a great local deli that had some awesome food and the folks were just as nice as ever. If you want to photograph something new, you may want to try to drive inland. The beach is always nice, but there is so much history and different kinds of subjects to uncover in the “real Florida”.

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean


  1. Great shots!!!

  2. Spencer,

    I really like your “Jet” portrait. It’s well balanced and the background is out of focus enough to really set off Jet’s face. I know you like your monochrome stuff and while I generally find them interesting, Jet and the apple snail needed the color work-up.

    Thanks for posting – I’m looking forward to your next adventure.

    Art N.

    • Spencer

      Thanks, I agree. Jet and snail needed color to tell the story. Appreciate the comment…

  3. Your photographs are always absolutely amazing, but your writing is wonderful, too. Whenever I read your blogs I feel as if I’m right there….right there with you experiencing and seeing the things you’re doing. I am looking forward to your next blog.

    • Spencer

      Thanks! I appreciate the kind words. I’ll keep posting!

  4. You made that bird on a stick look good. Great job — as always!

    • Spencer

      Once in awhile I can get a BOS (Birds on a stick)! Thanks.

  5. Enjoyed reading you story. Like the photos also. Good Job.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Really liked that photo of the blue jay, Spencer!!

    • Spencer

      Thanks! Right place, right time!

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