Myakka River and Venice Beach, Florida

Alligator July 16 8353 with border

Image: American Alligator swimming in Myakka River, Florida. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 480 mm, f/6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held

The second evening in Sarasota was full of photo opportunities as Leslie and Albert introduced me to a couple more great locations for wildlife and landscape photography.  We started the evening in Myakka River State Park since I had expressed an interest to see an alligator!

Sarasota map

Their typical location for spotting these animals was on a bridge overlooking the Myakka River.  They had received more rain than normal in the past couple months so the bank where they typically saw 15-20 alligators was covered with water.  We walked around a bit and soon saw a juvenile alligator swimming peacefully in the calm water.

Alligator July 16 8319 with border.jpg

Image: American Alligator swimming in Myakka River, Florida. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 300 mm, f/6.3, 1/400 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held

He turned towards me and I got a couple profile shots as well, including the first image in this post.  I title that image as “I See You,” not for the alligator watching me, but for the dragonfly looking at the alligator.  At the time of taking the shot, I didn’t see the dragonfly.  It was a nice surprise when I reviewed the image on my laptop.  🙂

We drove around a bit more in the park in search of some alligators and came across a doe with her two fawn.  They were used to people and had no fear of me when I scrambled out of the vehicle to get a shot of them.  They paused for less than a second before resuming their grazing.  It was quite beautiful to see the white spots on the trunk. I typically choose an aperture greater than f/5.6 but it was very dark out and I did not want to increase my ISO above 1600 since it would introduce too much noise for my preference.  I also dropped the shutter speed to a lot lower than I am typically comfortable when hand-held, but I did not have much time to think since these fawn moved their heads very quickly and I was lucky to get a quick photo with the head up.

deer July 16 8410.jpg

Image: A fawn pauses from grazing in Myakka River State Park, Florida. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 200 mm, f/5.6, 1/200 sec, ISO 1600, hand-held

As it got closer to sunset, we headed further south to Venice Beach along the west coast. There were plenty of clouds in the sky and we were hoping to have some of them light up with a variety of warm colors.  Unfortunately, the sun disappeared behind some clouds before it set so I opted to take some shots and convert one to black and white to highlight the beauty in the clouds.

Venice pier Juy 16 2698

Image: Venice Beach Pier, Florida. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 24 mm, f/16, 3 sec, ISO 100, on tripod

It contrasted well with the softness of the water and the lines of the pier.  I then practiced a shot that I have seen many times by photographers photographing piers.

Venice pier Juy 16 2711

Image: Venice Beach Pier, Florida. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 70 mm, f/16, 30 sec, ISO 100, on tripod

The symmetry of the pilings combined with the long exposure to blur the water creates a very peaceful image to me.  I was happy to get some of the color in the sky and played around with my composition, adding a frame to the image using the pilings.  Feel free to comment if you like one better than the other.  I’m undecided so far.

Venice pier Juy 16 2707

Image: Venice Beach Pier, Florida. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 55 mm, f/16, 25 sec, ISO 100, on tripod

I headed back to Indian Lake Estates yesterday evening for 2 weeks of down time (processing images from Europe, marathon training).  I will continue to post images when I can!

Author: Dr. Amy Novotny

Amy Novotny is a physical therapist, marathon/ultra runner and nature photographer. She treats patients for a variety of conditions but specializes in chronic pain and calming an overactive nervous system using special diaphragmatic breathing. She has used this technique to help her qualify and run in four Boston marathons! She enjoys the outdoors and can often be found running and hiking on trails in throughout Arizona. She attempts to capture the beauty of nature with her photography both locally in Arizona and also throughout the United States. She is becoming more interested in wildlife photography and attempting to capture the emotion of animal interactions. In her spare time, Amy volunteers as a photo guide for the Arizona Highways PhotoScapes nonprofit and shares her joy of nature with others. Please feel free to contact her regarding her photography, physical therapy or running.

18 thoughts on “Myakka River and Venice Beach, Florida”

  1. My eyes appreciate your last view of the Venice Beach Pier. I think it’s the depth and distance that I like a bit better. As always, beautiful, Amy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful Amy…that is my goal for next year when I go to California to photograph the piers….glad you are back in the states but just loved your adventure across the pond… 😊❤️😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amy! I like your first pier shot better (unframed) because I prefer the lower horizon and being able to see more of the underside of the pier. The detail is awesome. And the water seems to have a little more magic to it, for whatever reason. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Bryan!!! It’s nice to hear from you! I’m loving your pics from Alaska on FB! Thanks for the feedback! It was fun playing with these compositions. :-). I hope you are doing well.


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