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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!