Mar 14 2009
I’ve never seen an owl on a Florida beach, nor have I enjoyed watching a manatee in the wild, so when David Damon sent me some of his photos of Florida wildlife, I sat up and took notice. Writing and photography are avocations for David, and from time to time he contributes articles and photos to a variety of publications. It seems he’s passed his love of photography on to his son, Gil, who took David’s portrait to the right at sunrise on a cold January morning as they waited to document an ultralight plane guiding seven whooping cranes to wintering grounds. The flight was a success, by the way—the cranes are wintering at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.
While David sometimes documents human interest stories like that of an independent woman in her 90s who lives a kind of frontier life, it’s nature which most often captures his eye. For equipment he relies on a a 70-200 mm f2.8 IS lens mounted on a Canon 40d digital SLR (or DSLR). Many of the shots here were taken with that combination, though he also uses a Canon G9 point-and-shoot (PAS) digital camera, as in this shot of pollen swirls and reflections in the water at Leon Sinks State Park in Florida:
As the thermometer hovers around freezing here, David’s photo makes me wish I was in my boat on this Florida stillwater, though if an alligator drifted my way, I might change my mind:
This alligator at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge looks well pleased. Maybe he’s just eaten. I admire ‘gators and crocs, but seeing them leave to go about their business elsewhere can be encouraging:
An altogether less fearsome reptile is this diamondback terrapin, photographed on an island offshore in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge:
David photographed these charming gentle giants at Wakulla Springs State Park—read what he has to say about them in the Wakulla News. Folks at the Wakulla Springs State Park liked the following manatee photo so much that they’ve just incorporated it into the design of the park t-shirt:
Back up on shore, now, and on St. George Island, David caught a burrowing owl on the prowl:
Birds are endlessly fascinating. They’re the very essence of beauty and grace, as David’s photo of this great blue heron at Wakulla Springs State Park proves:
Look at those long legs and large feet, perfectly suited to wading in the muddy shallows. And the heron’s long, pointy beak is a lethal weapon, as is the beak of his cousin, the great egret. The next two photos of egrets were taken at the St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge:
Such elegant birds, don’t you think? So are these black skimmers flying over the beach at Mashes Island Park should:
The sea might be rough, but the skimmers don’t seem to care. It’s their patch, and they know it well.
Of course every day comes to an end, and if a photographer is lucky, sunset is spectacular, like in the following two shots:
I can’t think of a better way to end the day. Many thanks to David Damon—and his son Gil—for allowing us to reprint these beautiful photos from Florida. They surely warm me up on this cold March day. How about you?