Near where I live these days is a 2,600 acre preserve. Prairie Pines Preserve has more than 10 miles of trails available for hiking, horseback riding and some available for biking. I can almost access this preserve from my community however there is a canal running 3 miles north to south between my access path and the preserve. Crossing this canal, although shallow in places is fraught with danger. Snakes and alligators come to mind. In this photo, you can see the narrow path running north, the canal to the east and then Yellow Trail in Prairie Pines Preserve all running parallel. One day, I will muster the courage to cross the great divide. This photo is part of a video of the area. Watch video on YouYube.
DJI Mini, 4mm, f/2.8, 1/640 sec, ISO 100 Altitude 85 meters
I am not sure where you would launch a kayak, maybe from the only house in this photo. Can you find it? This would be a great place to explore. West of Burnt Store Lakes in Punta Gorda, FL are mangrove islands edging Charlotte Harbor. In the far off distance you can barely see Cape Haze Aquatic Preserve which is technically part of Boca Grande. This image from a drone flight. https://youtu.be/cH_RmA15QFc
DJI Mini, 4mm, f/2.8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 100
Looking north along the Tamiami Trail (Route 41) into Charlotte County. Beyond the Prairie land. In the distance, on the left is the great Charlotte County Landfill. It has been know to create small dust storms and a smell worse than death. It is home to vast quantities of buzzards. To the right of the highway and beyond the prairie is a surface mining operation which digs vast areas for the ultimate goal of creating concrete. Leaving behind holes that eventually fill with water, an odd colored water rich in nutrients and not the good kind..
DJI Mavic, 4mm, f/2.8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 100
A real beauty! Webb Lake in Charlotte County, FL was created by man dredging the area for fill for Interstate 75. Biologists designed suitable water depths and sloping edges to provide wildlife. It stretches 5 miles north to south with paved access along one side. Boating and kayaking is permitted. No gas engines however.
Nikon Z6, FTZ, 17-35mm, 17mm, 1/80 sec, f/22, ISO 100; Merged Panorama
I always thought this was a common gecko, but I now believe it is a brown anole, in this case a female. These guys are plentiful here in Florida, but they are actually new to the area arriving here from Cuba or a nearby island. They are quite happy here. Beware, they are ferocious stalkers and avid hunters with lightning reflexes, and they can change colors a bit. With little suctions on their feet, they can climb on anything including glass. We befriend them because they eat little bugs, spiders and worms. They are good to have around. Prehistoric no doubt. Fun to watch the males court the ladies.
Nikon D610, Tamron 150-600mm, 500mm, F/6.3, 1/45 sec, ISO 800
There is something timeless in this picture. Subjective, I know, but I can see the Cisco Kid or Wild Bill Cody or maybe the Lone Ranger riding into frame. The scraggly old trees add the backdrop and a perch for the buzzards which were flying over head when this photo was taken. It could have been taken in the high desert in Arizona or Nevada. Proof that It is just as much fun developing pictures as it is taking them.
Nikon Z6, FTZ, 17-35mm, 32mm, 1/1500 sec, f/5, ISO 100
Half of what you see is the Galt Preserve is a 265 acre parcel purchased by Lee County Florida between 2002 and 2007 for $4.4 million. The invasive plant melaleuca was removed and it is now mesic flatwoods and a mangrove swamp bordering Pine Island Sound. It is home to many birds including a nesting pair of bald eagles as well as racoons, opossum, bobcats, alligators and turkey vultures. What a gift we have in the preserves of Lee County Parks & Recreation Conservation 20/20 program land management plan. The northern portion is agricultural land owned by King Ranch of Fort Myers owning 100 acres just north of Galt Preserve.
DJI Mini FC7203, 4mm, f/2.8, 1/1250 sec, ISO 100
This is a turkey vulture. We have a lot of them in southwest Florida. Can locate decaying flesh of dead animals by odor: Unlike most birds, has a well-developed sense of smell. But it sure is ugly. Photo taken at Powell Creek Filter Marsh, another Lee County Division of Natural Resources property.
Nikon D610, Tamron 150-600mm, 600mm, f/6.3, 1/125 sec, ISO 100
This is a man-made water filter in Lee County. Water from Pop Ash Creek is pumped into a filter marsh structure which is surrounded by rocks providing aeration and it then percolates through the marsh plants taking out excess nutrients, metals and suspended solids. This marsh, which spans 307 acres, was dug with sloping sides and a deeper hole in the middle. Fish and frogs can gather in the deep waters during dry season and wading birds, alligators, otters, opossums, foxes, wolves, raccoons, deer and turtles can easily approach from all sides. As far as I am concerned, this is $1,561,846 of well spent money. Bravo Lee County! "Take only pictures and leave only footprints".
Nikon Z6, FTZ with 17-35mm, 17mm, 1/80 sec, f/11 ISO 100
A live oak is awesome and majestic. It's reach is as wide as it is tall. It allows just enough light through its canopy for some ground brush, but not too much for fear that something might interfere. Its bark is weathered and aged, but its leaves are young and full of life. Why do they call it a live oak? Because as soon as it drops its leaves in winter, new leaves are ready to take center stage leaving the live oak in full dress all year long.
Nikon Z6, FTZ with 17-35 mm, 17mm, 1/60 sec, f/13 ISO 100
Sunset is an extraordinary time. People come from far and wide to witness the grandeur. They bring camera's, chairs, cocktails, friends and loved ones. I think birds often do the same. Normally flying in groups, but sometimes alone, the pelican floats in air, barely moving a feather. They appreciate the end of a long day in the magic light of sunset.
Nikon Z6, FTZ with 17-35mm, 1/160 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400
A photograph can easily change your perspective. This picture was taken at birds eye level, but it is not what you would think of as birds eye view. At just a few inches high, you can hardly focus on what is beneath you. But you can clearly see the silhouettes of humans walking on the beach, some holding hands, some all alone. Some far away, some very close. Look closely and in the far off distance you can make out the Sanibel Causeway. Size is a relative concept. A one inch wave just might make you stumble and fall, so run, run quickly.
Nikon D610; 28-300mm, 1/30 sec, f3.5, 28mm, ISO 900
Tide was going out and Charlotte Harbor was pretty choppy. We didn't go far before turning toward home. It's never worth it when the winds begin gusting and the white caps begin to appear. As we returned, I caught eye of this. Endearing I thought. The winds did not stop this Dad and first mate. They were on a mission. They kayaked out to this quickly rising sandbar and set out to discover. It doesn't matter the mission, it was the journey that mattered. Ingrained in their memories will be this adventure and the time they spent together. I've enjoyed such moments but always yearn for more.
Nikon D610; 28-300mm, 1/1500sec, F5.6, ISO 200, 300mm
The angle of this shot hides the Pantheon in the Piazza della Rotunda in Rome. The Pantheon Fountain was commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII. The fountain assumed its current appearance in 1711. Filippo Barigioni was given the tedious task of reconstruction of the fountain. It was fully restored by the end of the past century and some of the original parts, masks that once decorated the top of the fountain, can be viewed in the Rome Museum.
An obelisk is standing on top of the cliff on a pedestal in honor of the Egyptian goddesses Isis and Serapis.
Nikon D610, 17-35mm, 17mm, 1/180sec, ISO 3200, F22
Stellar beauty and medicinal calm, that is the Peace River originating in Polk County (East of Tampa) and ending in Charlotte Harbor near Punta Gorda, the river runs more than 100 miles. The shore line is mostly undeveloped due to the extreme rise and fall of the water level depending on the season. Thankfully, this river is hard to tame. As such, any development is restricted to grazing land. This photo is taken about 20 miles up river from Charlotte Harbor.
Nikon D610, 17-35mm, 17mm, 1/350 sec, ISO 200, f/11
I watch these prehistoric creatures run on water, spread their haggard wings and to my surprise lift off as if there are invisible thrusters providing lift. Once airborne, they soar like a glider with perfect control until it is time for them to once again dive fast and furiously into the water, Headaches must be a casualty of the never ending cycle.
Nikon D610, 28-300mm, 300mm, 1/1500 sec, ISO 1500, F`16
They say you need to go out west to see the really big skies. That may be so, but I am pretty sure the skies of Southwest Florida are as dramatic as the west offers and probably more. Certainly, they show off their dramatic talents more frequently and consistently deliver the promise of rain, lightning and thunder with regularity. This sky, believe it or not, was just fair weather clouds.
Incredible is the world in front of our eyes that we rarely see. I don't know what this flower is, I just know that it is awesome. At center is a cavern of unimaginable grace, with sparkling pillars of light enticing you to visit and a spiral centerpiece sinking into the darkness. It would be a literal field day for a Fairy Speleologist to venture deep within.
Nikon D610, 28-300mm, 1/180 sec, ISO 200, F/38, 230mm with Flash
Peace can be found in many places, at sea, on a mountain top, in the forest, or here. Justly named, the Peace River just east of Punta Gorda is such a place. The gentle flow of the river bounded by grasses and trees covered in green, the skies here are forever and the clouds seem to be ever-present but never shading the sun. This is a place for some quiet time. Time to empty the mind. Nothing to think about but what is around you.
Nikon D610, 28-300mm, f8, 1/1000sec, 28mm, ISO200
It is a rare moment when I can capture something exciting with my Tamron 600mm lens because it usually takes patience and time. This day, I was lucky! It just so happened that this red shouldered hawk wanted to share its catch with me and hung around long enough for me to find my camera, find my lens, assemble and head outside to take some pictures.
Nikon 610, Tamron 600mm, 1/500sec, ISO 250, F6.3, 600mm
It has been said that sand storms in the Sahara Desert have risen to the jet stream and traveled around the globe enhancing our sunsets beyond belief. Privileged to bear witness.
f5.6 1/350sec 28mm
In Bokeelia, FL on the northern tip of Pine Island, there is little to see and do. All coast land is private, except for the parking lot to Captain Con's Seafood Restaurant. The cars have a wonderful view of Gasperilla Sound. The long piers are private unless you want to fish, for $8 you can fight for a place at the end of the pier. If you want to take pictures, rent a boat.
With a Camera and maybe with the eyes, you can see around or through solid objects. The sun is covered by palm fronds, yet we can see it clearly. Pretty special. This is Ponce de Leon Park named for Juan Ponce de León, who led the first Spanish expedition to Florida in 1513-as legend has it-in search of the "fountain of youth." Next to the park is the Peace River Wildlife Center - a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation facility tucked neatly into the mangroves overlooking Charlotte Harbor at Ponce de Leon Park.
Sometimes you can see something so pure in the face of a child that it transcends the moment and becomes an engram which lasts forever for no other reason than you had the opportunity to witness it. This is such a face. It isn't important, but this is Logan. Her eyes tell a story of happiness which spreads to her cheeks and onward to her contagious smile. Capturing such a moment is pure happenstance but the rewards are immeasurable.
Nikon D600,1/180 second, ISO 400, F9.5, 122mm
While visiting Crane's Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts over the weekend, a baby harbor seal was lounging on the outer tip of the beach. We were told that her Mom was out fishing. A 150' perimeter was maintained by the rangers.
Crane's Beach is part of the Crane Estate, once known as Agawam laid claim by John Winthrop in 1637. It became the site of Castle Hill, one of the wealthiest estates in America purchased by Richard T. Crane as a summer retreat. In 1910 he built the 59 room mansion atop Castle Hill. The Crane Estate was donated by his wife Florence in 1949. The mansion was featured in the Witches of Eastwick.
Nikon D610, 1/180 Second ISO 400, F/22, 300mm (28-300mm)
I am Robert McKay Jones, a photographer from Sterling, Massachusetts. I take photographs almost every day. I will post my favorites here.