Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve looking at Ibis Island on right with Lanier Key Island behind with Bokeelia behind that. The island to the left in foreground is Heron Key Island. In front of our boat, you can see the channel (darker water) which runs between 5 and 8 feet deep. If you stray out of the channel, be prepared for 1-3 foot water depths (which is where our boat sits). Flying the drone from the boat is a skill to be learned. Today, the drone was lost in the water for 90 minutes anyway, Incredibly, we were able to retrieve it using the drone software which gave us the last known position. I'll report back if it will fly again after it has been thoroughly rinsed and dried.
DJI Mavic Mini
The Promise of Hope
Rainbows can motivate us to continue and endure through dark times. It represents the covenant between God and Man. Genesis 9: "Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth".
iPhone 11 Pro Max, 4mm, f/1.8, 1/1400 sec, ISO 32
It isn't often you see loneliness in nature. There is more often an abundance of life. But sometimes you get a glimpse of isolation and solitude. It's sobering. But, for the fact that beauty is not lost on you convinces you that loneliness is a fleeting sensation for all of us when you are appreciated.
Nikon Z6, 300mm, F/5.6, 1/50th sec, ISO 100
Black or White
I have been struggling with my photo these past couple of days... shaped by the things I see and hear. Like everyone I suppose, I go through moments of despair and faith, darkness and hope, sadness and joy, even hate and love. I am lucky, love is all around me and quenches every aspect of my life. But, it is always a balance, this teeter-totter ride we are on especially in these unprecedented times. Unfortunately, what we see around us is becoming seemingly black or white, I fear that clarity because it fosters a violent reaction. It is never really black or white. If I can apply a metaphor hear, life is very much like a photograph.
There are always varying levels of light, sometimes bright, sometimes gray, sometimes dark. There is beauty in that diversity. Life and photography share equivalent markers; balance, exposure, contrast, highlight, shadow, clarity, sharpness, luminance, detail, smoothness, noise, aberration, vignette, transformation and correction. As in an image. there are so many nuances to life. Nothing is ever just black or white. Balance is difficult, I hope and pray that we all aspire to be the best image of ourselves, neither white nor black, but a beautifully diverse mishmash of individuality ever pursuing the true value of our existence, LOVE.
Nikon D610, 28mm, f/3.5, 1/4 sec, ISO 6400
May 15th, 2020
A half mile walk from the parking lot through the birding trails will land you here. It is a very small opening to Charlotte Harbor where you can wade out to the sandbar and do some fishing. At low tide the flies swarm the dried seaweed botton and the male fiddler crabs hobble around with their single huge claw and then back themselves into their little sand dwellings.
iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm, f/1.8, 1/4400 sec, 3 photos merged
Three Men and a Jack
Out on a sandbar in Charlotte Harbor far far away are three guys with fishing poles. One of them just reeled in a Jack Crevalle. I am not a fisherman by any stretch of the imagination, but this was cool for me to watch. How do I know? I have shots at 600mm and I could see the head of the fish.
Nikon D610, 150mm, F/22, 1/125 sec, ISO 100
It has been some time since we have experienced rains of any consequence in Southwest Florida. We have been teased with some drippings, but nothing significant. The strong winds fortell of changing times ahead, but we wonder if it will be enough. This is a lake bed without rain. Webb Lake edge water has receded more than 100 feet in parts leaving this crumb cake bottom barren of any life. It cries to the Gods for quenching.
Nikon Z6, 62mm, F/11, 1/160 sec, ISO 100
Those who know me well know that Bunny's have, for a very long time, had a very special place in my heart. What caught my attention with this one was his eyes. I never realized that you can see heaven in a Bunny's eye. I also never realized that the vessels in their ears look like the human vascular system or a leaf of a tree. How similar we are.
I do wonder about their brindle color and how poorly it hides them in the green grass, as if to scream, owls, eagles and hawks, hello!! Here I am, try and catch me.
Nikon Z6, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/160 sec, ISO 100
The Heron comes to us with a message to meditate. You are exactly where you need to be right now in this moment! When this graceful bird crosses your path, just pause. It is the first lesson of mindfulness! Sometimes that is all we need to do when we are in the middle of a chaotic situation or contemplating a difficult decision. These days, I seek out the peace and tranquility of a Blue Heron in flight. It reminds me to stop and breath.
Nikon Z6, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/500 sec, ISO 100
The Power of Statues
Stay with me on this one….
I lived in Sterling, Massachusetts for near on 40 years and still have a small home there. Sterling is a wonderful town with an incredible history. As it turns out, Mary Sawyer (born 1806) lived in Sterling as well. Mary had a lamb and one day in 1815, that lamb followed Mary to school, the Redstone School (one of many one-room schoolhouses in Sterling at the time). You may have heard the tale Mary Had a Little Lamb, it became pretty famous. The story (as verified by Mary Sawyer (Tyler) in 1879) was originally penned by Mary’s teacher and then expanded by Sarah Hale in a nursery rhyme in 1830. A statue of Mary’s little lamb stands in the Sterling town common just across from the Town Hall a couple blocks from my house. However, the Redstone schoolhouse no longer sits in Sterling.
Henry Ford who owned the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts which had been made famous by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his book “Tales of the Wayside Inn” was so moved by the story about Mary and her little lamb purchased the framework of the Redstone Schoolhouse (originally built in 1798) and moved it to the Wayside Inn in 1927 where it still stands today.
Little did I know that one day, I would also live near Henry Ford’s home in Fort Myers where he and his friends Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone would summer. This photo of the statue of Henry Ford in Centennial Park in Downtown Fort Myers where he is sitting with his friends. The rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb” was first recorded by none other than Thomas Edison in 1877 on his newly invented phonograph. You can hear Edison's recording here: <a href="https://archive.org/details/EDIS-SCD-02" rel="noreferrer nofollow">archive.org/details/EDIS-SCD-02</a>
Nikon Z6, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/80 sec, ISO 100
Your Assignment Today....
Make a photograph of something simple or mundane look better than reality. So these are our keys hanging from our key hook in the laundry room. Can't get much more boring than that. Of course the FIAT key stands out in focus above all the rest. I guess the picture symbolizes the subconscious allure of Italy. For me.
Nikon Z6, 200 mm, f/5.6, 1/4 second, ISO 100
If you motor ever-so-slowly and carefully from the north end of Pine Island Sound easterly to the Four Winds Marina and Lazy Flamingo 3, you will travel into Jug Creek on your way to Back Bay. Be wary of the shallow waters. It is the most peaceful little channel with mangroves surrounding you on all sides. Experienced Captains will fly through the channel seemingly in a hurry to do something. I just think they are showing off. Don't be impressed. Linger a while.
DJI Mavic Mini, 4mm, f/2.8, 1/640 sec, ISO 100
The Color of Surprise
This is an air plant - we ordered it online. For a couple of weeks, it's been sitting in a ricki-rack privacy wall I built last year, just hanging around. All of a sudden this week a blue thing appeared in the center of the plant and then these little flower shoots popped out with what appears to be pollen tips. Kind of a reward for a little attention. Isn't nature cool that way? It rarely a delay in saying thanks.
Nikon Z6, 150mm, f/5.6, 1/15 sec, ISO 100, Flash
I guess these tricolored herons are pretty common here, but I still feel like an outsider and love these birds as they stroll the edges of the water holes I frequent looking for an hors d'oeuvre. They have a stylish feathered side cap, purple neck and head and deep blue body. Yet, I can't stop being reminded of a long-legged brontosaurus as I observe.
Bad Hair Day
Bad Hair Day? Not sure what the deal was with this guy but this is where the term ruffled feathers comes from. Personality plus. Outstanding coloring but maybe is flaunting it a bit too much.
Nikon Z6, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/400 sec, ISO 100
In my younger days, I was a tropical fish aficionado. It was a great hobby. This is one of the fish I used to have in every tank, but NEVER this large. Mine might have grown to 8" tops in a large tank. This sucker fish is a couple of feet long. Plecostomus, aka Pleco, is not native to Florida, but it does just fine here. It comes from South America was brought here in the 1950's. When in open waters like those found at Pop Ash Creek, they can grow quite large. They eat algae with a vengeance.
Nikon Z6, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/400 sec, ISO 100
The marshes are drying up. It's hard to see in this panorama, but there are dozens of birds huddled into this narrow trough of water still remaining in the Powell Creek Preserve. It's a sign of the drought we are experiencing in Southwest Florida. The wells are drying up in Cape Coral. The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation has been pleading the Army Corp of Engineers for an increase in flow to the Caloosahatchee estuary to reduce salinity. Some afternoon thunderstorms would be a welcome sight about now.
Nikon Z6, 28mm, 4 shot panorama, f/14, 1/100 sec, ISO 100
You & Me = Meant to Be
I don't know Pamela or David, but I know 3-12-2018 was a pretty special day. So much so they found it necessary to lock this engraved lock onto the railing at Centennial Park. I bet in cities all over the world, couples try to mark their affection. I wish them all the best and pray for their continued devotion to each other. Lucky us who have found that in our lives! Lucky us!
Nikon Z6, 300mm, f/6.3, 1/150 sec, ISO 100
Bridge on Canvas
I always thought I could do great at creating hotel art. I'm not talking Super-8 or Motel 6 motel art (although I could do that!). I'm talking real upscale hotel art. You know, the Ritz, Marriott and Hyatt wall-art they display in their rooms. Not all great, but interesting, you look, you judge. Objective achieved. Here is one of my entrees. The Henry Ford Bridge in Fort Myers. Some might call it the Caloosahatchee Bridge.
Nikon Z6, 28-300mm, 230mm, f/13, 1/80 sec, ISO 100
April 30th, 2020
Each and every day, this spider (a male in this case, females have green legs) will create a new orb shaped masterpiece, an engineering marvel that is typically near horizontally so that winds will not tear it apart. It is perfectly suited to allow larger prey to pass through it and prey of the perfect size to land, get stuck and vibrate the sticky strands of silk alerting this trapper. Popular in Florida citrus groves, they also frequent flatland meadows. Once the web is complete, the clever spider will rest on the underside of the hub where it can feel the next meal arrive. It does have a natural enemy, and that is the pupae of a wasp which will attach itself to the abdomen and literally suck the life out of this spectacular creature.
Nikon Z6, 28-300mm, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/500 sec, ISO 200
Who knows what befell this beautiful Eastern Lubber Grasshopper, but he will not be hopping anytime soon. Poor fellow lost his left rear jumper leg before our very eyes. Really quite sad how brutal nature can be. The Lubber, Romalea Microptera, is often used in biology class for dissecting. Romalea, also unable to fly, sequesters and synthesizes chemicals from the plants it eats, turning them into toxic secretions that predators learn quickly to avoid. A Shrike (Shrike the Impaler) might take this lovely Romalea and impale him on a thorn, leaving him to dry for a few days by which time the toxins will have vanished making for a well deserved meal.
Nikon Z6, 28-399mm, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO 400
Cherish the Moments
Friday night, hanging around Fort Myers Beach listening to the music (and the quasi, albeit prophetic, preacher on the corner with a megaphone warning all who would listen the end is near). Those were the days. I was never a crowd person, but this I miss. The ease of it all, the music, the wonderful restaurants. We were so lucky to have enjoyed the ambiance, the sound, the service, the food, the gift of gathering. Did I mention the food? Oh my, so much good food. Who would of thought. One day soon, we again will cherish, more than ever, those moments we can gather and break bread together.
Nikon D610, 2mm, f/3.5, 1/30sec, ISO 9000
A Dozen Birds a Flying
I felt fortunate to witness dozens of birds flying, landing, resting, foraging and hunting. Amongst them, some I had never seen*. Roseate Spoonbill* with their astonishing pink wings, the threatened Wood Stork* with black feathers and long crustaceous neck, White Ibis with pure white body, red beak and feet, Great Egret* with curled giraffe like necks, Cormorant drying in the breeze with their spread wings, brilliant red-wing black birds, I had difficulty picking the photo of the day, but settled on this one which showed all of the above in graceful flight. It was breathtaking to see. And to think, this was in the middle of a densely populated residential community. Powell Creek Preserve is a mere 77 acres, but is fundamental to water treatment before heading downstream to the Caloosahatchee River.
Nikon Z6, 28-300mm, 190mm, F5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO 400
A Greater Vision
The sun seemed to be rising at an appropriate time for me this Sunday morning, about 8 o'clock. I shot off three dozen shots as the solar sphere rose out of hiding, not because it looked like this, but because I knew it could look like this. The contrast was obvious, but there was more. The luminous edges of the cloud mountains, the highlight of the mist in the valleys, the dreamlike glow of the background. It was magic. Sometimes the camera sees much clearer than do we and when you get to know your camera, you learn a new way of seeing, a greater vision.
Nikon Z6, 28-300mm, 300mm, f/18, 1/4000 sec, ISO 100
I am Robert McKay Jones, a photographer from Sterling, Massachusetts and North Fort Myers, FL. I take photographs almost every day. I post my favorites here.