Santa is coming

You may have images of Santa “Dashing through the Snow” but it looks like he doesn’t mind a day at the beach either!  One of my favorite spots to see Christmas decorations is  ‘Tween Waters on Captiva.  I love this view of Santa climbing the palm trees to look across the road to the beach.  With beautiful clear-blue skies and a pelican flying by, how can you ask for a better holiday?

For me, Christmas season is mostly about remembering how blessed we are and sharing good things with family and friends.  No matter what weather you have where you are this Christmas, I hope you are able to celebrate and enjoy this beautiful season.

Happy Holidays

‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa
Captiva Island, Florida

Nikon D500
Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD
62mm @ f/7.1 – 1/2500 sec – ISO 200

#Christmas #SantaClaus #PalmTrees #Captiva #Florida #WithMyTamron

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Sunrise over Ft Myers

Mornings on Sanibel always made me so happy.  Even on the few days when it was a little foggy or cloudy or when the colder air came in, it was a pleasure to watch the sun bring in a new day.

In this shot, I wanted to capture the motion of the waves as a soft blur.  A slow shutter speed was just right for this.  I can’t help but wish I was back on the beach now.  The sound of the surf is calling me even from Georgia!

Nikon D500
Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD
40mm @ f/10 – 1/3 sec – ISO 100

#sunrise #beach #LongExposure #Sanibel #Florida #WithMyTamron

Low pass over the water

As awkward as pelicans appear when on land, when they fly they are amazingly graceful.  Often gliding just inches above the water, they can be seen all over the island of Sanibel.

I was watching a pair of them while at Ding Darling NWR.  They sat atop the water just paddling around calmly then suddenly, with a great flap or two, they took off.  There was a bit of splashing but what seemed to be a bulky bird was easily gliding along on the air currents.  It was quite a treat to just watch them take off and land like that.

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Sanibel Island, Florida

Nikon D500
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/8.0 – 1/1250 sec – ISO 400

#BirdWatching #birds #BrownPelican #DingDarlingNWR #SanibelIsland #Florida #WithMyTamron

Double-crested Cormorant

The birds I see most often are beautiful and delicate.  This bird does not fall into that category but is certainly interesting.  We saw cormorants pretty widely spread throughout the island of Sanibel.  They were spotted on the beach, near the fishing pier and, as with this case, at Ding Darling.

Cormorants are experts at fishing.  We saw some doing there thing in the shallows along the beach.  They are not dive bombers like the pelicans but they would swim along like a duck over the top of the surf and suddenly, dive below the surface.  After a good swim and a full belly, they would find a spot to stand in the sun and dry off.  Often, you could see them with their wings spread to make the drying process go faster.

I had to really look to be sure if what I was seeing was a Cormorant or an Anhinga which are also common here.  Both birds are mostly black in color, have “s” shaped necks and fish by swimming and diving from the surface.  The Anhinga’s neck is slimmer and longer, they have long tails and their beaks are pointed where the Cormorant’s beak is hooked.  If you look closely, you can also see an oddity that sets the cormorant apart, aquamarine blue eyes.  These are indeed, odd and interesting birds.

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)
Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Sanibel Island, Florida

Nikon D500
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/8.0 – 1/800 sec – ISO 200

#BirdWatching #birds #DoubleCrestedCormorant #DingDarlingNWR #SanibelIsland #Florida #WithMyTamron

Not all cloudy skies are alike

If the skies have to be overcast, I would definitely prefer a scene like this!  It’s raining today and the forecast is for more of that for a while.  When we were on Sanibel, we had a few cloudy days but it didn’t last long and the warm breeze and song of the ocean were never far away.  How I long for this now.

It is always interesting to make images when the weather isn’t what you would call perfect.  Often, we think that you need clear blue skies to get a good landscape shot but, it seems that clouds can often give a better result.  The clouds tend to reflect and spread the colors of sunrise and sunset and give more depth and interest.  As long as they don’t cover everything completely, I’m happy to have some cloud cover when doing landscape photography.

Nikon D500
Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD
21mm @ f/6.3 – 1/3 sec – ISO 800

#sunrise #beach #SeaOats #Sanibel #Florida #WithMyTamron

Postcards from the Beach

Sometimes, I can get an image that I know is just perfect for a postcard.  I was focused on the bird here but the with sandy foreground and the beautiful bubbles left by the surf for a background, it just works.

This is one of those things my professional photographer friends have told me to look for that I seldom do.  Also, the large open area to the left of the bird is exactly what publishers look for so you can include messages or advertising info.

I’m thinking this would work well as a Merry Christmas from Sanibel card.  Of course, I’d rather be there on the beach than just thinking about it but, you gotta take what you can get, right?

Nikon D500
Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD
400mm @ f/8 – 1/2500 sec – ISO 400

#BirdWatching #birds #beach #Sanibel #Florida #WithMyTamron

Spear fishing

Although we’ve been to Sanibel many times, this was our first visit to the Bailey Tract.  This trail is part of the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge but is located off of Tarpon Bay Road not far from Bailey’s General Store.  I had heard mention of this previously but didn’t really know where it was.

The trail is an enjoyable nature walk but I would expect that this gets very hot and full of insects at times.  On our expedition here, conditions were not bad at all except for a few muddy areas you had to watch out for.  Along the way, we saw an alligator and a snake so, there are other things to be careful about also.

Near the end of our walk, we stopped at a large fresh-water marsh area where a number of birds had gathered.  I tried to go out near the far end of the marsh but this was one of those muddy areas I mentioned.  As I headed back to dry land, I noticed the Little Blue Heron pictured above.  It was wading through the shallows, patiently searching for fish to pass by.  A number of those little fish ended up speared by the bird’s sharp beak.  Nature is quite fascinating to watch and this is a good place to do it!

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Bailey Tract
Sanibel Island, Florida

Nikon D500
Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD
400mm @ f/8.0 – 1/250 sec – ISO 200

#BirdWatching #birds #LittleBlueHeron #BaileyTract #DingDarlingNWR #SanibelIsland #Florida #WithMyTamron