I recently traveled to Titusville Florida to attend some workshops at the annual Space Coast Wildlife and Birding Festival. It is a very well attended outing in one of my favorite bird photography locations on the east coast of this fine state. I gained a good perspective on camera exposure techniques from one of the best in the business, Mr Maxis Gamez.
Arriving the afternoon before the workshop, I head to the Viera Wetlands to capture the evening sunset. It was a beautiful day in Florida, blue skies, a high near 70 and no bugs! Perfect weather. This time of year the water is cold and the gators are sluggish and crawl on the bank on sunny days to keep warm. With caution you can safely approach them closer than normally possible. One eight plus footer was on the bank with a few smaller friends nearby. Seeing eye to eye with an apex predator of this ecosystem is indeed a thrill. Some might say a chill. The cry of an Osprey catches my ear. I look up in time to see a Bald Eagle swoop in and snatch a free fish dinner away from the poor bird who had made a nice catch for dinner. To the victor goes the spoils they say. There were numerous Ring-necked Ducks, Gallinules, Coots, Anhinga and other familiar visitors to the wetlands. As I got out of my truck to capture a photo, a coppery colored reptile slithers across the sandy berm only a few feet away and stops. I observe it for a minute or two and slowly position myself ahead of its intended path. Have you ever stared a cottonmouth in the eye? Well, I lived to tell about it and later enjoyed a spectacular sunset.
Things that appear harmless from a distance can fool you. Danger is everywhere. I don’t recommend you stare down a cottonmouth but sometimes getting a different perspective can give you new insight. Be blessed. Harry