Five-Years Ago (09-January-2013) — Florida

Gone to See Florida 2013 Road Trip. Day 6: Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

I spent the day at the Merritt Island National Refuge, driving the Black Point Wildlife Drive and Biolab road. It is a target rich environment for birds and alligators. Well worth spending the day. Make sure you have mosquito repellant.

Alligator at Merritt Island Wildlife Reserve in Florida. Black Point Wildlife Drive. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 600 mm f/4 VRII lens (ISO 200, 600 mm, f/4, 1/125 sec). (David J Mathre)
Alligator at Merritt Island Wildlife Reserve in Florida. Black Point Wildlife Drive. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 600 mm f/4 VRII lens (ISO 200, 600 mm, f/4, 1/125 sec). (David J Mathre)



Three Double-crested Comorants on Posts at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 400 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 200, 400 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec) (David J Mathre)
Three Double-crested Cormorants on Posts at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 400 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 200, 400 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec) (David J Mathre)

Monday (01-January-2018) — Florida

Gone to See Florida 2017/2018 Road Trip. Day 12: Big Cypress National Preserve.

It was a very quiet New Year’s Eve at Clyde Butcher’s retreat. Before checking out I got a few more images. Great Egret, what I think is a Black-whiskered Vireo, one of the baby (one-year old) Alligators, and all of the tennis shows drying after a Swamp Walk. I hope to visit again someday.

Great Egret above the pond at Clyde Butcher's Gallery. Winter Nature in Florida Image taken with a Fuji X-T2 camera and 100-400 mm OIS telephoto zoom lens (ISO 200, 400 mm, f/8, 1/1500). (David J Mathre)
Great Egret above the pond at Clyde Butcher’s Gallery. Winter Nature in Florida Image taken with a Fuji X-T2 camera and 100-400 mm OIS telephoto zoom lens (ISO 200, 400 mm, f/8, 1/1500). (David J Mathre)
Black-whiskered Vireo above the pond at Clyde Butcher's Gallery. Winter Nature in Florida Image taken with a Fuji X-T2 camera and 100-400 mm OIS telephoto zoom lens (ISO 200, 400 mm, f/5.6, 1/640). (David J Mathre)
Black-whiskered Vireo above the pond at Clyde Butcher’s Gallery. Winter Nature in Florida Image taken with a Fuji X-T2 camera and 100-400 mm OIS telephoto zoom lens (ISO 200, 400 mm, f/5.6, 1/640). (David J Mathre)
Baby (one-year old) Alligator at the pond at Clyde Butcher's Gallery. Winter Nature in Florida Image taken with a Fuji X-T2 camera and 100-400 mm OIS telephoto zoom lens (ISO 200, 165 mm, f/5.6, 1/220). (David J Mathre)
Baby (one-year old) Alligator at the pond at Clyde Butcher’s Gallery. Winter Nature in Florida Image taken with a Fuji X-T2 camera and 100-400 mm OIS telephoto zoom lens (ISO 200, 165 mm, f/5.6, 1/220). (David J Mathre)
Tennis shoes and waders drying at Clyde Butcher's Retreat. Winter Nature in Florida Image taken with a Fuji X-T2 camera and 100-400 mm OIS telephoto zoom lens (David J Mathre)
Tennis shoes and waders drying at Clyde Butcher’s Retreat. Winter Nature in Florida Image taken with a Fuji X-T2 camera and 100-400 mm OIS telephoto zoom lens (David J Mathre)


Sunday (31-December-2017) — Florida

Gone to See Florida 2017/2018 Road Trip. Day 11: Big Cypress National Preserve.

The trees are too close together at Clyde Butcher’s retreat to get a good view of the full sky for sunrise or sunset. I found a nearby location near the northern entrance of the Loop road for sunset last night, so I returned for dawn and sunrise. I was not disappointed as the colors in the clouds developed just before sunrise.

Inverse Little-Planet View of Colorful Dawn Clouds. Begining of the Loop road through Big Cypress National Preserve. Winter Nature in Florida Composite of 21 mages taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera and 16 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/5.6, 1/30 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro, and the composite generated using AutoPano Giga Pro. (David J Mathre)
Inverse Little-Planet View of Colorful Dawn Clouds. Begining of the Loop road through Big Cypress National Preserve. Winter Nature in Florida Composite of 21 images taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera and 16 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/5.6, 1/30 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro, and the composite generated using AutoPano Giga Pro. (David J Mathre)

I went back to Clyde Butcher’s “Swamp Bungalow” for breakfast. The baby (one-year old) alligators were out next to the pond. Then it was back to the Loop road in Big Cypress National Preserve, with two goals — more birds and alligators, and pictures of the Cypress swamp. The swamp pictures were taken with a Leica T camera and then converted to B&W.





Six-Years Ago (22-December-2011) — Florida

December Road Trip to Florida in 2011: Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

On my second day I arrived too early, and the gate to Black Point wildlife drive was still closed. While waiting I got a silhouette image of a Great Blue Heron in flight at dawn. During the day I got a macro image (with a telephoto lens) of a Golden Silk Spider, then a Great Egret in flight. Just before leaving, I spotted a reclusive American Bittern. These birds are hard to spot, since they are so well camouflaged. Even better, this one just caught a fish that appears to be almost too large to swallow. The last time I saw an American Bittern was at the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado.

Great Blue Heron Silhouette at Dawn in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Image taken with a D3s and 200-400 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 200, 400 mm, f/4, 1/1250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Great Blue Heron Silhouette at Dawn in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Image taken with a D3s and 200-400 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 200, 400 mm, f/4, 1/1250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Golden Silk Spider. Viewed along Black Point Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, Florida. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and  200-400 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 500, 400 mm, f/4, 1/320 sec).. (David J Mathre)
Golden Silk Spider. Viewed along Black Point Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, Florida. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 200-400 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 500, 400 mm, f/4, 1/320 sec).. (David J Mathre)
Great Egret in Flight in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 500 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 100, 500 mm, f/4, 1/2000 sec). (David J Mathre)
Great Egret in Flight in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 500 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 100, 500 mm, f/4, 1/2000 sec). (David J Mathre)
OK, I Caught This Fish -- Now How Do I Swallow It. A Reclusive American Bittern Caught Fishing along Black Point Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 500 mm f/4 VR II lens (ISO 180, 500 mm, f/4, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
OK, I Caught This Fish — Now How Do I Swallow It. A Reclusive American Bittern Caught Fishing along Black Point Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 500 mm f/4 VR II lens (ISO 180, 500 mm, f/4, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)