Five-Years Ago (10-January-2013) — Florida

Gone to See America. January 2013 Florida Road Trip. Day 7: Merritt Island and Ponce de Leone Inlet Lighthouse.

Before starting my drive back to New Jersey, I spent the morning on Merritt Island. First for sunrise at Playalinda Beach at Canaveral National Seashore, then for a drive through Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge — both along Biolab Road and Black Point Wildlife Drive. The previous day there was heavy fog in the morning so I didn’t go to Playalinda beach. This beach is favored by surf fishermen. While driving north I also stopped at the Ponce de Leone Inlet Lighthouse near Daytona, Florida.

Rather that using the big telephoto lenses, all of the images on this day were taken with a Nikon D700 with a 28-300 mm VR lens, a Leica X2, or a Nikon 1 V2 and 18.5 mm f/1.8 lens. All hand-held, no tripod.


Ponce de Leone Inlet Lighthouse near Daytona, Florida. Image taken with a Nikon D700 and 28-300 mm VR lens (ISO 200, 40 mm, f/11, 1/500 sec). (David J Mathre)
Ponce de Leone Inlet Lighthouse near Daytona, Florida. Image taken with a Nikon D700 and 28-300 mm VR lens (ISO 200, 40 mm, f/11, 1/500 sec). (David J Mathre)
Lighthouse Replica at the Hidden Treasure Rum Bar and Grill. It is right across the street from the real Ponce de Leone Inlet Lighthouse near Daytona, Florida. Image taken with a Nikon D700 and 28-300 mm VR lens (ISO 200, 300 mm, f/13, 1/400 sec). (David J Mathre)
Lighthouse Replica at the Hidden Treasure Rum Bar and Grill. It is right across the street from the real Ponce de Leone Inlet Lighthouse near Daytona, Florida. Image taken with a Nikon D700 and 28-300 mm VR lens (ISO 200, 300 mm, f/13, 1/400 sec). (David J Mathre)

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.





Saturday (30-December-2017) — Florida

Gone to See Florida 2017/2018 Road Trip. Day 10: Big Cypress National Preserve.

I was told that the Loop road in Big Cypress National Preserve was only partially opened. I still tried it, and it turned out to be open all the way around. There was one section near the southern end that had some water on the road, but not all the way across.  The first thing I came across was a Turkey Vulture blocking the road. There were alligators, more birds,  and butterflies along the road. And not many other vehicles, which was good since most of the time it is a dirt road. When I got back to Clyde Butcher’s place, there was a Copperhead snake and some Spiders and Webs. Later on I found five Baby (or maybe year old) Alligators sunning themselves on the side of the pond. “Moma” was in the middle of the pond keeping watch. I went back to the start of the Loop Road for sunset.

Turkey Vulture blocking the Loop road in Big Cypress National Preserve. Winter Nature in Florida Image taken with a Nikon D4 camera and 80-400 mm VRII telephoto zoom lens (David J Mathre)
Turkey Vulture blocking the Loop road in Big Cypress National Preserve. Winter Nature in Florida Image taken with a Nikon D4 camera and 80-400 mm VRII telephoto zoom lens (David J Mathre)