Photographing Wildife at Anhinga Trail | Washington D.C. Travel Photographer

This weekend I ventured down to the Everglades National Park, where I explored the oh so popular Anhinga Trail. This place was incredible! If you ever find yourself in Southern Florida, Anhinga Trail is definitely a must see. The trail itself is 0.8 miles long round trip, and includes boardwalks over the water and several nice lookouts with benches. It’s also wheelchair friendly and great for the little ones because of its short distance and variety of wildlife.

I started my day early and made it there just as the sun was rising. I was the only one on the trail for a good thirty minutes. The water was still and the alligators were out! I saw at least three or four in the first ten minutes. They got relatively close, which I was thankful for since my longest lens was a 200mm. If you go with the intentions of photographing the wildlife, like I did, I would highly recommend you bring the longest lens you have. Not to be taken out of context here, but honestly, the longer the better. I did ok with my 70-200mm, but it would have been nice to have something with a little more reach to get some nice close up portraits of the birds and gators.

The trail was so short and easy to walk that I looped around twice. The first time I lugged my tripod, several other lenses, water, and bug spray. I found myself walking fast, just to get back to the car to drop everything off. The second time all I took was my camera with the 70-200mm and my car keys. I walked much more slowly and found a lot of little things I didn’t see the first time around. Don’t get me wrong though, bug spray and water are a must! I got bit three times within minutes of getting out of my car. After that I reapplied like crazy and maybe only got bit once more. I also wore long pants, which was tolerable in the morning hours, and definitely helped out. I’ve always seemed to attract mosquitoes, so whatever I can do to keep them at bay is worth it to me!  Must be the sweet Irish-Italian mix in my blood :)
I hope you enjoy the photos! If anyone would like to share any other great trails in the Everglades for photographing wildlife, please leave some suggestions in the comments or stop by and post to my photography fan page. I’m new to the area here and love exploring new sites! Thanks to fellow photographer, Andrew Benedict, for recommending this trail :)

These little buggers were all over! Once I saw one, I started seeing them everywhere!

Not only was there an abundance of wildlife, but the reflections of the plants on the water were stunning.

More reflections on the water…

 

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Islands Magazine 2012 Photo Contest | Washington D.C. Travel Photographer

The 2012 Islands Magazine Photo Contest has begun! I’ll be starting to look through my images from Venice to see if I have any worth entering. The prices to enter have gone up a bit this year, but it’s not too bad. Take a look at the video describing how the judges chose the 2011 Contest Winners (including mine for Reader’s Choice!) My prize was an all-inclusive trip to Jamaica and I have my reservations for this spring! I can’t wait to go make some new island images! Hopefully I’ll be able to sort through the new images quick enough to enter some this year. And who knows, maybe it will bring another trip for next year! This is the image I entered for 2011 that won Reader’s Choice. Thanks again to everyone who voted for me! The video describes it as a sunset, but I can tell you it was definitely a sunrise! Waking up at 5:00am to drive to Lanikai from Makakilo is not something I do every day ;)

 

Adobe Photoshop Camera Raw – Before and After

I’ve been watching a lot of photoshop tutorials lately, and I came across this youtube video posted by tutvid, that really demonstrates the capabilities in the camera raw editor in Adobe Photoshop CS5. The entire edit was done all in Camera Raw and it’s really quite fascinating. After watching the video I decided to try one of my own photographs using the same kind of technique. I went through some old photos from Hawaii and found one taken at sunset in Mokuleia on the North Shore of Oahu. I’ve always liked this particular image, but it just never did anything for me. It was kind of dull and boring and I thought it would be a good one to play with and see if adding some dramatic color would help make it a little more interesting and a little more like the actual scene. Here are my before and after images. Outside of two small spot corrections, the only editing was done in camera raw. No layers, no masks, no filters. Lots of fun and really simple.

BEFORE:

AFTER: