Nature Photography In NW Florida
The great thing about living in NW Florida is that while my friends in the north are still getting pounded by blizzards, spring comes early to us. Spring is a great time to get out and enjoy some nature photography.
The summer here can be brutal with the heat and humidity. But this time of year the high temperatures are a comfortable range of in the 70s with low humidity, relatively speaking. This makes getting out and taking a hike in one of the many nature areas surrounding Crestview, FL. very enjoyable.
Adding to the enjoyment was my ability to undertake my nature hike on a Friday, so there were no other people in the forest at all. Just me in solitude with nature. Those kind of days are able to recharge the mind and let the soul soar as you explore and simply watch all the majesty that is nature.
Before getting into the hike though, I want to pass along the equipment I normally use for these outings. I currently own two cameras that I use for my photography. I have a full frame Canon5Ds that I use strictly for portrait and other paid shoots. I also own a Canon 70D crop frame camera that I use as my backup camera on paid shoots. This is just in case I have a malfunction with the main camera. Luckily, this has never happened.
But the other use for my backup camera is for nature hikes and things of that nature. My main camera is a very well made piece of equipment, but I have no desire to get caught in a sudden thunderstorm with a $6K camera. That could be an expensive stroke of bad luck. It would probably cause me a stroke in fact!
A few years ago I bought a Sigma 18-250mm lens to take on vacation as a walking around lens. It has acceptable quality and keeps me from having to lug around a bag full of lenses. It has been a lifesaver when taking cruises because I can leave the ship with one camera and a compact lens that goes from wide angle all the way to a pretty decent telephoto range. It is also a macro lens so getting close to objects to get detail is also a great feature. That also makes it a perfect lens to take on hikes for nature photography.
Sigma now makes an 18-300mm lens which I haven’t upgraded to because my lens works beautifully for what I use it for. It’s also a very reasonable $399.00. A great price for a lens that can do so much for your casual shooting needs.
So now that you know the equipment I used let’s look at some shots I was able to capture on my hike. You can click on any of the photos to see them at a larger size.
Many of our natural areas feature swamp land in addition to the pine and hardwood forest land. These areas often have walkways built to allow access without having to wade through a swamp. I have an appreciation for that.
This trail actually follows the Blackwater River near Milton, FL. The river runs until it empties into Blackwater Bay near Milton. The water then heads to Pensacola Bay and then finally mixes with the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The Blackwater River is so named because of the tannins that stain the water a deep tea color. Where the water is deeper it looks almost black.
As you can see from the photo above, even the beaches on our rivers are made up of beautiful white sand. If you look at the shallow water just off the beach you can see how the water has the color of tea. You can also see how the river got its name.
As I walked out on this beach the first thing I saw was the tree below.
As you can see from the previous photo there were clouds in the sky, but when I walked out on the beach this tree with its colorful red seed pods was contrasted with the clear blue sky in that direction. The contrast of the scene simply blew me away.
There were other trees that were flowering along the same beach as well. There were literally flowers everywhere I looked.
I also was able to get a closeup shot of these flowers as well. Not an easy feat with the wind blowing pretty much constantly. This is why you should carry a small amount of wire with you when you go out to do nature photography. It can be invaluable for stopping limbs from swaying in the wind. Unfortunately, I didn’t carry my pack on this short hike. Lesson learned!
I then took 2 steps around the tree and saw this bloom on another tree.
I was blown away with the diversity of flowering trees in this one little spot on a beach along the river.
I really hope you enjoy seeing some of the nature photography I was able to get on a short hike into the wilderness. I know for those still in the grips of winter it will probably bring on some Spring fever. Don’t hate me because I live in Florida. Come on down for a visit!