Spirit Island

This stand of trees is known as Spirit Island. It’s one of the most photographed sites in the Canadian Rockies and can only be reached by boat.

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Spirit Island
Spirit Island in Jasper National Park

You can trek here as well, but be sure to bring bear spray. Even so, if I were backpacking, I’d want to do it here. You can’t get the proper scale of the peaks from a photo; it’s beyond belief.

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I took this over five years ago with my old Nikon D800 which I’ve since sold. It’s not the camera that matters but what’s holding it. I’ve changed a lot, and so have my techniques, so I need to give it another go. In the meantime, it’s still fun to look at these and go back in time to a place that hasn’t changed since then, or hundreds of years prior for that matter.

Queenstown Bridge

This is the bridge where Lake Wakatipu ends and enters the Kawarau River. Or, at least it was. Since I took this, they built a new bridge that’s not nearly as photogenic.

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Old Queenstown Bridge
This old bridge in Queenstown has been replaced

I took this on my first day in New Zealand as I was walking around getting the lay of the land. The bridge was next to the hotel. I must say, that trip was probably the most fun I’ve ever had. It was a photography workshop with Trey Ratcliff, and it was a doozy. Everything, from the scenery to the food was over the top.

See the New Zealand gallery

I’ve been looking at some of the photos I took while there and am post-processing them with the newer software. At the time I was using the A7R which was relatively new at the time and, the choice of lenses was limited. That was two generations of A7R ago, and the RAW files are holding up quite nicely. But boy, what I could do now with the newer camera. Without a doubt, I very much want to go back.

The Garden

This is Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. It’s been cultivated for a hundred years on what used to be a limestone quarry. Now is a garden of Eden.

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The Garden
Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia

I took this nearly five years ago when we spent a couple of weeks on the island exploring. And it’s a reminder that I should go back, you can never go wrong with a camera here.

more nature from the gallery

As I recall, the smokestack in the back is a leftover from the industrial legacy. Imagine creating one of the worlds most beautiful gardens on an old industrial site. Now imagine if we did that all over the world. Then we truly would have the garden of Eden all over. If only.

Summer in Wisconsin

I know it’s the middle of winter now, but all the more reason to look longingly back on the days of summer. This is a friends house in Wisconsin.

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Summer in Wisconsin
A summer scene at a former horse ranch in Wisconsin

On our summer holiday, my wife and I drove up from Florida. It was July, and we thought we’d get a break from the heat. Silly idea; it was just as hot and humid as way back in Florida. We even had several thunderstorms that rolled in and out, just like back home.

see the landscape gallery here

This used to be a horse ranch, but Dave and Janey have since retired. There’s a large barn and still a few horses on the property, but mostly it’s surrounded by farmland and these idyllic rolling hills. We enjoyed our time here and now have a new appreciation for Wisconsin. I even did a little video for them with my drone so they can use it if they ever decide to sell and move south.

The Swamp

This swamp is in Florida and is a good thing, meaning we don’t want to drain it; instead, we want to protect it as a national resource.

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The Swamp
An image from the Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida

The swamps, marshes, and bogs are quite beautiful. I did not expect I’d ever consider the swamp as beautiful before visiting, I was wary of what I might find. But once inside, I was struck by its vastness, rich biodiversity, and remoteness.

my favorites from the gallery

I am not a naturalist and know very little about the ecosystem of the Big Cypress National Preserve, but if you want to know more, one recommendation is to visiting Clyde Butcher’s site. Not only is he a passionate advocate for maintaining our natural habitats, but his photographic legacy is considered a national treasure.

Green Spaces

There is something about a stand of palm trees that begs to be photographed. These are from a nature preserve surrounded by urban sprawl.

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Green Spaces
A park that provides a refuge for nature in Bradenton

I have never been forward thinking enough to be passionate about green spaces and parks. But as I get a little wiser, I’m grateful to other people that are. This park is named after the late Tom Bennett who was a local resident. Apparently, he and his family were indeed passionate about green spaces, and I have them to thank for this photo.

more greenery from the gallery

I once had a colleague in Toronto who invested in land to be used as a wild preserve. She only wanted the property to be left to nature and not developed. That was a long time ago, and since then, Toronto has gone crazy with development. As I think back, I see that she was a visionary and, I wonder if she held out. For the sake of short-sighted folks like me, I hope she did.

Sandstone Tower

Here’s another perspective of the sandstone formations I saw while visiting Wisconsin Dells. We took a boat tour up the river and made a couple of stops to see the formations. These are the kind of things I’d expect to see in Arizona, not Wisconsin.

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Sandstone Tower
One of many sandsctone towers at the Wisconsin Dells

We were here at the hottest time of the year. It’s funny because when we leave Florida in the summer and head north, we expect we’ll be getting moderate weather. During peak summer months, that’s not the case; it’s hot all over.

landscape gallery

To create the star effect I set the aperture to f16 and positioned myself with the sun peeking out. F16 makes the aperture opening very small, and that creates a flaring or starlike effect with bright lights. However, it was so sunny I couldn’t be sure it worked until a few weeks later when I got home to look at the results on a monitor. Here, in the comfort of A/C, I can confirm we have a hit.

Natural Highlights

When I was driving the loop road in Big Cypress National Preserve, I’d stop every half mile or so. Sometimes I’d see these Bromeliad Tillandsia blooming on the side of cypress trees.

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Natural Highlights
A scene from Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida

I didn’t have the right equipment for taking flower photos, so I used a telephoto and zoomed in from the side of the road. This photo was taken with the zoom fully extended at 240mm.

more landscape photography

The main thing that catches my eye is the contrast of the flower against the green and earth tones of the preserve. I suppose I could have waded into the swamp to get a better look, but I could hear the croaking of alligators close by and I needed to get home to re-organize my sock drawer. Not that I was afraid or anything.

Myakka Floods

The flooding of Myakka River State Park is a normal this time of year. In my opinion, it’s one of the best times to visit and take photos. Most of the roads are just above the water so you can pull over and gaze out at the surreal landscape and reflections.

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Myakka Floods
The floods at Myakka River State Park create a surreal landscape

This is a photo of a scene I’m familiar with, but my past pictures didn’t convey it well. However, it seems that on this recent attempt I finally got it. The reflections create this mesmerizing spectacle alongside the road. It reminds me of Big Cypress National Preserve in the Everglades.

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I mounted the camera on a tripod and used an aperture of f22 to get everything in focus. I also used a remote shutter release to reduce shake. However there was a lot of light, and with the Sony’s stabilization, the remote wasn’t necessary. Now I have several pictures just like this that I quite like. So I randomly chose this one to share today.

Myakka Heron

I drove through our local state park the other day. Typical for this time of year, Myakka River State Park is flooded from recent rains and the rising of the river. I stopped at a submerged path next to the river and watched as Egrets, Limpkins, and Herons forage for food in the shallow water.

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Myakka Heron
This photo was taken on a flooded trail next to the Myakka River

Also typical for this time of year is the oppressive sun and heat. But this section of the trail is covered in a thick canopy. The shade was a welcome reprieve and the scene was quiet and peaceful.

more birds in the gallery

I set up with a tripod at the edge of the water and tried not to move too much. Once I was still the birds would ignore me and I managed to get a couple of shots like this. The light would filter through in beams and illuminate small sections. I caught this heron (at least I think it’s a heron) at just the right moment.