Thursday, April 29, 2010

Garl's Coastal Kayaking

Garl Harrold is a kayaking guide based out of Key Largo, Florida. He leads some of the most educational and adventure-packed paddling trips in South Florida. Currently he is the only guide outside of the park permitted to take guests into the Everglades. Recently, we have started talking about the possibility of combining forces and taking guests out on photography workshops based on the locations Garl targets as high wildlife or scenic zones. Covering both the Florida Bay and Everglades National Park, I think we would have plenty of opportunities send people home with a portfolio of beautiful images.

Garl Harrold paddling with his sidekick River, an Australian shepherd who helps keep all
the kayakers together. 

We stopped to watch the sunset and I climbed into a mangrove 
island. The sand flies are getting pretty bad this time of year,
but with a little grit, good things can come from patience. 

We took a trial run into the Florida Bay with some friends to see how the dynamic would work and to better understand the complications of bringing electronic gear in a kayak with novice paddlers. I’m optimistic, but then again I treat my cameras a little different than most weekend warriors.

The last light of dusk, just before heading back to the boat ramp.

We are still working out the details but if anyone were interested in something like this, we would love a chance to show you our side of the Everglades.  

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Terra Firma: Home Sweet Home

I’m one of the few people down here who hasn’t quite accepted life in the Florida Keys. I refuse to buy a “Salt Life” sticker, I don't own a pair of jorts, I haven't memorized the happy hour specials, I still get queasy on rough seas, and I’d do anything for a nice firm oak canopy. I just wasn’t built for the ocean. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful down here, and I love the swamps and mangroves, it’s just hard not to feel a little trapped when my favorite destinations to photograph are two hours away. This weekend I drove back up to Gainesville to visit with my family and recharge my batteries.

I realized how much I miss the smell of cows, the shade and openness of a live oak hammock, and of course, my family.

My first morning back, I woke up and photographed the sunrise as I always do when coming home. 

Live Oaks receiving morning light on the perimeter of Kanapaha Prairie

I have photographed this tree hundreds of times and I never get tired of it. I liked the way
the sun and the clouds played together on this one to give the image of the "burning bush."

This image would be impossible without high dynamic range technology. I combined three 
exposures to yield one final image so no tonality would be lost between the fog, sky, and shadows.

We live in a beautiful place, and no matter how many times I’ve roamed the prairie shooting into the rising run, I always seem to find new images. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Instant Karma?

I love April Fools Day. I probably love it a little too much. I will blame this obsession on my dad. When I was in elementary school in Gainesville I remember my dad running into my room waking me up with an excited urgency saying “Mac! Get your snow clothes on, the ground is covered!” For a Floridian, this was unprecedented. Had I a calendar or any reason at all to keep a schedule I would have known April Fools Day was coming. Instead, I jumped out of bed and started throwing on my snow pants and jacket only to walk out the front door and realize I had been duped. My own dad. Traitor. So here I am now, still acting out like a spiteful adolescent, exacting my vengeance on anyone in my periphery.

One of the chemicals we use in the field is KMnO4 (potassium permanganate) which is a powder we put into our nets to neutralize another chemical. KMn04 stains everything it touches and we always come back from work with brown fingers or blotchy pants. For this April Fools, my partner in crime, Adam Chasey and I, gathered up all of our coworker’s dive booties and put a small amount of the potassium in each foot. Hoping that they wouldn’t notice until getting into the water, we thought it would be hilarious to see everyone with dark brown feet.

Out of the five pairs of shoes we filled, only one was successful, but still worth the effort. We laughed for a good two days about our cleverness until karma started exacting its revenge.

The following Friday, I spilled a drink on my laptop, rendering it useless for four days. Then my iPod broke. Then one of my cameras broke. Then on Monday, I broke my wrist playing flag football. Then I had to file my taxes.

I’m not quite sure what kind of lesson I learned and I’d hate to tie it all back to a benign April Fools Day prank, but I can’t help but wonder as I’m sitting in my room instead of in the field, typing on a sticky keyboard with one hand, poor, listening to the radio, where did I go wrong?