Saturday, January 22, 2011

Until the Fog Clears

Sunrise over Homestead, FL

For the last two weeks, South Florida has been cloaked in heavy fog. It's funny to think about how insignificant and maybe even unnoticeable this might be for most people as they go to work, but for the boaters, fishermen, pilots, and Audubon field biologists it turns the daily commute into a dangerous guessing game, which is incredibly fun to photograph.

Forced to sit and wait an hour before the fog clears at the mouth of Joe Bay, ENP

The Florida Bay is notorious for being one of the most difficult places to navigate due to unmarked cuts and shallow banks that leave surprised boaters stranded and even severely injured. Throw a thick blanket of fog over the water and forget anticipating a sharp turn or dodging other equally blind captains. Similarly in the air, our helicopter pilot refuses to drop us in an area he can't see from 800 feet up. Since our data need to be collected within the first three hours of the sunrise, we can't handle too much deviation from an already strict schedule. Because of fog, a 10-hour day can painfully turn into a 14-hour day. It's fair to say my love for these low-lying clouds is bittersweet.

Pinelands in the Everglades national Park

Ok, so a 14-hour day is a small price to pay for getting to see the magic of the morning. At 800 feet above the Everglades, fog is a living, moving, breathing thing. It lifts and disperses, embracing the pinelands and dancing across the sawgrass prairies. Varied air currents send ripples across the water vapor in patterns I've never seen before.

Just below the fog line the warm sunrise light diffuses into a soft even glow. 

"Egret Fly By" the newest print added to my portfolio. 

On ground level, it's the perfect backdrop for isolating subjects. 

Burrowing owl in Homestead, Florida

There's something eerily seductive about fog. It's the bleak isolation of its veil and intimacy of its silence that speaks to me. I hope you all get the chance to take one morning to explore your woods and prairies while winter still lingers for the next month! 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

It's all about perspective

Parrot Snake - Cangrejal River - Honduras 
Top photo by Jonathan Zoba

One of my New Year's resolutions is to clean up my image archives. With tens of thousands of photos, it's a daunting but necessary task. While I have my work cut out for me over the next few months, it's going to be fun reliving some old adventures. Recently, I came across a folder with some images taken by friends who have accompanied me on my photo outings over the years. Locating the time stamps in their metadata, I paired them up with my photographs taken at the same time from my camera and found some fun juxtapositions. 

Skimmers - Everglades National Park 
Top photo by Hannah Dillard

I love looking back to see exactly where I was when some of my favorite images were taken and thanks to my trigger-happy adventure buddies, I can get a glimpse of the entire moment - not just through my lens. After looking at these combinations, it reaffirms what I've always told my students: making powerful images is simple, it's just all about perspective. 

Barred Owl - Everglades National Park
Left photo by Hannah Dillard

The Jumper - Las Mangas, Honduras
Left photo by Camilo Lopez