Planet Earth II

After a ten  years wait, Planet Earth II begins this coming Saturday on BBC America. Once again, the stunning photographic wildlife adventure is narrated by Richard Attenborough. The recent advancements is technology (photographic, drones) will make this a breathtaking journey. Check out the trailer attached below.

 

Gator – Head Shot

gator-myakka-state-park-cw-1-of-1

This up close and personal shot of a Florida alligator was taken during a recent overnight trip to Sarasota. Used my 18-300mm lens (focal length was 210, shutter 1/320 and lens opening at f/13) during a boat ride at Myakka State Park. This dude came close enough  to our boat to  capture this image.

Sandhill Cranes Up Close

Living in Florida I see Sandhill Cranes just about every day; many times in my backyard. On trips to one of my favorite places, Bosque del Apache NWR in New Mexico, there can be thousands of them, if your are there at the right time, in the Fall as they head South from Western Northern States for the winter. However, this friendly fellow was photographed Vancouver, British Columbia back in 2015. They are big birds with wings spans of approximately 5 feet (females) to well over 6 feet (males). sandhill-crane-upclose-cw-final2-1-of-1

 

sandhill-crane-upclose-cw-final-1-of-1

 

sandhill-crane-upclose-cw-final3-1-of-1

Photographing at Circle B Bar Reserve

Last week my wife and I did an overnight trip to Lakeland. What’s in Lakeland, you ask? For us it’s the Circle B Bar Reserve, a 1,267 acre refuge filled with a variety of wildlife. A haven for photographer’s. The reserve, now owned by Polk county, was previously a privately owned cattle ranch. According to a pamphlet I picked up upon our arrival the property was originally “a wet area connected to Lake Hancock.” This was way back in 1927. During the next 70 years the wetlands was drained to make it more conducive to cattle ranching. In 2000,  Polk county acquired the property and began to convert the land back to its natural landscape.

Anhinga  Lunch1-CW-3184One of the many birds we came across during our time there was the Anhinga. It’s a fairly large bird, about 35 inches in height, that is mainly found in South America, Central America and the Southern Coastal United States. Many times you will find them along the coastal waters with their wings spread out drying them in the sun. Like Cormorants, which they resemble, Anhinga’s are water birds, however,  lacking oil glands they are not waterproof. Subsequently, after swimming in the water they need to dry off their wings otherwise they would not be able to fly.

On this most recent trip of ours we found one particular Anhinga ready for lunch. He had a fish already in his long beak when we first spotted him. What was fascinating  was how  he began to literally beat the fish to death by smashing it against a tree branch. We arrived just in time to watch and photograph the ritual. It was captivating to watch, though sad and painful for the  fish. I wanted to both photograph and shoot a video of the activity but naturally  could only do one. Below are some of the photos I took.

Anhinga  Lunch2-cw-3185

 

Anhinga  Lunch3-cw-3186

Anhing Lunch 4.5-3193

Anhinga  Lunch5-cw-3209

Anhinga  Lunch7-cw-3211

Anhinga  Lunch9-cw-3218

Anhinga  Lunch8-cw-3215