We recently drove a few hours south for a couple days in the swamp. I never tire of exploring the swamps of Big Cypress, Fakahatchee Strand, and Corkscrew. The landscape and wildlife photo ops are usually so abundant, the hard part is deciding what NOT to photograph. However, on this particular trip, nature seemed to be conspiring against me, at least when it came to photography.
I feel like the fisherman telling stories about the one that got away. For instance, I had never before seen an Everglades Mink (threatened species whose range is limited to the Everglades, Big Cypress, and Fakahatchee Strand). On this trip, I was fortunate enough to see two (a pair?). It was nearing dusk and the little buggers move fast. I would have loved to get a decent photo but this is the best I could do. See that reddish brown furry looking blob in the middle of the frame? That’s a camera shy Everglades Mink ducking for cover. I may never have another chance to photograph one.
Everglades Mink (small furry thing in the middle of the frame, ducking behind the log)
Not long after seeing the Everglades Mink, we came across a Black Bear crossing a limestone road. It was dark so I had already put my camera away. I did manage to get it out of the backpack in time to fire off one frame before the bear disappeared into the brush. The photo is basically a dark mess with an even darker blurry blob (the bear) so I won’t even bother posting it.
On the off chance the bear would be in the same spot at the same time, we traveled the same road the next evening. Sure enough, the bear was there, same exact time and location, chowing down on Brazilian Pepper berries. This time, I had my camera ready. Sadly, it was so dark the photo still sucks. At least you can tell it’s a bear.
Even though I wasn’t able to get great photos of these animals, it was still a thrill to see them. At least I have “proof”, even if the photos are awful.
Thankfully, Alligators are abundant, still, and like to hang out in sunlight. They’re always an easy target.
I even came across a few cooperative snakes. I’m not sure what kind of snake this is. I’m pretty sure it’s some sort of water snake. It’s pattern was obscured by the dust from the limestone road. It also looked like it was getting ready to shed (cloudy eyes).
There’s no mistaking this snake. It’s a beautiful Water Moccasin. For anyone who has heard stories about how these snakes will chase you down and attack, this is one more instance disproving that tired old story. This snake never attempted to strike. I was disappointed it wouldn’t even show it’s “cotton mouth”. It just hung out while I photographed it, even giving me time to change to a macro lens (yes, a macro lens).
I had a little fun playing with the shadow of it’s tongue. When I was done making photos, we “encouraged” the snake off the road so it wouldn’t be run over.
For the most part, the light and sky wasn’t ideal for shooting. One evening, driving out of Fakahatchee Strand, I was treated to a lovely sky. I thought it made for a nice contrast to the recently burned landscape and leafless Cypress trees(prescribed burn).
And of course…there’s always the swamp…a little dry this time of year.