Lull in work today so I decided to revisit my website. Not sure anyone is looking but it makes me happy to be creating something that maybe someone, someday, will appreciate. And it is a much easier place to visit to see my best work, or what I feel is my best. Unlike my Facebook page where I will post 10-20 of my best of that day's shoot. I've come up with a plan. Create a blog post each time I go out to shoot, and include some images of the day. make it more interesting. Here's my synopsis from Saturday.
Had a great time this past weekend.
Saturday I met up with folks from the camera club to hang our artwork at the Ernest Coe Visitor's Center of the Everglades National Park.
Afterward we went to the Gator Grill for a burger. Interesting place. I'd go back, definitely, for a quick bite or a snack mid-day.
Then back into the Everglades park to go storm-chasin'. Well, we tried, found mostly grey cloudy skies, nothing "brewing" as far as storms were concerned. We parted ways, most left for home, I went south to check up on my favorite spots; 9-Mile Pond, Paurotis Pond, West Lake... All looked pretty much as they did a few months earlier.
Paurotis pond was teeming with birds! Very good to see that again. Although I feel it will be short lived. As soon as our normal dry season returns next winter, minus the water from the heavy rains of a hurricane, it'll be as it was before. But, I'll hold out hope.
So back to the story, I drove down to Flamingo. Pretty vacant down there, as it normally is this time of year. So sad to see the old cypress tree gone. Only an empty spot where it once was. The only tent platform there seems to be broken. I guess an autumn camping trip to that spot is out for now. And I also discovered that there are no water-front campsites in the main campground (where there's electricity and water hookups). Which is fine I guess. I'll just camp near the bathrooms for the night.
But I wandered off topic; again. After I found no inkling of any storms, I decided to head back and stop at LPK; try out a test shot for a new technique, focal length blending. First you find an area with foreground and a tall background. I opted for a spot in the north end of the lake, facing south. Someone had placed a bench near the edge of the lake, sweet! Then there was the lake, and then the tall trees of the island. So I got down low, took a shot, then I moved the camera angle up and zoomed in more. I wasn't looking for perfection, just to see what I can do in post-processing. The images looked ok. I took a few more for good measure and left.
When I got home I worked on this first. I didn't do as instructed in the tutorials. I basically did a layer blend in Photoshop. I matched up the top layer of the second image with the bottom layer of the first. The meeting point was the lake. I was able to blend them in using the water as a medium. I thought it actually looked kind of neat!
When I pulled out on to the main road, I could see the dark skies to the north and east. I checked my Weather Bug app and there was a heavy thunderstorm over Broward and into Miami-Dade, making its way south along the coast. I was going to get my lightning yet!
So I drove to the open area between the road to Royal Palm and the entrance gate, and stopped at a pull-off area. I set up the camera and heard rumblings happening all over. The Lightning Bug was going off so I knew it was catching something, even though I couldn't see it. And to be honest, I didn't care. The clouds forming overhead were spectacular! So I sat in my car, listening to the radio and watching the sky. People pulled up behind me, curious as to what I was doing. Must be something right? Gator? Snake? Noooo, not even a bear! LOL Just looking for lightning. They pulled over for nothing. Silly tourists, they should have asked. I'd have told them all I know about the Everglades. Their loss.
The storm clouds moved south and another storm from Florida Bay to the south moved in north and joined forces. You could see the rain falling out of the sky, it was awesome. Mother Nature at it's most destructive, but as it destroys it also builds, that's the beauty of it.
I finally took the camera off the tripod and shot some photos for a camera club challenge coming up, I'll keep that a secret for now. Then back on the tripod to shoot the clouds and rain from the middle of the road. Then I headed for home. I thought about stopping at a new spot I found for the sunset, but that was over an hour away. I had been in the park since 11am. There will always be next weekend. Homeward...
Processing these images was fun, lots of "deletes" as there were hardly any lightning strikes or none that I could see anyway. I was able to process 2. The rest were clouds and of those I had to take out lots of duplicates. But as I discovered when I was in Okeechobee the week before, I had a tremendous amount of dust spots on my sensor. The cleaning guy did a terrible job. Its time I learned how to do this for myself.
Early to bed tonight, I'm going to attempt another sunrise, attempt being the emphasized word here. Some days I'd rather see the sun rise through my eyelids lying in my own bed. LOL