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Archive for the ‘Florida Photography’ Category

Roseate Spoonbill – Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Florida Photography Roseate SpoonbillIt was a beautiful fall morning with the temperature a cool 59 degrees and the wind blowing in from the southeast at about ten miles per hour.  There was some blue sky peaking through and the clouds were a fluffy white on top with a gray underside.  The perfect cold front weather for shooting ducks or shooting Florida Photography style for that matter.

I had hunted ducks in this location for the last two years.  You have to enter a lottery to have a limited chance to be drawn for a special permit.  If lucky enough to be drawn,  you and up to three guest are allowed to hunt one Saturday and Sunday morning only.    I believe there are more species of duck found on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge than in any other location in Florida.  In the past I have seen Hooded Merganser, Lesser Scaup, Coot, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Blue-Wing Teal, Green-Wing Teal, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, and Florida Mottled Duck here.  Other ducks, that I have heard sitings of, but have not seen them at this location myself, are the Canvas Back, Wood Duck, Mallard, American Black Duck, and Ring-necked duck.  Florida Photography - Wood Stork

Over the last couple of years with extremes in the weather, including record amounts of rainfall or even the opposite, some of the man made dikes and levy’s have been unable to unnaturally adjust the water conditions to the ducks liking.  Therefore the ducks have opted to find some other place to stay for the winter.  This year was no exception.
Florida Photography - Annual Precipitation
We were not hit with a hurricane or a heavy tropical storm this year.  So too much water flooding the impoundment and upsetting the vegetation growth should not have been an issue.  Year to Date Rainfall:  Florida Department of Aggriculture and Consumer Services – Division of Forestry There are many theories, including the construction work on the new bridge, as to what is affecting the population of the ducks on the refuge.  There may not have been enough cold weather yet to drive the ducks further south.  We may never know what really affects these environmentally sensitive creatures.

I scouted this area for ducks for the first time this year about a week ago.  I was truly disappointed.  With my trusty binoculars and camera, I circled the area by driving on the levy searching for ducks.  I only saw a few Coots, a couple of Hooded Merganser, and four Blue-wing Teal.  This was not what I was hoping for.  Last year I saw hundreds of Coots feeding in this area with many other species of ducks mixed in.  What happened to all of the ducks that were constantly in the air and on the water including the flocks of Pintails that were whistling as they circled the open water?

A cold front was going to be moving through later on in the week but I had not seen enough ducks to inspire me to get up at 3 A.M.  Even though it is only a short drive of 35 minutes to Titusville, you have to wait in the line until 4 am when all of the hunters are released into the refuge.  I would have loved to have bagged a duck or two for my bird dog, but I decided to sleep in getting up about 7am.

I grabbed my camera, the bird dog, my jacket and headed out the door to see how the hunters did this morning and speak with the biologist.  Florida Photography - Roseate SpoonbillAs I circled the area of the refuge that usually is home to lots of ducks, especially after a cold front, I noticed that there were not any hunters nor ducks in this location.   As I was finishing up my drive along the levy loop, I took a few pictures of some Wood Storks, White Ibis and then what to my wondering eyes should appear….a Roseate Spoonbill!

At first I only saw the single and was really happy to see that bird.  But then, in the corner, I hit the mother load!  It was a flock of Roseate Spoonbills and White Ibis feeding!  I slipped out of the truck and put the Florida Cracker sneak on them.  I was able to get within 10 yards, keeping the mangroves between us so as not to alarm the birds.  I took pictures of the birds feeding for about fifteen minutes, playing peek-a-boo with the morning sunlight, when all of a sudden it happened.  The birds erupted in flight!   Florida Photography - Roseate Spoonbill

My timing could not have been more perfect.  The morning glow lit up the birds perfectly against the gray clouds in the background.  My shutter speed was fast enough to freeze the action and my depth of field captured everything back to the telephone poles.  I could have photoshopped out the poles in the background but I decided to leave them in because without it the picture almost doesn’t look real.

Out of all of the bird pictures that I have taken over the years, I like this one the best.  I took this picture on December 19th, 2009.  I have blown up sections of the picture below to give the viewer a sense of what the picture will look like at full size.  I know this will make a beautiful picture hanging from my wall.

While I do not always bring my shotgun with me I always bring my camera.  You just never know when you are going to be presented with that picture opportunity of a life time.  This time everything worked out perfectly and I was extremely with the results even if the ducks did not want to cooperate.
Florida Photography - Roseate Spoonbill

Florida Photography - Roseate Spoonbill Ibis

Wayne Roth is a Native Floridian and a graduate of the University of Florida. He has a passion for outdoor activities including nature Florida photography, hunting, fishing, jogging and mountain biking. He strives to find simple, easy ways to implement little changes in his lifestyle that improve his health through exercise and proper nutrition. Then he shares his findings and adventures with the world. So get out there, keep that body in motion, feed it the right fuel, and don’t forget to bring along the camera so you can “Preserve Your Adventure”.

The Great Chuluota Citrus Freeze of 2003 and Now 2010

I moved to Chuluota, Florida in 1998.  I always knew that it was colder in the country but I had no idea that I would live in a little isolated pocket that seemed to get colder than anywhere else in the area.  Chuluota is a few miles northeast of Oviedo which is about 30 minutes outside of downtown Orlando.  I live on 5 acres across from the Econolockahatchee River that is just beautiful for Florida Photography.

There have been many nights in the 20’s and lots of frost over the years.  There were years when a Gardenia bush or a fruit tree just could not take it anymore and lost some or all of it’s leaves.

The best I can figure, I am protected from wind with a dense forest on two sides and scrub oaks, pines and palmettos on the remaining two.  Without any wind or slight breeze the temperatures plummet.  My thermostat is placed on a fence post surrounded by Bahia grass in an open area 30 feet from the house.  This way there is no chance of getting a skewed reading resulting from the heat retained in the pool concrete or from the home.  I know the thermostat is calibrated and accurate because I have checked it against other thermometers.  I have also noted frost on the ground when the thermometer read 30 or 31 degrees.

On an extremely cold morning, January 23, 2003 to be exact, I heard an idea that a little water sprayed on the fruit trees would help keep them from freezing.  So I turned my sprinklers on the fruit trees and went back to bed.  When I awoke it looked like a winter wonderland.  I think I did more damage to the fruit trees by loading up their branches with the excessive weight of the frozen water and causing them to snap.  There were frozen orangecicles everywhere!

Florida Photography - Citrus Freeze

2003 Sprinkler Freeze

Florida Photography - Citrus Freeze

Orangecicles 2003

Florida Photography - Citrus Freeze

Sprinklers were on most of the night in 2003

The temperature was 17.9 degrees!   Surprisingly enough the trees and the fruit were not that badly damaged due to the freeze.  I believe they were protected from the extreme cold with the, what should have been, a thin layer of ice.

That was then.  This is now.  This morning, January 7th, 2010, at around 7:30am, I checked the remote thermometer in the kitchen, 18.1 degrees!  Holy crap!  I few minutes later I notice that it was already warming up and 18.3 degrees.  Hhhmmmmmm, I thought to my self, I wonder if the minimum temperature was lower than 18.1.  Yes, it was!  17.4 degrees!!! This was a new record for where I live.

Florida Photography - Thermometer

January 7th, 2010

Florida Photography - Exterior Thermometer

Remote Thermometer on Fence Post

Florida Photography - Citrus Freeze

Light frost on the Orange Tree 2010 - 17.4 Degrees

I’m not sure of the damage to the trees as of yet.  Some of the smaller fruit was frozen solid but the larger ones might still be ok.  Only time will tell.  NO frozen orangecicles this time.  I decided to let mother nature do what she is going to do and I will refrain from burdening my trees with a load of ice.  As long as the temperatures keep freezing then I am sure my Florida Photography will get some abstract ice in it.

So that is my latest story from the frozen Arctic Tundra called Chuluota.  Kind of makes you wonder about this whole global warming thing doesn’t it.

Florida Photography - Citrus Freeze

Sprinkler Icicles-January 2003

Florida Photography - Citrus Freeze

Light Frost on the Kumquat 2010 - 17.4 Degrees

Old SR 13 Railway Trestle – Florida Photography

Florida Photography - Train TrestleLocated in the Little Big Econ State Forest is a Florida Photography gem.  About 1 mile west of Snow Hill Road and the Econlockhatchee River, exists what is left of the Old SR 13 railway trestle.  This was part of the Flagler Railroad System that had its hay day back in the early 1900’s.  The creosote-soaked pilings of the old railroad bridge are all that remain.  The Chuluota Land Company was established in 1912 and they sold Chuluota (Central Florida) lands to the Flagler System and the Florida East Coast Railroad was built through Chuluota, across the Econ and into Geneva.  The trains stopped running in the 1930’s and the tracks were taken up around 1940.

If you look directly at the pilings, close your eyes and listen very closely, off in the remoteness you can still hear the whistle blow.  Like thunder rumbling in the distance the old train is coming.  You can hear the 95 ton locomotive clanking against the steel rails until finally the metal giant appears through the trees and towers over the pilings of the trestle that stands strong allowing the clatter, the smoke and the steel to pass.  Soon the thunder fades as do the memories of an era long gone by and all that remains are the creosote-soaked pilings, which seem out of place, buried in the sand on the banks of the pristine Econlockhatchee River. One of many dream places for Florida Photography.

By Wayne Roth

Florida Photography - Train TrestleFlorida Photography - Train Trestle

Opening Day Duck Season – South Florida

Here is a little video that I put together regarding the opening day duck hunt in South Florida. It was a little warm but the ducks were flying everywhere. See for yourself.

We were limited out in less than an hour and would have been less than 30 minutes but I kept getting distracted with my camera. We ended up with 5 Blue Wing Teal and 1 Florida Mottled Duck each.

Check out my other site and the Ultimate Duck Huting Video game. It just might help you shoot more ducks. www.nintendowiicost.com

Missed Opportunity Can Come with Rewards

Even if you are busted stay patient you might just get a second chance both with your bow and Florida Photography Equipment.  My Largest Buck with a Bow to Date came with a small price.

Slipping into the woods behind my house that morning I spooked a couple of deer just before reaching my stand.  They never winded me, nor blew, they just eased off into the darkness of the scrub oaks and palmettos.   I was hopeful they would return and act as a decoy for the bucks that had been showing up on the trail camera.

Tri-Pod Feeder

Tri-Pod Feeder

This year I managed to get the setup perfect.  I moved the trail camera and adjusted the pipe feeder.  I started playing around with a pipe feeder last year but never kept it full and the camera was in a location where I only took pictures of deer near the tri-pod feeder.  2008 it seemed to be 10 to 1 doe to buck ratio.  Boy what a difference a year makes.  This year it is  about 2 to 1 buck to does.  I have pictures of button bucks, spikes, 3 points, 4 points, three 6 points, three 8 points, and a 9 point!   There is no shortage of bucks this year.  They are really eating the corn, consuming a 50 pound bag every 4 days and with the camera in the right location I can capture all the shots!

IMG_6407huntingsetup

Feeder Opening

The pipe feeder is a vertical 3 foot tall 8 inch diameter pvc pipe attached to a wood base with a 3”x2” arch cut into the front edge of the pipe at the base to allow the corn to spill onto the platform.  It’s located a little close to my stand at 10 yards but that was the most suitable tree to attach it to.  It’s really difficult to get a shot there because of its proximity to the stand.

Pipe Feeder

Pipe Feeder

I live on 5 acres that backs up to about 1,000 acres of state land.  The deer are constantly feeding on my property or passing through.  So all year long I enjoy taking pictures and just watching the deer feed and interact with each other.  I see how they respond to cars passing by or my neighbor cooking on his grill.   It’s amazing what they will tolerate.

Let the Games Begin

This is where the games begin.  I was busted earlier in the season as the wide 6 point walked up to the feeder.   He put his head down to feed and I attempted to move my bow into position.  He caught the movement did a 180 and was gone.

So I had to find a way to get the shot.  I had a couple of choices.  Swap the ladder stand out for a box blind or add some blind material to the ladder stand or better yet make a little mini blind at the feeder out of palmetto leaves.  That’s what I did and did it ever work perfectly.   I tested it one afternoon on a young buck I saw in velvet earlier this year.  He came to the pipe feeder and when he put his head down to feed it went behind the palmetto leaves and all I could see was his body and better yet, I now had a clear shot on the vitals.  I was able to move every time he put his head down to feed.  Now I new I was ready for that big buck to come in and do the same.

Head Up

Head Up

Head Down

Head Down

Back to the Hunt

I settled into my stand about an hour before sunrise.  It was a chilly 60 degrees out.  “This is Central Florida you know.”  Very little wind was present and there was a calmness in the woods that would allow me to hear any approaching deer, so I thought.  One thing I continue to relearn every year is that a deer can come in like a bull in a china shop where you hear him from a mile away or they can materialize right before your eyes never making a sound.

My 15’ ladder stand rests against a pine tree where the old barbed wire fence is now a part of the tree.  So when does slip under the fence gently brushing the fence with their back you can almost feel it resonate in your body as everything vibrates.   I never heard a sound until something shook the barb wire fence like it was trying to rip the post out of the ground (causing every hair on my body to stand up and nearly shaking me out of the tree!).   From past experience, when a deer jumps over a fence,

Wire Through Pine

Wire Through Pine

it usually is a buck.  This was no exception although the buck did forget to pick up his landing gear and he clipped the wire with his hoofs waking me up like caffeine in an IV drip.  The buck wasted no time and went straight for the pipe feeder.

15' Ladder Stand

15' Ladder Stand

Once you know you are definitely going to take a shot at something with horns you become a complete wreck.  I can sit in a stand calm and cool all year long with my camera and never get too excited but when you put that bow and arrow in my hands all bets are off.  So here I am shaking, breathing heavy but I still manage to swing my bow around before the buck clears the oaks and comes into view.  The bow’s bottom cam is resting on my knee as I remain seated, a shot I always practice out of that stand.  The buck walks right up to the pipe feeder puts his head down to feed.  Suddenly he lifts his head up and looks right at me, as my bow sways just a little.  I try to calm my breathing when I feel a slight coolness on the back of my neck realizing that the buck is now downwind of me.  “Come on, come on just put your head back down so I can draw.”   I know I have him, all that hard work,

Wide Six Point

Wide Six Point

those early mornings, the scouting, the corn, the cameras, the scent removing sprays and showers.  He throws is nose up in the air, looks directly at me and snorted twice as he puts the afterburners on and heads for the next county.  Apparently I had a little body odor that morning.

Highs and Lows

Deer hunting, especially archery, is comprised of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  This was one of those lows.  I sat there and waited for him to return.  Maybe he was just over in the corner under the oak tree nibbling on some acorns.  Five minutes past, then ten minutes, then fifteen minutes, nope he was gone.   But wait!  There is

Tall Six Point

Tall Six Point

movement through the oaks.  Could it be, maybe, a second chance, not quite.  In walks another beautiful 6 point that I had seen earlier on camera.  He was taller just not quite as wide and did not weigh nearly as much as the previous buck.  Because he came from the wrong direction I was unable to get a shot.   But I stood up hoping that he would return back that same trail.  I have seen some bucks do this in the past.  They cruise down this trail to check out another field and return a few minutes later.

I was standing for about 5 minutes when I spotted movement once again.  With the deer moving towards me I went to full draw.  I try not to draw when a deer is standing still or extremely alert.  He must have heard or seen something because he stopped just before the opening in the oaks.  I held that bow for what seemed and eternity, shaking more and more with each second breathing heavier and feeling the start of a bead of sweat on my forehead.  Finally he starts to move again, slips into the opening as I gently squeeze the trigger on my release sending the arrow into the vitals.  That was where I was aiming, however because of the time that I had to hold the bow, my heavy breathing and the fact that I was terrified to make a sound an spook another deer, I made a little mistake.  I shot at a walking deer.  You must practice these shots if you are going to take them and I have never practiced a moving shot.  I should have let out a grunt and stopped the deer.

Taz the Pudelpointer

Taz the Pudelpointer

I got lucky though and hit the deer a little back and high striking the spine and dropping the deer in his tracks.  A second well placed arrow and the buck was down for good.  It made for easy tracking but the dog was a little upset as he loves the blood trails.

I was still thrilled.  My largest buck with a bow is a small basket rack 5 point and this was a beautiful 6 point that I couldn’t wait to photograph.   Even though I missed the opportunity at the bigger buck I was extremely please to get this guy.  Never give up hope because there will always be other opportunities you just have to be patient and play the game with the best of your ability.  Keep practicing different kinds of shots in all kinds of situations so that you can have some form of subconscious autopilot kick in when that buck of a lifetime tries to shake you out of the tree.  Don’t forget to bring your camera because Florida Photography can be breath taking.

By Wayne Roth
The Native Floridian
Preserve Your Adventure”

Author with his Trophy

Author with his Trophy

Man and His Best Friend

Man and His Best Friend

Trail Camera

Trail Camera

Feeder Prior to Palmetto Blind

Feeder Prior to Palmetto Blind

Snook Fishing – Summer 2009

What would my Fishing Photography be without a short post and a picture of some of those beautiful snook my brother, Dad and I caught opening day September 2009.  This is some genuine Florida Photography.  We used a plethora of bait to catch these fish.  Some of that included Greenies, Sardines, Croakers, and Pinfish.  The biggest challenge was trying to catch a fish small enough to keep.  They were all monsters and with the slot size being 28-32 inches that does not leave many keepers.  We still managed to get our limit!

Florida Photography - Snook

Philip and Richard Roth with a Snook that was just a little bit larger than slot size. Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24-70mm lens hand held at 24mm. ISO 1000 and 1/2500 sec at f3.5

I try to place the image data in the caption under on every picture.  I believe this helps both me and the reader to become a better photographer.  The ISO above might have been a little too high for the bright sunlight and the shutter speed could have easily been slowed down to 1/500 sec and allowed me to hand hold the camera on a rocking boat.  The slower shutter speed would have allowed me a smaller aperture (larger f stop number) and thus a greater depth of field.  The Snook is tack sharp but the faces are a little soft.  Some fill flash would also have been a benefit.

Florida Photography - Snook

My brother Richard with yet another large snook. Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24-70mm lens hand held at 24mm. ISO 1000 and 1/640 sec at f10

Florida Photography - Snook

The Native Floridian himself, Wayne Roth, holding up a fat Snook. Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24-70mm lens hand held at 28mm. ISO 1000 and 1/640 sec at f10

Florida Photography - Snook

Where are the slot size fish? Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24-70mm lens hand held at 24mm. ISO 400 and 1/200 sec at f14

To shoot with a Camera or a Gun

With my Florida Photography I sometime have a dilemma.  To shoot with a camera or with a bow.  That is sometimes a very tricky and tough question.  I have a passion for both hunting and photography.  I have a love of nature and always try to preserve my adventures.  Hunting is no exception.  My weapons or tools of choice happen to be the stick and string and the lens and shutter.  A Matthews Solocam MQ32 and a Canon EOS 5D Mark II with a 24-70mm/f2.8 lense.

These first two pictures happen to be of a majestic 7 point in velvet that graced me with his presence this year.  I watched him last year as a spike.

Florida Photography - Buck

Florida Photography - Buck

A few weeks ago on October 19, 2009 I was able to harvest this beautiful 6 point with my bow.  Because I took the deer in the morning, the lighting was perfect and the Florida Photography came out very well considering it was a self portrait.

Florida Photography - Buck

Wayne Roth Photography – The Beautiful Butterfly

Florida Photography has been a passion of mine for a long time. This is the start of something beautiful as I start posting some of my favorite pictures.  This is a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.  Many species of wildflowers bloom this time of year, early fall, on my property here in Central Florida, thus attracting a wide variety of butterflies.

Florida Photography - Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Early morning sun adds both light and color to an already beautiful Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. I liked this picture because of the yellow flower that was lit up in the background by the sun poking through the trees and the color of the flower the butterfly is harvesting nectar from. Canon EOS Mark II, 100-400 handheld at 400mm, ISO 1000 and 1/400 sec at f5.6.

Florida Photography - Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

I liked the way the colors just pop showing the beauty of the Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. Canon EOS Mark II, 100-400 handheld at 400mm, ISO 1000 and 1/3200 sec at f8.