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A quick trip to Florida

Bitten by red ants, bitten by mosquito’s and stuck out in the open during a massive thunderstorm! I’ve just returned home from Florida, where the week was spent mostly trying to avoid said thunder storms, lightening (the worst storm produced 20,000 strikes in 4 hours!) and with not a single sunset to be seen the entire trip! So all in all not the most productive visit to the sunshine state that I’ve had but I managed a couple of nice shots between storms…so I can’t complain!

Halloween Pennant

D300, 200-400 VR + 1.4x, 550mm, 1/400, f8

This Juvenile Caracara was busy eating the left overs of something at Viera Wetlands.

CaraCara

D300, 200-400 VR + 1.4x, 550mm, 1/200, f8, ISO 400

I had only seen these beautiful birds of prey from a distance before now so it was great to finally get up close and personal with one, even if it wasn’t a full blown adult. The only trouble was, I had to lay on the ground to make my slow approach, and it was only after I had been laying there for 5 minutes taking pictures that I felt a small pricking sensation, looked down and saw that a trail of red ants had made it’s way over to me!

CaraCara portrait

D300, 200-400 VR + 1.4x, 550mm, 1/200, f8

After watching it snatch a bird from the far off waters edge this American Alligator swam towards me so I decided to use the 28-70 instead of the 200-400 to try and include some habitat.

Alligator

D3, 28-70, 1/500, f8

I love Green Herons. They usually sit down low in the water or by the waters edge waiting for fish but this one hoped up on to the broad walk side for a wider view of the surroundings. The late afternoon sun had gone behind cloud cover although still reached out to light the foliage in the distant background.

Nikon D300, 200-400 VR at 380mm, 1/200, f6.3, ISO 800

Nikon D300, 200-400 VR at 380mm, 1/200, f6.3, ISO 800

As I said at the start, not my most productive visit but am always happy if I manage at least one good shot whenever I go somewhere. The stand out shot for me this time round was definitely the Halloween Pennant at the top of the page, a species I’ve never photographed before and something different to the usual birds and mammals (I don’t do insects very often, especially as I have no macro). The perch, the subject and the colours all come together to make an image that I’m really pleased with!

I got a couple more shots than the ones above but most are variations on the same type of subject, great for the collection but boring to make you wade through!

Read my original guide to Florida wildlife
You can read my main guide to some of Florida’s shooting locations HERE.

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About the author

Richard Peters is a Surrey based professional wildlife photographer, Nikon Ambassador, and one of the few British photographers to receive the accolade of European Wildlife Photographer of the Year. He is known for a style that often favours dramatic use of light, runs wildlife photography workshops and, from camera clubs to big industry events, holds talks about his work.

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