Big Cypress-Reflection Pond

I do not often carry two cameras with me. But, I do not know why the weight bothers me or makes me think it will slow me down. I should take more time. Someone said once that the reason that camera equipment was so heavy was so that photographers would not confuse themselves with hikers. I’d thought it was said by  Ansel Adams, who had very heavy equipment, but my memory and resources fail on the matter of the quote. A couple of weeks ago returning home from the Ochopee area of the Big Cypress Preserve, near Highway 41 or Tamiami Trail, we only had time for a ten minute sojourn down one of the dirt roads. I stole all of that tiny window when I saw between the trees an opening filled with the cypress forest mirrored in the dark, clear waters of the swamp. The reflection was visually glorious. Normally I choose whether I am doing a wide angle day or a more telephoto day as I tend to be conservative about changing lenses in field environments. Sort of defeats the purpose of having a DSLR though if your solution is to carry two cameras with different lenses I suppose. The two pictures below represent the wide view and a closer view of the same scene as I sat at water’s edge with one foot propped on a root so I wouldn’t fall in. I’ve learned that gators can doze immobile in the sun on the other side of the pond or  they can be inches away, invisible beneath the disguising reflective surface. Even though I always look around me first, you are a bit vulnerable once you begin to look through the viewfinder at the pretty scene. Today the gator was lounging across the pond and I saw no ripple otherwise.

Big Cypress Reflection Pool

Wide Angle View of a Big Cypress Reflection Pond with my  Canon EOS 5D and favourite 24-105 mm lens!

Gator Reflection-Big Cypress

American Alligator across the pond with my Canon EOS 7D & 70-300mm lens, its tail  curled attractively around the fallen tree.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.
LORD BYRON, Childe Harold

Take Time for the Perfect Reflection and the Light of the Forest



~ by Judy on January 20, 2013.

12 Responses to “Big Cypress-Reflection Pond”

  1. Great work! That first w/a shot captures the look of the swamp beautifully – but that second shot captures the SOUL of the swamp! Those of us privileged to travel cypress swamps know how magical and mystical it can be; and you caught it just right!

    • That is such a sweet comment! I do feel that it is magical and mystical underneath the cypress canopy. I like to sit still sometimes not thinking about taking pictures and listen. At first it is very quiet and then after a minute you become aware of the sounds of distant birds echoing through the space or little movements on the water made by small things you cannot see. And then there’s the light…

      • … And even in the midst of such magic, there is humor to be found. Ever notice how GOOFY gators can look when taking a wee little nap?

  2. Always love seeing the alligators!

    • I agree. Next to the invasive marine iguanas we have here now, they are the most primordial looking creature we have here. Along with the other features of the cypress or wetland environment they do create an evocative mood. I sure enjoyed your close ups.

  3. Alligators are the closest thing we have to a living dinosaur. It’s one thing to see them laying around or gliding slowly around in the water, but to see one walking around on land can be a disconserting sight.

    Check out this post of mine from back in Sept. if you get a minute.

    • I thought you were leading me to something I’d looked at before..but nay!!
      Yikes! Did not see those yet. Lovely gator close ups and glad you got back to a safe spot too!!

  4. So lovely…. I can’t fathom carrying those two beasts, though! I get tired after a few hours with the 7D on my hikes. Wimp!

  5. Judy – these photos are so lovely! Thanks for the quote about heavy camera equipment! Loved it. I always carry a camera when hiking, and my kids bug me that “hiking isn’t standing around taking pictures!” I will have to tell them this next time!

  6. You know me – I had to go looking to see if I could find the source of the quotation. In a word – nope! But how true. Just yesterday I popped over to a little nature preserve close to me, and made a conscious decision to leave the camera at home. If I do have it, I don’t really move as I should – I ramble, meander, stroll, poke… you know the drill!

    It took a while, but I think I finally spotted the gator in your wide angle pic. It’s amazing how much difference lenses can make. No wonder I can’t do the things you folks do! Even with all the knowledge in the world, the equipment does make a difference. (Although of course the best equipment in the hands of an uninterested dunce is often wasted!)

    Are there two alligators on that log? It looks like another is draped over the log about an inch to the right of the big one – but it could be something else I don’t recognize.

    • Yes there is another alligator on the other side of that branch sticking up between them.

      Absolutely lenses make a difference. I learned on the kit lens that came with my first DSLR, the original Canon Rebel. As regards getting better clarity with my pictures I kept reading ‘buy the best optics you can afford.’ I was working hard at it and was not quite happy so I ultimately I had to test it out. I bought a Canon L lens (their best glass), the 17-40mm which was the most affordable one they had and also heavily overlapped the kit 18-55mm. So it was a good test. All things being equal, better optics makes a huge huge difference. The pictures above with the two lenses, I think reality falls in between the wide angle which spreads things out and the telephoto which brings things forward. At least the gator seemed much closer and bigger visually to me when I saw him than the wide angle appears. Despite the issue of lenses and clarity, I still have some favourite pictures taken with the Rebel and that first kit lens.

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