Rainy Day along Florida Bay

Brown Pelican Looking Out to the Bay-Rain_1578-wps

Brown Pelican faces into wind and rain along Florida Bay.

Relief from the oppressive humidity and sweltering heat of July in Florida comes by way of cooling breezes gusting out from tropical, afternoon thunderstorms. I’ll confess that my imagination has always given way to a certain level of excitement and pleasure with the prospect of a crashing storm and the fresh, cleansing aftermath. Birds must love it too as recently along Florida Bay in Key Largo , Florida I killed a couple of hours ( while my husband met with a client) watching brown pelicans in the rain.  Skies alternated between bright white and slate blue as water sloshed along the coralliferous rocks and covered most of the pathways between the mangroves.

While I was looking for a sunnier opportunity to take photographs, I was forced to relax and enjoy the reality of the dim day. As the birds were face into the wind, so was the lens of my camera, and open to rain being driven directly onto the glass and workings. So the time became a bit of a dance out to the water’s edge for the birds and the smell of the sea, then back under shelter to keep the camera relatively dry. My shirt became too wet to even be useful to cover or dry the camera between the hard rain and the misty drizzle in between. Having been dropped off, there was really no dry spot to hang out.

But, despite the wind and spitting rain, it was a wonderful respite! While initially I thought it was going to be just a day for pelican watching, a white heron landed briefly, gazed out at the stormy bay and flew to a higher vantage point, and I found a white ibis under some sheltering trees probing the muddy grounds. I do like taking photos on rainy days, but need to get a slicker for the camera and maybe a little umbrella!!

Sharing below some images of that soggy afternoon!!

Great White Heron-Key Largo-Rainy Day_1652-wps-4

Great White Heron gazes out into the Bay from its coralliferous perch. Rising water and slippery ground made it tricky to get a shot in between the trees and blowing branches and leaves. But, there it is.

Great White Heron Overlooks Florida Bay from its perch on a Mangrove Limb

Here the Great White Heron has risen to a higher vantage point overlooking the Bay. When I was taking the pictures I was trying to beware of the sure green blur that would be created by the moving branches nearest me. Sometimes trying to avoid things causes a less optimal perspective or story. I included this picture because I felt the image told a better story with the bay water and far off mangrove island showing on the lower area, despite the green blur to the bottom left. In other images I raised the camera to avoid the most wildly moving leaves and made less interesting perspective. The bird did look visually amazing with white against that slate blue sky.

Wet Ibis_1657-wps

And, this White Ibis I didn’t really expect to turn out. The light was very dim but with some white light coming through the branches, but when it extracted its bill from the mud and turned to look at me I could not resist.

As Ever,


~ by Judy on August 11, 2015.

21 Responses to “Rainy Day along Florida Bay”

  1. Despite your self-criticism, I think the two middle photos are quite effective and striking.

    • Thanks Brian! That is great feedback. I always feel comfortable with the ideal lighting situations so when dim lighting and lot of wind forces me into certain settings, I feel less confident. I do like rainy day images though and splashing water and diffuse light can be wonderful. Just need to prepare a bit better for such a session.

  2. What amazing photos, in spite of the rain. I would have never thought of taking my camera out and shooting in the rain. You just set another goalpost with this posting.

    • Shooting in the rain does present some beautiful opportunities. Wildlife tends to look kind of sorrowful or wistful all wet and with streaks of rain in the background. Lighting is somber and muted and things take on that moist earthy look. Plus, I like see the rain drops plop onto the water and bounce up. When you are concentrating on the subject, you get these nice little details you didn’t particularly notice in the process but caught anyway. But, this time out definitely made me realize that I need to get a way to protect the camera and lens. I did a past post of a rainy day at the rookery, but there I had a covered platform to stand on.

  3. Always, always LOVE! I love the heron in the tree… Just perfectly dramatic. And the portrait of the ibis — so very sweet!!

    I do love the drama and lighting of a rainy day, though. 🙂

    • Yeah me too!! I just got caught with a lot of wet and no way to stay dry after a bit. I had an empty lens case with a lens cloth in it and after I was too wet to dry the camera I used that. Unless you are getting the photo of a lifetime; you don’t want to wreck your gear!! 🙂

  4. Wonderful photographs, as usual! I especially love the pic of the ibis, with bits of mud on its beak!

    • I guess I have gotten over the urge somewhat to clean off any bird bills I post!! I think its the baby woodstorks this year that cured me though.

  5. I love stormy days by the coast, you’ve captured some beautiful pictures despite the conditions! My favourite is the heron balanced on the branch – absolutely gorgeous.

    • I really did like the light there was on the white bird against the dark sky. Makes it look rather 3D to my eye! Photography is fun that way though with all the possibilities you have from bleak weather to golden sun.

  6. My favorite is the pelican. He looks a little tipsy, as though the wind is a bit more than he’s happy to be dealing with. But they’re all great photos. Like you, I love a rainy day, although I’ve never even made the attempt to do photography in the midst of such conditions.

    I’m glad you didn’t clean up the ibis. For a formal portrait, I think I understand the impulse. But for a snapshot at home, this is perfect!

    • I was waiting for someone to stand up for the intrepid pelican facing into the rain with water bouncing around at its feet!! I liked that image because it showed the raindrops hitting the water the best too. Generally, I find whether rain or sun, that when there is a stiff wind that birds will stand facing into it. I don’t know if this is because they are aerodynamically designed to do that or if having wind at your back ruffles the feathers unpleasantly. I have stood at a few bird butts in such circumstances of wind waiting for them to turn my way.

  7. A Great White? What a tremendous catch, Judy! And such artistry, too. I absolutely HATE you, in a loving way! 🙂 WOW! Oh, and don’t you have a UV filter to screw on that lens? I used to carry half a dozen, because you just can’t dry and clean a filter in wind-driven rain. Getting a filter wet is sure better than getting your big gun wet, eh?

    • Everyone loves the Great White Heron I think. It is the most majestic of all and the bird that got me interested in bird photos in the first place. If you really would like to see them, you know you must schedule time in the Keys. This one was in Key Largo so you don’t have to go all the way to Key West. Although, Key West, especially out in the water and on pilings, I saw an inordinate number of Wurdemann’s herons.

      I do always keep a UV filter on all the lenses I have but I worry that when the whole thing gets damp that I am introduction water when I focus manually or zoom or even slide the lens hood. So I just need to be more prepared for rain when there is no cover to stand under. Even cover isn’t so helpful when the whole atmosphere is saturated and wind is blowing under your cover.


      • Back in the day, I used to put my camera in a bread bag (all the way to the bottom), and use a hair scrunchie to hold the open end tight to the sun shade. There was enough slack in the bag to allow zooming and focusing; but kinda hard to see a clear image through the viewfinder. With a UV filter on the business end of the lens – you end up with a pretty good rain proof setup. Alas, if any water gets in the bag – or if condensation occurs – you’ve got problems. But by and large, it worked just fine. … BTW, I think the Great White Heron should be our state bird!

      • The Great White Heron could be a lovely candidate for State Bird for sure. I’ve often thought though because they are more ubiquitous and look soooo Florida flying in a big flock over the everglades that it ought to be the Ibis for State Bird. How’d we get the Northern Mockingbird?

      • Maybe because they moved down here from up north? They’re SNOWBIRDS!

  8. Oh that heron looks haughty, esp in the first photo. But such a beautiful bird, it has the right to consider itself head-n-shoulders above the others. The pelican shot reminds me of an incident (series of incidents) about a fortnight back. Rain had persistently pelted since late afternoon. And an immature Lesser Black Backed gull stood out in it, back towards my kitchen window, unmoving at least until past midnight. I thought he/she looked like Canute, stubbornly staring out to sea to turn back the tide—except I live at least 5-10 minutes from the shore! I felt sorry for it, shoulders all hunched. And there I was in the dry.

    • I know what you mean…and they do seem to always face into the wind and rain don’t they…near or far from the sea. In this case I suppose I was at least sharing the ‘persistently pelting’ wet with the bird!! Sorry I stole that!! 🙂

      • You only see standing birds facing into the wind. Why? Because if a bird stands away from the wind, a gust will blow it right on it’s butt. Truth – I’ve seen it happen. It’s why pigeons all face the same way on a telephone wire. If one faces away from the wind, it gets blown head first right off the wire in a gust. 🙂

      • Sounds like it is the aerodynamic thing then…more stable for them. Funny how these things just are. I think it is amazing how birds know they must down the fish head first enough to flip them around deliberately.

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