A couple of weeks ago I was in Crescent Beach, St. Augustine, Florida to visit my in-laws. The weather was unusually cold for mid-March. I spent most of my time running or biking on the 20 miles of deserted hard-packed sandy beach. (I will post some of those pics in another blog soon.) About 30km from the condo is the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and bird rookery….a perfect escape for the day, even for a non-birder like myself! So up at 6:30, to be dropped off at the photographer’s entrance by 8.
First of all, my brand new super heavy zoom lens that I carried through all the airports, decided not to work the minute I arrived in Florida, leaving me zoomless. Secondly, the farm wouldn’t let me in early without an annual ‘photographer’s membership’ which could be purchased on the spot for $89.99. Even though only five other photographers were there, and after offering to pay extra for the day, and explaining that I was all the way from Ottawa, Canada for only the one day, the manager would not make an acception, and rudely suggested I take a seat on the curb for another hour and half, until the main doors opened. He suggested that being a Canadian, from the far north, I should be used to the cold. After all, it was a balmy temperature of 6 degrees celsius. Too bad I was dressed in shorts and flip flops….I froze!
Doors open – only me in line – off I go to join the other five. It was quite a site. Hundreds of nesting egrets, flat billed roseates, storks, blue herons…and oh don’t forget the alligators. The photographers were madly shooting in total silence. A couple of Nikons, couple of Canons, couple of heavy duty lenses, some MONSTER lenses, some with two or three camera bodies and me with my non-zoom.
I had my mother-in-law’s cell phone so I could call when I needed a ride back. Four hours…no answer. Five hours…no answer. Six hours…no answer. Seven hours…my phone rings asking if I am ever coming back. Being in their eighties, they couldn’t hear their phone ringing and when they did, they didn’t recognize it as their own ringtone.
Anyway, I met some great people and had wonderful conversations with some of the other photographers. One new friend offered to lend me a lens; one even offered me a ride to the condo.
The day ended with over 1200 shots. Here are just a few. Check out others in the nature tab.