Beyond the BackyardLake County Backroads

Sunrise and A Gopher Tortoise!

After my last sad post about the Burrowing Owl family, I needed to find something more cheerful to write about.  What better than one of Rich’s favorites – a turtle!? :)   Actually, to be more specific, a tortoise.  I found this tiny Gopher Tortoise out near the Burrowing Owl nest and made this little video with my iPhone.  He made his way pretty quickly through the tall grasses!  There’s an active Gopher Tortoise burrow in the vicinity, and I bet this little guy grew up there.  To escape the hot sun, he crawled under a cover of grasses.   I wished Rich was there with me to see him!

Speaking of the hot sun, this backroads area can be a great place to photograph sunrise and sunset.  For the past year I’ve been doing a sunset project, going out there a couple times a month to photograph sunset, challenging myself to find different ways to photograph the beautiful scenes and light.  You’ll get to read more about that in a blog post later this summer.  In the meantime, here’s the sun peeking up over the horizon at dawn, throwing its beautiful golden light over Central Florida’s grassy plains.  It’s such a pretty place, and perfect habitat for the gopher tortoises, Burrowing Owls, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Northern Bobwhites.  I’m worried that with all the development in the area, these creatures won’t have a home in another five or ten years.  It makes me sad to see beautiful places like these plowed over and turned into subdivisions. :(

Sunrise Over the Grasslands
Sunrise Over the Grasslands

I’m doing more and more landscapes using HDR from just a single image.  Most HDR photos blend the tonalities from multiple exposures to render a final image that shows the dynamic range that your eye sees but that your camera’s sensor is unable to capture.  But to properly blend those multiple exposures, you do best to use a tripod.  Or, for lazy photographers who didn’t pull out their tripods when they saw this beautiful sunrise in their rearview mirrors, you can just feed a single image into Photomatix.  I find that I’m just as happy with the results and I can get more creative with my camera angles without a tripod! :)

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