Moving to the Florida in 1970, Larry found it very different from the part of the country where he grew up. Instead he found that Florida offered different and incredible opportunities for photography.
“In south Florida I am lucky enough to live in one of the birding centers of the world. I also have countless lighthouses and of course the Everglades to provide subjects for my camera. I grew up hiking in the forests and mountains and enjoying the cool and the seasonal weather. None of that exists in Florida.
For years I avoided the state’s great wonder, the everglades, as I found it hot (really hot) and featuring mosquitoes that will pick you up and carry you away while draining your life’s blood. The everglades have no running water, no mountains (highest elevation 4 feet above sea level) and really no great forests. It has only been recently that I decided to try and really photograph the everglades and find some beauty in the flat marsh. Since I have made the commitment I have been amazed at the beauty, tranquility and joy I have found in this land that is best suited to mosquitoes, alligators and all things non-human
I had to rethink photography since all the elements everyone talks about are generally not present. Clouds became my mountains, grasses blowing in the wind became my rivers, and foreground subjects became shells, a puddle or a piece of coral. I had to learn to see all over again. I also learned to get wet. I’ve waded through the marsh, had sandals sucked off by muck, shared shallows with alligators and pythons and in short learned to go native.
But I’ve found a beauty I did not know existed and a kind of peace and love I had not known before. Now I run outside to see the storm gather and rain on the wetlands. I know the call of dozens of birds and other critters. I’ve found their nests, shared their lives and learned of the struggles they face for existence. The everglades have only two seasons, wet and dry. But it has night and day as well and these completely change the life of the everglades.”
What a poetic description and humorous perception for the area of his new home!
“I still love the mountains and the fast flowing streams and make annual trips to the Rockies and the Smokies to experience the natural world I learned to love as a child. I love to photograph wildlife, from birds to mammals and enjoy the challenge of getting close enough without disturbing the lives of the subjects. It just takes lots and lots of patience. But the Everglades have become my home and I love being out there to catch its moods and nuances.”
Back in 2009 while surfing the web for photographic ideas Larry found the Nikonians site. “What hit me immediately was the number of amazing photographers who freely shared ideas, images and their know-how. It was like being a kid and walking into a candy store. There were (and are) forums for everything type of photography and they are full of experts. Nikonians has saved me money with their gear tips, reviews and suggestions. Experts have inspired me with their images, and techniques. Time spent surfing the Nikonians forums has translated into better images and improved skills in the field.”
In relating what he has benefited from Nikonians Larry writes, “One of my great joys derived from being a Nikonian was sharing my love and knowledge of the everglades with fellow Nikonians who have planned trips to this magical land. When I saw the images they captured on Nikonians it was as exciting as capturing my own. Several Nikonian members in different forums (sports, wildlife, astrophotography and landscape) have inspired and taken me under their wing and greatly improved my skills. Their guidance makes me want to share with others so I can give back to the community. This interview is for me an opportunity to thank all those who cared enough to help me get where I am. You folks are really the best.”
With a view of sharing some advice with others Larry talks about a few pieces of gear.
“One thing I’ve learned is ALWAYS carry your tripod when going into the field and in conjunction when you get to your destination don’t set it up. Lay it down and look for a composition. I’ve seen too many photographers arrive, set up their tripod and then where ever it is that is the shot they take.
I love the things you can do with a neutral density filter. I have both a 6 and a 10 stop filters and they can create magical images. Everyone should give them a try.”
Larry recounts an amazing experience, “Once while hiking in the Smokies I took my boots of to soak my feet in the running water and enjoyed it so much I fell asleep on the rock. When I woke up, there was a young black bear soaking his feet in the same river, while sleeping on the same rock! Happily we both safely went our separate ways.”
A future direction that Larry plans to explore in the future is infrared photography.
As the interview wrapped up Larry shared some great insights with astrophotography.
“Most recently I have enjoyed pushing my camera and myself in the area of astrophotography. The challenge of getting a good image and the sheer joy of watching it materialize in the still of the night is a real natural high! It just makes you want to be there again and again.
I’ve always loved watching the stars. Now Nikon Technology has provided me a camera and lens that allow me to capture what I actually see. Add to that some tips from Nikonians in the Astrophotography forum and the rest is easy.
The Everglades provide a unique opportunity to photograph the Milky Way. First it is one of the darkest places in the USA, and winter/spring weather often provides for clear skies. A great tip for anyone wanting to try shooting the Milky Way is to get the app GOSKYWATCH. It provides a map of the night sky for any place on earth, at any time of the day or night on any day past or present. With this you can see exactly where and when the stars will appear.”
We express our thanks to Larry for generously sharing the enjoyable and insightful content for this article and for his breathtaking images. We will be watching for more in the future.
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