We pushed it off until our last morning at Del Ray, but we finally woke up before the sun in order to go to the beach to watch it rise over the Atlantic! It was gorgeous. It was so serene being on the coast that early in the morning. It was before the town had waken up to go to work, and before the birds had come out to sing, and before cars were zooming by on the highway. It was just us, the ocean, and the warm sunlight slowly peaking over the horizon. All we heard was the crashing of the waves against the shore, and as you can see, some of them crashed pretty hard. We were standing right on a bank above where the ocean had chipped away at the loose sand and so we were about a foot and a half above the tide but every once and a while with the big waves, the water would come up and crash over the bank we were standing on. One time the water even came up and swallowed my flip flops and if it weren’t for Justin quickly grabbing them before they got pulled into the sea, they would be half way to the bahamas by now. I was more worried about the salt water splashing up against my camera as it sat on its tripod. We had gotten there about a half hour before the sun rose so I had some time to set up my camera on the tripod and figure out my exposure. I then just sat there with my remote shutter release and just snapped away, occasionally checking the exposure, and just watch the sunrise with everyone else. It was really neat seeing the transition of the day into night once again as the light from the sun filled the sky. People started waking up and going to work, the birds started chirping, and the noise of the crashing waves was joined by the motoring of cars as the passed by on the highway.
These were shot with my Nikon D600 at 28mm on my 28-75 2.8 at f/11 ISO 100 and 1/160s.
Today I had one of my first opportunities to take some great wildlife photography with a solid telephoto lens. A long, fast zoom lens is an absolute necessity to shoot wildlife. I even find that my 70-200mm f/2.8 hardly cuts it out in the wild. We ran into many photographers in the field who were sporting massive 400-600mm lenses. They were about 3 feet long and were covered in camo. They had obviously invested a lot of time and money into this and were hopefully doing it somewhat professionally to support it. They were very willing to talk to us however and even let us use their lenses to spot some birds in the trees. The necessity for these super long lenses though is because in order to capture these animals in their natural environment, you will need to give them as much space as possible as to not make them feel invaded, and these lenses allow you to zoom right in close to the species to capture their unique detail. Timing and patience is also very crucial while trying to photograph live animals. Sometimes you have to wait until just the right moment in order to get the animal posed in just the right position. Other times you have to be ready to pull out your camera and focus quick to capture a fleeting moment. Many moments were lost today for me just because I didn’t have my settings ready to get the correct exposure for a split second movement by the wildlife. Gators were our priority for the trip and we got to see a few. We saw a tiny 4 footer right of the side of the trail, and then we saw the 2 you see here which were in the water just off some of the docks. We also saw many cool birds in the wetlands and we saw an owl off in one of the trees, but that was one example where the limitations of my 200mm focal length didn’t allow me to get a very tight shot to capture the details of the owl. Although it was a very difficult task trying to capture these animals, it was a very rewarding capture in the end because capturing this wildlife in its habitat gives each photo such a unique subject to it as opposed to static landscapes that could be captured the same way any day.