Saturday, January 3, 2009

Movie Dome Day Two

This year we have enjoyed doing several photo trips with other photographers, so after the last trip with the "gang" at Fisheating Creek we decided we wanted to do it again, but where? Since Clyde wanted to photograph Movie Dome with water in it, we decided to meet there for another photo adventure together.

Early, early morning...the Gangs all here...Niki, Jeff, Rick, Kevin, Julie, John, Clyde


heading toward Movie Dome

getting closer...

Julie inside the dome

Once we all got inside the dome we spread out to find
our own photographic locations.

Clyde managed to shoot one photographic scene before the sun came up
and he could no longer photograph.

Jeff Ripple out in the pond visiting with the alligators while photographing.

Kevin Barrier setting up his camera.

Kevin and I having a shoot out - photographing each other!

Niki getting ready to photograph Kevin...he wasn't the only wildlife in the swamp...

and speaking of wildlife...Elam and his son, Nick, showed up to do some filming of Clyde.

Elam making his way toward Movie Dome

Elam & Nick

Elam filming Clyde and gang...

I set my camera on my tripod, set the timer and then
ran so I could be in the picture with the gang too...I missed it! Running through water
is neither graceful or something an old fart like me can do, so Julie said
she'd try and her result was both graceful and accomplished! See image below...

Julie, Jeff, Rick, Niki, Clyde, Kevin, Nick, Elam, John

John making his way through the swamp carrying his 8x10 camera

Julie getting her camera ready for a shot

Elam filming Clyde and Niki working together

Clyde and Niki

Julie helping Rick with his camera. It is truly difficult working with a large format camera when you are knee deep in water. There is no place to set your back pack down so you can get at the camera. Rick was lucky Julie was in the area to help him!

Rick studying a scene

The sun finally got too high in the sky, the contrast was to great, we
had to stop photographing and head back to our vehicles.

I think Julie and I were the last to leave. It felt so good to be knee deep
in nature...the temperature was perfect, the scenery beautiful. We could
have stayed forever...

With everyone out of the swamp our next decision was where to go for never fails when you get a bunch of photographers together, technical information abounds and the discussions never cease. And so, the discussions began, then went on and on and on...FINALLY we took off for lunch...
Kevin brought out his 6x17 camera for all of us to experience. What a great angle of view! It was fun talking about the camera and the technical stuff associated with it and then...the conversation went totally technical.

It is a amazing the joy these guys get out of that kind of conversation. It is just fun watching the animation in their faces while they talk with such love about the technical this and technical that!
At a certain point I give up...give me talk about sunsets, soft breezes and swaying palms and I can listen forever...

And so I left them to their particular joy and walked around photographing the picnic area:

The Everglades National Park recently had a controlled burn in the area. The trunks of the trees were still black and the new grass was coming up. With back-lighting the scene looked wonderful..even though you can see the road to the campgrounds in the background.

After awhile we all decided to take off for a quick look at the Payhayokee boardwalk. It is a great place for summer storms, but this day was without impressive clouds, so we all just wanted to take a look for future reference.

Not many clouds, but still a very peaceful scene.

With one last look out over the beautiful grass of Payhayokee I let my heart soar into forever. I took a deep breath and prayed for peace and respect for others this coming new year.

photos by Niki, Kevin, Julie & Rick

Clyde Butcher
Kevin Barrier
John Brady
Rick Cruz
Jeff Ripple
Elam Stoltzfus

Movie Dome Day One

Our plans were to get together with the "gang" and photograph Movie Dome while there was water on the ground. Last winter when Clyde photographed the dome, it was dry. He wanted to try again while it was wet.

The problem, of course, is light. Photographing inside of a dome requires even lighting. We knew if we met everyone at the dome early in the morning we'd get good light, but in the winter the sun seems to rise very very fast. That means there isn't much time before bright light is hitting the scene and causing too much contrast. So, just in case, we thought we'd arrive a day early. As it turned out, so did Jeff and John! However, we didn't see them until the following morning.

into the dome...

The interior of the dome was magical with everything surrounded by water! AND...the amazing thing was that as we entered the dome it grew cloudy, which gave us several moments of even lighting for wonderful photographic opportunities!

As the sun began to set, we decided to hike out and call it a day until EARLY the next morning...

Babcock Ranch

Kevin Barrier and his friend, Tony McDonald who is the Mine Manager on Babcock Ranch, invited Clyde for a day of photography on the Babcock Ranch. Naturally, we jumped at the chance! The ranch straddles the border between Charlotte and Lee counties and, at 91,000 acres, it is one of the largest remaining undeveloped tracts of land in the area.

The Ranch has recently gained a lot of notice when the owners decided to sell it. Naturally, the environmentalists went up in arms at loosing so much pristine land to developers. The conclusion to the battle to save the land is, in short, that the developer is going to preserve 80% of the land in its natural state. If you would like to know more about what is going on at Babcock here is their website:

With an area of 91,000 acres, spending one day isn't even close to seeing the beauty of the Babcock Ranch. However, having the opportunity to see even a small section of this wild and beautiful country is a grand opportunity.

We met Tony at the ranch where we joined him in his pick-up. The roads we traversed were DEFINITELY four-wheel drive roads! It was so much fun that it made me want to get a vehicle just like Tony's!

Whenever Clyde would see an area that showed possibilities, Tony would stop the truck and we would all hop out and take a hike into the woods.

Clyde photographing strangler fig

It seemed that everywhere we turned there was beauty in abundance!

The hike back to the truck. It looks like an actual path, but really it is just an opening in the woods that we followed until it disappeared and we had to make our way through the bush. It is so much fun creating our own way through the woods. It may seem strange to some, but when I have to dip under and climb over things in order to move forward I have a deeper connection with the earth and consider the hike so much more fun!

Hiking toward the truck

One of Kevin's favorite spots is located near the "Governors Cabin". The Babcocks had a nice little hunting cabin where several of Florida's Governors would visit and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature...and do a little hunting too! This is the road to the cabin.

Troys truck in front of 'Governors' cabin

Troy and Clyde getting Clyde's camera gear out of truck

The ranch has an abundance of wild hogs, so when we came across a large group of hogs with a whole bunch of babies the 'red-neck' in Tony came out. He jumped out of the truck and took off running trying to catch one of the piglets! I wish I had been doing a video! It was so much fun to watch him try and catch one of those little critters. Boy are they quick, but so was Tony. He almost got one when it jumped into a prickly bush. Tony gave up and meandered back to the truck. It was a moment of pure entertainment!

Kevin and Clyde on the hike to Kevin's secret place.

...on the path...

We finally reached a wonderful intimate pond. The composition was beautiful, but it was very difficult for me to photograph Clyde in a way that would show you what he was photographing, so you'll just have to wait until he prints the image! In order for Clyde to get into the location where he thought the composition was the best Kevin had to attack a major bush and hold it back. He finally got the thing in control by wrapping it into itself and then stepped back to enjoy watching Clyde take the picture.

Clyde and I on the return hike.

This photo was taken by Kevin, who we thank for being so thoughtful as to invite us to join him and Tony on such a great day photographing such a beautiful place!

photos by Niki and
Kevin Barrier -