Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gator Hook with Eric, Katy & Deedra

Katy, Deedra and me at the head of Gator Hook trail

heading down the trail

Oakleaf Fleabane

When most folks think of Florida they don't think
of a state with wildflowers. Mostly they think of
swamps and 'gators! But we have wonderful
flowers. They don't grow in wild profusion like
they do in the spring up in the mountains, but here they
are spread about gently like a refreshing spice
in the landscape.

burnt cypress knee with flowers

bromeliad in bloom

out into the open prairie

making our way down Gator Hook trail

The ground was covered with a blooming ground orchid.
I can't find it in my book, so I'm not sure what the name
of the plant is.

Ground I wish I had a close-up
lens to show you the beauty of each flower

Flowers EVERYWHERE! I had a hard time
getting down the path because everywhere
I turned I saw another flower to photograph!

Starrush Whitetop

dry periphyton

Periphyton is like a sponge. This may look
dry, but it holds water so that small
plants, animals, eggs etc can survive
the dry season in Florida

After enjoying myself photographing wildflowers I have decided
I need to get a close-up lens to have REAL fun!

Prairie Milkweed

Heading into the dome...

Katy overwhelmed by the peace and beauty in the cypress dome

We all found the interior of the cypress dome to be
a mystical place. Since the water was low the
structural beauty at the bottom of the cypress
trees were fully exposed. The strong feeling of the
trees touching the soft green growth of the ground
made for a mystical and magical experience.

Seeing the beauty of this place made me anxious to
share it with Clyde!

A VERY large cypress tree

The gang sitting on the base of the tree

A sweet little blue-eyed crawdad

Eric pointing to animal prints in the mud

Katy photographing in the dome

Leaving the dome and heading back

Marsh Fleabane

The path becomes rough...

making our way over the rough patches...

This looks like a Florida Bellflower, but I'm not sure...

...almost to the parking lot...

Longleaf Milkweed

...the end of the day and back to the 'real' world...

Retrospecitve Film on Clyde

Elam Stoltzfus, of Live Oak Production Group,
has been filming Clyde since 1991...before Clyde
had a gray beard...and before Elam had gray hair!

Elam and Clyde were talking one day when Elam
suggested that he do a retrospective on Clyde's
life for a PBS program. Elam brought it to the
attention of PBS and they have shown interest
in the project, so Elam has begun filming and
interviewing folks for the film.

After the trip to Key West he spent a few days
with us filming Clyde.

Elam & Clyde in the gallery

Key West - Living Waters Exhibit & DVD

Sammy Tedder - Clyde Butcher - Elam Stoltzfuz

In 2004 Clyde joined filmaker Elam Stoltzfus of
Live Oak Production Group & musician, Sammy
Tedder, to create a film to be aired on PBS titled
Living Waters - Aquatic Preserves of Florida.

Elam, Sammy and Clyde filmed 13 of the 44 aquatic
preserves in Florida. The film became an award winning
film. The Florida Department of Environment was so
excited about the educational opportunity of using the
images and film to explain the aquatic preserves that they
asked Clyde if he would put together an exhibit that
they could travel. Clyde created a book and an exhibit.

The DEP is continuing to use the exhibit and film as a
wonderful educational opportunity to educate and
inspire the people of Florida to take care of
their aquatic preserves.

The event that took place in Key West was the traveling
exhibit and film to be shown at the Key West
Eco-Discovery Center in Key West.

All in looks like the guys had a great time!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sweetwater with friends

It was a beautiful day, so when Eric, Katy and Deedra stopped
by the gallery to say howdy and told me that they were on their
way to spend the day photographing, I jumped at the
opportunity to join them.

The raw facts of life have been grinding away at my soul. I feel
my gentle senses have become muted & I long to look upon
the world again with an innocent heart. The invitation to go
out into the woods and gaze upon the quiet beauty of the
earth is as though Katy offered me a life preserver!

Clyde wasn't able to join us because he was on his way to
Key West with Elam Stoltzfus for an opening of his work
with the film "Living Waters - the Aquatic Preserves of Florida".

Katy and Deedra walking along Loop Road.

Gator along the edge of Sweetwater

Looking down Sweetwater River


Ibis flying toward tree...

Ready to land....

The Ibis finally landed safe and sound...


The forest here is usually under water,
but today it had this lush green carpet.
It looked so wonderful I felt like laying
down and relaxing....however, the ground
may look dry, but it is wet.

Katy and Niki photographing

Katy, Deedra and Niki on bridge with Sweetwater
flowing underneath.This is a great location for photographing birds,
however the seasonfor good bird photography is just about over
...time for both the snowbirds
and the real birds to fly north...

Deedra and Niki on the edge of the road photographing birds...
AND Katy & Eric!

This heron was being so picturesque!

Katy and Eric making their way through the edges of Sweetwater.
Every spring the swamps begin their seasonal drying, so Katy
and Eric are walking on dry land. Normally, the water would
be up to their waist!

A couple of young Ibis
There were birds everywhere.
It was so much fun to photograph them.

Katy sneaking around a corner

Eric in the bushes photographing

We decided to have lunch along the edge
of the bridge while watching birds. Katy sat
down in one of the chairs and it fell apart...not
due to Katy, but due to the cheap construction
of the chair. It was certainly a surprise to Katy!

We were all laughing so hard it made it
impossible for Katy to get out of the chair!

After the experience with the chair,
we retreated to the back of the pick-up for lunch!

All day we kept looking for a Swallow Tail Kite and just
as we got ready to leave a beautiful Swallow
Tail Kite soared overhead. We were "Tracking Desire"
...Oh...that is in reference to one of the best books I
have ever read. The title of the book is
Tracking Desire by Susan Cerulean.
The book is beautifully written prose about her love affair
with the Swallow Tail Kite. VERY GOOD BOOK!

Photos by
Niki Butcher
Katy Raits
Eric Raits
Deedra Ludwig -