Weather plant and ice crystals in rain barrel.

We are fortunate to have a weather plant in our back yard. A glance at this amazing plant will tell us instantly if it is freezing outside.

Our weather plant is a Florida anise and when the temperature drops below freezing the leaves wilt. The first time this happened I thought the plant was dead but in a few hours it was back to normal.
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Improve terrestrial milky way photos using image stacking

Photos of the milky way are more interesting if there is some kind of terrestrial object in the foreground to indicate the location.

Lighthouses make great foreground objects not only because they show the location of the photo but the idea of this beacon shining over the vast ocean and the vastness of space is very compelling.
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Moonlight and lightning

The night is a wonderful time to take photographs. I particularly love to take shots of the Milky Way, lightning storms, and moonlit landscapes.

Moonlight is simply sunlight bounced off the gray moon and it has the same color balance as sunlight. Moonlight photographs look very much like daylight images except you can see stars and any source of artificial light appears to be very bright.
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Ranger John’s bench is back!

In my post of September 8, 2016 I reported Ranger John’s memorial bench had been damaged by hurricane Hermine.

On a recent visit to the Refuge on I saw the bench had been repaired (or replaced). I was so used to seeing the bench in that location it took moment to remember it had been gone for months.
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Alligators on the move at St. Marks NWR

This is the time of year that alligators search for food, sex, and territory. In the last few weeks I have enjoyed documenting this activity.

At the Picnic Pond parking area I saw a small gator lying in the dirt parking lot.
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DarkTherapee and the Gimp

“DarkTherapee” is what I call my raw image development workflow and makes use of the FOSS (free and open source software) programs darktable and RawTherapee. The two programs complement each other very well and provide an incredible array of features.
When I first started developing raw images I used RawTherapee but soon discovered darktable and started used it for all my image processing.
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Roll clouds over a Tallahassee Florida parking lot

If someone asked me where the best place is to take photographs of roll clouds I would probably not answer “In a Publix grocery store parking lot after sunset”.  However that is the place I saw and photographed my first Florida “Roll Cloud” formation.  Read more ›

The supermoon of 2016

Normally I do not like to take close-up photographs of a full moon because the direct lighting make the surface very flat and dull.  Crescent moons have sideways illumination and the mountains and craters are much more distinct.   However it is very difficult to pass up a chance to photograph the 2016 supermoon which is the brightest since 1948. Read more ›

The Boat-tailed Grackle at St. Marks NWR

Visitors to the Saint Marks National Wildlife Refuge often ask “What is that black bird?” when they see a Boat-tailed Grackle. Most people think it is a crow. They are also surprised to learn that the female grackle is a small brown bird that doesn’t look much like the male.

Many people are not impressed by the grackles and think that they are not very attractive. The Boat-tailed Grackle is actually a beautiful bird but it must be seen under the right conditions. Read more ›

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2016 Monarch Butterfly Festival at St. Marks NWR

The Monarch Butterfly Festival is held every year on the 4th Saturday of October. The festival is always enjoyable with many exhibits, vendors, and educational activities for the whole family.

The mission of the St. Marks NWR Monarch butterfly festival is “Create awareness and action to conserve habitat for pollinators, especially the Monarch Butterfly”

One of the great joys of attending the festival is to see the excitement of children as they visit the Monarch tagging table.  At the tagging station  visitors of all ages can watch a  biologist demonstrate the tagging procedure. Visitors have the opportunity to touch a Monarch under the supervision of the biologist.

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