Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Talking Picture Postcard - Suwannee River

Green lightening bug last week streaks across still frame from moonless sky time lapse, Nikon D 610, Nikkor 16 - 35 mm at widest end, 30 seconds at f 4.0, ASA 3200, no noise reduction.

It's 3:30 AM as I crawl out of my tent pitched along the Suwannee River at the Florida state park of the same name, and I'm groggily peering up through the trees searching for the bright stars that dotted the sky when I had entered my sleeping bag five hours earlier. But I don't see a thing in the dark.  Double checking that my glasses are on my face, I switch on my head lamp only to see hazy water droplets suspended in foggy air.

View 1:29 video on you iPhone or iPad.

As I stumble down the trail toward my camera I worry if my time lapse was completely obscured by the cold morning fog creeping amid the slash pine and live oaks. I soon hear the camera still clicking and am reassured by the green glowing lamp as images are written to the memory card.

With two 30-second time exposures taken every minute for the past five hours,  I held the review button down to quickly spin the individual still photographs across the screen, magically moving the stars along their orbits in the heavens. Wow, condensing hours into a few seconds, that's cool!

I turned the camera and head lamp off to toss my head way back and look up. I knew there was six feet of dangling Spanish Moss above me as I could feel it tickle my nose. But I couldn't see the moss, nor the trees nor beyond. I could only feel the wet fog on my face, and hear a thousand thousand croaking frogs way off along the flooded banks of the Suwannee . Wow, being out doors in the middle of the night is really cool too!

My plan was to kayak and explore the historic river and had driven the 435 miles from Miami due North to within a half hour of the Georgia state line and the Okefenokee Swamp, from which the Suwannee originates. Only problem was I didn't call ahead, I guess the dry season in South Florida is not necessarily the dry season up here. An unseasonably rainy winter had forced the river up to 15 feet above flood stage, to dangerous to paddle. 

No problem, though, I found lots of scenic country to photograph, natural sounds to record and the nearby Santa Fe river fed by springs, one of my best paddles ever. A great trip with enough to fill an entire post card, a Talking Picture Postcard for sure.