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O.M.G.!!!
Written By: OC Fotoguy
*Click images below to view larger versions.
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    That’s the first time I’ve gotten a photo of that and I’ve seen very few over my 18 years of being here for weeks or months on my meandering to our warm places of this country in the winter.  That sighting is much rarer than seeing a panther.  I’ve had panthers “pose” for me right here 26 miles deep in America’s Jungle, Big Cypress National Preserve, which is west of Everglades National Park (see map below).  It’s more likely to see a panther than most any unusual animal.  I haven’t seen an otter, bob cat, or armadillo for years and there’s few deer, possums, and raccoons.  Many locals say the reason is that the panthers have eaten them all; I tend to agree.  If I had a bucket list, this photo I got this morning would’ve been near the top.  I want to see a Sequoia Tree, too, which I hope to see midway through my western swing on my Adventure XVIII, and maybe that will beat it out.
    Since it has been so warm here this December (The weather guessers attribute that to el niño), I expected to see an abundance of wild life in this six-day visit before I head for the Florida Keys for the holidays.  As I took the first of the dirt roads which cover about 26 miles to where I park my nest (slide-in camper on a pickup truck), I saw a rainbow in the distance, about where I’d be living in my nest.  That’s always a good sign and encouraging.  I’ll be looking for the pot(s) of gold!  As I unlocked the lock, opened and drove through the gate and made the first turn, I was greeted by a Limpkin, the screamer with that shrill call in the silence, and a rare sighting.  I already knew the water level was much higher than other years from kayaking near EverGlades City yesterday.  I was hoping to catch some Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs, which can be here, too.  I caught some in 2012, when it was much dryer, so the water level was lower.  Now, with the influx of fresh water, I think the salt content of the brackish water is much lower, and maybe crabs like more salt.  Whatever the reason I didn’t see or catch any; I tried, though.  I went to the Oyster House Restaurant in Everglades City and ate broiled grouper, delicious for supper, almost as good.  Plus, I have my refrigerator and freezer packed with good eats!
    Several spots along my morning walk were alive with bird calls, there were lots of spider webs, and great hazy light through the thick humidity for photos.  As usual lots of webs, but few spiders (I think the birds get the spiders for breakfast.) and I may’ve caught a glimpse of a Baltimore Oriole.  I’m going to put my chair near where I saw it tomorrow and wait to see if it reappears.  It could’ve been my picture of the day.  I’d settled for an unusual fungal growth. I looked closer, and there was a large whitish pink land snail munching on it.  Two unusuals in the same frame, a great photo op, so I fired away trying to catch its tentacles elongated.
    That satisfied me, I’d walked far enough, so I turned around and headed back to my nest enjoying the watery cypress marsh on either side of the trail as I listened to the sounds of anghingas, red shouldered hawks, woodpeckers, and lots of stuff I had no idea what it was. Wow, what a splendid place!  As I was about a mile from my nest, I looked up and a 250 lb. bear stepped out of the undergrowth about 25 feet away, stopped, and looked at me for a few seconds, and then ambled on its way into the brush on the other side of the trail.  Wow! I checked my photo review, and yep, I got the picture!  Even though I’ve shot thousands and thousands of photos, the truly spectacular things always catch me by surprise overwhelming me with amazement and I just gawk, then the impulse to take a picture, dummy, gets me moving!
    I guess many people when seeing a bear so close to them would’ve went for their “mace.”  Not me, I went for my camera. After a few seconds of dumbfounded amazement I fired away.  I felt no aggression from the bear.  The bear was there long enough for me to do a “selfie,” but I passed on it for real quality photos.  Later I thought of a video; when I’m comfortable with that maybe I will.  Most videos do not contain frames with a file size large enough to make a printed photo, which I will surely want for my wall.  Shooting, editing a video, and making it a finished product I’d be satisfied with, is another ballgame from conventional still photography that I’ve been doing with film and now digital since the 1972 , too.   Maybe someday I’ll come upon a situation or subject, which I have an abundance of still photos of and I’ll do a video.  I’ll have to practice first and I’ve got plenty of time, as I love life in the jungle and lots of other remote places, where few go or even know exist here in our country.  I did place the bear with photo software in another photo where the bear just seemed like it belonged and the scene was only a short distance from where I saw it.
    On the down slide and lovin’ it; see ya on the Boards, at HH for an ACB & to hear our local musicians, and the beach.
 
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy
more photos @ picasaweb.google.com/o.c.fotoguy2009
& facebook.com/OCfotoguy
PHOTOSAsYouWantThem.biz
articles @ Coconuttimes.com
 
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