Everglades, Florida, USA by Michael Thomas

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I visited the Everglades National Park and south Florida primarily for bird photography. During my visit, I spent some time at the Anhinga Trail. Its primary attraction for visitors is a chance to see many alligators at a close but safe distance. if you have never been near an alligator, its bellow is positively Jurassic. Part of the “trail” is a paved walkway, but much of it is an elevated boardwalk over a freshwater sawgrass marsh. After an afternoon visit to investigate its possibilities, I returned for sunrise. I was very cautious since I heard that the gators sometimes lazed about on or near the trail when visitors departed. Thankfully that didn’t occur on this morning. After I finished my sunrise images, I walked out on the boardwalk and spied a cluster of plants poking through the surface of the marsh in the early morning sun.

I needed my telephoto zoom to get a closeup of the plants. Not having my tripod because of visitor traffic on the narrow boardwalk, I raised the ISO to allow a 2x focal length shutter speed. Thankfully that and the incredible stillness of the water reveal several dragonflies and their reflections in the water. Not being a botanist, I checked with my friend Mr. Google, who suggested that these plants are pickerelweed, a coastal wetlands native.

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