Since my retirement, my passions are nature photography (especially bird photography), landscape photography, and travel photography.
I have traveled and photographed sites along the Lewis and Clark Trail, the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, and the Bozeman Trail. I have photographed Abraham Lincoln sites throughout Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. Most recently I have begun visiting and photographing Civil War battlefields and museums throughout the country
My bird and wildlife photography has taken me to sites throughout the state of Illinois and also to sites throughout the state of Florida.
I have participated in 50 Elderhostel / Road Scholar programs throughout the country and many of my photo galleries shows memories of those wonderful experiences.
I am a lucky man to have had a job that I loved teaching biology in high school for 33 years and now I love my travel and photography "retirement". Please enjoy my photo galleries.
Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island in Florida is a great place to photograph birds.There is a five-mile one-way road which winds though the park providing many opportunities to photograph the birds. The road is open from 7:00 to 5:00 daily (except for Friday when it is closed). While some say that redirecting water flow in recent years has caused a decrease in bird populations, it remains an excellent place to photograph birds.
On a recent trip to Louisiana to learn more about Cajun culture, I discovered Lake Martin just east of Lafayette, Louisana. Whether driving along the lake and photographing from my car or taking one of the boat tours of the lake, there were bird photography opportunities galore. I especially enjoyed watching the white Great egrets hunting for bright red crayfish....great photos!!
Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge is a well-kept secret in central Florida. Located in
DeLeon Springs, just north of Deland, Florida, it provides many bird photo opportunities. While you
cannot drive along the different cells which make up the facility, you can hike along the edge of different
sized wetlands areas. You can choose whether to take a one mile walk, a two-mile walk, or longer. Along the way you will see wading birds, shore birds, black vultures, and often osprey. You will also see gators and occasionally otters and armadillos.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge has become my favorite place to photograph birds in Florida. I like
to photograph from auto whenever possible. Merritt has a number of narrow roads which allow you to slowly drive along and photograph from your auto. Blackpoint Wildlife drive is a five mile one-way road that attracts most of the tourists (but still offers excellent opportunities. BioLab Road (three miles in length) and Peacock Pocket Road (seven miles) are less known, but excellent. There are other roads and hiking trails in the park as well. It is always good to check in the Visitor Center soon after arriving to get the latest word on which roads are open and which are temporarily closed.
Browse All Photos slide show
Two other sites I often visit are the Venice Rookery in Venice, Florida and the Blue Heron Water Reclamation Center in Titusville. In Venice there is a park with a small lake; in the center of the lake is a small island.
Great blue herons and anhingas use the shrubs and bushes on the island for nesting purposes. The island
is close enough to allow wonder photos of the nesting birds and bird photographers flock to the area.
Blue Heron Water Reclamation site is located near the junction of route 50 and Interstate 90 in Titusville.
It consists of six large settling ponds. You are welcome drive your car atop the outside berms that forms these ponds. When looking down into the ponds you can photograph from your car.
The Everglades offer opportunites for bird photography. One entrance to the park is the Shark River entrance off of Tamiami Trail (Route 41). This entrance offers a 15 mile round trip tram ride to an observation tower which gives a great overview of the Everglades. Along the journey the guides provide a great history of the Everglades and pause often when photographic opportunites present themselves.
The second entrance to the Everglades is near Florida City. Passing through the entrance puts you onto Flamingo Road which is a 37 miles road that winds through the park to the small community of Flamingo on Florida Bay. Along the trip are a number of pull offs where you can look for photographic opportunities. May favorite place to photograph in the Everglades is along Anhinga Trail at the Royal Palm Visitor Center. This half-mile path runs along a canal and the onto a boardwalk which takes you out among the Everglades denizens.
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm has 22 different specimens of Crocodilians in their collection. For bird photographers the primary attraction is the Rookery Walk. This region of the park provides a boardwalk which takes you over an alligator-infested wetlands. From March - June native birds come into the area to find a mate and build nests. Great egrets, snowy egrets, cattle egrets, tricolor herons, wood storks and occasionally spoonbills build their nests in trees and shrubbery along the walkway providing unbelievable access for photographers.
© Donald E. Chamberlain