Stormy sky over the GulfStormy sky over the Gulf

Five years ago today I headed to the north beach of Fort De Soto County Park despite knowing that there were looming storms off of the coast hanging just off shore over the Gulf of Mexico and  I am glad that I did because the light that day on the beach was exquisite.

Great Egret in front of a stormy skyGreat Egret in front of a stormy sky

I love having clouds behind my subject when the background is sky, the clouds add texture and visual interest that a plain blue sky wouldn’t. I was fortunate to have wonderful light coming from the east with those stormy skies to the west when I photographed this Great Egret resting on an old stump that had washed up near the shore.

White Morph Reddish Egret before the stormWhite Morph Reddish Egret before the storm

Another wading bird; the white morph Reddish Egret, was busy foraging in a tidal pool ahead of the incoming storm. The light is not nearly as dramatic in this image as it was for the Great Egret above but I still enjoyed how it lit up the Reddish Egret.

American OystercatchersAmerican Oystercatchers

American Oystercatchers provided some crazy action by chasing each other all over the beach, at one point while I was kneeling in the sand trying to capture the action one of the Oystercatchers nearly hit me because it wasn’t paying the least bit of attention to me. I photographed it as it came close to me but unfortunately is was TOO close and my lens couldn’t focus on it. The American Oystercatchers settled down nearby in the shade of some large trees and I was able to photograph this pair.

I learned that day that regardless of what the weather radar might indicate that it might be worth the drive to capture the dramatic light ahead of a storm. You just never know.