There is a gem of a place located off Winter Lake Road in Lakeland Florida that I had the pleasure to visiting recently. If you enjoy birding, the outdoors and Florida nature than this is the place for you. Named after a cattle ranch that once occupied the property. The Polk County Environmental Lands program acquired the property and completed several restoration projects in 2005 and 2006 to restore the land back to its historical hydrologic function. The result is an oasis of wildlife. We spent a day wandering through the oak hammock, freshwater marsh, hardwood swamp and along the shore of Lake Hancock, and still didn’t walk all of the trails. Osprey, Bald Eagle, wading birds, water fowl, and alligators were in abundance.
There is no entrance fee at the park. So, pack a lunch and don’t forget your sunscreen and camera because the opportunities to capture great photos are endless. Here are just a few that we got during our little adventure.
I can’t wait for spring. We plan on going back throughout the year to experience the changes in the flora and fauna that the different seasons bring.
There are many stages to a work of art. Many of mine begin with a walk in the woods. My sweetie and I spend countless hours hunting with our cameras. Sometimes what we capture goes into the vast collection of all that we have seen, sometimes I use them drawing practice and just do quick sketches that never see the light of day, sometimes the make it into a larger work of art as an element in the background. Then every now and again I see a photo and say I must paint that!
Here is one of those instances. We caught this shot of an osprey in flight with her meal. Everything about it is so powerful I knew it would be my next painting.
Normally I would do a pencil drawing around 8×10 or 9×12. If I were feeling really industrious maybe 11×14. Then possibly complete a painting in watercolor. From the moment I saw this I thought it needs to be done in oils, and larger than my normal size. So I busted out the big Bristol and got to setting up what will hopefully be an 18×24 inch oil painting when I am done.
I start by getting a very light sketch with blue pencil just to get my proportions and landmarks correct.
Once I get that established I start to lay in the shadows and details.
I don’t know how long it will take me to get the drawing completed. Tonight my drawing was halted by an orange and stripey distraction.
Oh well maybe I will get some more completed tomorrow night.