Think Tank Photo

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Focus on the Everglades Sunrise Wrap Up with Photo Workshops Miami

Nikon Ambassador Ron Magill leads the sunrise expedition in the Everglades. 
By Pamela Wentworth
pwent84@gmail.com
Focus on the Everglades, presented by Photo Workshops Miami was an incredible experience from beginning to end. 

We started our day - long before dawn –at the Coral Gables Museum where we met organizer Al Diaz, a Miami Herald photojournalist and one of our guides, Everglades Historian Cesar Alejandro Becerra on Saturday, January 30th. We boarded a comfortable van for the first leg of our adventure. Enjoying pasteles, breakfast sandwiches and fruit as we traveled west, we listened to Cesar recount the challenges and successes of the early pioneers as they constructed the “Tampa to Miami” or Tamiami Trail across the Everglades.  As we moved along the Trail, we marveled at the advances that have been made in the last one hundred years.
Sunrise in the Everglades by Enrique Monasterio


Arriving at the Miccosukee Village, we met our Everglades host and guide, Houston Cypress.  The morning chill and dampness had us all shivering as we loaded our gear aboard a large airboat, which would be our base for the next several hours. Earplugs in place, we pulled away from the dock in the darkness.  Our photography guide, Nikon Ambassador and Zoo Miami Communications Director Ron Magill, had assured us that we would be rewarded for the early hour by being in the right place at the right time to watch the sun come up. No one could have predicted the breath-taking beauty we witnessed.  First the grey then the red then a whole rainbow of colors played out across the water, grass and cypress trees where we sat. As Ron gave us tips and pointers, shutters clicked.  I will admit that at one point I just sat and drank in the sight, totally mesmerized by the changing light and colors.  Along with my photographs, I will carry that sunrise in my mind’s eye for a very long time.
Enrique Monasterio with Cesar Alejandro Becerra & Houston Cypress
When the light was fully up, we traveled through the area in the airboat photographing birds and early morning beauty until we arrived at our next destination – a hammock island called Little Pot.  
Our guide Houston Cypress photographed by Max Freund
We spent some time there exploring, shooting pictures, and listening to Houston tell about his life as part of the Otter Clan.  Another treat was in store as Al had arranged for us to share a wonderful lunch prepared by Houston’s mother.  Delicious!
Re-boarding the airboat, we started back, stopping to observe lilies and lily pads and experimenting with the light as Ron shared tips from his experiences as a wildlife photographer. His enthusiasm and knowledge were infectious. Participants were drawn into trying new techniques that resulted in stunning captures…the wows and ohhh’s as we looked at the results of our work encouraged more experimentation.
Ron Magill photographs flora as he leans over the side of the airboat. Al Diaz Photo.

We returned to the Coral Gables Museum and were greeted by Al’s wife, Cindy Seip who arranged coffee, tea and goodies for us to enjoy.  We toured the museum’s Tamiami Trail exhibit, then moved into the conference room to enjoy a presentation by Ron Magill.  To say that the next hour and a half sped by would be an understatement.  Listening to Ron share his expertise and photos was both delightful and inspiring.  Ron’s attitude is that we can all do what he does so he shares freely and unselfconsciously.  His love for his subject comes through in every shot. He wove stories into the sequences and showed how to improve pictures both with framing and with different settings and techniques. 
The day wrapped up with gifts and prizes and a visit to the Leica Store on Miracle Mile.  We came away knowing that because we had spent this day together, we would all be better photographers.

Marc Serota, at left, and the Polaroid University video crew document the day.



Main photo above, back left to right, is Enrique Monasterio, Pamela Wentworth, Frederic Friedmann, 
Ron Magill, William Freund, Max Freund and Ruth Blenker. Front left to right are, Al Diaz and Elkin Pabon.
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