Since the start of my project I have learned so much, and feel like I have grown as a photographer. Before this project started, I felt I had a fairly solid idea on the characteristics, behaviors, and habits of the Wildlife I desired to photograph for my project. I definitely was not as knowledgeable as I had thought I was before the project. It was quite humbling for the first few weeks when I had all these very big ideas to photograph these very specific species that sort of represent Florida as a whole, and that did not happen. I was a bit disappointed at first, I had all these big plans to photograph bobwhite quail, fox squirrels, and diamondback rattlesnakes. I should have known better, these are species that are extremely hard to find, and even harder to photograph.

Through these struggles there has been learning, and I think not photographing my target species has actually taught me to focus on some of the wildlife that is just as important, but often overlooked

Some of these species that seem to be ignored by the vast majority of people, but I have found them to be quite interesting are the Pied-Billed Grebe, the Palm Warbler, and the Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake. Throughout my time as a wildlife photographer, I had never photographed Pied-Billed Grebes until this project. They are very common In Florida which is why they are often overlooked.

While at a local retention pond trying to photograph Wood Ducks, I noticed how habitual these Grebes were, often taking the same route around the pond morning after morning and how they would make the perfect subject to try and get some photographs of. So for the next few mornings, instead of setting up for the Wood Ducks, I set up for the grebes and was successful!

Wood Duck
OM-D E-M1 Mark III | M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS
1/50s | F6.3 | ISO 2000

The stories behind the Pygmy Rattlesnake and Palm Warbler are not as interesting or eventful as the Pied-Billed Grebe, but they still hold a lesson for me. Both of these subjects were species I had just happened to come across while out searching for wildlife. I had no anticipation of photographing these two species, I did not think they were nearly as interesting as some of the other potential subjects around.

To my surprise, they were actually extremely interesting to watch and I think they show the beauty of Florida nature just as much as any of my target species. That has been the biggest lesson for me throughout the whole project. There is so much beauty to be found in the more overlooked things across the landscape. I think it all works out really perfect that I have had opportunities with these more overlooked species. The point of my project was to try and promote conservation and showing people the more unknown species of the landscape that are actually very common I feel can give a whole new appreciation of nature.

I think my project is going well so far. I am learning lots, and working very hard to get a diverse group of subjects that represent Florida as a whole. I really look forward to this next month of the project, and think there are a lot of interesting things to come!