June 30th, 2014
Every year the Orange Audubon Society conducts the Kit & Sidney Chertok Florida Native Nature Photography Contest. The contest is named for the Chertoks who moved to Orlando in 1985. Sidney Chertok had numerous skills and interests during his life, being an electrical engineer, patent holder, director of information services and also advertising and promotion for Sprague Electric Company. He was also a reporter and photographer, with a particular interest in nature subjects. Mr. Chertok edited a photo-filled calendar for 34 years featuring images solicited by competition. Kit Chertok, an Orange Audubon board member in the 1990’s, was instrumental in establishing this photo contest in her husband’s memory to encourage nature photography in others. The contest mission statement reads: "To promote interest and concern for preserving the native fauna and flora of Florida, and to encourage nature photography and enjoyment and appreciation of our natural wonders.” Participants in the contest include Audubon members and others interested in nature photography, with separate categories for youth, novice & advanced photographers since 2011. Previously the categories changed from year to year, usually separated by subject matter. Orange Audubon serves the Orlando area and submitted photos are from throughout Florida.
I won my first Chertok award in 2007 for the image “Don't Mess With My Chicks” (see my March “Great Horned Owls” blog post for more about that image), which placed third in the Florida's Birds! category. I took two awards in 2009, with “Heading Out to Sea” of a loggerhead sea turtle hatching winning first place in the Beyond Birds! category and the Black Skimmers adult and chick image titled “Homer & Bart” (shown here in my 'selfie' with a big print on display at this year's awards ceremony) receiving an honorable mention in Florida's Avian Wonders!. In 2009 my extreme close-up of “Small Butterwort” won an honorable mention in the category Florida Invertebrates and/or Wildflowers. My “Pine Lily and Pines” from Tiger Bay State Forest earned and honorable mention in the 2012 Chertok contest Advanced class.
Gallery of Award Winning images by Paul Rebmann
This year (2014) I was asked to be one of the judges for the 26th annual contest. The other judges were Marina Scarr, photographer and Carolyn A. Cohen, watercolors and etchings artist. In 2013 Marina won both first and second place in the advanced category of this contest and in 2012 took third place. The winners were announced Thursday evening, June 19 at an awards dinner at Leu Gardens. After the contest committee had culled out the disqualified entries (images cannot contain humans, human structures or artifacts or non-natives), the three of us spent most of a Sunday viewing the over 350 entries and selecting those worthy of the top three awards in each category, plus honorable mentions. We were particularly impressed by a number of the entries in the youth category, several expressing some 'out-of-the-box' thinking that produced some successful results. The 2014 winners can be viewed, along with winners from previous years at Orange Audubon's website.
June 22, 2014
May 7th, 2014
After my April 8 tweet '7 years ago today' of a Carolina satyr butterfly -
view original tweet – Dr. Andrew Warren (@AndyBugGuy) of the University of Florida McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity contacted me asking if I had more photos of that butterfly since he wanted to see if any of them might be a newly described similar species. It turned out that I had taken a number of photos on several occasions and at different locations that I had identified as Carolina satyr. Two of these butterflies were actually the 'new' intricate satyr butterfly. The photo that I tweeted was a Carolina satyr. The butterfly had its wings spread and the photograph shows one of the differentiating characteristics between the two species. Intricate satyrs lack a darker area towards the base of the forewings that is shown in my photo of the Carolina Satyr titled "Brown Velvet". This photo will appear in an article about these butterflies in the June issue of the News of the Lepidoperists' Society.
May 7, 2014
May 7th, 2014
Since we are over a quarter of the way through 2014, I thought I would explain my "...years ago today" tweets. Since the beginning of 2014 almost every day I have posted on twitter.com/WildFlPhoto a photo that was taken on that date sometime in the previous fifteen years. In the first three months there were only six dates that I had not taken photos on.
In most cases I already had a photo posted on my Wild Florida Photo (wildflphoto.com) website, but there have been a number of times that I have had to pull a previously unused image from my archives to represent that date. An example of one of these is Sunset Pines.
Click here to view online print purchase options for this image.
This is an image that I made from the primitive campsites at Highlands Hammock State Park where I camped following a Florida Native Plant Society board meeting held at Archbold Biological Station.
In addition to showcasing the variety of my images, I have found this “…years ago today” exercise helpful in several aspects. For one thing, the daily deadline is forcing me to regularly review and process photos. This review has resulted in finding images that I had forgotten about and making me prepare others that I just never got around to doing anything with.
Some of other the images I have used on my website, or previously printed for sale at art shows and other events, I have now reprocessed with a more seasoned eye, resulting in what I feel are better images. After all, even Ansel Adams completely changed the look of some of his famous images, such as his iconic 1927 Monolith – The Face of Half Dome, which later in his career he printed in the high contrast style that most people think of when they hear his name.
With almost nine more months in this year, there are lots of photos, from 35mm film & slides, digital snapshot and three different digital SLRs, with even a few iPhone images to present to you. If you are not already doing so, follow me on twitter.com @WildFlPhoto to see each day's photo.
Apr. 8, 2014
May 7th, 2014
In 2007 my image of a Great Horned Owl titled "Don't Mess With My Chicks" won 3rd Place in the Florida Birds! category of the Orange Audubon (Orlando Florida) Kit & Sidney Chertok Nature Photography Contest. This is the story about how I made this photograph.
It was early March when I heard about a local bird rescue. My friend David Hartgrove, an expert birder and active leader in the local Audubon Society had been notified about a great horned owlet that had fallen out of a tree before it was ready to fledge. Having access to a cherry-picker from the local power company, he placed the owlet back in the tree with its siblings. Surprisingly, the owl parents had selected as a nest tree a tall longleaf pine tree in a vacant lot near the intersection of two main roads near the center of town. To top it off, it was now bike week, an event that brings several hundred thousand motorcycle enthusiasts to the area.
I had only seen a great horned owl once. That was in Hillsborough River State Park when my wife and I were heading back to the car as dusk was approaching. That owl was perched on a branch ahead of us along the trail and we stopped to admire it as long as we could as the mosquitoes were just coming out for their evening feeding and we were on the menu. Since I had not photographed one of these majestic birds I now had to take advantage of this opportunity.
After work I went to the location and sure enough, there were owls in the tree. At first I only saw one of the adults, but I eventually spotted three young owls and the other adult. With the rumble of Harleys passing nearby I was able to get some photos of both adults and owlets in the late afternoon light. I returned the next morning for some more shots.
The image of the adult owl appearing to be staring right at me stood out from the rest and gave me the impression that if it could it would say "Don't Mess With My Chicks".
Click here to view online print purchase options for this image
For information about Great Horned Owls and more photos visit my Wild Florida Photo website.
Mar. 6, 2014
May 7th, 2014
After communicating only virtually up until then I finally met Florida children's book author Christopher Tozier in person when we both attended the fifth annual Florida Scrub Jay Festival at Lyonia Environmental Center & Preserve. Christopher Tozier is the author of Olivia Brophie and the Pearl of Tagelus, the award-winning, middle-grade fantasy series set in the wilds of central Florida and published by Pineapple Press. He was selected as a 2011 State of Florida Artist Fellowship and he has followed up with another book, Olivia Brophie and the Sky Island. Christopher also blogs regularly, in which he often mentions interesting items regarding Florida nature, especially of the scrub habitat. I was interviewed by Christopher for his blog, which can be read at www.christophertozier.com/2014/02/an-interview-with-award-winning-florida.html to learn a little more about me.
Christopher Tozier and his books at the Scrub Jay Festival
Feb. 20, 2014