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February in Florida

Larry Mingledorff
Larry Mingledorff

Driving along A1A North bound and the Flagler Beach Pier comes into view—it is hard not to slow my speed and stare as every day and season creates a unique setting. Today has clear blue skies but slightly colder than normal. I notice a large number of sea gulls approaching the Pier and then dropping below my sight line. As I draw closer I notice the sea gulls seem to be gathering on the beach at the base of the Pier. First thought, Alfred Hitchock’s movie “The Birds”. Second thought, do I have my camera. Today I did not break a golden rule of photography---always take your camera with you. I quickly found a parking space about 30 yards from the Pier. With camera in hand I walked onto the beach. The sea gulls continued to gather and huddle on the beach all facing the wind---motionless once landed. I wondered if they were huddling together to seek refuge from the colder air. I began to walk slowly toward the gathering daring not to disturb this interesting sea gull party. Despite the cold air, sand, and water I began to crawl along the damp sand to shorten the distance without destroying a great photo opportunity. I can only imagine what I looked like from a passerby---oh well, get the shot. I decided to sit on the sand and not risk losing the shot. I began to take some wide angle shots to include the Pier--then using a telephoto lens to show the density of the birds. Great fun, another great photo opportunity in Flagler Beach. Since my pants were wet, cold and sandy I decided to sit on the beach and learn what birds do at a gathering---not much by the way. And then the really fun part. Something or someone spooked the birds and in mass they began to fly towards me. Camera in hand, set on high speed generated some great and unusual pictures. Another day in photographer’s paradise.