Monday Morning Moment: Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge Sanibel Florida Captiva Florida Birdwatching Birding Hiking

Good morning. This picture was taken along Wildlife Drive at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, Florida, in March 2019.

Sanibel is really a unique place within Florida and the United States. In a different universe, developers covered the island in high rises, chain restaurants, and waterparks, all taking advantage of the unbelievable beaches and world-renowned shelling. But it isn’t. There are a few larger condo buildings and resorts, sure, but they’re low and spread out. By and large, the island remains gloriously unspoiled. There are no stoplights, almost all local stores and restaurants, and a vast amount of preserved nature. Ding Darling is part of this.

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Beach Walks and Slow TV

Beach Walk Vol. 1 – Sanibel Island, Florida, April 6th, 2021.

This is a mid-morning walk down the Sanibel beach, starting in the Middle Gulf Drive area.

I think I first heard of the idea of Slow TV at a party at the apartment of my friends Kyle McKernan and Michelle Kennedy in Princeton, New Jersey, probably in 2018 or 2019. So I should thank them for putting on one of those videos of the trains traveling through Norway.

Recently, I came across Night Walk, a supremely relaxing piece of overnight filler television that kept insomniac Canadians company for seven years in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It is exactly what the name would imply – a first-person style camera walking or driving through the late-night streets of 1986 Toronto. The same three episodes aired every night for years, and in reality, the whole thing was designed as some sort of complicated royalties scam. But 35 years later, it still holds up. You try staying awake watching this.

With the realization that I should get a camera to document this trip, I recently purchased a GoPro Hero8 Black. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the video quality, stability, and versatility so far. I shot this with the camera mounted on my chest using this chest harness.

I find these videos very relaxing, and I hope you do too. There’s more to come – hopefully without my hands bumping into the shot so much.

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