• Donovan Evans-Foto Dono

Night Foto Safari 2021

Updated: Feb 16

I recently took a Night Foto Safari trip to the Florida Everglades National Park with a fellow photographer, Greg Adams, from Winter Haven. I usually tackle the west side of the Everglades around Big Cypress Swamp. However, he had a few places he staked out on the east side, in the park itself.

It was nearly a five-hour drive out there, starting at 1 pm and arriving at 6 pm. We drove around for another 6 hours, going from location to location before we headed home. I got back around 5 am and had to be at work by 10 am.


Stars and stars and a palm tree
Star Gazing in the Florida Everglades.

I took this photo on Mahogany Circle, a small trail in the park. Fortunately, it had a boardwalk, and we had a pleasant time walking under the stars. If you look to the upper left from the lone palm tree, you can see the Andromeda Galaxy.

Settings: Stitched two photos, both at 30 seconds f/2.8, and ISO 3200I took the photo


An abandoned gas station painted with light and star trails.
The Last Stop

Greg pointed out an abandoned gas station outside the park's marina. Greg was looking to do some light painting and some star trails. I ended up just recording him walking around with different lights and captured some star trails of my own. The smell from the dumpster was horrible, and carpenter ants covered the ground.

Settings: The Star Trails were created with Live Comp of 120 images at 10 seconds f/2.8 and ISO 1600. Additional exposures with the various colors were made with Live Comp of 6 photos at 10 seconds f/2.8 and ISO 1600. Composite created in Photoshop.



On May 11, 1996, the ValuJet Airlines flight 592 crashed into the Everglades about 10 minutes after takeoff. All 110 people on board died. I was 27 at the time living in Florida, a few hours away from the crash site. I remember watching the news as the tragedy unfolded. (sigh).


However, I never knew that on the third anniversary of the accident, a memorial w.as dedicated to the victims on Highway 41, about 12 west of Krome Ave in Miami-Dade County. It is located just off the L-67 / L-67 C canal, even though I had passed by its location many times over the last two decades.


Although a bit weather-worn, it is a quiet and solemn place. I was taken aback by the experience of seeing the memorial against a sky full of stars. At the same time, Greg worked on his photo assignment, light painting with blue light; I thought about how to photograph it. I didn't want only to document the memorial.


The monument points to the crash site 12 miles NNE. I thought it would be a fitting tribute to photograph the stars spinning and trail overhead. Greg's blue light also gave the monument a ghostly glow that added to the exposure. Toward the end, two planes flew overhead created the "X" in the photo. I thought about removing them, but Greg said it was appropriate considering the setting.


I hope I did it justice.


Settings - Live Comp of 80 images at 15 seconds f/5, and ISO 1600, I took the photo


Star Trails and an Oil Well
Going Extinct

Greg and stopped off at the Oli Field Park off Highway 29. The park here was the last stop of the night. We finished around 3 am, and I was getting a bit loopy from the lack of sleep. Greg was a green light to paint the Oil Well, and I used an amber light to paint the foreground.


Settings: The Star Trails were created with Live Comp of 120 images at 10 seconds f/2.8 and ISO 1600. I shot a few single shots at 10 seconds and 20 seconds for the various lighting effects. I created the composite in Photoshop.



The photo was taken at the marina in the park. It was the first time I visited the Florida Everglades National Pak since I was a child. It was worth the long drive, the mosquitos, and a stumble or two in the dark.


I look forward to my next NIghtly Foto Safari.


Settings: The Star Trails were created with Live Comp of 120 images at 10 seconds f/2.8 and ISO 1600


Gear - Olympus O-MD E-M1 II and 12-40mm M. Zuiko PRO f/2.8


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