Mark Bennett now calls Ponte Vedra home and has made a name for himself by posting his local nature photography on various community public Facebook groups. His love for photography began in high school and it has since blossomed into a creative avenue that he enjoys sharing with his fellow residents. The beauty of all the various animals he captures is what he enjoys most, and his goal is to share that beauty with the rest of the community.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
My son went to college here at Flagler and works now at TPC Sawgrass. We were living in Minnesota and came down when our first grandchild was to be born.
We had already been coming here for years with him being at Flagler and we just loved everything about the area and what it has to offer. It’s all about the atmosphere.
Where did your passion for photography come from?
I’ve been doing it since my teenage days. It really got started in high school, as a friend and I did a lot of camping trips and that’s where the fascination with nature began.
Times have really changed over the years. Back then, we’d go through 25 rolls of film and know if you got one good shot in the whole bunch. The move to digital has really changed that.
What are some of your favorite things to shoot?
I take mostly nature shots, and the majority of them are taken from my back porch at my house. That’s the beauty of living in a place like Florida.
Being in Florida, I get a lot of opportunities to shoot birds of all kinds, but wolves and bears are definitely my favorites.
For years, I’ve been going to Yellowstone with a group of fellow photographers, and we try capture all the nature around us.
However, I have really gained a fascination with birds. We see a lot of wading birds, such as egrets and cranes. Birds in flight, such as eagles or ospreys are also very fascinating.
I actually even got some shots of two birds fighting the other day, which is very rare.
Is there a better time than others to take photos?
Morning is the best time. It’s where the lighting is at it’s best. Of course, on a cloudy day, it’s good all day.
In the spring there is a migration that happens with the birds, so you see different birds at different times.
So much of it comes down to when and where you are shooting.
Where can people find your photos?
I post some of my photos on Facebook as part of community public groups.
People really like to be reminded that there are all these beautiful things out there and all around them.
I’ve had people even ask me to do family portraits and weddings, which I can do.
What do you enjoy most about living in the North Florida area?
Well, my favorite subject of all is my granddaughter and I probably take the most photos of her.
I also enjoy playing golf, and there’s not a much better place to do that.
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