Kaz Takahashi Photo Exhibition Birds of Florida's Wetlands

I came to the U.S. after working for a newspaper; I was a sports photographer then. I was not particularly fond of animals, but a visit to Yellowstone National Park made me appreciate wildlife. Until then, I had been mentally and physically exhausted from covering golf, baseball and other sports events with many crowds. During this time, I encountered the animals living in the Yellowstone wilderness. I was amazed to see the beautiful nature and the Milky Way flowing overhead, which I had only seen on postcards; I said to myself, "There is such an America!” This encounter with the great outdoors made a trip to national parks across the U.S., which had been only a random thought until then, a reality. My photographic subject changed from sports to nature.

In the beginning, I chased bears, wolves and other large animals, but one day I met a photographer who only photographed birds in flight. I thought how beautiful and majestic the birds flying in the sky were! Seeing his work inspired me to devote myself to photographing birds.

When I first moved to Florida, I only knew of Everglades National Park. Easy to access with well-maintained park campgrounds, the many bird species that inhabit the wetlands were within easy reach. However, I was unable to photograph birds well at the beginning because my knowledge of bird names and ecology was limited. The park was full of birdwatchers and photographers looking for birds, befriending them was easy. They were mostly amateur photographers, and the most gratifying thing for many photographers is being praised for their photos. Whenever I spotted a photographer in the park, I immediately approached him and asked him to show me the photos he had just taken from the camera monitor. I praised each and every photographer. They became my friends and gave me all kinds of information. The most helpful thing I learned was that Florida has many wetlands besides the Everglades, and the types of birds vary from wetland to wetland. The birdwatchers were also very friendly. As soon as they became acquainted with me, they would approach me and say, "There is a bird nesting there right now.” The many park rangers working in the park are very familiar with the animals and birds that inhabit the park and also carefully showed me where to find them, using a map at the visitor center. These were my birding teachers.

If you like birds, you should definitely visit this Florida wetland at least once, but I recommend avoiding the summer. Given the high temperatures and humidity, mosquito attacks await. The most comfortable season is the dry season from November to May, and the wetlands are at their most colorful in the spring, especially during the breeding season. Birds returning to their colonies after a hot summer will find partners, love them, raise their young and leave their nests; everyone who can see this natural process from an arm's length away will become a bird lover.

I hope that bird lovers and non-bird lovers alike will enjoy the lovely and lively birds that I encountered and pursued so enthusiastically in Florida.

Kaz Takahashi

Kaz Takahashi Profile

Born, 1948 in Nagashima in Kagoshima, Japan.
I learned photography while serving for four years with Japanese Army.
Worked eight years for a Japanese newspaper.
I arrived in United States in 1983 to work as a freelance photographer.
Covered mostly professional sports events.
In 1997, I began photographing U.S. National Parks that took 7 years . I have visited all 58 national parks (Currently 63 locations) and many Wildlife Sanctuaries.
I moved back to where this all started for me, my Japan, in December 2022.
Many photo exhibitions held both in Japan and the US.

Main publications

  • America's Nature Heritage (2005, Gakken)
  • Wildlife of North America (2011, Michitani)
  • National parks and Wildlife in North America (2011, Michitani)
  • A Photo fool shooting pictures in America (2024, Gentosha Renaissance)