It was February 28 of last year when I registered the domain photosfromflorida.net. I still haven’t figured out exactly what this blog is yet, and I know that I don’t write nearly enough during the school year, but I’m excited to move forward.
Here’s some of my favorite pictures from the past year with a few behind-the-scenes stories.
This was my second full summer living in Florida. I moved from Baltimore so I was familiar with heat and rain. This year was a big one, though. It seemed severe thunderstorms rolled though every night this summer. I kept waiting for the nice 5 p.m. rainstorms and the cooler evenings, but the crazy weather continued. This picture shows a storm coming onto Sanibel Island over the famous lighthouse. I like showing some of the wildness that still exists in southwest Florida.
By far the most popular post of the year talked about Barefoot Beach Preserve’s ranking as America’s second-best beach. This picture of sea oats on Barefoot Beach show many of the qualities for which it earned the title. The water is warm and aquamarine – Lake Okeechobee not withstanding. The preserve is home to dozens of species of birds, marine life, and gopher tortoises. As Dr. Beach – the ranker – notes, it is one of few unspoiled beaches in Southwest Florida. It was my pleasure to show it off.
This alligator really reminded me that we live in a state where the wildlife reigns. I saw him on a visit to the Six Mile Slough Preserve in Fort Myers. He plopped literally a foot from the boardwalk. One of the big things on nature hikes is the quietness, but this gator drew a crowd that certainly wasn’t silent. I’m reminded that these ancient creatures are the real alpha predators against an unarmed human – and they know it! While gator sightings aren’t rare, it is rare – hopefully – to be so close.
I was ecstatic to discover this shell tree near Tigertail Beach on Marco Island. The white sand and the warm blue-green water really topped off the experience. I’m left to wonder, was this a one-day project – a family attaching hundreds of shells while sitting down for a day at the beach. Or, was it an organic project with dozens of people who simply stumbled across the ongoing natural art project. I suppose it’s a mystery.
This is a recent photo of a flamingo that found its way to Bunche Beach this winter. I was one of dozens of photographers on the beach, but I feel very lucky to have gotten this shot of the rare pink bird in flight. The most fun though was checking out the photo frenzy this guy created.
This is among my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken. It shows the sun setting over Gator Lake at the Six Mile Slough. It also was awarded third place in the “altered” category of the slough photo contest (more on the contest later!). I’m very happy with the contrasting blue, green and oranges in the photo. It also shows a small amount of the many egrets and herons that flock to the slough to roost every night.
Thank you so much to the almost 2,000 people who have viewed photosfromflorida.net in our first year. Please continue to follow us here and on Facebook at facebook.com/photosfromflorida!