My Dot on the Map: Everglades

I think I have fallen in love, again. I have written about my love of the Michigan countryside and the Upper Peninsula; I’ve also written that I’m having a hard time adjusting to the Florida countryside. It seems scrubby and unkempt. Then I remember that rural Michigan has fallen trees and limbs and leaves in the woods that I find beautiful – it touches my soul. Don’t try to find the logic in all this because the logic is emotional and our emotions have a different logic – one we don’t analyze very often.

We live about a half mile off US 41, the Tamiami Trail, that turns east in Naples to go through the Everglades to Miami. It is a two lane highway through the Everglades with very little civilization along it except for a good number of airboat ride companies. This is the Everglades National Park so it is protected lands. Twice in the past two weeks we went exploring. My goal was to capture the personality of the Everglades because the Everglades define southern Florida. There are major urban areas along the west and east coasts but they were carved out of the Everglades by draining the land, dredging drainage ditches, creating areas that could be built on. But some very wise people stepped in to protect the Everglades before it was destroyed by development.

Due to the global significance of Everglades National Park, it has been designated a Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance. (Source: Everglades National Park website)

The Everglades is a 500 mile wide shallow river slowly flowing to the ocean. It coversΒ almost 11,000 square miles covered with ponds, sloughs, sawgrass marshes, hardwood hammocks, and forested uplands. I visited some attractions on the edge of the Everglades, close to where I live, where I read about it and walked through small parts of it. It wasn’t until we drove in it, until I tried to capture its personality with my camera that I fell in love with the Everglades. This ecosystem is unique to southern Florida – it is southern Florida.

This just doesn’t do justice to the wide variety of images that make up the personality of the Everglades but that just means that I’ll have to spend more time there with my camera and write more posts.

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27 Comments »

    • Thanks, Naomi. I appreciate your comment that I captured the Everglades. It is so hard given the diversity and some of it just doesn’t photograph well, like the thick mangroves.

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  1. I don’t doubt you’ll share many more shots, but these are superb. And I’m happy to hear you’ve fallen in love. Wetland ecosystems are some of my favorites, though I admit it took me a short while to fall in love with the northern Michigan swamps…

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    • You understand completely, Heather. I love looking at Michigan swamps – I think because I drive by them almost every day I am north and I know what weather conditions make them interesting, and what to look for. The only bad thing about both Michigan and Florida swamps are the mosquitoes.

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  2. Have never been to Florida or had much desire to Pat but … you show a wonderful side of it with your pictures ! Love the hunched over blue heron πŸ™‚

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    • The wading birds are abundant and so much fun to photograph. They make me feel like such an accomplished wildlife photographer, but how can you not be good with a bird so big. I have trouble with the small birds – I think it is a lack of patience. πŸ™‚

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    • Were it were was very natural – the only thing they did was keep the side of the one-lane dirt road mowed – otherwise the plant life would very quickly take over the road. πŸ™‚ It was so exciting to see the birds along the way.

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  3. After months of having to be away from the blogging and the internet, it feels so good to finally have time to begin catching up with some of my favorite folks Pat. And, from just starting to see your latest posts I am thrilled to be back and to see all you’ve been up to. Like some of the others I just read from earlier in the year, your images are truly fabulous and, from knowing the Everglades well, I can say that you’ve done an amazing job of doing what you hoped to, of capturing and sharing the personality of the place. The deep colors and textures in the landscape photos do a great job of conveying the vast richness of the land, and those lovely closeups of the critters you’ve captured show some of the amazing diversity in Nature that’s present there. GREAT GREAT JOB and a wonderful visual experience. Now, thanks to you, I can’t wait to get back πŸ™‚

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    • Wow, thanks Rick. You bring tears of joy to my eyes. Going into the Everglades was a life-changing event and I am eager to go back. And to think it is only an hour’s drive to get into the heart of the park. I am finding that visiting the same places repeatedly, like the Botanical Gardens, the Gulf beach, and now the Everglades is increasing my photography skills. I can work on how to get the image I could see in my mind but didn’t turn up on my computer. πŸ™‚ I am happy with your feedback of the landscapes. I was afraid the colors looked overprocessed but I also knew there was great diversity of grass in what could appear as a monotonous grassland prairie. I really appreciate your taking the time to comment on my photos, Rick. You are increasing the tremendous joy I am getting with my photography. I am even getting up the courage to get some of my images printed – and I plan on purchasing a good printer when I return to Michigan.

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    • The everglades is like a poem. Made up of individual images but not the Everglades until the right images are put together in the right order. This is a beginning that will needs lots of editing. I think you are right – my photography is my poetry.

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