Sunday, November 8, 2009

Back to the Big Cypress and the Florida Trail Assoc.

The past 2 weekends have been a pleasant diversion from the Everglades and Biscayne Bay, not that I was needing one. For a change, the Florida Trail Association (FTA) was the center of attention. During the halloween weekend, FTA's south Florida regional conference was held at Fisheating Creek. I was asked to give a little talk on the topic of, what else, photographing from a canoe. In addition to the talk, I spent a morning on the creek, one of the most beautiful in Florida.

It was a terribly hot weekend and it didn't help matters that some of our FTA friends came to the conference in their air conditioned travel trailers and vans. By Sunday morning, we were so ready to pack up the hot tent and get back home. We vowed to never car camp on Fisheating Creek again (car camping is an occasional necessary evil in my book). This creek is a gem that must be enjoyed with 2 or 3 days of paddling and remote camping. One of my best nights in Florida was spent on that creek a couple years ago, I still cannot get the sounds of the night out of my head. The beauty of the creek is not just in the water and the cypress trees that grow out of it, but in the nighttime symphony of animal sounds. Read about that adventure here:

This weekend, I was back in the Big Cypress, on the Florida Trail. I helped my FTA chapter that maintains a section of the trail to clear it for use. Several hardy FTA members, including myself, worked on the trail over the weekend, cutting, chopping and mowing the trail. We spent a pleasant and coolish night at the Panther campsite, where I had my Hennesy Hammock set up for sleeping. I hadn't been on the trail in years, and it felt good to be hiking again in the BC where the Florida panthers roam.

No significant photography came out of these weekends. Despite having much of my equipment with me at Fisheating Creek, I was only able to photograph the little time I had on the creek one morning. During the Big Cypress trail work weekend, I took my old point and shoot waterproof Pentax Optio. I thought it would be fun to go back to it, the little camera I once used constantly and with joy capturing photos of these places I love. I carried it in my pocket, my viewfinder-less camera and pulled it out to use on a whim.

I couldn't help but think that maybe I have lost my whimsy with photography since the SLR days of hauling around heavy gear. I still find delight in looking at some of my old P&S photos that were actually pretty good, so I know that Pentax can take decent photos. Maybe I need to inject some of that whimsy and abandonment back into my photos as I pursue a path of acceptance and standards. Maybe I am getting too critical of my photos and am trying to fit a mold. Or maybe I just haven't achieved that acceptable level of artistry and technical know-how. Or maybe I'm just thinking too much about it! Whatever it is, here are a few photos straight from the Pentax, very little postprocessing. I did clone out a bit of tree in one photo and cropped a few others.

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