Never ceasing to be beautiful and amazingly alive are the summer storm clouds that make any day on the water interesting and sometimes precarious. Despite all the clouds and rain, I didn't see one lightning bolt until I was in my car heading toward Miami. Saturday's storms never came into the bay area and simply skirted around from the south and the west side. Running parallel with the large darkness above, I paddled some after leaving the roseates and putting away the large lens. While paddling, the sun light came in, brightening the mangroves with the angry clouds hovering above. It's irresistable to me, the contrasting mangrove reflections.
The next morning was just as beautiful but in a way that allowed me to photograph the white terns and juvy pelicans at the pilings. Even with the bit of rain I got while paddling (which was a relief from the heat), there was not much wind, an unusual thing when storms come through. This was another enjoyable summer morning on Choko bay when I know my time on the water is limited.
Lovely to me, mangroves will never get tiring or boring. They, like the fauna on the water, present unique photo challenges. But you really can't photograph mangroves well enough without those clouds. Clyde Butcher understands that better than anyone. I listened to him tell of how he would go out to the Ten Thousand Islands with a boat captain and would find that the captain paid no attention at all to the clouds. It was as if Butcher had opened the captain's eyes to the Everglades. Butcher watches clouds and can read their story and never knows what the ending will be until he gets to it. He simply watches and studies, and knows that the clouds are as much a part of the mystery of the Everglades as the mangrove roots that walk on the water. He knows that those clouds are formed by the very same water and trees he photographs. He understands the necessity of those clouds and better than most, can capture what looks like a common Everglades scene and turn it into something spectacular and unique, in black and white.
Maybe color is not a bad alternative, maybe there is a way to photograph these scenes and present them in a way that makes even the most remote character pay attention. I doubt that my little photos will fascinate very many beyond myself and the few who basically feel the same way I do about the Everglades, but nevertheless, I continue to capture them, over and over and over again.