Saturday, December 7, 2013

Low Tide on Picnic Key

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I spent a few days in the Ten Thousand Islands, on Picnic Key to be exact. Picnic Key was the first campsite I stayed at in the Everglades National Park almost ten years ago. Since that time, I have visited the island several times and have witnessed its beach change over the years. The most significant change came from hurricane Wilma in 2005. The storm surge decimated the windward side of the islands, including Picnic. The white sandy beach was pushed further into the thick mangroves leaving several trees with only a trunk sticking out of the low tide sand. This made photographing the island very interesting and here is one shot from almost five years ago.

 This latest trip to the island would be quite different from all others as we stayed there for 3 nights. I have based camped two nights on several camp locations in the park, but this is the longest stay in one spot for me. The northeast winds were relentless, making it even easier for me to stay on ground and explore the beach, which is exactly what I wanted to do anyway. I brought three lenses (wide angle, telephoto and macro), two cameras, a tripod and various odds and ends including several Cokin filters. I've been wanting to take such a trip forever and looked forward to spending quality time on the island. I dabbled one morning with my macro lens. One intriguing scene was the water stream designs in the sand. I set the camera on the tripod, turned it vertical and pointed the lens down. Here is one of those images. By the way, macro photography is, in my opinion, the most difficult to master (compared to wildlife and landscape) and it intimidates me to no end. More on that later.
Where I wanted to spend most of my photographing was on the beach at sunrise and sunset, with my tripod set up. I wanted to practice shooting with filters. The challenge would be to find a scene with some appealing foreground. Fortunately, low tide on Picnic Key occurred near both sunrise and sunset every day, providing possible foreground subjects. On the other hand, low tide can look quite messy and now, the tree debris on the beach is not as prominent as it was five years ago. I hoped to find some scenes with a tree or two, or perhaps some tidal pools that would reflect the colorful evening sky.
All in all, I was pleased with the results. The low tide scene gave the images an "other-worldly look to them, sometimes appearing very stark.  And the clouds did not disappoint. Spending quality time on a beach in the Everglades, doesn't get much better than that. Enjoy these sunrise and sunset images.


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