The summer of 2012 was a prolific shooting season in my continuation of the Florida 67 Series, but with a focus on panoramic images and water systems. I covered alot of ground, traveling a cumulative 30 days just photographing the Florida coasts, rivers, and wilderness. The rest of my time I’ve spent developing and scanning nearly 80 rolls of 120 film, most of which spun through my recently acquired Horseman SW612, which produces nice 6x12cm negatives (and slides).
For the past year, I’ve meant to paddle Fisheating Creek on several occasions, but it was always out of the way in whatever direction I was heading, or sometimes I was too exhausted or sunburnt at the end of a trip. The cool, spring fed river is known as a premiere paddle adventure to nature enthusiasts and a select group of elite photographers, but not well known to the general public.
Kelly Park, located in Orange County, Apopka, Florida, is one of the Orlando area’s (maybe not-so) hidden treasures. Late last year, I kayaked Rock Springs Run from Wekiva River State Park, but not all the way to the beggining of the river at the actual Rock Springs (located within Kelly Park). Crystal clear, 68 degree year round water was wonderful to swim in during the summer heat.
After a long string of art festivals in late February 2012, I decided to take a break and scout several areas in the Ocala National Forest, carrying a water bottle, my Mamiy 7ii, and a couple rolls of film. One of my stops was at Silver Glen, located in Marion County, which has one of my favorite springs to stop for a relaxing swim. Juniper Springs has always been my favorite place in Ocala to photograph and kayak, with its majestic river run, historical sites, and twisting boardwalks. Alexander has a less interactive feel, but is perhaps easier to sit in the sun and relax.
My new years resolution was to become more prolific this year and photographic in-between art festivals. Last year, I spend too much time printing and matting and not enough time shooting. When I photograph something new and create a print, I can display the first edition immediately watch reactions from judges and the general public alike, which has been a big help progressing as an artist and finding my audience.
The Florida Keys were the first of my adventures.
Running all over the state this summer and fall, I sometimes forget to appreciate the hidden treasures of my local Orlando area. After becoming exhausted from traveling all over the state, I moved Rocks Springs Run up my list of places to shoot.
While it is true that many of the pristine open areas are gone, the rivers and swamps make you think your traveling through Florida 200 years ago, or maybe a Tarzan movie 60 years ago. The run was nothing but impressive, and a joy to paddle.
After visiting Sanibel Island in Captiva and Lover’s Key in Estero, Florida, I drove down the Tamiami trail for a day trip to visit the Everglades, namely the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve and the Big Cypress National Preserve. My goal here was scope out the area for a kayak trip I’m planning in January, but I did take a few nice photographs during a passing thunderstorm. The drive itself was beautiful and isolated. While the best view of the parks are in the swamp walks, the mosquitos made that impossible for this trip.
During the summer of 2011, my main focus was on the rivers and waterways of Central Florida. With nearly all of Florida covered in thunderstorms during mid August, I darted out the house for some storm chasing along the beaches of southwest Florida. While rivers require a soft, subtle morning light, black and white beach photos look best during dramatic, ominous thunderstorms. Some old school photographers wait for the perfect shot in one location for days; instead, I choose to follow the perfect light across many locations, tracking weather systems from my mobile devices. During August 2011, traveling down southwest had perfect timing.
For the Summer of 2011, I’ve been hard at work to develop my new ‘Florida 67’ series, canoeing and exploring Florida’s most unique waterways and ecosystems. At the end of June 2011, I spent 4 days in the Florida Panhandle, starting at Dead Lakes, then St. Joseph Peninsula, the Gulf Island National Seashore, and finally a quick stop at Torreya State Park on my way back to Orlando. While this started as a scouting trip for a later return, I ended up chasing thunderstorms instead to capture a more dramatic picture of Florida’s summers.
Florida once contained nearly 300,000 acres of vast prairie ecosystems, which were dug in the early 20th century to control flooding, along with planting of non-native grasses, plants, and trees that wreaked havoc on these lands. Once we began to build and pave over these systems, the prairie land is lost forever.