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.
Fisheating Creek starts in the southwestern portion of Highlands County, Florida, and after about 40-50 miles it flows into Lake Okeechobee in Glades County. Interestingly, Fisheating Creek is the last natural, free flowing tributary of the Okeechobee. Check out the history of the river; its story is very interesting, including the occupation by Native Americans, as well as a fight to acquire its surrounding lands from the Lykes brothers.
Finally, in August 2012, I made a special day trip and launched from the Fisheating Creek Outpost, which was rustic, but beautiful and well maintained. The scenery was nothing short of spectacular, with majestic cypress, oaks, cabbage palms, and wildlife. A thunderstorm was brewing overhead, providing a diffused lighting for most of the day. Rain always helps for landscape photography, as its adds richness to the tones of wood and foliage.
The river varied greatly in depth, which made setting up a tripod a challenge (see behind the scenes photos). This made it difficult for me to wade the river for very long, so I only exited the canoe on the most scenic portions. I used my paddle to test the depth level before walking event a few feet from a shallow area, as dropdowns in the sandy river bottom were common. Below, as I circled this tree, I was amazed at how it went from 6 inches to 5 feet of water in only a few steps.
The heavy summer rains had brought luscious greens, but this also helps with black and white film, where the tones of greens look nice and even.
Normally I wouldn’t show the same tree from another angle, but wow, this tree look so different from each side. Some idiots had etched their named large into this side, which didn’t quite appear in the photographs. Note that here I am much lower to the ground, getting toward neck deep in water.
Fisheating Creek had other beautiful trees, but this one was especially photogenic.
My paddle up and down the river was relaxing and fun; I’ll probably be back again next year. Since I photograph Florida for a living, I love that I can enjoy its natural splendor without any weekend crowds.
Behind the Scenes Photos
My Fuji point and shoot digital (with a housing) was finally having problems, so I got the waterproof Nikon AW100 at Costco just to snap along the river and get some better behind the scenes images for the blog. Read the captions, and please comment and share!