A few days ago, I walked through a forest in Oregon’s Ecola State Park. It was a nice break from the regular everyday routine.
It was my first time visiting Oregon, so I toured both the mountains and coast to get a sense of things. There was no real plan other than drive, observe, and take photos. I’d see something intriguing, and follow it until I had to turn around.
In this case, I was near Cannon Beach, which is a famous resort town. This particular trail leads to the isolated Crescent Beach, which bears no resemblance to the beaches in Florida. It was a good change of pace.
Here is one of the trails at Emerson Point that I recently explored. If it weren’t for that they are well-marked, I’d still be in there somewhere.
When you look at this photo, something might seem a little off. The path appears level yet distorted. Can you guess what it is? Spoiler, …the boardwalk ascends a hill, it’s not level. Once you know this, the sense of distortion disappears.
Our brain is the most complicated thing known to science. But neuroscientist can do all sorts of little test like this to point out the contours of aspects we are only beginning to understand. Check out this short demonstration of the blind spot which we have that the brain fills in. Most of us never even know we have one. I certainly didn’t until a few days ago.
The reflections along the Hillsborough River are entirely peaceful. That is until you realize alligators lurk just below the surface.
But if I was an alligator, this seems like the perfect place to live. I’m living in a state park, I don’t get harassed, there are plenty of turtles to munch, and I don’t have to get stuck in someone’s pool and have my jaws taped shut.
In reality, alligators have it hard. Only a small percentage make it to maturity. The most energetic, most intelligent among them live out their full lives. And the luckiest of those are living here in these beautiful parks.
The little stubs grow up from the roots and are known as Cypress Knees. It’s thought their purpose is to provide stability to the swamp floor or, extra oxygen to the Cypress during times of flood. These are the best guesses of the scientists, but no one knows for sure. However, if you look closely, you can see they are actually sleeping gnomes. And I didn’t need science to figure that one out.
There are two paths along the river; one higher up and one lower down at the bank. The alligators prefer the lower one.
The problem with the higher path is there is too much growth to get a clear shot of the river. So every fifty yards or so I’d make my way down here to set up for a photo. It’s amazing how the sense of hearing becomes heightened at such times.
I’ve been in Florida for a while, so I’ve become familiar with some of the animal sounds. I also carefully scan the water and banks all around to ensure I’m not disturbing them. Alligators don’t want anything to do with us, and if you’re mindful and steer clear, there will never be a problem. With this knowledge and care, I spent much of my time on the lower path.
There is a theory in science that consciousness is present in all things. It’s tricky to know what to make of that given our limited understanding of the subject. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to feel the presence of something when standing near these great living creatures. It makes me wonder what we’ll eventually learn through science and if, it will validate that sixth sense we sometimes have about certain things.
A winding path is a metaphor, but in photography, it’s a leading line — kind of like a leading lady, only more mysterious.
We are influenced by symbols all around us. For me, a leading line like this describes something to come or, returning home. Anyway, whenever I find something with direction, I look for ways to incorporate it into the scene so that it hopefully resonates at an emotional level.
I took this photo inside Hillsborough River State Park, which is just north of Tampa. It is somewhat typical of the parks we have in Florida, lush, full of vegetation, and with lots of trails that lead to mysterious places. Metaphorically speaking that is.
This picture is another in a series of dunes on Anna Maria Island. This might not be the most exciting thing you see today.
A lot of effort goes into protecting these dunes and the natural flora that grows here. There are signs every thirty feet or so warning people to use the bridges to cross over to the beach. Even so, I’ve seen a few idiots disregard the signs and walk over the plants. I guess not everyone has a brain.
Anyway, I love taking photos of these because they are an additional dimension to the landscape of the beach. And for the most part, they are the only place that the plants have a place to grow freely. Unlike dunes in the Sahara, these don’t blow away or change their shape. We have the untrampled plants to thank for that.
To see the sunset like this, you walk into the park after closing. Doing so I thought I’d be alone but found a crowd along the shore, all with the same idea. After sunset, I took a quiet trail back to avoid the crowds. However, the trails have lifesize cutouts of historical figures, and more than once, I was startled by conquistadores and aboriginals staring back at me. It was a little unnerving, to say the least.
Whenever I visit a preserve in Florida, I spend time trying to figure out what to shoot. Sometimes the answer is right in front of me.
There is beauty in endemic flora that’s easy to overlook. I tend to get preoccupied with subjects and the composition, but simple scenes like this are as vibrant as any mountain landscape; it’s a matter of perspective and scale. There are realms within a tangled garden, micro-ecosystems that, while imperceptible to us, are just as alive.