This swamp is in Florida and is a good thing, meaning we don’t want to drain it; instead, we want to protect it as a national resource.
The swamps, marshes, and bogs are quite beautiful. I did not expect I’d ever consider the swamp as beautiful before visiting, I was wary of what I might find. But once inside, I was struck by its vastness, rich biodiversity, and remoteness.
I am not a naturalist and know very little about the ecosystem of the Big Cypress National Preserve, but if you want to know more, one recommendation is to visiting Clyde Butcher’s site. Not only is he a passionate advocate for maintaining our natural habitats, but his photographic legacy is considered a national treasure.
The main thing that catches my eye is the contrast of the flower against the green and earth tones of the preserve. I suppose I could have waded into the swamp to get a better look, but I could hear the croaking of alligators close by and I needed to get home to re-organize my sock drawer. Not that I was afraid or anything.
Here I am on the Loop Road in Big Cypress Nation Preserve. I was in the middle of hundreds of square miles of wilderness as far as the eye could see. However, the land is so flat you can’t see distances at all. So I stopped along the side of the road and sent the drone up for a look.
I suppose this is a selfie of sorts. I’m down there behind my car trying to see the view on my iPhone screen. But, it was so sunny that I was having difficulty viewing it. Nevertheless, I took a few still shots including this.
On this day, it was just a quick up and down flight for a few shots because I just wanted to get a sense of how the landscape looked. It’s also because I’m a nervous drone pilot and I worry about losing it in unfamiliar places. The drone is so small that you quickly lose sight of it. However, Mavic Pro is supposed to fly back if something goes wrong, in other words, it’s dummy-proof. Even so, if it crashed here, there is no going to look for it. With alligators and snakes at every turn, it would take a far braver man than me to go and look for it.
While this looks like a river, it’s known as a strand or slough. It’s nothing more than a widening of the swamp along a section of the loop road inside Big Cypress National Preserve.
I think it would be impressive to kayak here; however, I would not go without a guide. The swamp is endless, the land is flat, and the Cypress trees are so thick that one wrong turn and you have no sense of direction.
I was born and raised in California, so I’m more accustom to the mountains. With mountains and hills, you can follow the contours of the land. But down here in the Everglades, there are no contours; at least none that are distinguishable from ground level. But with a guide, I could cede navigation to an expert and occupy myself with countless variations of scenery and wildlife to photograph. At least that’s my plan.
I just returned from driving the Loop Road in Big Cypress National Preserve. It’s a twenty-four-mile dirt road through the heart of some of the most stunning landscape in Florida. As a landscape photographer, I was in my element and overwhelmed at the same time. There was just too much to take in, but I tried.
Living in an urban area, I find only scraps of nature as I look for it among the sprawl. So when I get the chance to emerge myself among hundreds of square miles, it’s a good thing. It took me nearly five hours to travel the road because I stopped every quarter of a mile. A bike would have been faster. But, alas, I was in no hurry.
This image is from one of my dozens of stops. It’s the reflection of the cypress trees in the swamp. As I stood there taking photos I could hear the bullfrog-like bellows of alligators all around me At first, it’s unnerving, but you grow accustomed to it. In reality, alligators prefer to mind their own business. At least from their bellows, you know where they are, and they know where you are; which is as it should be.