Clean Water. It is how the Grassy Waters Preserve earns it’s keep. The Preserve is the headwaters of the Loxahatchee River. At 4 feet in elevation it towers above the surrounding landscape. As the water source for people of West Palm Beach it is also a 20 square mile undisturbed habitat for the wildlife of the Preserve. A win win. I noticed this drop of water on the lilly pad and moved in with a Marcro lens. I love the clean drop of water and the surface tension. Nature is amazing.
Happy Earth Day 2011. Wishing everyone a beautiful day! My favorite Earthday was 1988. I had taken a semester off school to hike the Appalachian Trail. I was two weeks in and my body had adjusted to the brutal pack and pace. It was a long hike that day but spring had finally reached the Smokey Mountains. Walking through a long grass fields you could smell spring. The warm sun radiating into my bones making me forget the icy grip the mountains had on them just days before. A shadow passed as a hawk flew overhead. Walking that day I knew I wanted my photography to inspire people to experience the outdoors. Get some fresh air this weekend, maybe a few blisters, and make some memories with your family and friends.
When asked earlier today on the Washington Post’s Live Earth Day Q&A
“What’s the biggest threat that the NPS has?”
Neil Mulholland (National Parks Foundation President) replied “Today’s youth spends 7.5 hours online and indoors. If this trend continues there may not be park users or advocates 20 years from now. We need to introduce today’s youth to parks and the outdoors and help them foster a life long relationship with National Parks and the outdoors.”
Some images unfold before you very quickly. I find that I draw on my Photojournalistic training more often then not. It doesn’t matter if I’m shooting the fast changing light in a stormy landscape or a wildlife shot of a bird fishing for dinner. The decisive moment happens very quickly. Be ready but be aware. Know what’s going on around you but be able to concentrate your focus when things start happening. Here I was taping a video photographic tip when the Palomino on the ranch heard me talking. A very curious horse she came over to check the scene out for herself. Not wanting to miss the shot I pulled my camera off the tripod got the horse’s fly mask off (it makes her look like a superhero) stepped to the side to recompose the shot. I got one frame and she was gone. 30 seconds total, 3 seconds before she left. She walked away with a carrot I walked away with a shot that I’m very pleased with.
April 2nd 1513 Ponce De Leon discovers Florida for the Spanish. Legend has it that he was looking for the rumored Fountain of Youth. Gold being a more likely a reason as it was the driving force of the day. The sliver of truth in the Fountain legend could very well be Vitamin D. Florida’s true gold it’s number of sunny days. As Ponce De Leon’s ships reached the beaches he claimed the lands for Spain and christened it “La Florida” after the Spanish Easter season Pascua Florida (Festival of Flowers). An apt name because Florida has no shortage of flowering plants. The expedition was separated when they encountered the Gulf Stream which proved too strong for their smallest ship. The powerful currents of the Gulf Stream would become the naval super highway for ships returning to Europe. Ponce De Leon’s exploration lasted 8 months and he would sail as far west as Tampa Bay or perhaps Pensacola. The Spanish would seed Florida with horses, cattle and pigs. The descendants of these animals “Crackers” have adapted to the climate and exist in Florida today. Ponce De Leon would meet his end at the tip of a poison arrow in 1521. He led a group of 200 bent on colonizing the Gulf Coast of Florida which the Calusa people resisted. The Manchineel tree, the poison’s source, carries the Spanish name “Manzanilla de La Muerte” (Little apple of Death).
This Great Blue Heron hunts in the shallows of The Grassy Waters Preserve in West Palm Beach Florida. The preserve, the headwaters of the Loxahatchee River, is both sanctuary for wildlife and drinking water for the city of West Palm Beach. I was intrigued by the colors here. Both the bird and it’s surrounding landscape seem to draw from the same palette.