Preservationist. Fighting for Biodiversity. • Env. Sci. FIU '20.
Preservationist. Fighting for Biodiversity. • Env. Sci. FIU '20.
I forgot I had this image. I took it when I was in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. A 200 mile long collection of barrier islands off the coast. This place was one of the earliest settlements by European explorers. Many of those original settlements became tremendously isolated from the mainland and developed their own culture as a response. Now, in places like Ocracoke Island there is a dying dialect of English known as High Tider or Hoi Toider. Which has many unique words and sayings that relate to the ocean, weather and outsiders. It is definitely something that is part of the cultural ecology of the area.
Okay, so this is one of my favorite places in all of Miami because, of the fossilized reef that becomes visible during low tide. Showing a window into the history of this area. Since it is believed to be over 1,500 years old. So, you must be imaging a once large coral reef here but actually scientist believe that it was likely created through fossilization of roots from either mangroves or seagrass creating a rhizolith. There is likely more to the reef than what one can currently see and more will become exposed as coastal erosion occurs removing the layer of sand covering parts of it.
I miss the Amazon! It really was special to be in a place with such large amounts of biodiversity. I would definitely love to return and spend more time in the region. I do hope to visit other rainforests in the meantime. Still, I should be quick because, the Amazon has changed dramatically in recent years. From huge fires for multiple years coupled with general deforestation and exploitation, the Amazon is threatened. Which means that the home of 10% of the world's species, and communities that depend on it's survival.
So this isn't straight out of the camera. This is a blended exposure made up of three photos taken about 40 minutes apart while I was standing in the rising tide of Biscayne Bay. I had really enjoyed the warm light that was casted onto the mangroves and the colorful sky that came later after sunset. So, tell me what you think! I had stumbled upon this scene while searching for the ever elusive lone and charismatic mangrove. However, this is a better example of their true nature, dense Mangrove Forests.
Matheson Hammocks is actually the first park ever in the Miami-Dade Parks system. It protects over 630 acres and beautiful Live Oaks and West Indian Mahoganies and Mangroves. A lot of mangroves, that protect our coastline from storms and provide refuge for aquatic life. It's my favorite park within Miami. Also, #BiscayneBay
So I think I missed #PrescribedFire Awareness Week. However, I'd still like to make a post about the importance of prescribed fires in various ecosystems. Regularly, most people think that only Pine Flatwoods and Rockland's in Florida are the primary receivers of fire but, many ecosystems depend on it from dry-wet prairies to Pine-scrub habitats. Wherein, many plants and animals have evolved over time to tolerate fire and even prosper under the conditions it brings. It helps to maintain endangered ecosystems like the Pine Rockland's and Flatwoods from becoming Hardwood Hammocks and providing habitat for countless species like the Scrub Jay and Rim Rock Crowned Snake.
This is an example of when blending exposures can deliver some interesting results. I had caught this cow scratching itself against the Sabal Palm. Yet, when I drove up and started at me, just as you see above. I don't usually get out to the Pine Flatwoods and Sabal Palm dotted prairies but they sure are unique. Reminiscent of the savannas in Africa.
This is a popular park, I usually go there for the large mangrove forests that line Biscayne Bay. Still, I have definitely enjoyed this beach on a sunset. Lined with Palms that turn golden when the light hits it right.
I always find myself in wetlands and that's no different when I lived in Colorado for the summer back in 2018. Pictured here is a meadow found at 8,000 feet of elevation that depends on the nutrients from melting snowpacks. These meadows while beautiful, are fragile. They are easily destroyed and scarred by anyone who decides to drive through them. Likewise, they're affected by snowmelt times of nearby snowpack. Which in turn can signify the health and quality of the West's water supply. Which is significant since 75% of freshwater that people in the West consume comes from snowmelt.
A foggy morning with a colorful sunrise is definitely one of my favorite sights. I don't want up that often to see them though. However, I think daily of the public lands that Florida has, and hope for it's future conservation and connectivity.
I love the Pine Rockland's, but it is not an easy place to photograph. The constant sawgrass, saw palmetto and limestone bedrock riddled with solution holes. Yet, sometimes a composition comes together especially when the dense canopy breaks into meadows. The Pine Rockland's, play host to over 300 endemic species in it's limited range on the Miami Rock Ridge. Yet, only less than 1% of the original ecosystem exists. Making it severely endangered.
Most photographers would've likely moved the Sabal Palm's limbs out of the way for this image. It would've made the image look way better. But I just didn't want to obstructe nature.... This was on that same morning as the others with all the fog. On a spring run that's more secluded than the rest. I hope it stays that way, likely will since it's win protected lands..... I really enjoy exploring and taking photos and sharing these natural areas. But I do get disheartened sometimes, I feel that I am just producing images a lot of the times to appease others in the black hole that is Instagram. I would love to pursue photography full time but I don't have either the popularity or the privilege to be well off enough to do so. I will likely continue to share on here. But I will attempt to focus on more real world tangible things. Thus, my regularity of postings might drop...... Also, if anyone wants to go hiking or just recreate in the outdoors hit me up. I don't bite, and I'm not pretentious as I might come off on here. Lol.
This by far was one of my favorite springs that I visited in my short trip to the North. This spring, was essentially abandoned the morning I visited it. Giving me the opportunity to really enjoy it. I love the wide and burly Cypress trees that lined this spring. What I didn't enjoy was the amount of algae that had grown all over though! Likely caused, the amount of nutrients in the water allowing for their growth. Tomorrow, I'll share an image taken from above to show you the extent.
This photo was shot near the landscape of my previous post. Except here you can really see the amount of steam and fog that was present on the spring run that morning. I hope to visit this and other various springs in North Florida this year, there are just too many. From huge and well known ones to small and almost dry ones. What y'all favorite spring?
It was a mysterious looking morning when I shot this yesterday. The steam was coming off of the springs and producing a fog that just made this scene look so primordial. Something almost out of the Dinosaur age, like a lot of Florida. The springs are a beautiful but delicate system. They are the visible part of our aquifer which we depend on for drinking water. As well as habitat for countless Flora and fauna. Yet, they face many of the same issues as the Everglades, too much nutrients. Especially, with nitrogen that has lead to excessive growths in algae that can alter a springs appearance and affect wildlife.
Happy #NationalBirdDay and there's no better way to share it than with a Anhinga drying off its feathers in the early morning sun a top of a Cypress Tree. On this National Bird Day we should take a hard look at the conservation and future of birds. It's predicted that in the last 50 years we have lost over 3 billion birds in the U.S. and Canada alone. A decline of 29% in 50 years! On the other hand, the amount of wading birds nests recorded in the 2018 nesting season in South Florida was one of the largest in the last 20+ years. So, what does this show? That wildlife issues are complex. And the negative aspect of one statistic does not rule out the other and vice versa. In essence, birds still need help. And we can all help not only by donating to organizations but simply advocating for the Migratory Birds Treaty Act, habitat protection, chemical regulation. As well as building changes and predator control. Since, birds mainly die by colliding with Windows and being eaten by feral cats!
How many lakes are there in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes? At least over 100. How many of these are still natural lakes without man made construction? Not as many as I'd like. Yet, I still managed to visit one, and camp overnight on its banks. This one specifically was dotted with so many Cypress trees that were draped in Spanish Moss. They sat silently in the shallow waters of the lake as the sun rose, almost as if they were watching over the lake and acting as its sentinel's. Once, the sun rose the clouds became illuminated by light which backlight the Cypress and brought the entire landscape alive with vibrancy. It's difficult to put into words the beauty of these areas. You just have to go experience them yourself.
This one has to be my favorite image I created this year. Seeing this beautiful Cypress Dome open up during first light in the Big Cypress was amazing. The colors, textures and vibrancy of the swamp just come alive in the morning. I hope to visit this one and more Cypress Domes next year and be able to create more images that can influence the protection and conservation of these natural areas; Not only in Florida but around the world!
So, the year is almost closing out and I've decided instead of posting a collage of my top nine posts for the year, I'd post pictures that I enjoy the most. That are what I think my best of the year and possibly the decade. I came into photography only halfway into the decade but in that short amount of time I have grown to love it. I have been able to visit and photograph places that are filled with natural beauty. As well, as meeting people and sharing experiences that I'll never forget. I hope to continue improving and sharing more natural spaces and communicating their value in a scientifically literate way. The place in the image above is no exception, the landscape around and of the Chimborazo volcano is so unique and harsh. Producing a magical place, that's hard to take a bad picture of. Especially, if you have some vicuñas to join.
Well Merry Christmas! This is the most festive image that I have created lately. The Jupiter Lighthouse is a prominent sight in Florida guarding the inlet and it's shores. During World War II, there was actually a secret Naval Intelligence installation in the area of the lighthouse that was responsible for identifying enemy ships. Leading, to the destruction of over 60 German submarines and U-Boats.
Is space more than a beautiful backdrop to the natural world on Earth. Is it a luxury that's diminishing every year from being seen as we light up our cities. Yes, it's all of that and more. It's a frontier for exploration and mystery. It's something that has captured the imaginations of countless people and will forever. Especially, if they can see it. I think one of the most shocking things is taking someone from a city to see a truly dark sky. Protect our Dark Sky's.
I've been to these mangroves very close to Miami many multiple times. But none of my pictures have been great from this place. I think it wasn't the right time or conditions. But, this time I think I hit it. These mangroves look so solitary in the low tide afternoons in Miami's mangrove forests.
Even though it is the dry season, the deepest parts of the Everglades remain flooded. Like these Pond Apple swamps in the northern part of the Fakahatchee Strand. One of the wildest and most diverse ecosystem with the Everglades. With a huge number of epiphytes like bromeliads and orchids on the limbs of trees. It's sure is a sense canopy. So, any good places to take a good 2-3 hour hike this weekend?
So, I've got a new Macro lens and I've taken it out a couple of times nows. And I wanted to share what's I've discovered. Some really cool wildlife! Such as this Morpho butterfly. That has a beautiful bright blue interior to it's wings. Or the caterpillar of a Zebra Longwing butterfly, Florida State butterfly. Tell me if you like these pictures and would like to see more of them!