We made it!

We figured if we could get this monster out of our driveway, we’d make it to Everglades National Park! It took a while to get down the drive way…Clyde drove VERY slowly…however, white knuckles and all, we made it to Everglades National Park.

Needless to say, neither one of us is accustomed to driving such a large monster down any kind of road, let alone the two lane Tamiami Trail in front of our gallery. But, I do have to say that Clyde was much more serene about the drive than I was…

Driving into Everglades National Park is always a wonderful experience. As soon as I see the grasslands stretching into infinity all the weight of life lifts off my chest and I feel free, calm and relaxed. It feels good to see forever and to smell that sweet clean smell of wilderness.

The wildflowers are in bloom. I’m not sure if spring is already popping up all over, or if it is just the fact that it is always spring in the Everglades?! Never the less, I can’t resist taking pictures of these wonderful splashes of color.

Our first goal, after settling the motor home down in Flamingo, was to take a quick run through the Park and explore the areas that are easy to reach. We drove north on the road through the Park, hopping out of the van whenever we saw a possible photo. The day was sunny, bright…and WINDY.

Wind is an enemy of a large format photographer. Clyde wasn’t able to take any pictures because a large format camera requires a long exposure. In order for everything to be sharp and in focus, the f/stop has to be small. A small f/stop lets in less light and that means a longer exposure. The fastest exposure Clyde has used in bright sun light is 1/2 second. In order for his images to be sharp he can’t have any movement at all, and that requires patience.

Our first stop was the Mahogany Boardwalk. The boardwalk took us into a Hardwood Hammock where a very large mahogany tree stood. Clyde studied the tree for a long time trying to figure out how to photograph it without the boardwalk in the image. He finally figured it out, but because of the wind, the picture will have to wait for another day.

The Bromeliads were in bloom. I had a great time taking pictures of them…but once again, because of the wind, Clyde couldn’t do any photography, he could only stand and admire them.

The next area we explored was the Anhinga Boardwalk…what a thrill to be able to get so close to birds! They are so comfortable with people that you can take your time photographing. Watching the alligators lust after the baby Anhinga’s was a bit tense, but that is all a part of nature. There were plenty of baby’s , but I’m sure there once was a lot more because those alligators were very full!

This ugly bird is a Double Crested Cormorant. I love its primitive look and couldn’t believe the color of it’s eyes…they were emerald green. Amazing…

We ended the day with the difficult hike up to Rock Reef Pass…opps, you caught me…yep, it was a hike up to the pass all right…a hike of

three feet! One of the highest points in the Park.

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