As 2015 draws to a close, I send wishes that your New Year be filled with peace and health and many an outdoor adventure.
I promised in my August 2015 blog - The Realm of St. Marks: An Introduction - I'd share more photos showing what a gem we have in Wakulla County's St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. And while a multi-faceted photographic jewel - wildlife, historic lighthouse, birds, big-sky-sunrises and sunsets, flowers, and butterflies - I've focused here on some of its myriad landscapes. Enjoy! And please share this link with family and friends.
Palms of St. Marks
Standing in the shallow Gulf waters, we hoped for the full moonrise just after sunset. But the predicted time came and went and the sky grew dark. A few of us persisted. Then, through a window in the eastern clouds... ahhh.
In the late-day light, oak-palmetto hammock gives way to pine flatwoods, which transition to marsh and the mouth of the St. Marks River beyond.
Moonset Over Marsh
It can be tricky, but pre-sunrise light often casts a lovely glow on the west-setting full moon.
East River Sunset
On my birthday in 2011.
Lily Dotted Sky
Texture of Sunrise
The layers, hues, and textures of flora, subtly demarcated by the morning mist caught my eye as the sun rose.
Camera already safely put away, and heading home, there, through a break in the trees, I spy this scene, and marvel.
The swamp was unusually full from recent rains, and there, in just one clear slot through the maples and tupelo was a double sun.
Purple light in the wind-ripples dances with peachy reflections in the calm. The lucky earlybirds see the ever-changing show every morning.
East River Myst
One of my favorites. The painterly backdrop counterbalances the blast of early sunshine on the foreground grasses. Two coots bear witness. Well, three, if I count myself.
The January front rolled across the big sky over a St. Marks' bayou while a large flock of Great Egrets fed and fussed in the marsh grass. Crystal, Sue, Jeff and I paused a long while on the dike to take in the unfolding dramas.
The Grackle & the Moon
It appeared that the grackle was awaiting the big moon to drop into the cupped arm of the old snag. Same as me.
Buttressed in Longshadow
The Refuge reaches well beyond the land at the end of Lighthouse Road. Here, not far from Otter Lake in Panacea, Bob Thompson leads me through a dry swamp.
On another walk with Bob, he leads me to this Live Oak boneyard, ancient fallen silvered limbs still hard as stone.
Wakulla Beach Marsh Pano
This morning, still part of St. Marks, Bob wades into the Gulf to make a photo of the sunrise as I climb my J-pod* to get this panorama. Then I photograph Bob.
(*J-pod, aka Johnnypod, is an extension ladder converted into a giant tripod, a pre-drone invention by John Moran.)
Lighthouse Pond in Fall
The perspective of a Stony Bayou dike tapering off into the mist caught my eye as the sun came up.
There's always another angle from which to photograph the lighthouse, here from a bird's-eye view.
Oak Over St Marks
Hiking and bicycling the dikes is so worth the effort, even when carrying a load of camera gear.
Where I live, the sky is obscured by the beautiful Wakulla County woods. Maybe its my Biscayne-Bay-childhood that makes me crave Big Sky, but that's one of my favorite things about St. Marks - the big wide view.
May your senses be delighted by and your view broadened by our Earth's beautiful natural ways.
Your comments here at my blog are most welcome!