Landscapes of St. Marks

December 01, 2015  •  53 Comments

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 MarksPalms of St Marks

Palms of St. Marks

Moon Light HouseMoon Light HouseSt. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Sunset - Full Moon rise - St. Marks Photo Club


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.

St Marks TransitionsSt Marks Transitions


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.

St. Marks MoonsetSt. Marks MoonsetSt. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, FL.

Moonset Over Marsh

It can be tricky, but pre-sunrise light often casts a lovely glow on the west-setting full moon.

East River SunsetEast River SunsetSt. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. A grackle takes pause at the glorious day's end.

East River Sunset 

On my birthday in 2011.

Dotted SkyDotted Sky

Lily Dotted Sky

Texture of SunriseTexture of Sunrise

Texture of Sunrise

The layers, hues, and textures of flora, subtly demarcated by the morning mist caught my eye as the sun rose.

Palmy AfterglowPalmy Afterglow

Palmy Afterglow

Camera already safely put away, and heading home, there, through a break in the trees, I spy this scene, and marvel.

Double SunDouble SunNot for Sale as Print.

Double Sun

The swamp was unusually full from recent rains, and there, in just one clear slot through the maples and tupelo was a double sun.

Pre-dawn LightplayPre-dawn Lightplay

Pre-dawn Lightplay. 

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.

Stormy BayouStormy Bayou

Stormy Bayou

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 MoonThe Grackle & the Moon

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.

Palm PointPalm Point

Palm Point


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 PanoWakulla Beach Marsh Pano 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.)

Bob Sunrise ReflectionBob Sunrise Reflection


Afterglow PanoAfterglow Pano

Afterglow Pano

St. Marks Palm SunsetSt. Marks Palm Sunset

Lighthouse Pond in Fall

St. Marks Sunrise MistSt. Marks Sunrise MistSt. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

Sunrise Mist

The perspective of a Stony Bayou dike tapering off into the mist caught my eye as the sun came up.

Lighthouse PondLighthouse Pond

Lighthouse Pond

There's always another angle from which to photograph the lighthouse, here from a bird's-eye view.

Oak Over St MarksOak Over St Marks

Oak Over St Marks

Hiking and bicycling the dikes is so worth the effort, even when carrying a load of camera gear.

St. Marks Sunset StormSt. Marks Sunset Storm

Sunset Storm

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.

Lighthouse RealmLighthouse Realm

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!



Jan Scott(non-registered)
David, do you have any photos of the old Shield's Marina on the St. Marks River? Our family with two little boys spent many Summer's camping across from the fire tower. Sadly we never thought to save an image of the marina. Thank you for sharing all your fascinating work. Jan Scott
Linda Young(non-registered)
After a long day of reading, writing and talking about all the problems we have in Florida - I know where to go to get my brain turned back around and focused on the beauty that is still abundant - which is to your photos of course.

Thank you for providing a place to rest my gaze and sooth my worried mind. Linda
Marian Morris(non-registered)
Thank you for getting up early.
Breathtakingly beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
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