The Realm of St. Marks - An Introduction

August 01, 2015  •  29 Comments

Lighthouse RealmLighthouse Realm

How can I be so lucky as to have St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge 10 minutes from my home?  Where do I even begin telling about my many photo-adventures there?  And how can I choose from the 2298 archived photos from this favorite place?  I guess I've been too intimidated by this vast topic to post a blog about it before now.  

Hmmm.  Maybe I could feature the Lighthouse...  

St. Marks LighthouseSt. Marks LighthouseCabbage palm at sunrise offers a golden foreground. St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, FL

From the Photo Club's pier.

Super MoonSuper MoonedCompass in hand, I was prepared to make this exact photo with all the telephoto power I could muster on the evening the super-moon was to rise. When it lifted above the misty horizon, I found I'd miscalculated by about 10 degrees. I had to quickly shoot my lighthouse scene across the bay, then rotate the lens a bit to the right and shoot the big moon. No proportional change here. I simply layered one image over the other to get the moon over the lighthouse. The key is in having a known-size subject in the distant foreground and lots of telephoto power.

Lighthouse as perspective for the rising of the Super Moon of 2011


Or maybe focus on the birds... 

Three SpoonsThree Spoons

Love the Roseate Spoonbills... (and what are these chatting about, anyway?)

Black SkimmerBlack SkimmerWakulla County, FL

Skimming Glass... my first decent Black Skimmer-in-action shot. 2010.

Reddish EgretReddish Egret

This Reddish Egret put on a great show fishing near the Lighthouse, then flew up to the old pilings and POSED for me!

Take OffTake Off

The Belted Kingfisher is known by all photographers to be infuriatingly camera-shy; so I was astonished when I managed to get off three frames... perched, starting takeoff (here)... and butt shot. 


Oh, but I mustn't get carried away... the ducks (Redhead here), migratories, waders, seabirds, eagles, owls, and other raptors... Enough to fill blog-posts for months!

Maybe the big-sky sunrise /sunset landscapes that awe me every time ...  

Oaken SunriseOaken SunriseSt. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, FL Lilypad FrontLilypad Front

The trees, both solo and in stands of forest... 

St. Marks Curved Palm MarshSt. Marks Curved Palm MarshSadly this iconic palm has died.

Clouded PalmsClouded PalmsFlorida's mountains rise gloriously behind our State Tree(s). St Marks SunriseSt Marks Sunrise View of the OspreyView of the Osprey

St Marks FlatwoodsSt Marks Flatwoods Burnt Palms at SunsetBurnt Palms at SunsetSt. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, FL. Bent OakBent OakSt. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, FL

The iconic marshes of St. Marks...

  Pine HammockPine HammockPhoto chosen by US Dept of Interior for a special edition Duck Stamp cachet after the Gulf oil spill. St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Lines in GrassLines in GrassSt. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, FL. St. Marks CedarSt. Marks CedarRed cedar tree and salt marsh overlook Storm FrontStorm Frontst. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, FL. Storm clouds moved in fast, nearly obscuring the light of the setting sun.

And flowers...

Marsh MallowMarsh Mallow NamasteNamaste Thistle SunriseThistle Sunrise

The misty mornings are always a treat...

Pines in MistPines in MistEarly morning sunlight blasts from behind the misty forest. St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Morning MistMorning MistSt. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, FL. Swamp FogSwamp FogWhere do the trees meet the water? St Marks National Wildlife Refuge, FL

The amazing monarch butterfly migration every fall...


Monarch MigrationMonarch Migration monarch butterflyMonarchs on Goldenrod

 Monarchs congregate near the Lighthouse preparing for their perilous migration across the Gulf of Mexico

There is so much wildlife. I've seen bobcats, bears, otters, deer, snakes, on and on...

Box TurtleBox TurtleWakulla Co. FL

This beauty was trying to cross the road. After posing, I gave a helping hand.

March of the FiddlersMarch of the Fiddlers

Fiddlers can FLOOD the tidal flat... but SO HARD to capture the ensemble in a photo. I'm still trying.

Young BuckYoung BuckYoung Buck in East River Pool, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

Early morning at East River Pool, this buck paused to check me out... and vice versa.

Head OnHead OnAmerican Alligator. St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

Looking over a small trail bridge, the troll asleep on duty! This big guy gave me a new view of submerged gators with their their periscopic eyes and nose.

Oh, and I mustn't forget the people experiencing the joys of St. Marks...

              Joy of FishingJoy of FishingNo better way to start a day. Silverlight FishermenSilverlight Fishermen        

I give up. Too many possibilities.  So all you get is a taste of a few of the varied angles my camera has found at St. Marks.  Hardly a scratch on the surface, but the blog is already overfilled. So, until I venture into this collection again, you can simply visit St. Marks and see its splendor for yourselves.  Enjoy. 

And please leave me comments, and share this link freely!  Thanks.


Doug Alderson(non-registered)
Some difficult to get bird shots, David. Great job! Of course, the landscape photos were superb as well.
Lisa Deem(non-registered)
Dorothy Cldwell(non-registered)
Oh my so my wonderful photos. There is one in particular that looks more like a painting than a photo. It has beautiful pink ,orange clouds with a single palm in the center. Just amazing!! Thank you the wonderful gift that you have and for sharing it .
Introduced to this area many years ago by my late husband. Our little slice of heaven and his final resting place as he was cremated and his remains scattered on the "Forgotten Coast". I especially love your photos of the St. Marks Lighthouse and the salt marshes!
Charlene and Andy Hill(non-registered)
Always enjoy experiencing my Florida families home. Visited this area with my parents before they passed on, prized memory. Thank you for sharing your wonderful gift.
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