On My Knees

May 01, 2016  •  28 Comments


Recently reflecting on the intriguing cypress knee, I searched my archives and found I had many photos of them that I really like.  You might like them as well, so I'm devoting this month's post to the Knees.  Cypress flourish in wetlands throughout Florida.  These trees don't all have knees coming up from their root system, and not all knees are the classic spires (as you'll see).  No one is certain of the function of cypress knees, but I am certain that they are a distinctively beautiful part of our wild Earth's majesty.  Here's a sampling of knees I've photographed.  (Wavy Knees, above, is a dramatic example of how crazy these cypress can get. Sopchoppy River.)


Fire Water.  As this double-knee spires out of the tannic-red depths, it's growing crown (near the water's surface) glows like a red-hot poker in the sunshine. The "smoke" from this "submerged ember", is merely the dark water's surface reflecting the wispy clouds overhead.


Picasso-esque. This torso protrudes from the deep swamps of the Choctawhatchee River.


Three Knees. Everglades National Park.

Cypress GargoyleCypress GargoyleDetail of a convoluted cypress knee. Sopchoppy River, FL

Holey Knee. Clinging to another knee with my left hand, trying to steady my kayak in the swift Sopchoppy current, it took multiple attempts to get a sharp shot and great effort to stay afloat.

Grazing DragonGrazing Dragon

Grazing Dragon. I was stunned by the intricacy of this fancy face on a knee. Sculpting at its finest.  Lost Creek.


On Knees of the Sage. The wizened old knees appear to have been embraced by the wavy youngster.


Sopchoppy Knees. When the water is low, it is forced into swirls and braids by the obstacle course of knees.


Sunrise Meadow Knees. Although this is a wet prairie, these knees stand in the midst of meadow wildflowers. Fisheating Creek.


Reaching for the Sun. These unusually tall slender knees grew well over my head. Big Gully Creek. Manatee SpringManatee Spring

Manatee Springs. Cypress love all freshwater wetlands, from mucky swamps to pristine springs, flowing rivers to still ponds.


Hobgoblin.  Sopchoppy River, where spirits seem loosely entombed in the wildest cypress trees and knees I've seen.

Sopchoppy Knee Multitude 2Sopchoppy Knee Multitude 2

Cathedral of Knees. The light was beaming onto these steeples as I came around the bend in my kayak.


Wakulla Family. With the early fog floating across the springbowl providing a clean backdrop, this quirky family of knees stood at water's edge. Wakulla Springs.


Inside the Sanctuary. Squeezing through a small opening in the side of a giant cypress, I found myself amidst these silent worshippers in the cavernous sacred tree.  Choctawhatchee River. Photo by John Moran.

InnardsInnardsChoctawhatchee River near Hwy 20

The Knees Within. Here's my photo looking through the portal into the giant cypress in the last photo. The tree was hollow all the way up, letting a 60 foot shaft of light drop to the floor.


Anatomy of a Cypress. In low water, you can see how complex the knee-system can be. And how massive! The paddler is dwarfed!

Kneedy CypressKneedy Cypress

Classical Knees.  Why would this single horizontal cypress root send up all these knobby knees?


Making a Stand in the Strand.  This triple-knee (cypress) popped up in between two tupelo trees, each adorned with a guzmania bromeliad.  Fakahatchee Strand.


Deadfall. As if revering their fallen great-grandmother, the knees gather round her still-grand carcass. Florida Caverns State Park.


Napping in the Knees. This green treefrog has found refuge along the Sopchoppy River.


Canopy Light. Here's the "bigger picture" of the numerous potential photo-ops that line the banks of the Sopchoppy River. 


Light Wave.  Suwannee River


Ribbon Knee.  Sopchoppy.


Knee'ling in Grass. Fisheating Creek.


Ramshead.  Then there is the fun with reflections...  Lost Creek.

Knee FormKnee Form

Eye of KneeEye of Knee

Eye of Knee.  Sopchoppy.

Three KneeThree KneeTriple cypress knee. Fakahatchee Strand, FL

Quadruple-knee. Fakahatchee Strand.



Creature from the Black Lagoon.  Sopchoppy.


Panoramic Knees.

Photos from plenty of adventures around Florida.  Ahhh, the stories I might one day tell my grandkids sitting on a knee.  Hope you enjoyed!  I love reading your comments below. Thanks for visiting.




Robert Gates(non-registered)
My favorites here are "Canopy Light" and "Anatomy of a Bypass." Wonderful photos.
Trudy Thompson(non-registered)
Absolutely breathtaking!! a million wows!
robert byerts(non-registered)
Thanks for showing off all the knees. I am anxious to get back on the Sopchoppy and see some more.
Sandra Moore(non-registered)
I have just become a fan. I love the knees. Amazing photography, amazing Florida nature!
Deborah Albertson(non-registered)
Amazing finds in the wilds of Florida. A chance for people who will never see places such as these a feeling of having viewed them in person . Thanks so much for bring such beauty into mine and others lives.
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