Do nature photographers retire? Maybe, but for this one, it's a gradual process. I still love being in nature and making art, but I have slowed down, with fewer pre-dawn forays into the wilds, and I even make some outings unencumbered by gear (well, except for the phone-camera in my pocket). A lot to be said for travelling light and taking in the awesome scenes and surprises in nature (and wildlife) without the compulsion to "capture" them.
I've been publishing my monthly photoblog pretty consistently for 12 years now, but I'm ready to slow that pace as well.
Starting in 2020, I'll post at the blog randomly, maybe every 2 to 3 months. Those of you on my photoblog email list will still get notes (unless you instruct me otherwise). For anyone not on my list who'd like to get an email when I post a new entry (4-6 times per year via BCC. This e-address list is used for no other purpose), you can send me a note asking to be added: [email protected].
For my last formal monthly blog, I've decided to pick back through previous posts (only as far as 2013) and re-share some of my favorite photos along with the links to accompanying shots and the backstories....
In spring of 2013, we had a "bumper crop" of fireflies in our backyard. And I was "on fire" about lightpainting at night... put that together and here's the photo, and the story of its becoming:
Chassahowitzka - that's a mouthful of a name and an eyeful of a beautiful place. Have a look here for underwater caves, mermaids, manatees and springs hidden in swamps, and a dive with a sizable alligator:
Snorkeling the springs of the Econfina Creek, Crystal and I came upon (and became enthralled by) the rise and fall of giant tadpoles. Here's the full story...
John Moran and I began a series of nightscape-lightpainting collaborations in early 2009. Oasis in the Dark and Magical Moonlit Paddle, below, are two of more than a dozen (and counting). Here's a blogpost that includes more of our early projects along with some of my solo efforts.
Oasis in the Dark
Magical Moonlit Paddle
For many years, each January, a group of 8 guys make our traditional camping trip, usually on the wild parts of Florida rivers via kayaks and canoes. These good times often makes for good stories (and photos). Here's the link to our 2014 trip on the Suwannee River (you'll then see why it's called Fire):
Swapping a gallery of my best photos about a single subject in place of a tale of adventure has been another way I've blogged... such as this one on the weird and sculptural cypress knees I've seen over the years. Not to be missed and ...
The first time I visited Merritts Mill Pond in Jackson County FL, I was blown away by its beauty. Here's that exploration through my lens - springs and caves and wildlife and people having fun.
Apple Snail Laying Eggs at Sunrise
The Realm of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is a collection of my photos that give a good overview of the majesty of this magical place we call our backyard. I have posted several photoblog entries about this Refuge.
Rarely have I posted photos from outside Florida, but here's one of those exceptions. As a boy, I was an avid saltwater aquarist and spent a LOT of time snorkeling and diving throughout the Caribbean, so when I had a chance to dive in Belize a few years ago with my brother Jay, I was happy to have my underwater camera rig with me. Many are the same creatures I grew up with in my South Florida homewaters.
Ginnie Springs in Central Florida is another jewel... actually, a whole necklace of jewels strung along the banks of the Santa Fe River! Devils Ear Spring (Into the Mystery, below) is one example. When the river level is just right, her tannic waters blend eerily with the crystalline waters boiling up from the deep spring. Here are more...
Into the Mystery
One summer, we set out into the Gulf from Steinhatchee in search of the scallop beds on a mission to make the Best Scallop Photos Ever. You decide... how'd we do? ... here they all are, at this link...
You might be noticing a recurring theme in these posts - - Florida Springs. Florida is blessed with so many of them, and they - our water supply - are under siege from run-off pollutants, development, and overpumping. So, yes, here are some more springs we need to protect and revere. Here's a sumptuous sample of springs around Florida. From wilderness to county parks, bountiful wildlife to joyful recreators, there is much beauty still. (I have not included photos of the many springs now choked with algae, dead muddy green, or flat out stopped flowing... there are too many of those as well.)
In addition to springs - the eyes to the underground aquifer - we have rivers that run along the surface, but periodically dive underground for a stretch. I know of none other that takes as many such dives as the Aucilla River here in North Florida. In some parts, the Aucilla just pops up as an oblong sinkhole before snaking down into the earth again. The Florida Trail travels these parts - the Aucilla Sinks Trail.
...And then there are rare sinkholes that are also Eyes of the Aquifer, like THIS incredible place.
One Christmas, Crystal, Scruff, and I set out to explore the Econlockhatchee River, a little known river winding through pristine central Florida forest before opening into palm hammocks and the St. Johns River. We camped out of our jonboat, exploring the lower reaches.
Back to spring country, Moran and I had a great time making one of our nightscapes at Naked Springs in Gilchrist County. Naked was finely clothed by the floodplain forest and massive old cypress snag (since fallen) which made a statuesque subject to lightpaint, the stars (trails) swirling around Polaris in the northern night sky behind it. The now-state-park around Gilchrist Blue Spring (including Naked) is equally spectacular. The post includes a camping trip with Crystal, and several other explorations of the area.
Naked Under the Stars
One year, I made several trips to Nokuse Plantation in the Florida Panhandle to explore Seven Runs Creek, a wild and scenic creek being considered for protection by the Florida Forever Program. I was to make a calendar shot. Here's the back story. (The property has since been conserved.)
I always thought one needed the dry clear mountain air to photograph the Milky Way, but in 2017, I tried making a photo at the nearby Wakulla River and was kind of amazed. That led to a series of Milky Way shots some of which found themselves in a blogpost...
River of Glory
In the spring of 2018, Crystal was watching the weather and her intuition said that we were going to find a bounty of migratory neo-tropical birds down at St George Island, so we dropped everything and went. Wow, so many birds we'd never seen!
Rock Springs Run rocks! As does the spring itself. Not far north of Orlando, clear springwater flows from a limestone cave into one of the prettiest natural swimming pools imaginable. The water continues a meandering course through swamp and forest, a summer dream for tubers and paddlers. Despite its popularity, this spring and run are magnificent.
Where the Ochlockonee River/Bay reaches the Gulf of Mexico, a small Wakulla County Park called Mashes Sands sits on the north side. I don't know the history of the name, but the Sands there are certainly a special feature. This is another place that feels like our backyard, a place I go for big sky, beach, and solitude.
The Super Blood Wolf Lunar Eclipse of 2019 had such a fancy name and hype that I got myself out of bed to make a photo... and I'm glad I did. Here is the link to all of my best moonshots...
Last January 2019, our men's group explored the tail end of the Suwannee River- the estuary where the mighty river spills into the Gulf of Mexico. It was beautiful, yes, but you'll also find tales of the harrowing adventure. Check it out if you missed it:
And I'll finish with Florida Swamps, a worthy gallery ranging from our Wakulla Swamps here in North Florida to the Everglades. Swamps are among the most amazing and beautiful places most people never get to see. Here's your chance...
There you have it -- a wide ranging sample of my work and stories, enough to satiate even the hardest-core fan. Seriously, I invite you to return to this post and visit each of these places and photo collections. But beware, you might just find yourself infected by Florida wanderlust.
Thanks to all for your visits to my blog over the years. I wonder how many of you might remember back to the early posts in 2006 or 2007. Lots of great adventures. There will be more to come, just not as often.
Anyone who'd like quick access to the past 6 years, here is the index (including name, description and link): https://www.davidmoynahan.com/david-moynahan-photography-blog-index. Posts made before that (2006-2013) via Blogspot, not connected to my current website, are here: http://davidmoynahan.blogspot.com/
As always, your sharing this blog link with family and friends is what sends it on its wideflung journey through cyberspace - so, please do.
And leave a comment below, however brief.