The “Everglades” means ever flowing river of grass. It is a massive shallow river of grassy swamp that drains fresh-water Lake Okeechobee in a wide path southward. Its depth varies from the wet season to the dry season, and it creates a fertile habitat for thousands of species of reptile, fish, insects, birds and plants.
December is just the beginning of the dry season, but there is still enough water (with the help of from Hurricane Irma in September) — to provide reflecting pools like this.
While this gator casts a wary glance at me, I am quite wary of him too, and I keep a respectful distance. On a recent trip to Shark Valley in Everglades National Park, I learned a few new facts about the American Alligator. If he chases you, don’t run serpentine, like the wive’s tale says. Run in a straight line, as fast as you can for alligators are very quick for just long enough to catch you. (They can run at 20 miles per hour.) The jaws too are powerful (2900 pounds of force recorded), and no match for human self-defense.
The 70mm lens on my Sony a2r7 camera makes it appear that I am close to the gator than I really am. (“Kids, don’t try this at home.”) Park rangers suggest a distance of at least 15 feet. Watch behind you, too. There are hundreds of alligators in the Everglades, some hidden underwater, Any fresh water watering hole in Florida could contain one.
The arid landscape that you often find in California is raised up in both beauty and comfort by the Pacific Coast. While you hike, it is hot and dry and sometimes dusty. But here in Point Lobos State Reserve, you feel the ocean breezes and your eyes feast upon the soothing sight of crashing waves. The coast line, pleasingly irregular, hides a new view behind every incline and bend in the path. Just keep walking.
The artist in me loves a scene with vivid complimentary colors — like yellow and blue, for example. On a sunny September morning, I found yellow and orange hues in the moss and wildflowers along the coast of Point Lobos — creating that pleasing color contrast with the blue Pacific Ocean.
The stone archways tell a story of powerful water erosion over time, even though the water is rather still at this moment. The distant hillside talks to us as well. It encloses the bay, providing a peaceful, green backdrop.
To reach Point Lobos State Reserve, drive south of Carmel, California on Route 1. To purchase prints of the California coast, or other photos featured in this blog, please visit my website: http://www.cathykellyphotography.com.
Hiking Point Lobos State Reserve near Carmel, California, I found this petite private beach. Of course, these public lands are open to everyone, but this tiny secluded patch of sand nestled between the rugged rocks and surrounded by Nature made me feel as though I were on a deserted island.
Don’t you love to get away from crowds, traffic, noise and stores at this time of year?
The historic Vanderbilt mansion in Newport, Rhode Island celebrate Christmas with old world charm. At Marble House, Christmas trees adorn every room. Yesterday, even Santa Claus arrived to meet the children.
You may also tour the upstairs bedrooms, the living room and the kitchen at Marble House. If you have time, be sure to visit the Breakers and Rosecliff, or six others! You will need a week to see them all and to walk the Cliff Walk while you learn about the Gilded Age of American history.
The “street photographer” in me cannot resist taking photos of my fellow photographers when I find myself on location in an amazing landscape. Shooting Bryce Canyon National Park in a heavy snowstorm was one of those occasions. My colleagues Joel and Dennis perched themselves with their tripods pretty darn close to the edge of the cliff.
Both Dennis and Joel are very talented photographers. We have kept in touch and swapped stories over the years.