If you think this tangle of cypress trees in Monterey are shaped by a strong coastal wind, you would be half right. The wind was not blowing at the time I took this photograph. But surely, the wind makes a habit of blowing off the Pacific and has shaped these trees over time.
This image invites me to ponder: how much am I shaped by my everyday environment? In what ways are you shaped by your world?
On a morning walk in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, you never know what lies ahead. One time, a Florida Panther jumped onto this stretch of boardwalk. Other days a Burmese python was sighted just below in the swamp. Most likely, you will see a dozen or more species of birds and some alligators. I was not disappointed as I entered the cypress forest.
Many nature photographers prefer to shoot on cloudy days, when the dynamic range is not too wide for the camera to capture, and sharp shadows don’t create issues. In other words, the experienced photographer can be assured of capturing detail in both the highlights and the shadows. But sunlight very early and very late in the day creates other nice opportunities. For example, in this photograph in Six Mile Cypress Swamp in Fort Myers, Forida, the shadows made good leading lines, as did the sunlight coming in from the upper right corner. All those lines converge in the low center of the frame. The blue sky made a vivid reflection in the still water, and the yellow sunlight in the background adds some warmth.
This time of year when we experience fewer bright sunny days, we appreciate what sunshine can do for our mood. I certainly feel more energetic and upbeat on a sunny day. How about you?
Tillandsia, or “air plants” for short, are magical. They attach themselves to trees and grow without soil, taking in moisture and nutrients through the air. They aren’t picky eaters: bugs, dust and decaying leaves will do. They are evergreen perennial plants that flower and make babies. You can see them everywhere in the Tropics — like in your back yard! — but you can also observe dozens of them in cypress swamps. These two caught my eye in Six Mile Cypress Swamp in Fort Myers, Florida, as they were gently lit by the setting sun.