An image I made back in 2000 of Hogtown Creek on Fuji Film. I practiced
exposure and composition religiously, trying to find ways of showing the
beauty I saw in what would become my most beloved place.
I started getting into nature photography around my junior and senior year of high school. Most days I would leave Eastside High and set out to explore the backwoods of Alachua County. One area in particular held a very special place in my heart and I would frequently wake up before sunrise in order to catch first light before the bell rang for first period. It’s known as Hogtown Creek but there are very few people who actually know where it is. Sometimes I wouldn’t even bring my camera and instead would just sit and read by the water. It became my training grounds as a naturalist and as a photographer. It became my Walden.
Low water on Hogtown creates whitewater over the limestone bedrock.
I rarely go back home without stopping by to see how it’s changed and to rekindle my love affair with this unique place.
I used to sit in this elm and read Thoreau for inspiration.
The same tree, ten years ago.
Planar Elms line the creek and in the summer damselflies dance around the grasses. After ten years, it hasn’t lost any of its magic.
Ebony jewelwing female.
I now find myself with a whole slough of Waldens from Florida to Honduras; secret landscapes with limited access, which helped shape my understanding of the natural world and define my career as a photographer. I’m so grateful to have these little sanctuaries for the soul.
Kanapaha Prairie at sunrise.
Cattle on Kanapaha Prairie.
Spider webs connect pickerelweed flowers like communication centers.
Again, my favorite live oak.
There are photos to be found everywhere on Kanapaha Prairie.
Like every great relationship, the more you stoke the fire, try new things, and open your channels to its unique voice, the hotter it burns. There are always new nooks and crannies to explore, new experiences to share, and that's the beautiful thing about nature. No matter how far we may stray or unintentionally take it for granted, it will always welcome us back with open arms.
Fall 2007. Every season offers a new gift in Hogtown Creek.