Saturday, January 22, 2011

Until the Fog Clears

Sunrise over Homestead, FL

For the last two weeks, South Florida has been cloaked in heavy fog. It's funny to think about how insignificant and maybe even unnoticeable this might be for most people as they go to work, but for the boaters, fishermen, pilots, and Audubon field biologists it turns the daily commute into a dangerous guessing game, which is incredibly fun to photograph.

Forced to sit and wait an hour before the fog clears at the mouth of Joe Bay, ENP

The Florida Bay is notorious for being one of the most difficult places to navigate due to unmarked cuts and shallow banks that leave surprised boaters stranded and even severely injured. Throw a thick blanket of fog over the water and forget anticipating a sharp turn or dodging other equally blind captains. Similarly in the air, our helicopter pilot refuses to drop us in an area he can't see from 800 feet up. Since our data need to be collected within the first three hours of the sunrise, we can't handle too much deviation from an already strict schedule. Because of fog, a 10-hour day can painfully turn into a 14-hour day. It's fair to say my love for these low-lying clouds is bittersweet.

Pinelands in the Everglades national Park

Ok, so a 14-hour day is a small price to pay for getting to see the magic of the morning. At 800 feet above the Everglades, fog is a living, moving, breathing thing. It lifts and disperses, embracing the pinelands and dancing across the sawgrass prairies. Varied air currents send ripples across the water vapor in patterns I've never seen before.

Just below the fog line the warm sunrise light diffuses into a soft even glow. 

"Egret Fly By" the newest print added to my portfolio. 

On ground level, it's the perfect backdrop for isolating subjects. 

Burrowing owl in Homestead, Florida

There's something eerily seductive about fog. It's the bleak isolation of its veil and intimacy of its silence that speaks to me. I hope you all get the chance to take one morning to explore your woods and prairies while winter still lingers for the next month! 

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