Monday, June 4, 2012

The Dreamcatcher

"The Dreamcatcher" - Florida Bay - Everglades National Park - Photo © Mac Stone
The Everglades hosts the largest continuous stand of mangroves in the world. These gothic trees, with their crawling prop roots and arching limbs, are one of my favorite subjects to photograph. They each take on their own personality formed by wind, water, light, and even by the birds that roost upon their branches. Of the entire 850 square miles of Florida Bay that I've explored, however, there is only one particular mangrove that I have come to regard as my favorite. It sounds ridiculous to admit this, to hold preference of one tree over millions, but this partisanship isn't unique to just me. All of my coworkers at Audubon each have their adored mangrove, one that seems to smile back at them when their boats race by.

"Dreamcatcher Dusk" - Florida Bay - Everglades National Park - Photo © Mac Stone
This particular tree, which I have dubbed "The Dreamcatcher" is one of the most unique and distinguishable mangroves in the Bay. Its flat-top canopy expands radially in spindled limbs crowned with a perfect ring of orange, yellow, and green leaves. The base is a series of red columns littered with barnacles that come to life as the tides rise and fall. At one point in this mangrove's life it supported a large osprey nest, giving it the rounded platform look we see today. I have spent countless evenings and pre-dawn mornings over the last year boating through the cuts and shallow banks of southeastern Florida Bay just to share this mangrove's voice with the world.  Like many projects I've started, it will take me months and sometimes even years before I feel comfortable showing the results. Many times I came home empty-handed but finally, in April, I managed to make two images worthy of this spectacular tree, "The Dreamcatcher," and "Dreamcatcher Dusk."

4 comments:

  1. oh! what a wonderful beginning to a new island! i have mine also...but it is a tiny one just growing on an oyster bed...i will have to visit to see how he is doing.

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    1. I knew I wasn't the only one with a favorite!

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  2. Hey Ho! I still feel a great quivering when I look back on the trip when you took me out for a roseate nesting monitoring. You commented on your special mangrove as we went past. Great description and capture.

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    1. :) Glad you remember it! I'll be posting another blog soon about all my fumbled attempts to photographing this mangrove.. stay tuned!

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