Ok, how do I start this? I’ve been reluctant to write a blog post about our Florida vacation that was a total photography bust because some of you have already heard enough. I keep wishing we could have a “do-over”, but that’s not going to happen. However, I’ve had time to digest it all, and there are some things I learned, and that’s always a good thing.We had 11 nights, starting in Savannah, GA. From there we were heading south to several destinations in Florida. I had a new camera, new territories to explore, and I could already see all the great photographs I would have when we returned home.
Savannah was lovely, overflowing with Southern charm and sunny skies. But then, Mother Nature, in the guise of Tropical Storm Debby, had some plans of her own. I love an overcast day for outdoor and macro shooting, but from the second day on, all we had was flat grey skies, wind or rain. Now, when I say wind, I don’t mean those great tropical breezes, but 40-50 MPH winds! I see the light bulb going on in your head, yep, you’re getting the picture! Macro was out, sunsets were out, so what does one do?
I’m not an avian photographer, but it was becoming clear that it was all that I had left. My husband, David, drove me through not one, but three wildlife refuges, only to hear me say over and over, “I don’t have enough glass”, which simply means the birds are too far away for me to get a decent shot.
On day 6 we visited Ernest Hemingway’s home in Key West. That was fun and I did get some good snapshots there because the rain held off for a few hours.
Poor David, the weather meant no fishing or snorkeling boats leaving from Key West or Key Largo. We walked several trails at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, but a mangrove is just a bunch of mosquitoes and twisted, busy trees. We had planned a kayak trip near the Everglades but that was cancelled too.
I decided to call my friend Lindsey, who like us, is owned by a wire fox terrier, and is also a photographer, to see if she could suggest any place on the way to St. Augustine that we might enjoy. She did salvage some of the photographic portion of the vacation by telling me about the Wakodahatchee Wetlands. A neat place where I did manage to get a couple of bird photos, there was SUN, and in an hour I got sunburned!
By now, you’re probably thinking, as I am, WHAT A WHINER! You’re absolutely right. I had such high expectations for photographic opportunities, snorkeling, and fishing, and that became my focus. I should have been smacked. Looking back, we had such fun in the new jeep and loved it for travel. We saw lots of new and unusual places and we have some great and strange memories. We ate some great food, mostly at places you wouldn’t think about stopping at, but what local treasures. David and I spent some great time together doing nothing, just being, talking, lots of walking and laughing.
Now that I’m about to land this plane, here’s what I learned. Plan for everything, but be prepared for anything. Don’t plan a trip to the East Coast during hurricane season. Rent a 200-500mm lens for the week, no matter where you are going. Florida is unusual in that it’s like stepping back in time, so I will be back, just not in June. I love photography, but when it doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world. (Okay, I’m working on this one.) What I really learned was, when I look over and see the guy that means the most to me in the world, who supports me unconditionally, and smiles at me no matter how cranky I get, even the best photography in the world can’t top that.