I’ve been in Florida for longer than I would like to admit to. Having moved here in 1988, I have had the opportunity see many places. I jumped on Google Earth to see what might be around the area. There was one place that I had seen photos from and it looked like the barren landscape of Mars. What caught my attention what looked like toothpicks sticking out of the ground. What is nice about Google Earth, is that you can really zoom in on places and get a detailed look. after closer examination, I found that the toothpicks were actually trees.
The map was marked “Stump Pass”. What is a stump pass? A waterway filled with stumps? Again, Google to the rescue, when I did a search, “Stump Pass Beach State Park” came up. This was totally new to me. Anyplace that has “toothpicks” coming out of the ground, it worth a look.
I called a friend of mine and asked her if she wanted to check this place out. We loaded our gear up and out we went. Having no idea what we were going to run into, I took my 24mm lens to ensure I would be able to get the whole landscape in. We arrived and paid the three bucks. I looked at the information map and I soon realized that the “pass” was at the other end of the key. It didn’t look that far on the map, ahem.
We got there early so everything was still covered in dew. As we stared down the hiking trail, I noticed big spider webs that had drops of water on them. However, they were hanging low. I’m 6’4” so you can image how this worked out. I soon learned to carry a stick in front of me after the first web did a face plant on me!
After what seemed like an eternity, we finally were getting close, but we had a little problem. The trail was flooded. We had three choices, turn back, go through the water with our sneakers or go barefoot. We decided to go back a little and see if we could go around. We found a very small trail and decided to wade through the snake bite grass and see where it would lead us. We landed on the beach! Perfect, from here we were able to keep heading to the pass. Then the “toothpicks” showed up. Here were the trees that I saw on the satellite image. I started firing away.
These are very odd looking trees. While we were walking around the pass, we ran into the ranger. I asked, “What is going on with all of the trees around here?” I’m thinking hurricane, saltwater, but I wasn’t even close. He said they killed them on purpose. I was like what? He said they take a chainsaw and cut a ring at the bottom, then pump the tree full of toxic chemicals to kill it. Ooook, why are we doing this? He said they are Australian pine and are an invasive species to Florida. They take over and kill all of the underbrush. I had no idea.
Here is another one that I took along the way. This is a great place to stop and eat your lunch, or take your laptop and write your blog post!
I did bracket the exposures, but found that I didn’t need to combine them. I did process these a little different. I did some reading on Ansel Adams Zone System. Since I use Nik’s Silver Efex Pro to process my black and white photos, this makes it easy. Silver Efex Pro has the zone system built in. I can manipulate the highlights and shadows to place them in the zones that I want. I could print these on metallic paper and I might get something that may be close to a silver gelatin print. Pretty neat stuff.
If you are in the area, you may want to check out Stump Pass Beach State Park in Englewood, Florida. Just be sure to take your sneakers and sunscreen!
Until next time…
Keep Your Glass Clean