Highlands Hammock State Park – Sebring, Florida – Large Format Photography

Hope everyone is doing well. It’s been very wet and stormy here in Florida. As I write this in July 2017, Myakka River State Park has been reported at flood stage already. Usually I don’t hear about this until August or September. We always say we need the rain. Hopefully we are making up for years where we were short. This makes a great time to get some clouds and stormy photos. Also, many of the parks have water in them, making reflections a nice addition to your subject.

Speaking of reflections, a little while ago I decided to go to Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring, Florida. I haven’t been there in many years. I figured it was time to make the trip with the 8×10 camera. One addition that I went with was a friend brought a bag on wheels. This proved to be the best equipment we had with us! I put the Ries tripod that weighs about 20 pounds in it and it was a breeze to manage since we were on a boardwalk.

We decided to go to the “Old Cypress Trail” since this has the “catwalk” that many like. It’s a narrower boardwalk with one hand rail. Sounds like fun, right?! I didn’t make it that far, however my photo friend did go out there and got some great photos! After we made it in about 10 feet from the parking lot we were pummeled by mosquitoes the size of humming birds. I was the biggest buffet they had ever seen. We put on some bug spray, but it was not very effective. In my bag I had bug spray that was in a green bottle with an orange logo of a skull and crossbones. Something about avoid skin contact? OK, I’m messing with you, what we put on next was “Outdoor Sportsman” from Repel that had 40% feet. Once we applied that, I think we pushed the mosquitoes back into Georgia! It was awesome. (I may still have a third eye developing on my forehead, the tests have not come back yet!)

We walked along the boardwalk and I was visually overloaded. I loved all of the cypress trees and knees. Everywhere I looked, there was a photo. I only had four sheets of film with me so I had to be a little selective. At the end of the boardwalk, I found the scene that I was looking for. I also had a nice spot to put my stuff and set up. Since we were the only ones out there, I didn’t have to worry about kids running up and down the boardwalk making my exposure blurry.

Once I got everything set up the exposure was about seven minutes. This is why your subject and camera MUST be solid. When I got home and developed the film, I noticed it was a bit soft. Apparently when I was messing with the video camera and dark slide, it was enough to shift the camera a bit. The photo is still usable, but I always wish it was tack sharp.

Here is the video of the adventure and the final photo. I hope you enjoy them both.

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean (and tripod steady!)



spencer Pullen took this landscape with the Zone VI 8x10 camera at Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring, Florida.

Cypress Swamp Trees – Spencer Pullen © 2017 All Rights Reserved

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