Behind The Scenes|
Driving from Key Largo to Key West takes only a few hours, even with
frequent stops. The scenery ranges from typical strip-mall store fronts
and motels along a double lane highway, to incredible shoreline vistas and
narrow bridges. The aqua waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay are
seductive, to say the least. CWD and I stationed ourselves at a resort in
Marathon Key. With its close proximity to "paradise" in the form of Bahia
Honda State Park, we were able to easily shuttle back and forth between
photography sessions. The sprawling, unspoiled beaches of Bahia Honda are
world-famous and yet surprisingly, never overcrowded. It was here that we
shot some of our best photos.
Bahia Honda's deep basin on the Atlantic Ocean allowed us to naturally
observe marine life as we've never seen before. An abandoned railroad
bridge serves as an observation deck high above the sea, and from it,
endless photo opps unfold. In short time, as we were snapping away, two
large stingrays gracefully passed beneath us on the bridge. Scrambling to
capture them with our cameras, we became fumbling tourists, racing from
one side of the bridge to the other. A big splash was heard after the
stingrays passed, and at first we thought it was falling concrete from the
bridge. A glance downward revealed not concrete or falling rocks but a
large shark! This was a rare sight for a Native New Yorker and Canadian,
indeed! More than a few "F-bombs" were dropped in frustration, trying to
focus on the water and get our photographic evidence before our shark
became the "one that got away".
Although it would be hard to top seeing stingrays and a real shark in
their natural habitat, we encountered some wonderful wildlife in the
Florida Keys. Iguanas frequently crossed our paths with an almost brazen
tameness. One even sunned itself on our hotel roof. We saw dolphins off the Sanibel Island Causeway, a host of sea birds kind enough to pose for us, tarpon, a manatee and a rather unsettling sign warning of an alligator's possible presence in a small town lake.
Once we found our choice locations, the wetlook photo sessions flew by.
Some sessions went better than others but when we had the right setting
and light, it was magic. The old "fish-in-a-barrel" scenario played out -
where you basically just point, smile and shoot, and the scenery does
the rest for you. One hard lesson, however, was learned by Coolwetdude. I
had sneakers on for the photo shoots most of the time, so my feet were
protected from the sun. CWD was enjoying the water barefoot while he was
behind the camera. Although we both used sunscreen religiously each
session, it was easy to forget to apply it to your feet. The cool
water masks the fact that your feet are actually baking under the sun.
Its rays are magnified by the water itself! The first day's shoot at
Bahia Honda resulted in a horridly painful case of sunburn on
Coolwetdude's feet. He could hardly stand, let alone walk. I thought the
game was over for him at that point. I thought he would be confined to the
couch for the remainder of the trip, if not in a hospital bed at worst!
While it was agony to put on shoes, he amazingly was able to carry on and
enjoy the rest of the vacation. We even got in several more productive
photo shoots without incident. An amazing feet