SBF Fort Lauderdale Bahia Honda Bridge
Tarpon, Key West SBF, Fort Lauderdale Strip
Sunset at Naples Beach Key Largo
CWD, Sebastian Beach, Fort Lauderdale Resort Umbrellas, Marathon
Bahia Honda State Park SBF, Ft Lauderdale Strip
Water Bird, Bahia Honda Sanibel Island
SBF, Clearwater, FL Iguana at Bahia Honda Park
Spider, Hugh Taylor Birch Park, Ft Lauderdale SBF, Ft Lauderdale
Bahia Honda view of Atlantic Rhododendron tree, Key Largo - Key West Flower inset
CWD, Fort Lauderdale Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda Beach Juggler at Sunset Pier, Key West
Bahia Honda State park Chef Lupe's Mandalay Bay Restaurant, Key Largo
Sanibel Island Sea birds  Palms and Egret at Sanibel Causeway
Naples Beach, late sun Sanibel Island
Behind The Scenes
Florida 2006-2009   Page 1,   Page 2,   Page 3

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 for sure!

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