Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Biscayne National Park, Part I

Somehow, the trip of nothing but beaches and pools I told Danelle she was owed after putting up with glacier hikes in Alaska, gale force winds at Great Sand Dunes and downpours in Costa Rica managed to end up at three National Parks. After dipping a toe into the Everglades on our first day, we headed to little-visited Biscayne National Park on our second.

Ninety-five percent of the park is underwater, but we stuck to the parts where we didn't get wet.  Specifically, the short jetty trail at Convoy Point.

It was a little odd to see the nearby Turkey Point Power Plant intrude on the scenery.  But hey, folks have to get power from somewhere.  My camera batteries don't charge themselves.

Danelle got this fun shot of Taryn telling everyone, "Come on in -- the water's fine!"

I didn't see a tree that this coconut would have fallen from, so I assume it just washed up on shore and was taking a breather from its voyage while the tide was out.

Biscayne National Park
The low tide also revealed a dizzying maze of tree roots.

Our afternoon visit got my gears turning about what great views of the sunrise could probably be had here.  A park ranger nearly dashed my hopes by telling me the gates didn't open until 7 a.m., with sunrise scheduled for about 7:08.  I knew that wouldn't leave me enough time to find and set up at a good spot.  So I decided to come much earlier, park outside the gates and walk the mile or so to the tip of the jetty.

Fortunately, when I got to the park the gates were actually open and cut about half a mile off my walk.  That gave me time to set up well before sunrise and take a long-exposure shot facing north, where the lights of Miami colored the sky burnt orange.  You can just make out the skyline on the horizon on the right.

Biscayne National Park
From there it was on to the tip of the jetty, where the rocks revealed by the low tide combined with the clouds in the sky and the reflections on the water to give me the shot I was hoping for.  Tranquility.

Biscayne National Park
The soft pre-dawn light revealed a ton of texture in these boulders and leaves.

Biscayne National Park
Big difference between the gnats in Florida and the ones in Colorado.  Florida gnats BITE.

Anyone watching me try to get this shot would have had themselves quite a chuckle.  Once my tripod was set up, I would peek through the viewfinder, adjust the exposure and shutter speed and snap off a picture, then dance away slapping at my arms, legs and neck.  I must have killed a hundred of the little buggers before I finally conceded defeat.  But at least I managed to capture an opportunistic moment of a gull flying through as "God beams" broke through the low clouds.

Click here for Part II.

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