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February 13, 2005

The Experience

This week I spent a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what I want out of this project. After a lot of time sitting at my kitchen table jotting down notes and trying to come up with something, I had a few moments of brilliance when I was able to finally envision how this will all come together. As of now, the final product will take three forms: my website, a show or exhibit, and a book.

Each of these forms has certain strengths and weaknesses and I hope to utilize this to have the most impact. For example, in a website, the viewer has complete control over what he or she reads, that means I can put as much information on there as I want and a reader simply chooses what to read. As long as I keep each section short and not overwhelming, a reader can spend any amount of time that they choose. Therefore, I will utilize the website to display a large number of short articles on as many aspects of the Everglades as I can. This will be more of an encyclopedic approach which would be extremely overwhelming if presented in a book or especially in an exhibit.

The exhibit will focus entirely on the photographs. The images will be introduced through a short description of the Everglades, but the photographs themselves will paint the picture of the Everglades. Each image will be able to stand on its own, but as a collective set they will tell the larger picture. Short quotations from interviews and readings may be used to tell the story when an image simply can not.

The book will be a collection of essays that are presented side by side with the photographs. This book will tell the story of the Everglades as I see it. It will be a much more personal journey and a way to experience the Everglades through my eyes. In some ways it will be a marriage of the website and the exhibit, bringing together the scientific understanding and the perspective of humanity. The essays will combine my experiences and understanding with the historical and contemporary perspectives of the people who intimately interact with the region. Here, the photographs may or may not be directly referenced or correlated with the accompanying essay but they will share the same attitude or approach.

While I now have a better idea of what form my final result will be, I still need to figure out exactly what the story is that I will be telling. I have several things in mind, and hopefully over the next few weeks I can sort out the details. I would love to hear feedback and suggestions, so please send me an email or drop by the forums and start a discussion.


The Photos

American Alligator – Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park

In both the morning and evenings, the reflections of the trees in the water provide some spectacular color. I love the soft colors in the reflection that are broken by the alligator’s head.


Lanceleaf Arrowhead – Everglades National Park

Flower photography is very new to me. In some ways I have approached it similar to the way I approach bird photography. I start working a bird from a distance then slowly work in tighter and tighter. Here I did the same thing. I posted a shot of the entire stalk with three flowers on my weblog and here is an image of just a single flower from the cluster. The soft light of an overcast day really makes this image for me.


Crescent Moon above Royal Palm – Royal Palm, Everglades National Park

Leaving Anhinga Trail after a particularly late evening photographing, I saw the moon and the silhouette of one of the Royal Palms I had already photographed that evening at sunset. After several minutes of waiting, the moon, clouds, and wind cooperated allowing for this image to be made.


Marbled Godwit among shorebirds – Snake Bight, Everglades National Park

Here is a less conventional bird image. As the tide began to flood, the thousands of shorebirds fought for the last bit of dry land. Here, a Marbled Godwit stands above a number of resting Short-billed Dowitchers and other shorebirds. I really like how the godwit stands out and is isolated from the rest of the flock.