Posted by: kerryl29 | May 14, 2017

Florida: On the Beach

Note:  As this entry posts, I’m on my way to San Francisco, the prelude to extended time photographing at Yosemite National Park, the Eastern Sierra and the redwood groves of Northern California.  I’ll try to post some additional material from some Midwest day shoots earlier in the spring, but If I’m quiet for the next couple of weeks, you know the reason why.

Once I decided that I was going to go to Florida this past February I was determined to carve out enough time to do some beach photography.  I spent significant chunks of time on various East Coast beaches as a child and something of that experience seems to have filtered into my fiber.  The land/ocean focal point remains one of wonder.

I hadn’t been seaside since my trip to the West Coast a couple of years ago when I spent the majority of my time in southern Oregon (and northern California) on the sand.  The beach opportunities in Florida were considerably more limited than my time out West, given the much greater amount of coastal development in the Sunshine State, but I was aware of one small area that was in something approaching a native condition and accessible to the general public.

On the wealthy enclave of Jupiter Island, roughly 90 miles north of Miami and about 30 miles north of West Palm Beach, there are two protected areas–Blowing Rocks Preserve, a Nature Conservancy property, and Coral Cove Park, like Riverbend Park, a publicly owned area administered by Palm Beach County.  The two locations lie about a mile apart from one another and it’s possible to walk from one to the other along the beach itself.

Blowing Rocks Preserve Black & White, Palm Beach County, Florida

Blowing Rocks is an excellent example of what an undisturbed Florida barrier island looks like.  There’s an extensive line of shoreline limestone which, at high tide with a decent surf, can make for quite an exciting sight.  I spent some time late in the afternoon there and while there wasn’t a particularly high surf on this day I still saw plenty of evidence of the origin of Blowing Rocks’ name.

Blowing Rocks Preserve, Palm Beach County, Florida

Blowing Rocks Preserve, Palm Beach County, Florida

I also caught a brief glimpse (but, alas, no photograph) of a sea turtle as it dove into the surf.

On that same afternoon I wandered down the beach to the south in the direction of Coral Cove Park.

Atlantic Afternoon, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Seashells, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

While Coral Cove doesn’t have a rocky infrastructure anywhere near as extensive as Blowing Rocks, the isolated groups of rocks actually make for simpler, more effective (in my eyes) compositions so it was this spot I decided to return to the following day.

On the way back to the hotel I made a quick image of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, as the sun was going down.

Jupiter Inlet Light at Sunset, Palm Beach County, Florida

From the time of my arrival in Florida I had kept an eye on the weather forecast for my one full day in the Jupiter area and it hadn’t been promising for a sunrise shoot.  That was still the case the night before when the advance forecast called for cloudy skies the following day and no sunrise at all.  I decided to head back to the beach in the dark the following morning despite the forecast, in the hopes that there might be something of a sunrise.  That turned out to be the right call…and then some.

Sunrise, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

There was a partly cloudy sky to the east when I arrived on the sand, just as daylight was beginning to become apparent that morning.  As it got brighter it became increasingly apparent that this had a chance to be a terrific sunrise.

Sunrise, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

The colorful sky just got better and better as sunrise approached.

Sunrise, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Sunrise, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Sunrise, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Sunrise, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Sunrise & Moonrise, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

After being more or less mesmerized by the scene to the southeast, as the sun crested the horizon I turned my attention to the northeast, which had its own appeal.

Sunrise, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Sunrise, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Sunrise, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Before I called it a morning, I turned back to the southeast, which had a very different look than it had minutes earlier.  The sun was now up, but was momentarily hidden behind a line of clouds on the horizon.

Sunrise, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Sunrise, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

As I noted last time, I spent the bulk of the remainder of the day at Riverbend Park, but late in the afternoon, about an hour before sunset, I returned to the beach.  Even though the sun would be setting away from the view over the water, I determined, during my time on the West Coast, not to ignore sunrise/sunset even if “the action” was taking place in the opposite direction.  That turned out to be a good call, too.

Morning, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Even though the forecast had called for no sunset at all, after a mostly cloudy afternoon, again, there was enough clearing on the western horizon to produce something quite noteworthy as the sun went down.

Evening, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Evening Black & White, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Evening Black & White, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Evening, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Evening Black & White, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Sunset, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

 

As the sun sank to the horizon behind me, the light actually got better, briefly, to the east.

Sunset, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Sunset, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Sunset Black & White, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Sunset, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

As the light dropped across the ocean I turned around and looked to the west.  The view–in the direction of the mainland–was  blocked at the horizon by development across the inner channel.  I retreated to the beach and focused on the sky and the palm trees backing the beach.  The tall sand dune, and my position below it, snuffed out the unwanted background elements.

Sunset, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Sunset, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Sunset, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

As the light to the west dropped I prepared to leave, but noticed that the sky to the east was acquiring an unexpected “second wind” as the sun dropped out of sight beyond the western horizon.  It lasted for less than a minute, but that was just enough time to allow me to rush back down near the waterline and form one more composition before the sky faded to gray.

Sunset, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

 

I had been incredibly lucky.  On a day when the forecast called for no sunrise or sunset, I got both–and outstanding renditions to boot.

The following day–I only had the morning before I had to drive to Miami for an afternoon flight home–I decided to try again.  The forecast, again, wasn’t promising, calling for a windy, cloudy early morning before heavy rains rolled in later in the day.  This time, the forecast was correct–there was no hint of a sunrise, but despite the cloudy conditions I went back to the beach to capture at least some of the roiling surf.

Stormy Morning Black & White, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

I went with some very long exposures and mostly black and white renderings, given the nature of the sky.

Stormy Morning Black & White, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Stormy Morning Black & White, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Stormy Morning Black & White, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

Stormy Morning Black & White, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Floridad

This final morning at the beach ended my extraordinary time in Florida.  I hope you enjoyed reading about it.

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Responses

  1. Your photos have caused me to reconsider my opinion of Florida. So glad you ignored the forecasts and were able to enjoy both a sunrise and sunset on the beach. Now we can look forward to photos from California.

    • Thanks, Ellen. Florida is definitely worth a photographic look-see. I barely scratched the surface during my eight days there.

  2. Beautiful as always Kerry. I’m really looking forward to your parks and redwood forest photos. I’ve been dreaming about going out west for about 25 years.

    • Thanks, Gene.

      This will be my second foray into the redwoods. Go here:

      http://www.lightscapesphotography.com/f548280883

      And scroll down a bit. You’ll see links to several galleries containing images from a variety of state and national parks containing redwoods in Northern California

  3. Those photos are absolutely stunning. All I can think is:

    “I must go down to the sea again,
    to the lonely sea and the sky…”

    • Thanks…from me and John Masefield. 🙂

  4. The vertical frames of Sunset, Coral Cove Park, Palm Beach County, Florida are my favorites. Love the depth and motion!

  5. Thanks for posting these. I used to live in Hobe Sound and I love seeing pictures that remind me of “home.”

    • Thanks! Glad to hear that the images conjured up some pleasant memories.

  6. The “Sunrise and Moonrise” photo and those following are my favorites, as everything begins to click. It’s very impressive to be able to make such beautiful images at a place you’re not familiar with.

    • Thanks very much! I really appreciate the kind words.

      And it really helps the image making process when the natural conditions are so cooperative. That doesn’t always happen, needless to say, but it did on that particular day on the beach.


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