I moved to Florida for Walt Disney World, sun, beach, palm trees, and what seemed like abundant opportunity. I fell in love with Florida, in large part, because the four year old in me still loves Dinosaurs and, when traveling into the woods, I still half expect to see one. When I was little I had the plastic dinosaurs, the books, and was as giddy as if it were Christmas morning when my family made the seven-hour drive to Washington DC where my favorite stop was the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History. What made my imagination soar was a poster I got from there which depicted the sweeping history of dinosaurs from when they first crawled out of the ocean onto dry land to when they became the enormous "Thunder Lizards" of the later periods in natural history.
It was so long, the poster came in two halves that were taped together and hung in my bedroom. The color and detail defined for me what the age of Dinosaurs was all about.
It is actually, I discovered when writing this blog, a 110 ft. long panorama painted by Rudolph F. Zallinger called The Age of Reptiles.
Decades later as an adult, I first went to a small park at the end of our street called Palm Island, I felt like I had stepped into Zallinger's mural and so much of what drove my imagination growing up. From the original King Kong to Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark.
There is a boardwalk that runs through much of the park. Keeping you not only above the water and the mud, but away from the alligators and snakes.
The aesthetic and diversity of all that can be photographed on Palm Island combined with the fact that it is well under a mile from my front door quickly made it a testing ground for any new camera gear, film, lens or photographic techniques I wanted to test and try out.
And subconsciously I still half expect to come across a Dinosaur.
"Here I am, Raaaawr!"
Walking the paths of this 8 acre wildlife preserve several times a week, I accumulated and posted so many photographs of this one small area, that a friend hinted perhaps I had reached the limits of what I can create depicting Palm Island.
But I have yet to run out of ideas to try.
I had photographed Palm Island for over a decade, yet for all I had photographed, I never felt like I satisfied the four year old in me who told anyone who asked that he wanted to be a Paleontologist. I didn't feel like I truly captured the prehistoric part of it.
I'm ecstatic with a lot of what I have depicted. But I couldn't figure out how to get one, I don't know, Dinosaurish enough. It wasn't conscious until after I did it, but I really wanted one that captured the dynamic energy of the dinosaur paintings that drove my imagination as a kid.
One foggy morning, I walked down a new path recently created by the park services and came across a clearing. The light was right, the scene was right. I set up my tripod, carefully composed my shot, brought it home and manipulated it a bit in the computer and here it is. My photograph of Palm Island that, to me, emulates the energy of the work of Rudolf F. Zallinger. So, I titled it Florida: The Land That Time Forgot.
Have a great week and see you next Sunday, right here, on the Real Florida Photo Blog.