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My blog is an intersection of art and nature. It is where I write about my adventures into Florida wilderness.

Tick Talk

 
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It was the 4:15 a.m. alarm that finally succeeded in yanking me from the silence.

It’s March. Somehow, someway, somewhere, two months have gone by, and now it’s March. I still feel strange saying “2019,” and yet the year is already one sixth over. I’m suspicious that even time sets New Years fitness resolutions, because it feels like each January it’s off to a sprint, and I’m struggling to keep up.

I rolled out of bed and onto my feet. This was part two in a three-part adventure to scout, navigate and photograph Juniper Creek.

Above: Some photos I took with my Leica M6 during the kayaking/scouting stage of this three-part adventure.

Alex, Jenny and I kayaked the creek about a month ago. It sits in the southeast quadrant of the Juniper Prairie Wilderness and flows northeast from Juniper Springs into Lake George. Due to limited accessibility, it’s the only quadrant Alex and I have yet to spend significant time exploring. Aside from a fun afternoon activity, the purpose of the kayaking trip was to mark interesting points along the shore, to which Alex and I would then return from land at a later date.

Here is an awesome video Alex made of that trip:

We returned last weekend to navigate to a couple interesting points we marked along the river. We entered the woods at the South Fire Trail and headed east.

Here is a Google Earth screenshot of our two trips, which I recorded with my Garmin. The blue path is from our kayaking scouting trip. The yellow path is from mine and Alex’s most recent trip where we navigated to the river via land.

Here is a Google Earth screenshot of our two trips, which I recorded with my Garmin. The blue path is from our kayaking scouting trip. The yellow path is from mine and Alex’s most recent trip where we navigated to the river via land.

It was a beautiful foggy morning, and it felt good to be back in the woods after a month-long hiatus.

A portrait of Alex on Forest Road 33 right before entering the woods. Alex brought his metal detector to locate artifacts during our route. Aluminum foil seemed to be the life of the party this time around. Shot with the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II and 110mm, f/2.8.

A portrait of Alex on Forest Road 33 right before entering the woods. Alex brought his metal detector to locate artifacts during our route. Aluminum foil seemed to be the life of the party this time around. Shot with the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II and 110mm, f/2.8.

A view of our hike in. I recently upgraded to the iPhone XR, and let me tell you what a difference it has made! The dynamic range is incredible. This image is straight out of camera.

A view of our hike in. I recently upgraded to the iPhone XR, and let me tell you what a difference it has made! The dynamic range is incredible. This image is straight out of camera.

Another shot of sunrise taken with the iPhone XR.

Another shot of sunrise taken with the iPhone XR.

After about 30 minutes of hiking, we arrived at a pair of lakes Alex and I call the Bahamas and rested. I waded out with the RZ67 to grab an image of these two pine trees reflected in the water.

A shot through the viewfinder of the Mamiya RZ67. This image was taken with my Ricoh GRII, which I normally use for documenting the in-between moments. However, after that last trip, I think I will be selling the Ricoh and using my iPhone XR exclusively for this type of work.

A shot through the viewfinder of the Mamiya RZ67. This image was taken with my Ricoh GRII, which I normally use for documenting the in-between moments. However, after that last trip, I think I will be selling the Ricoh and using my iPhone XR exclusively for this type of work.

Twin pines shot with the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II and 110mm f/2.8. I used a red filter and pushed my Kodak Tri-X 400 to 1600, which I’ve been doing for all my images for this project. About five minutes after taking the image, the wind picked up and completely erased the reflection.

Twin pines shot with the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II and 110mm f/2.8. I used a red filter and pushed my Kodak Tri-X 400 to 1600, which I’ve been doing for all my images for this project. About five minutes after taking the image, the wind picked up and completely erased the reflection.

The photo below was actually taken on my lunch break at work and has nothing to do with the woods. But I’m including it here since it was on the same roll of film as the image above.

Shot with the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II and 110mm f/2.8 lens. I underexposed the grass to create more contrast between the grass and the pond. I also used a red filter in order to further darken the green grass.

Shot with the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II and 110mm f/2.8 lens. I underexposed the grass to create more contrast between the grass and the pond. I also used a red filter in order to further darken the green grass.

After a lot of bushwhacking and a couple interesting discoveries, we eventually reached Juniper Creek. Like I mentioned earlier, we’re treating this trip as part two in a three-part adventure. We’re planning some specific photographs for part three, but we first had to navigate and prepare. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

When I got home from this trip, I pulled 36 ticks off my body. Florida is transitioning back into summer, which means more ticks, spiders, alligators, snakes and bears. Like time, nature continues its endless cycle.

Maybe next time I’ll wear bug spray.

A corn snake we found sun bathing in the middle of the trail on the hike out. Shot with the iPhone XR.

A corn snake we found sun bathing in the middle of the trail on the hike out. Shot with the iPhone XR.

Sunset on the drive home. Shot with the iPhone XR.

Sunset on the drive home. Shot with the iPhone XR.