Florida Keys.

Not a bad way to start the day.

Everglades National Park. Florida.

This is how I was welcomed back to North Dakota last week. I came back with tons of great memories, stories and over six thousand pictures that need to be sorted and edited before my next trip.

Currently shooting in #keywest. I’ve had more interest on capturing the local culture over any other tourist attraction or landscape. This place is filled with vibrant people with very unique and fascinating stories. more to come soon #documentary #shootingwild #thephotosociety #florida @lonelyplanet

A freediver plunges into the depths of the Florida coast while spearfishing.

Beyond the Lens

I have decided, from this moment forward, to start documenting my trips in a slightly different way.

I will turn the camera on myself. It might seem like plain narcissism and vanity but my goal is to bring the viewers closer to me and show what its like to be out there with a camera trying to make compelling images.

Everglades National Park

The name of that national park used to sound like a synonym of pain and suffering to me. It is one of the least photogenic and harshest  environments where I’ve been. The only place where I have put my camera down and ceased taking pictures.  It is the only place where the need to be rescued by park rangers has presented itself, but its also a place filled with beauty and life.

I learned to deal with the hordes of buzzing vampires and crippling heat during the summer, its still not fun and very challenging, but I believe that in order to make a compelling image you have to accept and understand that nothing is perfect, and that in fact those same imperfections make the Glades such a unique place.

The objective for my last trip was to photograph the night sky and make a few star trails in a beach like environment. Palm trees, the ocean and a white sandy beach would have made the perfect setting but the casual Florida summer storms littered the sky with clouds during the night.

I launched my kayak from  Everglades city and made my way into several keys in the Gulf of Mexico.

Started the trip by photographing the sunrise from an observation tower in Everglades City and then made my way to Picnic Key.

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Sunset from Picnic Key:

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I went to bed really early in order to catch some rest and woke up about 4 times throughout the night in order to check on the sky. I found cloudy inert skies not worth loosing sleep for. Just past 4 am a lighting storm passed by, still not close enough to make a shot.

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The next day I went to Jewell Key. I arrived at around 1pm, I took a quick nap after making lunch. I then set up camp, a storm was rapidly approaching. I had to guide my tent due to the high winds, the thunder made the sand beneath me tremble. At around 7pm, with now clear skies I made a little dinner and hoped to get a clear sky but that never happened.

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The next day I headed back to Picnic Key, it was a slight deviation from the plan. On the way there I found a sandbar about half a mile from any key. I spent about an hour until the tide came back up.

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This day was also the hottest day out of all. I could feel the sun slowly burning my exposed face and hands. My skin is peeling off now.

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Although I couldn’t make the shot I wanted I did ended up coming home with about 4 shots, it was worth it.