Two awesome summer spectacles have haunted my nights during the last month: the full moon, and huge lightning storms. I was in bed late one night in August when this approaching thunderstorm woke me. With the moon out, the marsh looked too good to not get up and go try to take a picture.
Lightning curls through a thunderhead billowing over Buck Island Ranch in Highlands County, Florida. Photo by Joe Guthrie
At night in the Florida swamps may seem like the last place many people would like to find themselves. I have learned to love it. I love the night sounds more than perhaps anything else about the summer; the shrieking frogs, the croaks of the night herons, throbbing insects. Here it adds a primordial feel to the darkness. And the darkness is deeper here, far from the cities and freeways. With long exposures, the lights from even small towns like Lake Placid can add a haunting, almost hellish loom to the darkness.
The lights of Lake Placid glow on the western horizon from Buck Island Ranch. Photo by Joe Guthrie
I’ve been toying with nighttime photography all summer. It was one of the motivations for keeping my cottage out at Buck Island Ranch. I envisioned the marsh in August, and the dramatic nighttime sky reflecting off the standing water that accumulates in the wetlands here in the rainy season. I have yet to really capture what’s in my mind, which is great because I feel a need to keep chasing that shot.
An inundated flag pond is cast in the light of passing cars on SR 70 near Arcadia, Florida. Photo by Joe Guthrie