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Photo Story: Man vs. Wilderness

"When I look at this photo, I remember the calmness and simplicity of the place, and indeed, simplicity was what I wanted to capture when I took this image."

It's quite hard at the moment to envisage a time when we will all be able to travel again. I am the kind of person who always likes to have something to look forward to and I love to explore new places, so being unable to plan is a bit of an odd and difficult feeling. But until it's possible again, I thought I'd reminisce about past travels and tell you about this photo, that I took just over a year ago in The Everglades in Florida. Along with my parents, I had just done an 8-day cruise to Cuba and had time for a short trip after disembarking before our flight back to London.

In case you are not familiar with The Everglades, it's a vast, swampy, tropical area near to Miami, Florida where wildlife such as alligators and birds are abundant. You can take trips on airboats to visit this area of natural beauty, that seems to extend for miles and miles as far as the eye can see! I first visited when I was 6 years old and it was great to come back and see it again. You have to watch out for those mosquitos too but it is so worth it.

I was pretty lucky to get a seat right at the front of the airboat with great views out ahead of me. I must admit I was immediately excited for the photo opportunities here - not to mention the incredible blue sky, scattered with fluffy clouds. Sitting at the front of that boat, with the breeze in my face (and the boat did go pretty fast at times!) was a great experience, with just this vastness all around us and nothing else. It certainly is the kind of place to make you feel disconnected from the bustle of urban life.

I took this photo not long after we boarded the boat. I immediately saw this scene as a good photo opportunity, with the clean lines of the pylon reaching out into the distance beyond the horizon. It just seemed to capture the pure emptiness (and incredible calmness) of this amazing and unique landscape. My first thought was how it would work in black and white, but I have since found that colour also works well, maybe even better, and that's why it is on my website in both colour and black and white. The water was smooth and calm, reflecting that immense sky. With just the warm sun and tropical, humid air on my skin and the complete peace when the boat's engines stopped, I wondered how I could ever get on the plane and head back to London!

If you are into meditation, I would say this is a place to completely switch off. The water lapped at the sides of the boat as we watched alligators glide effortlessly along the surface of the water. A large, black bird landed on the front of the boat near us. Other smaller birds could be seen clinging to the patches of long grass. Their chirps and calls were the only sound to break the silence in the wilderness. The alligators were very used to the boats and came along to take a look at us, but were otherwise friendly and disinterested in us; just another bunch of tourists!

You realise in places like this that whole areas of nature do exist in near isolation from mankind and need to be cherished. The pylons were the only thing that were not natural in this environment, towering silently over the undisturbed swamps beneath them. When I look at this photo, I remember the calmness and simplicity of the place, and indeed, simplicity was what I wanted to capture when I took this image. The pylons and the swamps are a contradiction in some ways, but looking across the horizon at the endless sky of clouds made me feel very far away from worries indeed.

You can have a look at this image and buy it in different formats in my travel gallery! Have you been to The Everglades too? What was your experience of it? And have you been anywhere else like this that amazed you?

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