Big Cypress Preserve

Big Cypress Preserve

Living in Florida, we always hear a lot about the Everglades. We really don’t hear that much about The Big Cypress Preserve. One of my all-time favorite contemporary photographers, Clyde Butcher has his Big Cypress Studio on the Tamiami Trail, which runs through the Preserve. When I speak with other photographers and we talk about Clyde Butcher, most people think his studio is in the Everglades National Park, but it isn’t.

The freshwaters of the Big Cypress Swamp, essential to the health of the neighboring Everglades, support the rich marine estuaries along Florida’s southwest coast. Big Cypress Preserve protects over 729,000 acres of this vast swamp, the Preserve contains a mixture of tropical and temperate plant communities that are home to a diversity of wildlife, including the elusive Florida panther.

The Big Cypress Preserve is a part of the National Park System. As such, there are a lot of organized activities. You can find more information about the ranger led activities by going to the National Park service / Big Cypress web site.

My assistant (and wife) Mary Lou and I decided to do a shoot of the Preserve. We did a lot of research and decided to do the photo shoot in the summer. Although there is a minimum amount of tourist activity and is often the best time to capture the true nature of the Preserve….WHAT WERE WE THINKING!! Of course the tourists aren’t there…it is to dang HOT! But that is a story for another time.

The Big Cypress Preserve is conveniently located. During our photography shoot we stayed on Marco island. There were a lot of accommodations to choose from and we were in the preserve within 30 minutes.

Our equipment consisted of a cannon mk5D camera, 2 tripods (Silk & Gitzo) with Manfroto heads, a polarizer, neutral density filters and a lot of DEET. (Besides being HOT, mosquitos as big as blue birds and tiny little no-seeums are everywhere [not to mention the gators].) All photographs were taken from a tripod. Fortuitously, we had armed ourselves with maps of the back roads in the area which provided us with excellent deserted vantage points.

We hope these images give you a glimpse into the unspoiled beauty of the Big Cypress Preserve. Please send me an email if you see anything you like, have any questions, or want more information about planning a trip to the Big Cypress Preserve.

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