Along the Santa Fe River in Chastain-Seay Park (Worthington Springs). The park boardwalk is poorly maintained, but the fishing platform and playground are in good condition. Parks like this are the top tourist attraction in Northern Florida and were off the map off vintage tourist brochures issued by the two major airlines that flew to Florida from the Northeast.
Both Eastern and National Airlines flew into South Florida, depositing travelers in the sun-and-fun part of the state. Northern Florida offered the visitor woodsier, more rustic activities. Without beaches, this part of the state never developed into a fully-fledged “attraction.” It also was colder and above the frostline, with temperatures falling into the twenties during the very time of year when the snowbird was looking to fly south for the winter.
Hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, birdwatching, and horseback riding (I might add hunting and fishing, in season) are primary entertainments here. The pace is lazy and an appreciation of nature is almost mandatory. Otherwise, one is unable to distinguish one park from the next; the differences also manifest in the photographer’s eye. I enjoy photographing reflections, yet my shots may differ from that of another due to the angle and the ability to capture what may not seem special to the naked eye. Above, a fallen tree takes on an anthropomorphic character recalling a hunted deer, while the reflection of a tree in the river becomes an exercise in calculus.
Each time I’ve photographed Florida’s freshwater anglers, I’ve gotten the feeling that I am imposing upon a very private, Zen-like experience. Because of this, I only photograph fishermen from a distance. I’ve found that most fishermen are monosyllabic, which to me is a grunty way of saying, “Move along, there’s nothing to see here. And don’t disturb the bass when you go.”