It all started out with a wish from Mrs M to go to Nashville for a few days and after a few weeks of discussion, ended up in a full blown road trip. We did our first USA road trip back in 2010 and covered a few of the south western states (California, Nevada and Arizona), so it was decided to target the south east this time. And what an epic 3 weeks it proved to be.
Because of the sheer volume of places, experiences and photographs we got through in 20 days, I have split the posts up by State (the links will be active as I upload each post).
Part 1: Florida (this one)
Part 2: Louisiana
Part 3: Mississippi
Part 4: Tennessee
Part 5: South Carolina and Georgia
As many of you know, Wildlife photography is my real passion and that usually involves some kind of travel to get to and from various sites. I have always loved the adventure (and romance) of travelling to other countries so the two photographic genres always compliment each other. I thought it pertinent to start the post with one of the few bird photos I did actually take. Not the best Osprey photo you will ever see but a representative of the many Ospreys that you do see in Florida . I will definitely be heading back to Florida for its bird life in the future, especially for the multiple Osprey nest sites that we managed to see.
We flew into Tampa to start the journey off and spent 2 days driving up and down the coastal roads. One of our favourite places to visit was definitely St Pete’s Beach. Its a quaint area on a small peninsula with small streets and picturesque wooden beach houses. The next few photos are from that area as we waited for the sunset we heard could be spectacular.
Spanish moss is a flowering plant that grows upon larger trees, commonly the Southern Live Oak or Bald Cyprus in the south-eastern United States. I have long wanted to photograph this plant which is neither Spanish nor a moss. In fact, it was so named because it resembled the long beards of the sailors who came across from Europe..
So we left the relative tranquillity of Tampa and the surrounding areas to drive south through the Everglades National park to the busy city of Miami. The next few photos are taken along the 4 hour journey we made.
Miami. What a mental place. Loved the architecture, long beaches, good food and wine…and of course the colourful characters who call it home.
During the 4 days we were based in Miami, we took a day trip down Route 1 and island hopped all the way along the Florida Keys to Key West, going through some great places along the way, like Key Largo. In hindsight it would have been nice to spend a night or two there, so if you are ever in that part of the world, I recommend staying for a few days as the sights, food and pubs are terrific.
After a long drive back to Miami, we spent our last night there drinking the largest cocktails I have ever seen. So the following morning, with a heavy head, we drove up the east coast of Florida to the Kennedy Space Centre on Merritt Island. We arrived close to closing time so sadly didn’t have a chance to go in. I still managed to get some photos and did the tourist thing by buying a few useless trinkets at the gift shop.
After a stormy night in Orlando, we headed toward Louisiana but first we had to make a stop at Rainbow Springs National Park. We were told it had crystal clear springs that you could swim in. So after a few hours drive we arrived in time to chat to some of the local swimmers before getting into the clear cold water. It certainly is a refreshing way to wake up – what with the cold water and alligators swimming around. There are also a few man made waterfalls along some of the short nature walks which made for some wonderful photography.
In order to break up some of the driving we had to do, we spent a night in the lovely historic town of Pensacola to have dinner with some friends before the onslaught into New Orleans.
Leaving Pensacola, we made our way inland. I will now fast forward a few weeks to our return from South Carolina as we wearily made our way back to Tampa to fly out to the UK. We drove down the coast to St Augustine’s and Daytona beach. I have always wanted to stand on the legendary beach which has hard packed sand allowing vehicles to drive upon it (and to race along in the old days). Now the racing is done at the Daytona International Speedway, home of the Daytona 500…